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If you want to ship something internationally, you need to know about the customs declaration. Customs officials use this information to generate the necessary customs forms for your shipment. Here's a guide to help you understand what you need to do:
When shipping internationally, you need to do the same things you would do for shipping domestically, plus a few additional steps:
1. Add customs information to your shipment. You'll need to declare the type of contents and provide a list of items inside the package.
2. Choose the correct type of package. Your package should belong to one of the following categories:
Merchandise (Tariff number required)
Documents (Package must be an envelope less than 1/4in thick)
Gift (Not taxed)
Other (Description required)
Choosing the correct type of contents is essential to avoid import/export taxes. You have to classify your package into one of the above categories, and any package labeled as 'Merchandise' can be subjected to import/export taxes, which are called a Tariff. So, if you send merchandise internationally labeled as "Merchandise", the receiver of the package will have to pay any customs fees, tariffs, etc in order to receive their package.
Shipments marked as "Gift", on the other hand, do not require a tariff number and are not subject to import/export taxes, although you still may have to declare their value.
Once you've decided what type of package you're shipping, you need to add at least one item to it, unless you're shipping an empty box. Our system will not allow you to ship internationally without declaring at least one item.
When creating your package, we need the following information from you:
Quantity, or Qty, or how many items of this type are in the box
Description, such as 'pen', 'book', 'sunglasses', 'watch', 'shoes', 'laptop computer', etc
Total Value, (in US Dollars)
Total Weight,(in US Ounces [oz]), including packaging - the weight of all your items should add up with the weight of the package
Tariff Number (if applicable)
Clearing customs can be a daunting task, and there are several common issues you should be aware of:
The weight of the package (used to determine postage price) is different from the total declared weight of all the items.
Keeping the item nature back and declaring items as something else.
Failure to declare items in accordance with requirements or making no declaration of items, including item name, quantity, and value.
Undervaluing items, such as "ZERO VALUE", "NO COMMERCIAL VALUE".
Simply declaring items as "GIFT", "PERSONAL USE", "GOODS", "SAMPLE" in Declaration Form, without naming what the items are.
Declaring in a non-English language.
To clear customs, you need to follow these requirements:
Declare clearly and specifically the item name in English, for example, "A Pair of Leather Shoes", "Two Cotton Shirts", "Five Cashmere Sweaters".
Declare item values accurately and reasonably, fill out the values clearly, and make sure the declared values are consistent.
Goods, samples, advertisements, and gifts sent by non-individuals should include a Performa Invoice, listing consignor and consignee name and telephone number, company name and address, item name, quantity, value, and place of origin.
Finding the correct tariffs is crucial to ensure that you're compliant with customs requirements and avoid any unexpected fees. Here's how you can find the appropriate tariffs using the U.S. International Trade Commission Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) website:
Visit the HTS website: Go to https://hts.usitc.gov/.
Search for your product: Use the search function to type in a description or name of your product. Make sure to be as specific as possible to narrow down the results.
Browse the results: Look through the results to find the code that best matches your product. Tariffs are categorized by product types and materials.
Note the code: Once you've identified the correct tariff for your product, note down the tariff code. This code is what you'll use for customs declarations and documentation.
Stay updated: The U.S. International Trade Commission periodically updates the Harmonized Tariff Schedule, so it's a good practice to check the HTS website regularly if you ship internationally often.
Shipping internationally requires additional steps, such as customs clearance, and it's important to be aware of any restrictions or requirements for the destination country. It's also important to consider the potential costs involved, including taxes, duties, and shipping fees. Overall, shipping internationally can be a great way to expand your business and reach new customers, but it's important to do your research and be prepared for the additional challenges that come with it.
Some additional resources for further reading on this topic:
International Shipping Rules: What You Need to Know
USPS International Shipping Guide
FedEx International Shipping Guide
UPS International Shipping Guide
CandaPost International Shipping Guide