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Customs & shipping your stuff

Customs & shipping your stuff

Old Jul 28th 2005, 6:06 am
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Default Customs & shipping your stuff

Does anyone know what the proper way to send stuff to the US is? We have several boxes of personal items, clothed, office equipment, cameras -- all used -- that we would like shipped. I've searched the US customs site, and although it appears to be written in the english language, it is strangely difficult to figure it all out.

Do we mark our items as "household effects" or "used personal effects", or even "professional equipment"?

Can we send our stuff BEFORE we enter the US? Obviously we would like to have our stuff there when we arrive, not be rushing around the day before our flight. But the US Customs info strangely suggests you "may" send your items at a later date. So if we mark "used personal effects" and ship before we go, do they hold it until we arrive?

Thanks in advance
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Old Jul 28th 2005, 11:10 am
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Default Re: Customs & shipping your stuff

There is actually a number to call the US customs at the American embassy on the embassy website. I called up and they told me what forms I would need to fill out and all that jazz. I ended up sending them royal mail as I decided to only take a few things, all I had to do was fill out the regular customs form and put personal items - relocation as the contents. Got them 4 days later.
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Old Jul 28th 2005, 3:38 pm
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Default Re: Customs & shipping your stuff

our movers sorted it all out for us - it did arrive before us but they try to avoid it. From memory you have to have had all items for over a year but aren't asked to prove it. Alot of ours was newer than that but we never got searched or anything.

Mate send over a box of DVDs which was searched and took ages - but they let it all through.
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Old Jul 28th 2005, 5:00 pm
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Default Re: Customs & shipping your stuff

Originally Posted by Big D
our movers sorted it all out for us - it did arrive before us but they try to avoid it. From memory you have to have had all items for over a year but aren't asked to prove it. Alot of ours was newer than that but we never got searched or anything.

Mate send over a box of DVDs which was searched and took ages - but they let it all through.
Get someone like Pickfords to sort it out - they did a good job with us - even though US customs decided to open our container and go through the stuff. The container landed at Chicago, was put on a train to Dallas where it was inspected - they opened everything - then put on a train to Colorado for delivery to us. Worst of all though we had to pay about $1000 for the honour. I remember that Pickfords dealt with all the forms - everything was itemised.

Still, when we put our taxes in for the year the accountant claimed for absolutely everything associated with moving - air fares, all the movers fees, customs fees, hotels - everything - we ended up getting more off the government than we paid them
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Old Jul 28th 2005, 5:03 pm
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Default Re: Customs & shipping your stuff

Ask the royal mail, there pretty good with this sort of thing, but if it's all old stuff, it isn't a problem, send it in the mail, the usual green customs sticky on it, with personal effects....no probs.
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Old Jul 28th 2005, 5:17 pm
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Default Re: Customs & shipping your stuff

Originally Posted by jim345
Does anyone know what the proper way to send stuff to the US is? We have several boxes of personal items, clothed, office equipment, cameras -- all used -- that we would like shipped. I've searched the US customs site, and although it appears to be written in the english language, it is strangely difficult to figure it all out.

Do we mark our items as "household effects" or "used personal effects", or even "professional equipment"?

Can we send our stuff BEFORE we enter the US? Obviously we would like to have our stuff there when we arrive, not be rushing around the day before our flight. But the US Customs info strangely suggests you "may" send your items at a later date. So if we mark "used personal effects" and ship before we go, do they hold it until we arrive?

Thanks in advance
You should put it down as used pesonal and houshold effects and make sure you have every item listed by box. Make sure you have a copy If customs ask to inspect your boxes they will ask you to list everything that is in them. If your boxes arrive before you there may be a chance you will be charged a fee for them being kept in storage if they are being handled by a private moving company at this end. customs also like you to be in the country to recieve your items.
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Old Jul 28th 2005, 6:29 pm
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Default Re: Customs & shipping your stuff

I sent a load of household stuff through BA Cargo a week or so before I left the UK. I marked it as Used Houshold Items. You have to process the boxes through US immigration yourself upon arrival which is just filling out and signing various forms. Once this is complete they will release your cargo from their wharehouse.
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Old Jul 28th 2005, 7:30 pm
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Default Re: Customs & shipping your stuff

Originally Posted by jim345
Does anyone know what the proper way to send stuff to the US is? We have several boxes of personal items, clothed, office equipment, cameras -- all used -- that we would like shipped. I've searched the US customs site, and although it appears to be written in the english language, it is strangely difficult to figure it all out.

Do we mark our items as "household effects" or "used personal effects", or even "professional equipment"?

Can we send our stuff BEFORE we enter the US? Obviously we would like to have our stuff there when we arrive, not be rushing around the day before our flight. But the US Customs info strangely suggests you "may" send your items at a later date. So if we mark "used personal effects" and ship before we go, do they hold it until we arrive?

Thanks in advance
I arranged for my stuff to be shipped the day before I flew out to the US. Depending on which shipping company you use, either you or them will complete a packing list for your boxes. The packing list gives a description of each article, the approximate value and the country of purchase. This information is used to determine the amount (if any) of import duty that you have to pay. It is also used to complete the bill of lading for when it is ready to be shipped. My stuff took about 6 weeks to arrive. A few weeks prior to this, the company sent me an arrival notice and a copy of the master bill of lading. They also sent me a copy of CBP form 3299 (available here). They will also send a form for you to give their agent power of attorney to clear your goods for you, but if you want to save money like I did it's pretty easy to clear your goods yourself. To clear your goods you need the arrival notice, master bill of lading, CBP form 3299 (completed and signed) and your original packing list. Take all of this paperwork to your local customs office to be processed (they usually do this while you wait). They will work out what import duty you will pay (usually only applies to goods purchased outside of the USA and less than one year old). Then they will stamp your master bill of lading, your arrival notice and your CBP form 3299. Once you have the stamps, your goods are cleared. Show your stamped forms at the warehouse and they will release your goods.
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Old Jul 28th 2005, 7:38 pm
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Default Re: Customs & shipping your stuff

We were never told about import duty on goods under a year old.......?
Not worth worrying about now.......but I would of thought the packing company would of said something about it....??
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Old Jul 29th 2005, 1:37 am
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Default Re: Customs & shipping your stuff

Originally Posted by krizzy
We were never told about import duty on goods under a year old.......
I think that it is only newer than six months, but either way, it really isn't worth worrying about as the US customs isn't going to spend any time trying to work out whether two tea towels or an umbrella stand are four months old or fourteen. Just pack it all up, with packing inventories, and mark it as "household goods" or "personal effects", adding used if you are nervous.

And remember at the current rate of immigration there are roughly a million people a year arriving in the US, or about 2,500 a day, and the chances of US customs showing any real interest in your worldly goods is virtually zip!
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Old Jul 29th 2005, 8:26 am
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Default Re: Customs & shipping your stuff

Thanks for all the very helpful responses.

-We are mailing all of our stuff through the postal service.
-We wll mark it Used Personal Effects /Household Effects.
-We will keep a list of all the contents if need be. And since we are sending it by slow boat mail, it will get there roughly when we get there, give or take a week.

So do we have to tell the customs guy at the airport about our separately mailed goods and hand him the customs form CBP form 3299? (They also give you another form on the plane, but I think that is for stuff you are carrying on your person.) Or can we send them forms later by mail, or wait til asked? Or can we just do nothing and see if we get our packages anyway (the lazy way -- more my style)?

Have a nice weekend!
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Old Jul 29th 2005, 2:46 pm
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Default Re: Customs & shipping your stuff

Originally Posted by jim345
Thanks for all the very helpful responses.

-We are mailing all of our stuff through the postal service.
-We wll mark it Used Personal Effects /Household Effects.
-We will keep a list of all the contents if need be. And since we are sending it by slow boat mail, it will get there roughly when we get there, give or take a week.

So do we have to tell the customs guy at the airport about our separately mailed goods and hand him the customs form CBP form 3299? (They also give you another form on the plane, but I think that is for stuff you are carrying on your person.) Or can we send them forms later by mail, or wait til asked? Or can we just do nothing and see if we get our packages anyway (the lazy way -- more my style)?

Have a nice weekend!
The guys at the airport are only bothered about what you are carrying with you on the flight, so fill out the usual customs declaration (the small white and blue form). CBP form 3299 is for free entry of unaccompanied items, so you won't need it on the plane, but you will need it once your goods are due to arrive in the USA.
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