Like any other international shipments made outside the U.S., shipping a package airmail to the Philippines may make it subject to Philippine Customs examination.
Whether duties and taxes should be paid or not, you may have to complete a customs form to list the contents and value of your shipment. Sending certain packages internationally may require payment of duties and taxes. The most popular dutiable or taxable items include: electronic items, DVDs and computers.
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Prepare any document, letter or item that needs to be shipped to the Philippines. For regular airmail service using the United States Postal Service (USPS), you may either use your own envelope or box for your shipment or buy one directly at USPS. You may either buy and print the stamps, and also print the customs forms online or you may just buy the stamps and get copies of the forms when you are already sending the airmail at a USPS outlet.
Write your name and address, and the name and address of the recipient of the package in the Philippines. You may want to weigh it ahead of time so you have an idea how much it would cost. If it is a fragile or perishable item, place a note on the box. If your airmail includes many items, it is best to write them down before closing the package, because you will need this list for the customs form.
Go to your chosen USPS outlet to send the airmail. The weight of the airmail determines the amount you must pay. You will be given the customs forms, if you haven't prepared them ahead of time. The regular international airmail service of USPS is called "First Class Mail International."
Fill out the required forms, then pay the transaction fees. According to the USPS website, customs forms are not required on the following categories of mail: "non-dutiable First Class Mail International items that weigh less than 454gr; non-dutiable First Class Mail International items that weigh 454gr or more when they are tendered by a known mailer." For further information on what this means, see the Resources section below.
Tips and warnings
- It is recommended that any letter that contains checks or other negotiable instruments be sent by "Registered Mail," a special service that can be used when sending valuable or irreplaceable items through the mail. This is applicable for USPS' regular airmail service.
- You may prefer to pay an additional fee for insurance of your regular airmail shipment.
- When sending many items for shipment to an international destination such as the Philippines, the most important consideration is its contents and packaging. Knowing if such items are dutiable or taxable ahead of time lets you avoid the hassle of having to pay more than what you expect for the shipment. You may inquire at your local USPS office about such items to be shipped to the Philippines. International shipping information to various countries is also available online at the USPS website and other mail-related sites.
- Prohibited items in the Philippines as posted on the USPS website include: coffee (in any form); coins, currency notes or securities, travellers' checks, platinum, gold or silver, precious stones and other valuable articles; lottery tickets or circulars; ammunitions, firearms and weapons, including replicas of weapons; gambling devices; certain liquids or easily liquifiable items; certain glass and similarly fragile articles; perishable infectious biological substances; perishable noninfectious biological substances; and radioactive materials.
- A regular airmail service is the most affordable mailing service; however, it doesn't provide you with a tracking slip that can keep you updated with the status of your airmail. It is also not as fast as the other more expensive priority mail services. For a regular airmail service, the shipment should arrive to its destination in the Philippines anywhere between one to two weeks.
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