At some point in your flight or cruise to Hawaii, you’ll be asked to complete a plants and animals declaration form. By Hawaii state law, all passengers arriving in Hawaii are required to complete the form. The purpose of this process is to help identify and prevent foreign plants, animals and pests from entering Hawaii’s unique environment. Many plants and animals from elsewhere in the world can be very harmful to Hawaii’s environment and agricultural industry.
If you are flying to Hawaii, the flight attendants will give you a form to complete while in-flight. Much like a customs form, only one agricultural declaration form is required per family. One adult member of a family may complete the declaration for the other family members. If you are carrying any of the following items, you must declare them on the form and be subject to further inspection and possible quarantine of any of the potentially harmful plants and animals.
|- Fresh Fruit & Vegetables||- Insects, Live Fishes, Amphibians, etc.|
|- Cut Flowers & Foliage||- Live Seafood (lobsters, clams, oysters, etc.)|
|- Soil, Growing Media, Sand, etc.||- Rooted Plants & Plant Cuttings, or Algae|
|- Dogs||- Raw or Propagative Seeds or Bulbs|
|- Cats||- Cultures of Bacteria, Fungi, Viruses, or Protozoa|
|- Birds||- Reptiles (turtles, lizards, snakes, etc.)|
|- Other Animals|
If you are not carrying any of the above items, be sure and clearly mark the box for “NONE OF THE ABOVE.” I think a lot of people tend to miss that box at first glance. It’s located below the list of plants and animals.
So what’s the penalty if you fail to declare these items or provide false information and you’re caught? The maximum penalty is $25,000 and/or up to one year imprisonment. If you intentionally smuggle a snake or other prohibited or restricted article, the crime could be classified as a felony and punishable by a maximum penalty of $200,000 and/or up to five years imprisonment. That’s some serious trouble!
In my opinion, it’s not worth the trouble to try to bring fruits and vegetables with you into Hawaii. Why delay your vacation with agricultural inspections? If I do bring fruits or vegetables with me, I only bring what I’ll consume on board.
On the back side of the agricultural declaration form is an optional form that the Hawaii tourism folks would appreciate you completing. It asks questions a few simple questions like how many nights you’re staying on each island and how many times you’ve been to Hawaii.
In total, both forms (sides) should not take more than five minutes to complete. Make sure you have a blue or black ink pen with you to complete the forms.
It is probably worth noting that when you head back home your Hawaii vacation, all your luggage and carry-on items must complete an agricultural inspection. The inspection consists of a scan and you may be asked if you have any plants or animals with you. One important point to remember if you are checking luggage is that you must complete the agricultural inspection for your checked luggage before you check-in.
For more information, including how to contact agricultural inspection officials with questions, see this link.
Here are other helpful articles to help prepare you for your flight to Hawaii:
- Checklist of flying necessities
- How to be comfortable on long haul flights
- How to sleep on a plane
- Q&A with a Hawaii Flight Attendant
- What to pack for your Hawaii vacation
- Verify your flights early
- Four less obvious things you should do before your vacation