As of March 6th, 2020, USPS will no longer accept handwritten customs declaration forms and instead customers must use PS Form 2976-R, USPS Customs Declaration and Dispatch Note. Only military mail items that originate at Military Post Offices destined to international, non-U.S. addresses are allowed as a temporary exception to this rule (pending software updates).
This means that pre-printed, hard copy PS Forms 2976, PS Form 2976-A, PS Form 2976-B, and other hard copy customs declaration forms are no longer accepted. All packages found in the mail stream bearing handwritten customs declaration forms will be returned to the sender. Packages bearing handwritten customs forms are not to be tendered to:
- International mail processing centers;
- U.S. Customs;
- International transportation; or
- Foreign posts for delivery.
This means sellers using USPS will need to ensure they are following the correct procedure and avoid any returns and delays.
US imports go electronic
It was announced last year that by January 1st 2020 the US required all imports to have electronic data attached to them when going through customs clearance and transit – otherwise they may be refused entry. This has always been the case for the private sector and post but has only really been enforced for the private sector. Post shipments are now required to meet the same data standards.
You might think that your carriers will handle all the paperwork and electronic data notifications for you and to a certain extent that would appear to be the case. However it’s critical that your product descriptions are up to date and this can include everything from materials, country of origin as well as the exact product classification. Whilst carriers will do their bit, their ability to get your packages cleared through customs and their electronic data will only be as good as the information that you provide.