Be Prepared to Complete the Hawaii Agricultural Declaration Form

IMGP1290At 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.

IMGP1294So 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:


Ohana Beach Rentals

About Sheila Beal

Sheila Beal is the founder and editor of Go Visit Hawaii. You can connect with Sheila Beal on Twitter, Go Visit Hawaii on Facebook, or Sheila Beal on Google+.

16 comments

  1. I’ve always felt a bit infringed by the form.
    Aloha,
    Keahi

  2. @Keahi – yeah, it can be very agri-vating. ;-)

  3. The Hawaii agricultural form is very useful to the Hawaii Visitor & Convention Bureau.

    Be sure to have a pen on you when you are flying to Hawaii. It’s embarrasing to have to ask to borrow one to fill out the form.

    Hawaii is lucky that there are no snakes on the island and the strict rules have kept harmful plant diseases away from the islands.

    You cannot take fresh flower leis off the island. You may want to take hardened kukui nut or shell leis instead.

  4. I usually don’t fill this out… I fly so much that I’ve filled it out like 5 times just this year alone… the last couple of times I just didn’t do it. :-)

  5. LOL @ agri-vating ;)

    Whatever keeps Hawaii looking like paradise is fine with me. But for someone like Joseph, I can see how it might be annoying.

    After reading the list of items, I’m very curious to know how many people, if anyone, has ever had to declare that they were carrying insects into the islands.

  6. I’ve always felt uneasy about how this form treats my fifth amendment rights. It’s one thing to be guilty of committing a crime and yet another to be both guilty of committing it and failing to declare that I did so. This form harms my right to travel within the U.S. unless I voluntarily abdicate my fifth amendment right and make a signed statement that I am not breaking the law. Interstate commerce should also preempt this restriction on travel. If I am not guilty then certainly I cannot be compelled to make such a statement. Without actually reading the law, understanding all of it, and being familiar with case history, there is no way I can even truthfully make such a declaration.

  7. What if I picked kukui nuts off the beach that were washes up from the hurricane; can I take them
    home with me from Kauai?

  8. @ Mary – that will addressed on your way out of Kauai when you’ll have to have your luggage inspected again before boarding your flight. See this post: http://www.govisithawaii.com/2009/07/16/be-prepared-for-agricultural-inspection-in-hawaiis-airports/ I don’t know what the rules are around kukui nuts, so for further information, call the U.S. Department of Agriculture at 808- 861-8490.

  9. @Sheila — Thanks a bunch (:

  10. Aloha All, If you read the penalty paragraph of the form you will see that “any person who defaces this declaration, gives false information, or fails to declare, prohibited or restricted articles… is in violation of Chapter 150A Hawaii Revised Statutes…”
    If I understand the rules of the english language… the penalties are for “defacing, giving false info or NOT declaring”! There is no provision for penalizing you for not fill out the form if you have nothing to declare. There are Supreme Court cases that uphold the gov’t ability to say/ask just about anything they want in the body of their forms… but in the penalty paragraph they have to be truthful. Keep that in mind as you hand your life away. Been here over 20 yrs flying over 50 trips and never have filed out a form… never brought anything in to “declare”. Even had an Attendant get an Ag Officer on the plane before we could leave to harrass me about it. I explained what the form said “in english” and that it did not pertian to me since I had nothing to declare, he got insistant until I explained that he probably did not want to have this conversation with me in front of all the other passengers, which would expose the Ag position and all the sheep behind me might stop bahing. I offered to follow him off the plane and he just said they knew who I was (by my seat assinment) and would be contacting me. Never heard another word from them. And 20 flight later… still haven’t filled one out. Of course if I were to bring something in that needs declared I’d be happy to follow the rules of the “law” and file the form. Read your forms folks and learn your english.

  11. To the “moderator”… It will be interesting to see if this is “moderated” away like so many of our other freedoms or if I am now put on some “list”. I commend you if you find it within yourself to post this. After the shenanigans of the gov’t and the “powers that be” of late… and just watching the last few episodes of 24 last night, I’m even more conscious of how nefarious the activities of the power brokers can be. The web with it’s “Comment” and/or “Reply” are fast becoming the last stand for some semblance of truth… except even those postings can be easily manipulated to say what the “hosts” want them to say. I will understand if you do not post this reply. It was really meant for you, not the general public, but feel free if you wish to post it. I’ve tried over the years to research the “Mandatory Declaration Form” and keep up with any new regulations that might change the wording to make it truly mandatory. The airlines I have noticed are much less forceful about the forms so someone must have taken them to task about lying to their customers. I have pointed the merits of the form out to lawyers, Airline Attendants and anyone who askes and everyone that I clarify the form with immediatly recognized it’s incongruity. I’m sure if you read it you will see it too. Aloha Oe, Brett

  12. I didn’t fill mine out and the flight attendants weren’t too concerned about picking them up from everyone on a recent Alaska Airlines flight. This was the first time I had even seen the form as they are not handed out to passengers on any Canadian airlines flying to Hawaii, which is the way I usually go. It smacked of a way to collect tourist information from people. Too many personal questions that did not apply to the majority of travellers that didn’t have a pet or other animals.

  13. If you don’t fill out the form, you may find your entry process a little longer — they are more likely to give you what amounts to a Customs inspection, going through all of your belongings to make sure you’re not trying to bring something in that you shouldn’t. In the past, some who got caught hadn’t filled out the form to avoid charges of making false statements, or to be able to claim they didn’t know because they hadn’t gotten the form.

    It takes a whole three minutes to fill out the Ag side, and compliance with these laws help keep Hawai’i worth visiting. The form is a reminder more than anything else — but if you sign that you don’t have anything, you have lost your ability to claim that you were unaware of the law.

    The last time I asked, the Ag folks wouldn’t tell me how many people they catch trying to bring in undesirable stuff, but it’s “frequent.” And they DO prosecute, often enough that the newspapers don’t bother to cover in unless there’s something special about a case.

    Most native species are unable to defend themselves against invasive species. WE have to defend them.

    Why would you object to something so easy which helps that effort?

    • “Why would you object to something so easy which helps that effort?”
      Keith, we certainly don’t object. In fact we are more than willing to “comply” with the “requirements” of the form and the LAW! You are quite correct that “compliance with these laws help keep Hawaii worth visiting.”

      If we are not bringing anything over, then we have no reason to furnish any of the information requested.
      Yes, we may, under duress, find ourselves under more scrutiny than other passengers at the “check out line”.

      Question, if they really want EVERYONE to fill out the form, then why don’t change the law to require this?
      Maybe because it WOULD violate our Constitutional Rights?

      Do you not find these methods a bit disingenuous, manipulative and unethical? How can we feel safe, secure and have faith in a government/bureaucracy that resorts to such underhanded tactics?

      If we are to be truly concerned about Hawaii-nei the very BEST thing we can do to help her is to leave & do not visit or reside here. Don’t tell anyone how nice Hawaii is, keep it a secret. Because in truth we ARE the “invasive species”. Obviously, that is no going to happen, so can we at least be honest & righteous in our interactions?

      The Hawaiians have a word for this, “Pono”. There is absolutely nothing “Pono” about this form! And less about those who seek to control us.

      Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ʻĀina i ka Pono

  14. I would like to bring some tomatos to Hawaii in October.
    Where does one go to have them cleared for agricultural clearnce?

    Please respond, Thank you.

    Ex-kamaiana
    Frank Johnson

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Please do not use keywords in your name. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Scroll To Top