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123 Customs Forms and Online Shipping Labels

123.1 General

Only two customs declaration forms are used, as required under 123.6, for international mail: PS Form 2976, Customs Declaration CN 22 Sender’s Declaration (green label); and PS Form 2976–A, Customs Declaration and Dispatch Note CP 72. PS Form 2976–E, Customs Declaration Envelope CP 91, is used as a carriage document for PS Form 2976–A.

Note: The current edition of PS Form 2976 is December 2009; the current edition of PS Form 2976-A is May 2009; the current edition of PS Form 2976-E is September 2006. Except as provided in 123.3 and 123.5, mailers must present at the time of mailing a fully completed sender’s declaration (the Post Office™ copy of PS Form 2976 or 2976-A), which specifies both the sender’s name and address and the addressee’s name and address.

123.2 Availability

Customs declaration forms are available without charge at Post Office facilities. Upon request, mailers may receive a reasonable supply for mail preparation. Customers may also order supplies of the customs forms from The Postal Store at http://shop.usps.com; search on the words “customs forms.” Customs declaration forms are also available through an online customs form application at usps.com/webtools.

123.3 Privately Printed Forms

If authorized, mailers may privately print PS Forms 2976 and 2976–A. Privately printed forms must be identical in size, design, and color to the Postal Service™ forms, and each form must contain a unique Code U 128 barcode symbology that can be read by Postal Service equipment. Mailers may obtain form specifications from the following address:

BARCODE CERTIFICATION
NATIONAL CUSTOMER SUPPORT CENTER
UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE
6060 PRIMACY PKWY STE 201
MEMPHIS TN 38188–0001

Mailers can also obtain form specifications by calling the NCSC at 800–238–3150 select option 5 for barcode certification or online at http://ribbs.usps.gov; click on “Site Index” and then on “International Customs Forms.”

Upon receipt of the request, the NCSC will send mailers an application and specifications for preparing PS Forms 2976 and/or 2976–A. The application clearly explains the process necessary for authorization. When authorized by the NCSC, a mailer may omit printing the Post Office copy of PS Forms 2976 and/or 2976–A by submitting an authorized manifest of the items. The manifest must be typewritten, legibly handwritten, or computer–generated, and it must contain the following information:

  1. The sender’s name and address (appearing once on the manifest).
  2. The edition date of the privately printed form (appearing once on the manifest).
  3. The same certification statement that is printed on the Postal Service PS Form 2976 or 2976-A, and the mailer’s signature and date (appearing once on the manifest).
  4. For each item, the foreign recipient’s name and delivery address.
  5. For each item, the corresponding human-readable characters that match the barcode printed on the form.

123.4 Nonpostal Forms

123.41 Nonpostal Export Regulations

Certain items must bear one or more of the forms required by the nonpostal export regulations described in chapter 5.

123.42 Commercial Invoices

A commercial invoice is a bill for goods from the seller to the buyer. A commercial invoice must be completed where required and must contain the following basic information:

  1. Seller’s complete contact information.
  2. Receiver’s complete contact information.
  3. Consignee’s complete contact information (if it is different from the buyer’s).
  4. Country of origin.
  5. Destination country.
  6. Reason for export.
  7. Total commercial value of the item(s) shipped.
  8. Sales and payment terms (if any).
  9. Currency of sale.
  10. Full quantities and description of the merchandise.
  11. A statement certifying that the invoice is correct.

123.5 Place of Mailing

Mailpieces bearing customs declarations have specific deposit requirements based on mail category, shape, and weight. Refer to the specific IMM part below for determination:

  1. Global Express Guaranteed mailpieces see 215.
  2. Express Mail International mailpieces see 225.
  3. Priority Mail International mailpieces see 235.
  4. First-Class Mail International mailpieces see 245.

123.6 Required Usage

123.61 Conditions

The following conditions apply to customs forms for international mail items:

  1. Except as provided in 123.62, mailers must use PS Form 2976 or PS Form 2976-A as described in Exhibit 123.61.
  2. The surface area of the address side of the item to be mailed must be large enough to contain completely the applicable customs form, postage, and any applicable markings, endorsements, and extra service labels.
  3. Regardless of any listing in Exhibit 123.61, items containing articles that require an export license (see 532) must always bear PS Form 2976-A.

Exhibit 123.61 

Customs Declaration Form Usage by Mail Category

 

Type of Item

Declared Value, Weight, or Physical Characteristic

Required PS Form

Comment

Global Express Guaranteed Items

All items.

All values

6182

PS Form 6182, Commercial Invoice, is required for certain commodities and destinations. For determination, see Publication 141, Global Express Guaranteed Service Guide.

Express Mail International Items

All items.

All values

2976 or 2976-A

Required customs forms and endorsements vary by country and are specified in the Individual Country Listings.

Priority Mail International Items Except Flat Rate Envelopes and Small Flat Rate Priced Boxes

All Priority Mail International items except Flat Rate Envelopes and Small Flat Rate Priced Boxes.

All values

2976-A

Except for Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelopes and Small Flat Rate Priced Boxes, all items mailed in USPS-produced Priority Mail International packaging or any other container bearing a Priority Mail sticker or marked with the words “Priority Mail” are considered to be within the scope of this requirement.

Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelopes (Maximum weight limit: 4 pounds)

All Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelopes containing only documents except for the known mailer exemption described in the entry below.

Under 16 ounces, no more than 3/4 inch thick, and uniformly thick

None*

See 123.63 for additional information concerning “documents.”

16 ounces or more, more than 3/4 inch thick, or not uniformly thick

2976

All Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelopes containing only documents that are entered by a known mailer as defined in 123.62.

No more than 3/4 inch thick and uniformly thick

None*

See 123.63 for additional information concerning “documents.”

More than 3/4 inch thick or not uniformly thick

2976

All Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelopes containing potentially dutiable contents, regardless of weight.

$400 or less

2976

Merchandise is permitted unless prohibited by the destination country.

Over $400

Prohibited

Items over $400 must be mailed using Global Express Guaranteed service, Express Mail International service, or Priority Mail International service (other than Flat Rate Envelopes or Small Flat Rate Priced Boxes).

Priority Mail International Small Flat Rate Priced Boxes (Maximum weight limit: 4 pounds)

All Priority Mail International Small Flat Rate Priced Boxes, regardless of contents.

$400 or less

2976

Merchandise is permitted unless prohibited by the destination country.

Over $400

Prohibited

Items over $400 must be mailed using Global Express Guaranteed service, Express Mail International service, or Priority Mail International service (other than Flat Rate Envelopes or Small Flat Rate Priced Boxes.

First-Class Mail International Letters and Large Envelopes (Flats), Including International Priority Airmail (IPA) Items and International Surface Air Lift (ISAL) Items (Maximum weight limit: 4 pounds)

All letter-size and flat-size items, as defined in 243, containing only documents except for the known mailer exemption described in the entry below.

Under 16 ounces

None*

See 123.63 for additional information concerning “documents.”

16 ounces or more

2976

All letter-size and flat-size items, as defined in 243, containing only documents that are entered by a known mailer as defined in 123.62.

 

None*

See 123.63 for additional information concerning “documents.”

All items containing potentially dutiable contents, regardless of weight.

$400 or less

2976

Merchandise is permitted unless prohibited by the destination country.

Over $400

Prohibited

Items over $400 must be mailed using Global Express Guaranteed service, Express Mail International service, or Priority Mail International service (other than Flat Rate Envelopes or Small Flat Rate Priced Boxes).

First-Class Mail International Packages (Small Packets), Including IPA Items and ISAL Items
(Maximum weight limit: 4 pounds)

All First-Class Mail International packages (small packets), as defined in 243.4, regardless of contents.

$400 or less

2976

Merchandise is permitted unless prohibited by the destination country.

Over $400

Prohibited

Items over $400 must be mailed using Global Express Guaranteed service, Express Mail International service, or Priority Mail International service (other than Flat Rate Envelopes or Small Flat Rate Priced Boxes).

Free Matter for the Blind or Other Physically Handicapped Persons

All items.

Follow above requirements for relevant mail category, as appropriate.

Follow above requirements for relevant mail category, as appropriate.

Free matter for the blind or other physically handicapped persons requires a customs form for all articles.

M-bags (Airmail, IPA Service, and ISAL Service)

All M-bags.

$400 or less

2976

A fully completed PS Form 2976 must be affixed to PS Tag 158, M-bag Addressee Tag.

Over $400

Prohibited

 

* Qualifying items must meet the physical characteristics in 241.235. For example, the following items do not meet this requirement and must bear a PS Form 2976: 1) Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelopes that are not uniformly thick; 2) First-Class Mail International items claimed at the package price; and 3) IPA and ISAL packages (small packets) containing only documents.

123.62 Known Mailers
123.621 Overview

A “known mailer” may be exempt from the customs form requirement that would otherwise apply to letter-size mailpieces (weighing up to 3.5 ounces) and flat-size mailpieces (weighing 16 ounces or more) as defined in 241.2. A “known mailer” must meet one of the definitions in 123.622 and must meet the conditions in 123.623.

123.622 Definition

A “known mailer” must meet one of the following definitions:

  1. A federal, state, or local government agency whose mail is regarded as Official Mail.
  2. A contractor who sends out prepaid mail on behalf of a military service, provided the mail is endorsed “Contents for Official Use Exempt from Customs Requirements.”
  3. A business mailer who enters volume mailings through a business mail entry unit (BMEU) or other bulk mail acceptance location, completes a postage statement at the time of entry, pays postage through an advance deposit account, and uses a permit imprint for postage payment. For this purpose, the categories of mail that qualify are as follows:
    1. Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelopes.
    2. First-Class Mail International service.
    3. International Priority Airmail (IPA) service.
    4. International Surface Air Lift (ISAL) service.
123.623 Conditions

The following conditions apply to “known mailers”:

  1. The mailpieces must contain no merchandise items or other contents that are potentially dutiable.
  2. The mailpieces must be letter-size or flat-size as defined in 241.2.
  3. If the mailpieces are mailed with a postage statement, the mailer must certify on the postage statement that the mailpieces contain no dangerous materials that are prohibited by postal regulations.
  4. The import regulations of the destination country must allow individual mailpieces without a customs form affixed.
  5. For IPA and ISAL mailings, the mailer must pay with a permit imprint or with a combination postage method (meter postage affixed to the piece and additional postage by permit imprint). IPA and ISAL mailpieces that are paid for by postage solely with a meter do not qualify for the “known mailer” exemption.
123.63 Documents and Merchandise

In Exhibit 123.61, the “Type of Item” column has several references to “documents.” For this purpose, “documents” refers only to printed documents, not to electronic storage media or devices such as CDs, DVDs, or flash drives. Examples of documents include the following:

  1. Audit and business records.
  2. Personal correspondence.
  3. Circulars.
  4. Pamphlets.
  5. Advertisements.
  6. Written instruments not intended to be resold.
  7. Money orders, checks, and similar items that cannot be negotiated or converted into cash without forgery.

Examples of items that do not qualify as documents rather, they are considered merchandise, so the sender is required to apply a customs declaration form and declare a value include the following:

  1. CDs, DVDs, flash drives, video and cassette tapes, and other electronic storage media regardless if they are blank or if they contain electronic documents or other prerecorded media.
  2. Artwork.
  3. Collector or antique document items.
  4. Books.
  5. Periodicals.
  6. Printed music.
  7. Printed educational or test material.
  8. Player piano rolls.
  9. Engineering drawings.
  10. Blueprints.
  11. Film.
  12. Negatives.
  13. X-rays.
  14. Separation negatives.
  15. Photographs.
123.64 Additional Security Controls

When the chief postal inspector determines that a unique, credible threat exists, the Postal Service may require a mailer to provide photo identification at the time of mailing. The signature on the identification must match the signature on the customs declaration form.

123.7 Completing Customs Forms

123.71 PS Form 2976, Customs Declaration CN 22 — Sender’s Declaration (green label)
123.711 Sender’s Preparation of PS Form 2976

A sender must complete PS Form 2976, Customs Declaration CN 22 Sender’s Declaration (green label). See Exhibit 123.711 for a copy of PS Form 2976.

  1. Check the appropriate box to indicate whether the package contains a gift, documents, commercial samples, or other items.
  2. In block (1), provide a detailed description, in English, of each article and the quantity for each article. General descriptions such as “food,” “medicine,” “gifts,” or “clothing” are not acceptable. In addition to the English text, a translation in another language is permitted.
  3. In block (2), enter the quantity of each article.
  4. In block (3), enter the weight of each article in pounds and ounces.
  5. In block (4), declare the value of each article in U.S. dollars.
  6. Note: The sender may declare that the contents have no value. However, declaring that the contents have no value does not exempt an item from customs examination or charges in the destination country.

  7. The sender must enter the actual value of an item for registered items in a consistent manner on PS Forms 3806 and 2976 i.e., the value entered must be identical. Items on which identical values are not declared will be refused. (See 334.12.)
  8. In block (5) which is only for commercial items (i.e., any goods exported/imported in the course of a business transaction whether or not they are sold for money or exchanged) enter, if known, the HS tariff number (6 digits), which must be based on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System developed by the World Customs organization, and the country of origin, which is the country where the goods originated (i.e., where they were produced, manufactured, or assembled).
  9. In block (6), enter the total weight and the total value of the items.
  10. In block (7), check “NOEEI § 30.37(a)” or “NOEEI § 30.37(h),” depending on the applicable Exemption and Exclusion Legend.
  11. In block (8), sign and date in the blocks indicated on the left side and the right side of the form. The sender’s signature certifies that all entries are correct and that the item contains no dangerous article prohibited by postal or customs regulations.
  12. Enter the sender’s full name and address and the addressee’s full name and address in the blocks indicated.
  13. Affix the form to the address side of the item and present the item for mailing.

Exhibit 123.711 

PS Form 2976, Customs Declaration CN 22 Sender’s Declaration (green label)
(Sender’s Instructions and Copy 3)

Customs Declaration CN 22 Sender’s Instructions

Customs Declaration CN 22 Sender's Instructions - Reverse

Customs Declaration CN 22 Senderìs - Shipping Label

123.712 Postal Service Employee’s Acceptance of PS Form 2976

The Postal Service acceptance employee must do the following when accepting PS Form 2976 from the sender:

  1. Instruct the sender how to complete, legibly and accurately, PS Form 2976, as required. The sender’s failure to complete the form properly can delay delivery of the item or inconvenience the sender and addressee. Moreover, a false, misleading, or incomplete declaration can result in the seizure or return of the item and/or in criminal or civil penalties. The Postal Service assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of information that the sender enters on PS Form 2976.
  2. Verify that the sender has entered the information on the form, and has signed and dated the form in the spaces provided on the left side and the right side of the form. The sender’s address on the mailpiece must match the sender’s address on PS Form 2976.
  3. Enter the total weight of the package on the form, if the sender has not already done so.
  4. Round stamp the right side of the form (the Post Office copy) and tell the sender that the Postal Service will retain this document for 30 days as a record of mailing.
  5. To comply with U.S. Census Bureau requirements, it is the customer’s responsibility to ensure an appropriate Exemption and Exclusion Legend is selected or displayed on PS Form 2976. In addition, items sent to Cuba may require a Proof of Filing Citation or AES Downtime Citation.
123.72 PS Form 2976–A, Customs Declaration and Dispatch Note — CP 72
123.721 Sender’s Preparation of PS Form 2976–A
  1. Enter the sender’s full name and address and the addressee’s full name and address in the blocks indicated.
  2. Enter information for customs reference, importer’s reference, and telephone/fax/e-mail, if known.
  3. In block (1), provide a detailed description, in English, of each article. General descriptions such as “food,” “medicine,” “gifts,” or “clothing” are not acceptable. In addition to the English text, a translation in another language is permitted. If there is insufficient space on the form to list all contents, use a second form (and subsequent forms, if necessary) to continue listing the contents and indicate on the first form that the contents are continued on a subsequent form(s). When using this option, customers must ensure that the barcodes on the subsequent forms are totally obliterated to avoid multiple barcodes being assigned to the package. Place the form(s) into PS Form 2976–E (plastic envelope).
  4. In block (2), enter the quantity of each article.
  5. In block (3), enter the net weight of each article in pounds and ounces, if known.
  6. In block (4), enter the value for each article in U.S. dollars.
  7. In block (5), check the appropriate box to indicate whether the package contains a gift, documents, commercial samples, or other items.
  8. In block (6), check the appropriate box for the applicable type of service.
  9. In block (7), note any restrictions that pertain to block 12.
  10. In block (8), enter the total gross weight in pounds and ounces.
  11. In block (9), enter the total value of all items in U.S. dollars.
  12. In block (10), provide disposal instructions in the event that the package cannot be delivered. Check the appropriate box to indicate whether the package is to be returned, treated as abandoned, or forwarded to an alternate address. Undeliverable packages returned to the sender are, upon delivery, subject to collection of return postage and any other charges assessed by the foreign postal authorities. If you are unwilling to pay return postage, check the box “Treat as Abandoned.”
  13. In block (11), enter the applicable Exemption or Exclusion Legend, Proof of Filing Citation, or AES Downtime Citation.
  14. In block (12), provide details if the contents are subject to quarantine (plant, food products, etc.).
  15. In block (13), sign and date the form. The sender’s signature certifies that all entries are correct and that the item contains no dangerous article prohibited by postal or other regulations.
  16. In blocks (14), (15), (16), (17), (18), and (19), enter the applicable number if the item requires a sender’s customs reference or importer’s reference, or if the item is accompanied by a license, certificate, or invoice.
  17. In blocks (20) and (21) — which are for commercial items only (i.e., goods exported/imported in the course of a business transaction whether or not they are sold for money or exchanged) — enter, if known, the HS tariff number (which is the six-digit number based on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System developed by the World Customs Organization) and the country of origin (which is the country where the goods originated — i.e., where the goods were produced, manufactured, or assembled).
  18. Place the form set inside PS Form 2976-E (plastic envelope) and affix it to the address side of the package. Allow the Postal Service employee to complete PS Form 2976-A as described in 123.722.
  19. Present the item for mailing.

Exhibit 123.721 

PS Form 2976-A, Customs Declaration and Dispatch Note — CP 72
(Instructions, Copies 1 and 4, and Indemnity Statement)

Note: To see the complete PS Form 2976-A, click the link below:

http://www.usps.com/forms/_pdf/ps2976a.pdf

PS Form 2976A - Customs Dispatch Note

Exhibit 123.721 

PS Form 2976-A, Customs Declaration and Dispatch Note — CP 72
(Instructions, Copies 1 and 4, and Indemnity Statement)

PS Form 2976-A - Dispatch Note

 

PS Form 2976-A - Dispatch Note

Exhibit 123.721

PS Form 2976-A, Customs Declaration and Dispatch Note — CP 72
(Instructions, Copies 1 and 4, and Indemnity Statement)

PS Form 2976-A - Indemnity Statement

123.722 Postal Service Employee’s Acceptance of PS Form 2976–A

The Postal Service acceptance employee must do the following when accepting PS Form 2976–A from the sender:

  1. Instruct the sender how to complete, legibly and accurately, PS Form 2976–A, as required. The sender’s failure to complete the form properly can delay delivery of the item or inconvenience the sender and addressee. Moreover, a false, misleading, or incomplete declaration can result in the seizure or return of the item and/or in criminal or civil penalties. The Postal Service assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of information that the sender enters on PS Form 2976–A.
  2. Verify that the sender has entered the information on the form and has signed and dated the declaration. The sender’s address on the mailpiece must match the sender’s address on PS Form 2976–A.
  3. To comply with U.S. Census Bureau requirements, it is the customer’s responsibility to ensure that an appropriate Exemption and Exclusion Legend, Proof of Filing Citation, or AES Downtime Citation is displayed on PS Form 2976-A. If this information is not entered, remind the customer that he or she may be subject to civil and criminal penalties for noncompliance.
  4. If the sender wishes to insure the contents, the retail associate will record the insured amount in U.S. dollars and special drawing right (SDR) value on PS Form 2976-A in the space provided. (See Exhibit 323.62 for the conversion table.)
  5. Weigh the parcel, enter the weight in block (8), and enter the applicable amount of postage and fees in the appropriate block in the upper right corner of the form.
  6. Round stamp the form in the appropriate place on each copy (copies 16).
  7. Remove the Post Office copy (copy 5) and tell the mailer that the Postal Service will retain this document for 30 days as a record of mailing. Remove the Mailer copy (copy 6) and give it to the mailer.
  8. Round stamp any uncanceled stamps, and if postage is paid by meter, round stamp the front of the piece near the meter postage.

Note: To comply with international mail aviation security procedures, the Postal Service employee must endorse any item weighing 16 ounces or more that is not accepted by an authorized employee, or that is subject to uncertain acceptance conditions (e.g., if received through a collection box or left on an unattended dock), with a “customer notification DDD–2” sticker and “surface only” and return the item to the sender by surface transportation. Consult the most recent international aviation security procedures for comprehensive acceptance procedures.

123.73 PS Form 2976–E, Customs Declaration Envelope — CP 91

PS Form 2976–E is a transparent plastic envelope designed to carry and protect the PS Form 2976–A form set. After completing the forms, the sender inserts the PS Form 2976–A form set into the envelope of PS Form 2976–E, removes the backing sheet, and affixes it to the package on the address side.