All mail originating outside the customs territory of the United States (i.e., outside the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico) is subject to customs examination, except the following:
Mail believed to contain articles liable to customs duty or prohibited articles is submitted immediately to a customs location as identified in 711.62, except when exchange offices are authorized to redispatch such mail to designated distribution offices for customs treatment.
Exchange offices that redispatch mail for submission to customs offices will attach Tag 10, Supposed Liable to Customs Duty (previously Label 81), to the label holders or hasps of sacks or pouches. Tag 10 is a reusable pink slotted tag, bearing the words This sack contains mail supposed liable to customs duty.
Quantities of reusable Tags 10 that have been removed from sacks containing such mail should be returned periodically. These tags should be sent to the postmaster at either New York, New Orleans, San Francisco, Seattle, or Miami, as appropriate from a geographic standpoint.
Airmail items receive preferential customs treatment and are submitted to customs separately from surface mail. Upon return from customs, airmail items will be dispatched by air, if that can expedite delivery.
The postmaster or other designated employee must be present when Registered Mail and sealed letters (except unregistered sealed letter mail bearing a green customs label) are opened by customs officers for examination. After customs treatment, the customs officer will repack and reseal the mail.
Should a customs officer wish to obtain advisory information from a local trade expert or from the Customs Information Exchange, permit him or her to extract a sample of the contents. The customs officer will furnish the Postal Service official with two copies of Customs Form 6423, Notice of Damage, Shortage, or Samples Retained and Notice to Call for Samples\u2009— one for enclosure in the package and the other for the Post Office files. If the sample is to be forwarded to New York, dispatch it under official registration to the following address:
Customs employees are responsible for repacking and resealing mail of foreign origin after customs examination. Postal Service employees accepting mail that has been in customs custody for examination must determine from external inspection whether the mail can safely bear further handling and transportation. Customs employees are responsible for restoring mail that is not in satisfactory condition.
Shipments found to be in bad order in transit or at the delivery office must be reconditioned by Postal Service employees. After reconditioning such mail, the employee should note, over his or her signature on the address side of the wrapper, the bad order and any evidence of damage or missing contents.
When U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) determines that an inbound shipment is subject to duty payment by the addressee, the mailpiece is returned to the Postal Service bearing an orange adhesive-backed Treasury Department envelope, which contains CBP Form 3419ALT, Mail Entry. When U.S. Customs determines that an inbound shipment is not subject to duty payment by the addressee, the mailpiece is returned to the Postal Service with no Customs endorsement.
All foreign originating mailpieces that do not bear CBP Form 3419ALT are presumed to have been “cleared through customs” without duty being assessed. Accordingly, such articles should be processed for onward dispatch, without additional delay.