California Border Protection Stations (BPS):
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
WHAT ARE YOUR INSPECTORS LOOKING FOR?
Our inspectors check vehicles and commodities for compliance with California and federal plant quarantine regulations. They also check commodities to make sure they are free from exotic invasive species that may be hitchhiking with them. Although the primary focus is on plant materials (i.e., fruits, vegetables, nursery stock, hay, firewood, etc.), other items are also frequently inspected.
WHAT LEGAL AUTHORITY DO YOUR INSPECTORS HAVE TO STOP AND CHECK MY VEHICLE?
The Department’s legal authority for conducting vehicle and commodity inspections lies in the California Food and Agricultural Code, specifically Sections 5341-5353 and 6301-6465. Although submitting to inspection is voluntary, vehicle and commodities are not allowed to enter until released by an inspector.
WHY ARE SOME VEHICLES INSPECTED MORE THOROUGHLY THAN OTHERS?
To minimize delays at the border (with nearly 30 million vehicles passing through the border stations each year), our inspectors are trained to conduct their inspections by the risk that a vehicle may be carrying hitchhiking pests in it—the higher the risk, the more thorough the inspection. This assessment is based on several factors, including route of travel, time of year and vehicle type.
DO THESE INSPECTIONS REALLY WORK?
Yes! Studies show a direct correlation between agricultural inspections and lowering invasive species infestations. One study indicates that for every dollar spent on pest prevention, $14 are saved in later control costs and economic losses.
WHAT CAN I DO TO AVOID DELAYS AT THE BORDER?
Being prepared is the best thing you can do to speed up the inspection process. This includes:
- Have all plant material—including fruits, vegetables, plants, hay, and firewood—packed for easy access.
- Ensure the driver knows what is in the vehicle and where it is packed.
- Ensure the driver has keys or knows the combination for all door locks.
- Ensure all doors (especially those of self-mover trucks and trailers) can be easily opened and closed.
CAN I BRING MY PETS INTO CALIFORNIA?
There are no restrictions for bringing dogs and cats into California (if bringing a dog, you are encouraged to carry proof of rabies vaccination). However, under California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) regulations, certain exotic animals are restricted and may not be transported or possessed in California without a permit. These regulations are designed to keep non-native animal species from becoming established in the State and to ensure exotic animals in captivity are properly cared for. In a cooperative effort, these regulations are enforced at our border stations. The most common restricted species encountered at our stations are: Ferrets, gerbils, hedgehogs, Quaker or Monk Parrots, and sugar gliders. Follow this link for a synopsis of the CDFG Restricted Species Laws and Regulations.
For more information or to apply for restricted species permits, contact the CDFG License and Revenue Branch at 916-928-5845.
WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING LIVESTOCK INTO THE STATE?
Border station inspectors record the movement of all livestock into California. When you arrive at the station with livestock, you will be asked to provide information on the owner, origin, destination address, species, and number of animals. You should also present any health or brand certificates you have for the animals. This information is forwarded to the CDFA Animal Health Division for tracking and regulatory enforcement. For more information on livestock entry requirements, visit the CDFA Animal Health Division website or phone (916) 654-1447.
ARE THERE RESTRICTIONS FOR BRINGING FIREWOOD INTO THE STATE?
Like all plant material, firewood is subject to inspection for insects and disease symptoms when it arrives at our border stations—if insects or disease symptoms are found, the wood may be rejected. Because of the high likelihood of wood-boring insects being present in all shipments of firewood, travelers are strongly discouraged from moving firewood out of the local area from where it was cut. For more information visit: www.dontmovefirewood.org.
Additionally, several federal and state plant quarantine regulations prohibit or restrict the movement of firewood. These include the:
- Chestnut Bark Disease and Oak Wild Disease State Exterior Quarantine
- Gypsy Moth Federal Quarantine
- Pine Shoot Beetle Federal Quarantine
- Asian Longhorned Beetle Federal Quarantine
- Emerald Ash Borer Federal Quarantine
WHY DO YOU INSPECT BOATS AND OTHER WATERCRAFT?
Protecting California against aquatic invasive species, such as quagga and zebra mussels is an important part of our job. These mussels easily hitchhike on boats and are spread by unsuspecting boat owners. They are extremely invasive and disruptive to aquatic ecosystems, and post a great economic threat to water delivery systems for our cities and agriculture. For more information visit: http://www.dfg.ca.gov/invasives/quaggamussel/.
CAN I BRING HAY INTO CALIFORNIA?
In general, there are not specific restrictions on bringing hay into California; however, it must be free from noxious weeds and insect pests and is subject to inspection upon arrival at our border stations. If bringing hay, be sure it is loaded so the outer surface of the bales can be easily seen. Most hay passes inspection, but occasionally pests are found and the shipment is rejected. In this event, you may need to return the hay out-of-state if it cannot be easily disposed of at the station.
WILL I BE INSPECTED WHEN I LEAVE CALIFORNIA?
While there aren’t any inspection stations leaving California, all states do have plant quarantine regulations that must be complied with to prevent the spread of exotic pests. When moving plant material out of California, it is highly recommended that you contact the state plant health regulatory official’s office in the state you are traveling to and inquire if there are any restrictions. Contact information may be found by visiting the National Plant Board website.
I FOUND A NEW OR UNUSUAL PLANT OR PEST IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Contact your local county agriculture department and inform them that you wish to report a pest sighting or call the CDFA Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899. For more information visit the CDFA Report a Pest website.
HOW CAN I HELP KEEP PLANT PESTS OUT OF CALIFORNIA?
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- Make sure fruits, vegetables and plants meet quarantine requirements before shipping or transporting them.
- Declare all fruits, vegetable and plants for inspection when you arrive at the border station.
- Spread the word—let others know about the risks of moving plant pests with fruits, vegetables and plants.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
- Contact any of our border stations listed on the interactive map or contact our headquarters office at (916) 654 0312.
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Visit the links under "BPS Resources" found on the left column of this site.