The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) opened the Voluntary Qualified Importer Program (VQIP) application portal on Jan. 1, 2020, for the benefit period between Oct. 1, 2020, and Sept. 30, 2021. VQIP provides expedited review and importation of human 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.

Benefits for approved VQIP importers include the following:

  • The FDA will expedite import entry into the United States for all foods included on the approved VQIP application.
  • The FDA will limit examination and/or sampling of entries of food covered by an approved VQIP application.
  • For those entries where the 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.

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