February 3, 2020
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) opened the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP) application portal on January 1, 2020, for the benefit period between October 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021. VQIP provides expedited review and importation of human and animal foods into the United States for participating importers who achieve and maintain a high level of control over the safety and security of their supply chains. The portal will remain open until May 31, 2020.
- There are a number of benefits for approved VQIP importers, including:
- FDA will expedite import entry into the U.S., for all foods included on the approved VQIP application.
- FDA will limit examination and/or sampling of entries of food covered by an approved VQIP application.
- For those entries where FDA does conduct examination and/or sampling, the processing of these entries will be prioritized, including analysis in the FDA laboratory.
Among the VQIP eligibility requirements, importers must ensure that the foreign suppliers are certified through the FDA Accredited Third-Party Certification Program.
Qualified importers may submit their Notice of Intent to Participate and their completed VQIP applications via the FDA Industry Systems website.
Once approved, VQIP importers are required to pay the FY2021 annual fee that covers the costs associated with the Agency’s administration of the program. The user fee rates are calculated each Fiscal Year and are posted in a Federal Register Notice on or before August 1.
This is the second year for the voluntary fee-based program established by the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. VQIP supports the FDA Strategy for the Safety of Imported Food by incentivizing importers to use certified suppliers and robust processes and procedures to help ensure imported food is meeting U.S. food safety requirements.
More information can be found at this link: Voluntary Qualified Importer Program. You may also submit questions by email to the VQIP Importer Help Desk at FSMAVQIP@fda.hhs.gov or by phone at 301-796-8745.