A Harmonization Number is a specific designation that the international mailing system assigns to products, so they can keep records of the types of items being imported into foreign countries.
Why do I need a Harmonization Number?
Some foreign countries' customs departments require Harmonization Numbers in order to determine the customs duties and import taxes that recipients need to pay when their shipment gets imported into their specific country.
Depending on the country you're shipping to, adding a Harmonization # when you fill out your customs form is optional. Every shipment going to member countries in the European Union (EU) requires Harmonization Numbers to be recorded in the customs data, as per the new VAT guidelines for the EU 📝
In addition to EU member countries, Northern Ireland, Norway, and Switzerland also require Harmonization Numbers on all labels.
Certain other countries in South America also require Harmonization Numbers, such as Brazil. Since more countries are beginning to require it, the best practice for all international shipments is to enter your Harmonization # when filling out the customs form, if possible.
U.S. military addresses also require Harmonization Numbers
On top of foreign destinations, shipments to military APO, FPO, and DPO addresses require harmonization codes. You'll need to include the harmonization number for your item(s), no matter where the military base you're shipping to is located.
How do I find my Harmonization Number?
To look up your product's Harmonization #, visit the United States Census Bureau Schedule B Search Engine and type in your product details. You can get there by clicking the blue Search #'s button in the Customs section you need to fill out when making your label, as seen here:
Once you're on the Schedule B Search Engine page, try to search for the most basic, one-word description as possible. For example, if you're sending a T-shirt, type in "shirt" and then click the blue 'Classify' button with the magnifying glass 😉
Next, you'll be taken to a section called "Tell Us More About" to select the closest option from the results that pop up. Click the one that best describes your item. Here's how that process looks for a men's 100% cotton T-shirt (non-knitted):
From there, continue selecting the following choices that best describe your item(s):
When you've filled out all the necessary information, click "Accept."
Next, the search engine will return your Harmonization # 🎉 In this case, since the T-shirt is made of cotton and isn't a dress, that number will be 6205.20.3000, as seen below:
Finally, once you have your number, all you need to do is type it into the "Harmonization #" section when making your customs form in Pirate Ship 👍
Pro Tip: If the Census Bureau Schedule B Search Engine isn't returning a result for whatever reason, you can search for your item on this website: https://hts.usitc.gov/
How many digits does my Harmonization Number need?
Sometimes you may notice that your Harmonization # isn't 10 digits like the one in the example above. If that's the case, this is ok! Here are some things to keep in mind:
Our "Harmonization #" field in the Customs form section accepts both HS and Schedule B numbers. Numbers have to be at least 6 digits but can be many more. The more digits, the more specific the description of what’s being shipped, and often includes the country being shipped to👌
You should have at least a 6-digit number. Country-specific codes can be 14 digits long, and our system also accepts these.
Note: You don't want to add any 0's to the end of your number to get 6 digits, because 0's at the end can technically mean different items altogether 😅
That's it! If you have any questions about finding Harmonization #'s for your products, click the blue chat button to get in touch with our Support Crew - we're always happy to lend a hook 😃