In January, the U.S. Post Office issued a bulletin that it will no longer accept handwritten customs declaration forms after March 6, 2020.
The only temporary exception will be military mail items that originate at Military Post Offices destined to international, non-U.S. addresses. The exception will be in force pending software updates.
This new policy means hard copy PS Forms 2976, PS Form 2976-A, PS Form 2976-B, and other hard copy customs declaration forms will no longer be accepted.
All packages found in the mail system with handwritten customs declaration forms will be returned to the sender.
This new policy applies to all international shipments and domestic shipments over 16oz destined to:
- Army Post Offices/Fleet Post Offices/Diplomatic Post Offices
- U.S. Possessions
- U.S. Territories
- Freely Associated States
Impact on eCommerce?
The impact on most online sellers will be minimal as most marketplaces and online shipping solutions (including USPS Click-N-Ship) create shipping labels with proper customs declaration information, thereby providing USPS with the required information.
Procedural Changes at U.S. Post Office Locations
Shippers who go to a U.S. Postal Service retail (U.S. Post Office) location to ship their item(s) will see a different procedure starting on March 6.
USPS clerks will require shippers whose shipping label does not conform to this new rule to fill out Worksheet PS Form 2976-R and then transfer all the information from the worksheet into their system to print the postage and labels.
Important: Again, all previous versions of the 2976-R form; PS Form 2976 – Customs Declaration CN 22 PS Form, 2976-A – Customs Declaration and Dispatch Note CP 72, PS Form 2976-B, Priority Mail Express International Shipping Label and Customs Form will not be accepted at USPS retail locations and customers will be required to fill out the new PS Form 2976-R.
The U.S. Post Office issued instructions to retail clerks that state, “Thank the customer for having come prepared to ship internationally. Inform the customer that U.S. export regulations require electronic submission of customs data, and that USPS now exclusively uses PS Form 2976-R. Ask the customer to complete PS Form 2976-R. Let customers know that they can also go online to fill out and print the appropriate customs form at usps.com/international/customs-forms.htm.”
Will this policy on handwritten customs declaration forms impact your business?
Please use the comments section below or head over to our Facebook Group for Small Business Sellers and interact with other small business owners.