Shipping to Canada via the United States Postal Service : eBay Guides

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Shipping to Canada (and elsewhere) from the US via the United States Postal Service (USPS) is fairly easy. In fact, MAILING is the BEST method for SENDING BOXES ACROSS the BORDER!! NEVER any $$ brokers fees (as with UPS & FedEx) and mail offers much more economical choices! YOU CAN DO IT ALL ONLINE (no waiting in line) and track it, too!


NOTE on WAIT TIMES & Tracking: Unfortunately some packages can take 2-plus weeks to get to Canada from the US because they can get held up in the customs bottleneck (especially crossing through Detroit/Windsor). Please allow 2-3 weeks for most packages. (Note: Most 'missing' packages get returned to sender - which can add a couple of weeks.) Unfortunately, customs cannot / does not track packages; only packages with USPS tracking can be tracked. Canada customs (CBSA) mail site: http://www.cbsa.gc.ca/import/postal-postale/duty-droits-eng.html

 

 

USPS is (fairly) FAST & EASY!

 

DO IT ALL ON-LINE at USPS.com!: Calculate and buy postage, print labels, order supplies, track packages and get on-line discounts: www.usps.com

Also check out eBay's USPS SHIPPING ZONE: http://pages.ebay.com/usps/home.html

USPS has an easy international rate calculator. 1. Select the country. 2. Select the mail type/shape (i.e. 'package'). 3. Enter weight (lbs & ozs). 4. Click on 'continue.' The calculator will provide you a list of ALL your USPS mailing/shipping options and costs for your box -- plus on-line customs forms/info and shipping labels. (NOTE: the calculator page provides access to a convenient downloadable (pdf) international rates chart, as well.)

USPS INT'L RATE CALCULATOR: http://ircalc.usps.gov

NOTE: USPS does NOT use foreign postal (zip) codes/addresses to calculate shipping -- just weight. That's because mail that crosses the border becomes the responsibility of CanadaPost. In other words, the same package will cost the same amount no matter where it's mailed to in Canada!

USPS 'Preparing International Shipments' info/rules: https://www.usps.com/ship/prepare-international-shipments.htm

USPS Canada-specific rules: http://pe.usps.com/text/imm/ce_003.htm

 

 

USPS SERVICES:

 

1. FIRST CLASS MAIL INTERNATIONAL (FCMI): (Formerly Airmail Letter-post & Economy Letter-post.) A great, economical service for envelopes and small boxed items weighing 4 lbs or less and up to 36" around (length + width + depth). FCMI canNOT be insured, but it can be REGISTERED. (Note: USPS requires that some items such as jewelry, stocks/bonds, et al., be sent First Class Mail Int'l, Registered).

2. PRIORITY MAIL INTERNATIONAL (PMI): (Formerly Global Priority Mail, Airmail Parcel-post and Economy Parcel-post.) PMI provides tracking and optional insurance for envelopes and boxes small to large. It also offers Flat-Rate envelopes, as well as a discount for purchasing postage on-line.

3. EXPRESS MAIL INTERNATIONAL (EMI): (Formerly Global Express Mail or EMS.) EMI includes tracking and insurance for envelopes and boxes small to large, and offers faster service. EMI also offers Flat-Rate envelopes, as well as a discount for purchasing postage on-line.

COMPARE RATES! (Note: current prices may be different as mail rates increase - still cheaper than courier/freight services.)

1. First Class Mail Intl: (1 lb) $4.66 (2 lbs) $8.26 (3 lbs) $11.86 (4 lbs) $15.46 - most economical (only goes to 4 lbs)

2. Priority Mail Intl: (1 lb) $16.00 (2 lbs) $17.30 (3 lbs) $18.16 (4 lbs) $19.90 - offers tracking & insurance

3. Express Mail Intl: (1 lb) $23.25 (2 lbs) $25.00 (3 lbs) $26.75 (4 lbs) $28.50 - offers tracking, insurance & speed (fastest & priciest)

 

 

FORMS & FEES:

 

NOTE on Brokerage Fees (there are none): Because USPS & CanadaPost have long standing agreements to handle each other's mail, brokers' fees are NEVER charged. EXPENSIVE BROKERS FEES MUST be CHARGED BY MOST OTHER COURIER/SHIPPING SERVICES. BUT NOT USPS or CANADA POST! :-)

CUSTOMS FORMS:

There are only two standard USPS customs forms for Canada-bound packages: 1. First Class Mail (4x3 green sticker: PS Form 2976) and 2. Priority Mail (6.5x8 white form & sleeve: PS Form 2976-A & 2976-E - the clear holding sleeve). NOTE: USPS provides printable online customs forms and shipping labels.

Filling Out Customs Forms: All customs forms require: 1. CONTENTS (item(s) description): the eBay item (for example, 'Used Coat'), and 2. VALUE: always the eBay Winning Bid. 3. The Priority Mail and online forms require the addition of both parties' names, addresses and buyer's ('importer's') phone number or e-mail.

NOTE on Customs Valuation: When declaring the value on customs forms, 'VALUE' IS the PRICE PAID (the EBAY WINNING BID). (Backed up by the eBay invoice and PayPal/MO/cancelled check receipt.)

Customs fees and USPS insurance claims are ALWAYS based on purchase receipts -- the actual price paid for an item -- NOT an estimated or figured value, such as what an item may (or may not) be worth. Unfortunately 'over valuing' items, even in an attempt to be helpful, can cause unnecessary extra expenses for Canadians in taxes and fees.

I've had people tell me that the post office told them to write in 'anything' for value on the customs form. This is wrong and is NOT a USPS call. It's a Canada Customs law. Value is what a buyer paid for the eBay item being shipped over the border.

IMPORTANT info on PACKAGE ID: Always include full names and addresses (with street) and fill out the customs form, or packages may be delayed. Canada Customs (as does US Customs) has the authority to open boxes and they MAY, if an item is not properly identified, or improperly marked as 'gift.' Then they will tax the item at what they think it's worth (plus handling). Customs isn't always fooled by packages marked 'gift'! :-)

NOTE on Commercial Importers VS eBayers: License, certificate, invoice and tariff numbers, and tax/VAT/importer codes are for COMMERCIAL importers (senders) only and do NOT apply to most (individual/private) eBayers. Yippee!

FEES:

CUSTOMS FEES:

1. TAXES (the most common fee): Canada Customs ONLY assesses taxes (GST or HST) on goods valued at $20 CAD (about $18-22 USD) or more. Taxes are generally about 5-15% (depending on the provincial destination). An $8.50 'handling' fee is also added when an item is taxed. When taxes are charged, Customs sticks a taxes-owing form on the box and the box is held by the Post Office as a COD. Recipient pays the tax/handling when the package is retrieved.

NOTE: Customs cannot check every box, so frequently items valued at more than $20 CAD do get through with no charge -- it's a 'hit-or-miss' situation. Likewise, if taxes are over-charged due to a missing customs form or a seller over-value, recipients can send in to Canada Customs proof-of-payment (eBay invoice and PayPal/money order receipt or cancelled check), along with the customs tax form stuck to the box (make a copy first) to get a refund.

2. DUTY: Thanks to NAFTA there is NO DUTY assessed on goods made in the US or Canada (or Mexico); or on used goods, generally. Most eBay transactions do NOT involve duty. (Yippee!) But duty may be assessed on NEW or high-end used items made ('originating') outside of North America.

Other FEES:

There are none! When using USPS/Canada Post the buyer will NEVER get a 'surprise' brokerage fee. Brokers are used by other shipping companies (UPS, FedEx, etc.) to import and deliver items. Brokerage fees can cost as much as the entire item and shipping fees!! But USPS/CanadaPost have agreements with each other to handle each other's mail, so NO BROKERAGE FEES are EVER charged with USPS (or CanadaPost) services! Yippee!

CANADA CUSTOMS (CBSA) info site: http://cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/menu-eng.html

 

 

TIP:

 

BOX REUSE TIP: You can turn printed/used boxes inside out to use again (no need to cover with brown paper -- which USPS and CanadaPost do not like anyway because it rips/gets caught in machinery)!

I hope this 'manual' helps. As an American-Canadian living here, I know that Canadians LOVE having the choice of US eBay goods! And we'll help drive up your earnings (and make it worth your business while) if you ship here!! Please contact me with questions, comments or additions/corrections. Thanks & best of luck!


Guide ID: 10000000000084869Guide created: 02/12/05 (updated 19/04/14)

 
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