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Best practices for filling out customs forms
Best practices for filling out customs forms

Providing sufficient information in your customs forms helps ensure that your shipments make it to your international recipients

Updated over a week ago

If you're sending an item internationally, inputting the right information when filling out your customs form is crucial. If you don't, your package may not make it through your destination country's customs department, and your recipient won't receive it ๐Ÿ˜…

To help you avoid that situation, we've put together some best practices for filling out customs forms below:

Be as detailed as possible in your description

If your customs form isn't detailed enough, your destination country's customs department may return the package to you. So, the more detailed you can make your customs form, the better off you'll be!

For instance, if you're sending a pair of shoes, don't just enter "Shoes" in the customs field. Instead, enter "Size 12 Nike Air Jordan 1 Mid sneakers" ๐Ÿ˜‰

Examples of unacceptable vs acceptable descriptions

For some examples of unacceptable (generic) descriptions of items versus acceptable (specific) descriptions, see this table:

Unacceptable Description

Acceptable Description


Stainless steel 4-slice toaster


Robinson Crusoe hardcover book


100% cotton men's medium T-shirt

Musical instruments

Dreadnought six-string acoustic guitar


Packaged superhero plastic action figure

Add a separate line item for each item in the shipment

Every item in your package needs to have its own separate line item in your customs form. This way, you don't combine any items in a single description field. For instance, if you're sending a pair of socks along with the Air Jordan shoes we mentioned above, you'll need a line item for the shoes, and a separate one for the socks.

Here's how you can add a line item:

Enter a Harmonization # for your product(s)

Countries use harmonization codes to classify products and assign import duties and tariffs. You can find your item's harmonization number by clicking on this button and following the prompts on the website it leads to:

Some countries require these codes, and others don't. While entering a Harmonization code isn't necessary for shipping to every overseas destination, it's good to get in the habit of including one so that other countries' customs departments have as much information as possible when receiving your shipments ๐Ÿ‘

Include a purchase invoice in your package

One last way to provide sufficient information to customs departments is to include a purchase invoice for the products inside your package, that way they can take an immediate look into what kind of product was shipped. While it's technically not required, it's encouraged to help remove any questions from the customs process and speed up processing times ๐Ÿ’ช

A good (and bad) example of a customs forms

Below are two examples of customs forms for sending a men's t-shirt that is 100% cotton, weighs 5 ounces, and is valued at $10.

Example 1: Correct

In this example, notice how we entered a detailed description of the type of shirt we are sending. We offered as much information as we could, including the kind of material used, as well as the gender specified (a men's t-shirt).

Example 2: Incorrect

The difference in this example is that we simply entered "Shirt" in the item description field, instead of providing a detailed description of the item. We also failed to include a Harmonization number.

Additional Resources

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