Sending Items Back To The United States

Unaccompanied baggage is anything you do not bring back with you. These may be items that were with you when you left the United States or items that you acquired (received by any means) while outside the United States. In general, unaccompanied baggage falls into three categories: U.S. mail, express shipments, and freight.

U.S. Mail Shipments

Shipping through the U.S. mail, including parcel post, is a cost-efficient way to send items to the United States. The Postal Service sends all foreign mail shipments to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for examination. CBP officers then return packages that do not require duty to the Postal Service, which sends them to a local post office for delivery. The local post office delivers them without charging any additional postage, handling costs, or other fees.

Packages that contain fruits, vegetables, meat or other items of agricultural interest are inspected to ensure that items meet the requirements of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, Plant Protection and Quarantine. The CBP agriculture specialist encloses a Mail Interception Notice, PPQ Form 287, to document any agriculture items that are removed from the package. The package is returned to the U.S. Postal Service for delivery.

If the package does require payment of duty, CBP attaches a form called a mail entry, CBP Form3419, which indicates how much duty is owed and charges a $5 processing fee as well. When the post office delivers the package, it will also charge a small handling fee.

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