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Monday, February 1, 2010

Going to the Post Office can be aggravating sometimes, especially when you have more "complicated" packages. Wondering which forms to use, what is the price of stamps this week and its made worse when the agent is "less than pleasant".
One of the biggest questions you see in forums is about customs and forms. On one of my numerous trips to the USPS, I had the privilege of waiting in line for 45 minutes, while one agent was on duty( don't ask me why). I flagged down a "supervisor" to complain ( to which they said they couldn't do anything) and decided to waste as much of the "supervisors" time as they were wasting of mine waiting in that ridiculous line. I had an in depth conversation about customs and international shipping thru the USPS and one of the best pieces of info I learned is that there are only TWO customs forms to ship international mail.

The form above is the USPS Customs Form for a package 4lbs and under. It is the ones that with the custom number that starts is LC. The newer ones are all white, they do not have a green background on the left hand side. You may see these a some post offices, but they are phasing them out.

The form above is is the USPS Customs Form for packages that are over 4lbs . The custom number starts with the letters CP.


You can actually use that customs number as a sort of "tracking number" for your package. THIS IS NOT IN DEPTH TRACKING INFORMATION, like Fedex or UPS would give you. It will merely tell you , when the package was sent out of your local post office, when arrived at the recipient countries customs , when it cleared customs, and sometimes they tell you when it arrived at the recipients postal office. That is it!. One of the biggest downsides to this as well is that they sometimes do not enter the info in a timely manner, yes, even less than when you purchase a regular USPS Delivery Confirmation. So you could have info for the time when it left your post office and then not have any updated info for days, to all of a sudden 1 week later see all the updates ( customs, arrival, etc) inputted in one day.
It is not alot, but it can be useful for the buyer, because isn't a false sense of security better than no security at all? ...... just kidding ;)

If you are mailing "Documents Only", that includes paper products, then you do not need a customs form. This means you can use the Automated Kiosk that some Post Offices have, but I personally like to see them stamp the "Air Mail" stamp on my package, so I usually just go to the desk. If you are ever in doubt about what you need to send international, then go to the desk to avoid delays in your package shipping.

Of course you can get customs forms from the post office when you go to mail your package, but as most people know, the USPS can be annoying and aggravating as all hell. I just like to get in and get out as soon as possible, so for me to do that, I have everything filled out ahead of time, so I can just throw my packages at the agent, pay and leave, lol.
I suggest, going to the USPS website ( links for the forms above) and ordering the forms that you need. There is NO CHARGE for the forms or for shipping, the only downside is that they ship thru USPS the cheapest way possible, which means Parcel Post. So if you need the forms immediately, ask the agent for a couple (or pilfer them from the table with the rest of the forms in office) until your order arrives.

Don't Forget that you can get other USPS Postal Supplies ( priority boxes, forms, etc) for free as well from the USPS Postal Store, so why not order everything at one time!
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Written by Lovely

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  1. thank you for posting this info! would you mind if i linked to this post in my blog?