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Topic: customs form?

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Subject: customs form?
Date Posted: 3/15/2008 7:40 AM ET
Member Since: 10/26/2005
Posts: 438
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I've gotten my first overseas request and need to fill out a customs form.  I went online to fill it out and phone number for both sender and receiver was starred as a required field.  I've PM'ed the requestor but no response yet...I can imagine they are *very* busy :-) 

Do you really need the phone number?  I've searched the forums here and not seen anything about that.

Date Posted: 3/15/2008 12:51 PM ET
Member Since: 7/30/2007
Posts: 4,275
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if its under 4 lbs you only need the small green customs form. there is not even a spot on it for a phone number

Date Posted: 3/15/2008 3:36 PM ET
Member Since: 10/26/2005
Posts: 438
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Thanks for replying.  I did get  a PM from the requestor with her phone # this afternoon.  She said the online form does require the phone number though she doesn't know why.   I thought it would be easier to fill it out at home as opposed to the PO since it was an option.  btw, there are two forms online but neither one is colored.  One has the form# and one has the same form# followed by a capital A. 

I'm guessing since it's less than a pound I can do either one?

Date Posted: 3/15/2008 7:50 PM ET
Member Since: 7/23/2005
Posts: 7,248
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I've never filled out a customs form online, but the 2976A form is the mulitiple page white form used for anything weighing over 1 pound.  The 2976 form is the one page green and white form used for anything weighing less than one pound.  I'd use the online form without the 'A', but it may not matter which one you use.

If you want you can order customs forms online for free just to have on hand:

http://shop.usps.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductCategoryDisplay?beginIndex=6&pageSize=6&langId=-1&storeId=10001&catalogId=10152&categoryId=13357

I order the maximum amount, but you can order each form in lots of ten.

 



Last Edited on: 3/15/08 8:05 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 3/15/2008 9:14 PM ET
Member Since: 7/18/2006
Posts: 8
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Actually, if you're shipping something that's less than 1 lb, you don't need a customs form at all.

The small green forms are for 1-4 lbs, and the multi-page white ones are for 4lbs and up.



Last Edited on: 3/15/08 9:15 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/15/2008 9:42 PM ET
Member Since: 7/1/2007
Posts: 62
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I thought that he only time that a customs form was not required was if it is <16 oz (1lb) and is sent by first class international mail.  Otherwise I thought it was <1 green >1 White.  Or was that just becasue I was at an FPO Address?

Date Posted: 3/15/2008 10:19 PM ET
Member Since: 7/23/2005
Posts: 7,248
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Actually, I think it all depends on your post office.  No offense to any postal peeps here, but I've received different answers to the same questions from employees working in the same post office. Both of the post offices I use require the green and white form for any package under a pound (not letters or cards) and the white form for anything over a pound.  I've heard from a few troops that packages sent without a form may be returned to the sender.  I didn't think you could use first class international mail as military mail is considered domestic mail?  LOL, it can be confuddling, no?

Date Posted: 3/15/2008 11:23 PM ET
Member Since: 7/1/2007
Posts: 62
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your right military mail would be normal domestic mail

I guess the best thing for us is  to check with our local PO.

 

Date Posted: 3/16/2008 2:12 AM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,791
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You do need a custom form for an APO/FPO address.  When I filled it out and it asked for a phone number, I just put my own number down.  <shrug>   It was the only thing I could figure out to do.     It's not that hard to send to our military folks - I hope having to fill out a custom form won't stop you.

Date Posted: 3/16/2008 9:53 AM ET
Member Since: 7/1/2007
Posts: 62
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I think the confusion is like Jo stated.  Every PO does it differently.  This surprises me.  I'm a federal employee.  I have to follow the same rules for my job no matter which base I work at.  I don't get to do things a little differently.   In the 3+ years I was at an FPO address, I don't  ever remember putting a phone number on either version of the form.  Nor do I remember seeing my family list a phone number on packages they sent to me.  Is this just if you fill it out online? 

Date Posted: 3/16/2008 12:30 PM ET
Member Since: 7/23/2005
Posts: 7,248
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Yeah, Colleen.  You're only asked to provide a phone number if you use the online forms. 

Cozi's right, it really isn't hard to send to APO/FPO addresses, it's just a little different than the standard mailing routine. 

Date Posted: 3/20/2008 10:44 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2007
Posts: 2,027
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I just keep a stack of green forms in my shipping supply box and then if it's under 13 oz, I just peel the sticker off and wrap a rubber band and drop it in the box.  It's always worked well for me.

 

Date Posted: 3/21/2008 10:54 PM ET
Member Since: 2/9/2007
Posts: 112
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I have yet to have an APO using PBS. I sent a book to a guy once from amazon and they made me fill out the big one with many pages.  The only other time I had to use that form was when i sent something to a friend in England and i was told this was because the item was over 4lbs. The little green one (my fav) I have used b4 to send books and other stuff under 4lbs.

Honestly i don't think the PO even knows what the rules are. I noticed that when i go in there is no sign telling how to use those forms. U are just supposed to guess. Every other service has information but those customs forms. Don't go up there with the wrong one.....they might bite ur head off lol

It's not that hard to send to our military folks - I hope having to fill out a custom form won't stop you.
btw i didnt see anyone say that it was too difficult to send items to an APO

Date Posted: 3/22/2008 12:53 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
Posts: 5,526
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I have always had to use the green customs form for anything going overseas and all have been under 1 lb.  For the military you use a different form (large white one)

it is green only if you are mailing from the PO.  If you do it online then it is white

Date Posted: 3/22/2008 1:29 PM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,791
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Kristina - nope no one said that at all!   I guess I was just trying to put a positive spin on the custom form subject.       There are no signs in my PO about the custom forms but when I get to the counter one is handed to me for all APO/FPO packages.        I've mailed maybe 20 packages to those addresses in the past year - have to fill out a simple one page form each time.        I don't remember what color it was.   lol

Date Posted: 3/22/2008 3:49 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,121
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I just sent my first APO book last week, and I hope it gets there!  First the post office clerk gave me one customs form, then when I had almost finished filling it out she said that was the wrong form and fill out this other one instead.  When I turned it in I had left some of the questions blank and told her I wasn't sure how to fill in those blanks, and she just took it and said "I'll finish filling it in for you!"  So, I hope it gets there okay!!

Date Posted: 3/22/2008 5:55 PM ET
Member Since: 2/10/2008
Posts: 1,080
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As one of the postal peeps (I like that!), I would have to say the training is iffy at best. When you first start working a window service job, they throw a bunch of information at you and then you are often on your own. You have these wonderful huge manuals to use for reference if you have the time to fish through the thing to find the answer. After awhile you learn certain things very well from doing them often and then the ones that you do not do often become harder to remember. To top it all off, they change the rules periodically. Sometimes I think they do it just for giggles. The rules are made by people who do not have to do the work. We run into all sorts of problems and grey areas that drive us insane.

That said, I love having the POS computer workstation. I input information and it figures most things out for me. I really feel for the small PO's that have to figure everything out by hand. We had a little community PO that closed a couple years ago that was on the front porch of a home. When someone came to mail something, the clerk weighed it on one of those really old scales, checked the postal charts for the postage, and finally put enough stamps on to send it out. They did not even have their own phone. The lady of the house would hand her phone out if the PO got a call!

As for the custom forms...

Under 1 pound...not required unless it is a high value item...does not hurt to have it anyway, some people believe it is less likely to get held up in customs with it.

Up to 4 pounds....the short green form for first class.....both if is high value item.

Over 4 pounds....long white form.

Priority mail flat rate envelope.....short green form.

All other priority.....long white form.

Easy, right?

 

Date Posted: 3/22/2008 10:22 PM ET
Member Since: 7/23/2005
Posts: 7,248
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Patti, my postal peeps and I have agonized over the manual together.  Can I just say that the language in it is usually as clear as mud, LOL?

We've sort of reached our own consensus on some things and I haven't had a problem using the customs forms in over three years.  *whew!*  We finally got a new Post Office a few years ago, it's still very small, but much better than the shack-like one we had before.

The green form for the priority flat rate envelopes is surprising.  You guys can use it at your PO even if the envelope weighs over 4 pounds?  I would love that!  I use them for magazines and you can stuff a lot of them in those envelopes! (Well, ok, I've compromised with my PO peeps, so my FREs no longer resemble a soccer ball --- they're a little flatter and more box-like now, but still  stuffed well).

I haven't used the new discounted FRBs for APO/FPO addresses yet, but I'm kind of excited by them.  Which can be veiwed as really sad, in a way. :)



Last Edited on: 3/22/08 10:27 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/23/2008 10:29 AM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,791
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JoL, I am excited about those new APO/FPO boxes too.   When I went in the PO the other week, my PO peep was all excited when she told me about them!   It was kinda hard to tell who was more thrilled - her or me!  lol   This is a military area so lots of those will be used around here! 

Date Posted: 3/23/2008 11:55 AM ET
Member Since: 7/23/2005
Posts: 7,248
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LOL, Cozi!  My PO lady ordered some in as a surprise for me.  The ones I have are somewhat bigger than the previous 'shoe box' sized FRB and the address portion is designed for military addresses (no more fooling with the priority mail address labels!).  I'm looking forward to seeing how much I can get one to weigh.   And yep, I think my PO lady was just as excited as I was about them.

Date Posted: 3/23/2008 12:39 PM ET
Member Since: 2/10/2008
Posts: 1,080
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The flat rate priority envelope for international is the short form required no matter what the weight. For the APO/FPO it is the long one if it is over 1 pound. The military is its own sub section with all sorts of extra rules.

Under FAQ about customs forms at usps.com, there is a handy chart. Most of that information comes up an the screen at work and if I take the few seconds to read it, I am all set.

Date Posted: 3/23/2008 12:48 PM ET
Member Since: 7/23/2005
Posts: 7,248
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Drats... I thought I could get away with using the green form for the FREs now. Not that the white form is anymore difficult... I'm just lazy.  :)

Thanks for the info, Patti.

Date Posted: 3/27/2008 7:58 PM ET
Member Since: 10/10/2005
Posts: 6
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I've actually had the online form printed out and gotten to the window for postage and had them give me the form to fill out. Now I don't even bother with the online because I know I'm just going to have to fill it out by hand anyway. It's not difficult I will say count on having a large space for them to apply the form.

Naomi

Subject: Just curious now since I am one of those APO address
Date Posted: 3/31/2008 9:28 AM ET
Member Since: 2/12/2008
Posts: 16
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I am new to PBS and I am at an APO -- happen to be military stationed at an Embassy.

Anyway, for us overseas, when we request a book does the system tell you (the sender) that our APO needs custome sheets?

Just curious since my PO peeps here (wo happen to be local hires . . . Tunisians) don't require me to put on the customs slip to send back if it says Media Mail.

Charlene

Subject: PS to Jo L.
Date Posted: 3/31/2008 9:29 AM ET
Member Since: 2/12/2008
Posts: 16
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Thank you for taking care of our deployed troops

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