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USPS Customs Form: What is it and How Does it Work?

What's in this article?
  1. What Is A Usps Customs Form?
  2. What Role Does The Customs Form Play?
  3. Would All Carriers Need A Customs Form?
  4. How Do I Fill In A Customs Form?
  5. What Should I Take Care Of?
  6. Making Sure A Car Is Eligible For Export
  7. Who Makes Sure A Car Is Exported?
  8. Why A Customs Form Is Necessary
USPS Customs Form: What is it and How Does it Work?

There's a lot to be sorted through when importing your car to a new country, especially since you need to sort through several documents. Every place has rules and regulations, and failing to observe them causes inconvenience.

One step you'll need to go through no matter where you're transporting your vehicle to is going through Customs. But before your car reaches another country's Customs department, you'll need to fill in a USPS form.

Here's a list of things you'll need to know about the form and how it works:

What is a USPS Customs Form?

A Customs declaration form contains all the necessary information about your package. It has every detail, including its value.

For America, the United States Postal Service, or USPS, is responsible for handling these forms and ensuring everything that leaves the country is following regulations.

This form is needed because it is physical proof that your package is in accordance with both the country it is being sent from and its destination.

It is imperative to fill it in carefully because a package, in this case, a vehicle, must undergo several inspections before it is legally allowed to be driven in a foreign country.

The foremost responsibility of the department is administering any duty or levy that applies to your vehicle. So, if you've applied for any exemption, they will decide whether you are eligible.

A Customs Form will list things like value, weight, dimensions, and other important information.

What Role Does the Customs Form Play?

When you're preparing to import a vehicle into a foreign country, they will inspect it to ensure the information provided to Customs is correct. Similarly, your vehicle will be inspected at US Customs before it leaves the country.

Along with other documents required when transporting through a vessel or aircraft, your form must be submitted to Customs at least 72 hours before export.

Since the country declares that the information provided is correct, you may be subject to intense scrutiny.


Would All Carriers Need a Customs Form?

Yes, they will. Without a Customs form, you can't export anything, including a car. The only exception is exporting between the European Union and Switzerland. You'll need one if you want to send your vehicle out of the US, even if it's a US territory.

How Do I Fill in a Customs Form?

The first step is acquiring one. You can either get a Customs form from your nearest post office or download it online.

Next, remember to use black or blue ink. Make sure it's dark enough that there's no trouble reading on photocopies because if Customs can't understand the information, they will deem it unavailable.

The next step is to write the package specifications, in this case, a vehicle. You must check the validity of every detail you enter because you can be fined if it's incorrect. In extreme cases, your possession may get seized with more penalties.

Now, you'll fill in the information in clear, legible handwriting. The basics of what's needed are:

  • Sender and recipient name and address.
  • Description of item.
  • Quantity.
  • Value.
  • Weight.
  • Dimensions.
  • Date of Sending Item.
  • Invoice Number.
  • Terms of payment.
  • What should be done in case the package is unavailable.

What Should I Take Care of?

After you've entered both your and the receiver's full name, you'll move to the item description box. Make sure you don't add anything general; it's best to list the car's company.

In the quantity box, mention the items' net weight separately. This is if you've added something like a suitcase inside the car for transportation through a ship. This happens because, sometimes, people send some luggage along with the vehicle if there's room for extra weight in the container.

In that case, you'll need to list everything inside it, including smaller items. Make sure you don't add something general, like 'clothing.' Instead, write something like 'men's trousers.'

The weight should be listed in pounds and ounces, while the value in US dollars. Similarly, you'll also list the total net weight and total value. This block will include the car's weight, anything inside, and atucal worth.

You can also add your and the receiver's e-mail address to make the process quicker. Next, add an Internal Transaction Number (ITN) for the Automated Export System (AES). This is issued by a Customs broker and is essentially a passport for your vehicle.

You'll need an invoice number or certificate number. The dimensions should include height, length, and width.

You might be charged for the return if your vehicle is not delivered.

Finally, you'll sign the form. This means that you've certified that your vehicle complies with all regulations, including having nothing dangerous and not going against the destination country's standards.

Making Sure a Car is Eligible for Export

Remember that before you fill in a Customs form, you should contact a company that helps you make sure your car can be imported to where you're moving.


The inspection includes ensuring it complies with fuel and emission standards and other standards. One example is that while left-hand vehicles are legal in Japan, you'll be asked to change them to an RHD if you're exporting to New Zealand.

Similarly, there are different requirements for every country. A company like A1 Auto Transport will help ensure your vehicle meets these and arrange for a container (usually 20ft. or 40ft.).

Who Makes Sure a Car is Exported?

The USPS is not responsible for the actual inspection. Exporting a vehicle will go through the US Customs and Border Protection, which belongs to the Department of Homeland Security.

Apart from your form, you'll also submit other documentation, including the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

A Customs officer at the port will first go through your documents to ensure they're authentic. Next, they'll be matched with your vehicle to ensure the information provided is accurate.

Why a Customs Form is Necessary

As mentioned above, a Customs form is a declaration by the sender and the country that not only does the package not contain any harmful item but also complies with the destination country's laws.

This part is crucial because of the fuel and emission standards mentioned previously. Countries like Japan, which already have a high emission rate, apply some of the strictest standards.

It's also why your information must be correct: anything deemed harmful can even be destroyed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Do I Get a Customs Form?

Can I Fill in My Customs Form at the Post Office?

What Happens if I Enter the Wrong Value of a Package?

What Happens if Any Information I Send is Untrue or Illegible?

Can I File a Claim in Case of Damage or Loss?

Does Every Vehicle Require a Customs Form?

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Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing. 

After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood. 

With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.

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A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
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