What to declare when shipping a US passport?
July 6, 2007 6:47 PM   Subscribe

What to declare when shipping a US passport?

US Passport in Hong Kong (left in another city and my parents were going to bring it back to me on trip to SF via HK). Need to go on business trip overseas ASAP so I thought they could easily overnight it. I read http://britishexpats.com/forum/showthread.php?t=73980 and they seem to think it is illegal. On second thought, my brother had his Canadian passport mailed out to him in SF from Ottawa.

I think I am going have them ship it regardless but do I declare it as "Documents" or "Passport"?
posted by ngn01 to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total)

Passport isn't a category.
posted by tiamat at 6:51 PM on July 6, 2007

Um, passports are routinely sent by mail and courier services (how'd you get it, buddy?). There's no law against it. Don't believe everything you read on the internet.

Courier services routinely, in their fine print, say things like "don't ship anything important with us, we'll lose it, here, look, we warned you". This is so you don't sue them if they do lose it. They don't actually care what sort of paper you ship as long as it doesn't catch fire.
posted by jellicle at 6:58 PM on July 6, 2007

Response by poster: Appreciate the quick responses.
posted by ngn01 at 7:01 PM on July 6, 2007

Many countries don't have embassies in every country in the world, and if those countries let you mail your passport from the country where you are and where they don't have an embassy to a country where they do in order to get their visa, I can't see this being illegal. How would the US enforce this, anyway?

Seriously, I doubt it's illegal, but is more a liability thing.

Hong Kong Post's Speedpost is available at local post offices if that's easier/faster than a FedEx office - a 50g document package from HK to the US will costs HK$123, but I'm not sure if it's overnight.
posted by mdonley at 7:09 PM on July 6, 2007

Speedpost will probably not be overnight, but check the "delivery standard" for your location--if that's soon enough for you, it's the cheapest fast option from HK.

Your passport is "documents." Couriers don't want to be responsible for your lost passport, but you won't get in trouble.
posted by deeaytch at 8:54 PM on July 6, 2007

Your passport is "documents." Couriers don't want to be responsible for your lost passport...

Moreover, couriers would rather you didn't stamp "HEY LOOK STEAL ME I'M VALUABLE" on your packages, either.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:32 PM on July 6, 2007

I would add that you might want to quickly figure out how much it would cost to get a fast-as-possible replacement and then speak to the courier of your choice and ask if you can insure it for that amount and get it if they lose it, or if they'd only reimburse you the basic replacement-passport fee.
posted by Martin E. at 4:02 AM on July 7, 2007

BTW, it's usually perfectly kosher to declare the value of documents as the cost to replace them.
posted by smackfu at 9:46 AM on July 13, 2007

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