UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
(Country code: US)
Hawaii, Navassa Island
Maximum Coverage = Maximum Declared Value for Carriage for the Priority™ Worldwide service.
* see Canada Post Prices for more information.
** No coverage is available on food items.
What can I import through the mail?
There are a number of issues to be considered when importing something into the U.S. through the international Postal, military (APO/FPO) or diplomatic (DPO) systems.
The first thing to consider is whether or not the item you wish to import may be legally sent through the U.S. Postal Service. The USPS Web site has this information and APO/FPO/DPO retail acceptance clerks can additionally provide guidance.
Secondly, the value of the item(s) you wish to import should play a role in your decision to use the postal service. Imports of goods valued at more than $2,500 cannot be sent on to the intended recipient through the mail. This is because these imports automatically require a formal entry, which can only be accomplished at the port of entry where the goods arrive in the U.S. Goods valued at over $2,500 that arrive at a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) mail branch facility for processing will be held until the recipient, or someone designated to act on behalf of the recipient (with a letter addressed to the Port Director), can go to that facility and formally enter the item.
Because formal entry requires the posting of a Customs bond and entails many technicalities, the importer should strongly consider hiring a broker to handle the procedure. Broker contact information can be found on the ports of entry section of our Web site.
Senders should determine import restrictions from the country's authorities before posting:
- animals and animal products
- boxes that formerly contained prohibited or hazardous goods
- food for human or animal consumption*
- fruits and nuts
- fish products
- honey bees, silkworms, insects and leaches
- in sift-proof packaging
- insects and reptiles
- pharmaceutical products**
- products containing certain Phthalates (plasticizers)
- products intended for children under 12 years of age
- vegetable and other plant products
- wheat products
USA admits duty-free unsolicited genuine personal gifts not exceeding $100US in value (excluding tobacco products and alcohol-based perfume).
The duty/tax free limit for personal importations to the United States is $800, given that the goods do not contain any restricted or prohibited items and are for personal use only.
Note: It is the sender's responsibility to ensure that the consumer product that is being shipped complies with the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act regulations.
* All commercial shipments of food to the United States must be preceded by a Prior Notice of shipment. This includes mail items containing food for human or animal consumption, dietary supplements, vitamins and food additives or colour. Articles of food which have been non-commercially prepared by an individual in his own residence and sent to another individual as a non-commercial gift are exempt from the requirement for a Prior Notice. More information on the Prior Notice can be obtained from the USA Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
** See Documentation Required below.
The importation of certain products into US/Puerto Rico is restricted in order to protect the economy and safety of the United States and its citizens. The restrictions may be imposed by US Customs, by another US agency which has regulatory authority over a particular product, or by a State government into which the goods will be transported or are consigned. Restrictions include the following:
- clearance for certain goods being allowed only at certain designated ports
- import quotas
- import and/or export permits, license, visas, certificates
- labeling and/or marking requirements
The following goods are restricted by law and are subject to regulatory agency approval:
- viruses, serums, toxins, anti-toxins and analogous products
- domestic animal products and animal feeding material
- products derived from wild animals, birds and insects( plumage, etc.)
- seeds and non-propagating Agricultural Products
- motor vehicles, boats and their associated equipment
- electronic products
- cultural property, including pre-Columbian monumental or architectural sculpture or mural
- textiles, wool products (Puerto Rico)
- medicine, medical devices, cosmetics
- liquors, alcohol (Puerto Rico)
Gifts are acceptable: Duty/Tax free entry allowed for gifts valued up to $100 USD per person (up to $200 USD per person from the US Virgin Islands, Guam or American Samoa). All gifts must be individually wrapped and marked on the outside as a gift. The Air Waybill or Invoice must indicate that it is an unsolicited gift, with the name of each person receiving the gift and a value breakdown not to exceed $100 USD per person ($200 USD person from the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, or American Samoa).
Shipments of gifts consigned to an individual from a foreign company, ordinarily would not be eligible for treatment as a gift, however, may be allowed if the value requirement is met and the package and the Air Waybill or Invoice indicates this is a gift. Also, the Invoice or Air Waybill may indicate a person's name and a company name, as long as the documentation indicates this is a gift.
Alcoholic beverages, perfumes containing alcohol, cigars or cigarettes will not be considered for Duty/Tax Free entry.
Gifts (Puerto Rico)
All gift shipments are subject to duties/taxes of the declared value. There may be a few commodities that are exempt by law. For example: candies, kids clothing, food and medicines. To avoid delays, a detail description of the commodity must be on the Air Waybill and Commercial Invoice. The description 'Gift' is not acceptable.
Shipment of alcohol requires an import license. Duties and taxes must be paid prior to clearance.
In addition to items considered non-mailable matter, the following are prohibited:
- alcoholic, beverages of 5% content by weight
- all kinds of meat (fresh, chilled or frozen) originating from a country where foot and mouth disease exists
- articles intended to prevent conception or produce unlawful abortion
- chain letters
- caps and metal cartridges, as well as matches
- cured and dried meat
- dairy products originating from countries where foot and mouth disease, hog chloera, swine disease or African disease is known to exist
- eggs from countries infected with Salmonella
- explsoves and flammable items
- charcoal briquettes
- feathers on skin of any bird
- foreign postal stamps
- furs or skins of ermine, fox kolinsky, marten, mink, muskrat, and weasel originating from the Russian Federation or Republic of China
- fats, oils, waxes and cleavage products
- ground cork
- goods which violate U.S registered intellectual property rights (trademark and copy rights)
- knife, gaff, or any other sharp instrument attached, designed, or intended to be attached to the leg of a bird for use in an animal fighting venture
- lottery tickets or related advertising
- live and dead animals
- misbranded foods, drugs and pharmaceutical products
- mineral products
- peat soil
- plant and plant products
- prison-made goods
- radiation-emmitting electronic products
- reprints of U.S. copyrighted work
- reproductions of obligations or securities of any Government including; bonds, certificates of indebtness, National Bank Currency, Federal Reserve Notes, certificate of deposits, bills, checks or drafts for money drawn
- straw, grasses or other plant material used for packing
- seeds, grains and fodder
- tobacco and tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco products, excluding cigars
- U.S Stamps
- written, printed or graphic matter advertising or promoting animals for use in animal fighting ventures in any way.
The following items are prohibited into US/Puerto Rico by law:
- articles containing dog or cat fur
- counterfeit plates, dies or apparatus used to create such counterfeits.
- immoral articles (as defined in 19CFR12.40) including films, pictures, writings, etc.
- merchandise from countries under US Sanction or embargo
- merchandise produced by convict, forced or indentured labor (as defined in 19CFR12.42)
- switchblade/Balisong/gravity/ballistic knives
- white phosphorus matches.
Importation of prescription drugs by an individual U.S. consumer for personal use is prohibited unless FDA approved. There are exceptions/restrictions:
1. prescription drugs, which are made in the U.S. and then exported, can only be returned to the U.S. manufacturer.
2. Under limited circumstances as defined and allowed by FDA regulations, a small quantity of a prescription drug for personal use might be eligible for import in which case the following minimum information and documentation must be included on the commercial invoice and accompany the shipment: a copy of a valid, written doctor's prescription; complete name, address and phone number of the U.S. licensed treating physician, name and address of the drug manufacturer; form of medicine (tablets, capsules, liquid, etc); quantity; type of packaging; type of medical condition being treated; if the medication can be purchased in the U.S.; dosage and strength.
The United States Postal Service cannot accept for delivery or transport any package that is known, or has reason to believe contains non-malilable cigarettes or smokeless tobacco. Cigarettes, roll-your-own-tobacco and smokeless tobacco products are forbidden in any type of mail.
The following are prohibited in SAIPAN (NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS):
- bio products
- drugs, prescription
- drugs, non-prescription
- graphite products
- ice, in any form.
Information regarding Customs can be found in "Customs Requirements" of the Canada Postal Guide.
Senders should provide a Certificate of Origin, whenever possible.
A Certificate of Disinfection is required for shipments containing used clothing.
Pharmaceutical products require:
- photocopy of the doctor's prescription
- photocopy of a document proving the addressee's Canadian citizenship, e.g. birth certificate with photo ID, passport
- letter from a doctor if drug is not FDA approved or if it does not require a prescription in Canada (available over the counter).
US importers are generally required to provide the following documents for entry purposes in addition to Customs Forms that are specific to entry filing. Exceptions exist for express consignments (i.e. PriorityTM Worldwide service), for certain goods, and when Customs determines that information submitted electronically via ABI is satisfactory:
- a bill of lading (or an air waybill or carrier's certificate)
- a commercial or pro-forma invoice - IMPORTANT NOTE: COMMERCIAL INVOICE IS NOT REQUIRED FOR U.S. ORIGIN SHIPMENTS TO PUERTO RICO UNDER PriorityTM WORLDWIDE SERVICE. HOWEVER, COMMERCIAL INVOICE IS REQUIRED FOR CANADA POST SHIPMENTS FROM U.S. ORIGIN TO PUERTO RICO.
- any other documents necessary to determine merchandise admissibility
- when applicable, packing lists and other documents such as Certificate of Origin (for special treatment)
Commercial Invoice: Required for most shipments. It must be in English or accompanied by a translation furnished by a party who is knowledgeable of the transaction. Required details include: a detailed description of the goods; quantity; currency and purchase price or fair market value; name and amount of other charges and rebates such as freight, insurance, commission, packing, assists. Specific invoice details are required for importation of a number of commodities including the following:
- For audio/video cassettes and tapes, the length and width of the tape, a brief synopsis of content and the reason for exportation.
- For textiles (unless provided on the textile declaration), the fabric breakdown, whether knit or woven and, for clothing articles, the gender.
- For watches, the value and origin of each of the components (i.e., movement, strap, case and battery).
- For marked/mutilated samples the words "mutilated samples: 9811-0060: or "marked samples, not for resale" as applicable.
- For FDA shipments, the Product manufacturer name and address (the name and address of originating shipper, the country where the goods were last processed, the method used to make or process the product, the kind of packing material in contact with the product and the FDA product code.
Commercial Invoice Statements: A number of commodities require that a particular statement be provided on the invoice or on a separate form. Some commodities are eligible for preferential treatment (reduced duty) when the appropriate statement or declaration is provided. Among the most common statements are the following:
- film and video certificate - The Certificate In Connection With the Importation of Films and Videos or Antipornographic Statement is required for imports of films and videos. The statement can be written on the invoice provided the specific wording of the standard form (CF 3291) is used.
- TSCA Statement - The Toxic Substance Control Act statement is required for the importation of any chemical shipments and any materials in primary form such as paint, dye, stain, raw rubber and raw metal. It must be provided by the importer.
- Quota Charge Statement (QCS) - A QCS is required for the importation of shipments that contain textiles or clothing from a country that is subject to textile quotas imposed by the US Department of Commerce. (When a quota allocation is sold in the origin country, the cost is considered a quota charge.) Several versions of the statement are used depending on whether a quota charge was paid, and if so, whether the amount is included in the unit price or is not known. The statement can be provided on the invoice by either the exporter or the importer.
- Artwork Statement - The artwork statement is required for duty-free entry of original works of art such as sculptures, etchings, engravings, and lithographs.
- Antique Statement - A Certificate of Antiquity, or a similar statement on the invoice, is required to claim duty-free entry of goods over 100 years old. The statement must include the words "circa date" followed by the year of manufacture whether known or estimated.
- Destination Control Statement - The exporter must include this statement on all copies of the invoice, waybill and export control documents unless the ECCN of the goods is EAR99 or the shipments is eligible for and exported under particular license exceptions.
Certificate of Origin or Age: Certain goods (textiles, wine, distilled spirits) require a certificate as a condition of import. A Certificate of Origin may also be required to substantiate claims for preferential treatment of eligible goods. Some trade agreement or regulations require that the exporter complete the Certificate (others allow it to be completed by the importer or another knowledgeable party) and require that the Certificate be notarized and be validated by a government agency or chamber of commerce.
Several certificate of origin versions exist. Among the most commonly used for US shipments are the following:
- NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) Certificate of Origin
- CBTPA (Caribbean Basin Trade Preference Act) Certificate of Origin
- AGOA (African Growth Opportunity Act) Textile Certificate of Origin
- US/Israel Free Trade Agreement Certificate of Origin*
- Certificate of Origin (for general use)*
*Both the general use Certificate and the US-Israel Certificate must be notarized and require a signature and seal from a Chamber of Commerce.
All textile and apparel products imported into the U.S. are required to include the full name and address of the manufacturer for each item. Please note if items in a shipment were produced by multiple manufacturers, the full name and address must be provided for each manufacturer, with details of items and quantities produced by each. In addition, the commercial invoice must include fabric composition and percentage (ex. 50% cotton, 50% polyester), gender, knit or woven details.
Declaration Textile Visa
A textile visa is an endorsement in the form of a stamp on an invoice or an export control license. It is issued to the shipper in the foreign country and is used to control exports of textiles and textile products to the U.S. An original copy of the visa must be submitted to Customs. The visa may be linked to quota restrictions. When under quota, the quantity imported must be verified and charged to the quota before release is granted. Properly marked or mutilated textile samples valued up to $800 may be exempted from visa and quota requirements.
Permits or Declarations are required for importation and/or exportation of particular commodities that are subject to regulatory by certain agencies including the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) and FWS ( and Wildlife Service.) Import Licenses or permits are required for the following:
FDA Prior Notice of Imported Food Shipments and Registration of Food Facility
FDA must receive Prior Notice of food imported into the U.S./P.R. For human and animal consumption. The Prior Notice requires additional data elements and must be submitted electronically to FDA no more than five days before arrival and no fewer than four hours before arrival by air and two hours by land. For exceptions and more information, please visit Food and Drug Administration available at www.fda.gov/oc/bioterrorism/bioact.html
All domestic and foreign facilities that manufacture, process, pack, and hold food for human or animal consumption in the U.S./P.R. Must be registered with FDA prior to shipping. Foreign facilities are also required to designate a U.S. Agent for registration purposes to act as liaison between FDA and the facility for both routine and emergency communications. For exceptions and more information, please visit Food and Drug Administration available at www.cfsan.fda.gov/~furls/ovffreg.html
- biological drugs (import license from FDA, from USDA, if for animal use)
- biological materials such as virus, serum, toxins (permit from U.S. Public Health Service)
- liquor and other alcoholic beverages (BATF import permit and certificate of label approval granted to licensed dealers only)
FCC 740 Statement Regarding the Importation of Radio Frequency Devices Capable of Causing Harmful Interference
Under the Federal Communication Commission rules, an FCC 740 form is required for any device or subassembly that sends, receives or is capable of interfering with radio frequencies. Examples include radio transmitters and receivers, tape recorders, stereos, TV's, cordless telephones, microwave, radio controlled security devices such as garage door openers, etc. (Shipments of cordless phones intended for the US commerce require digital security encoding and this should be indicated on the invoice or on the individual packaging.)
Invoice Details for Footwear
The footwear invoice, CF 5523, is required for all importations of footwear.
Declaration for Products Subject to Radiation Control Standards FDA 2877
The Food and Drug Administration Form 2877 must be provided by the U.S. Importer for shipments which contain radiation producing products (including sonic radiation) such as TV receivers, microwave ovens, X-ray equipment, laser products, ultrasound equipment and other radiation producing electronic devices.
Civil Aircraft Certificate
This certificate is required to obtain special duty or duty-free treatment of eligible parts of civil aircraft. (Not all aircraft or their parts are eligible. The US Tariff details which goods are eligible.) It must be filed with US Customs at the district port (for entry at any port within the district) or at the US port of entry.
Blanket certificates are certificates that are issued to authorize multiple imports of the same commodity. Blanket certificates may be submitted for FDA2877, for FCC740 as well as for certain preferential forms, the civil aircraft certificate, the textile declaration and footwear statement.