shipping Internationally = help.
November 1, 2012 10:12 PM   Subscribe

Please help me mail stuff internationally via USPS.

I'm having trouble understanding the USPS site regarding customs forms.
I need to mail one tourist map to the Netherlands and another to Indonesia.
Would these be considered documents and therefore mailed without customs forms?
I would like to avoid my inconvenient and swamped P.O. if possible.
posted by KogeLiz to Grab Bag (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You shouldn't need a customs form for a map, if it is just a simple paper map that can be placed in an envelope. My wife and I regularly have to send things to Portugal, and all the stuff that is 'envelope size' just gets extra postage...(they do have special stamps for that, so you have exactly the right amount of postage).
posted by PlantGoddess at 10:36 PM on November 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

Agreed with PlantGoddess. As long as it's just a paper map in an envelope, you don't need a customs form, it's just a document. I send various paper items to my parents in Sweden all the time, with no customs forms. Even a sizable laminated booklet map should be fine, as long as it fits in an envelope without being too bulky. It's when you get into odd shapes (square rather than rectangular, too thick where the envelope bulges too much to fit in the usps machines) that things get dicey and more expensive. But it's normally not until I have to put it in a box that I fill out a customs form.
posted by gemmy at 10:44 PM on November 1, 2012

When my parents lived abroad I was at the PO every week, mailing VHS tapes of television and all manner of things to Germany and Japan.

Pop that map in an envelope and put the appropriate postage on it. That's it. Customs forms are only needed when sending parcels.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:19 AM on November 2, 2012


Would a large envelope still be considered a letter? Like 5"x7" or even 8"x10"?
I'd like to include one of those Visitors Guides which looks like a magazine.
posted by KogeLiz at 6:11 AM on November 2, 2012

The Post Office has ready-made, free flat 9x12 International Priority mailers for documents - I think as long as the entire thing will fit through a 1/2" slot (maybe 1/4", I don't remember) it qualifies as a document.
posted by usonian at 7:37 AM on November 2, 2012

Large envelopes are considered large letters still but would need additional postage. They have to fit through a slot in a guide they have so don't include to thick a book. A magazine should be OK (just not a big fat one like a vogue or cosmo).

Unless you have postage scales you will probably still have to take it to the post office to get weighed or use a prepaid fixed rate mailer. I send things overseas all the time and those mailers usually work out way more expensive though unless you are sending something heavy, but they are convenient.
posted by wwax at 8:07 AM on November 2, 2012

Thanks for all the info!
I have a scale at home so I'm trying to save myself a trip our shitty P.O.
Looks like I can!
posted by KogeLiz at 8:11 AM on November 2, 2012

« Older Need Surfing Variations of the Word "Portal"   |   Is there such a thing as a "good and cheap"... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.