Customs Declaration Labels with HS Codes and a QR Code When Sending Items


So, today, I found out, from Japan to overseas / to all countries, when sending items (non-postcards, non-letter), we always need to put a customs declaration label with HS codes for the items on the envelope from the 1st March 2024.

This means an envelope with a postcard / postcards and / or a letter plus an item or items will also need a customs declaration labels from now on.

The customs labels with a QR code has to be created after the electronic procedure done each time. The handwritten customs labels are no longer valid.

Is it the same in your country ? What kind of procedure do you have to go through when sending an envelope with something non-postcards and non-letter in your country to abroad ?

1 Like

Officially it’s the same here in the U.S., but I’ve not yet encountered any difficulties in sending letter post containing other-than-typical correspondence—even when handing those letters to a postal clerk for handling.

But I’m also intentional in ensuring that the other-than-typical correspondence items I include in my international mail are carefully selected to be defensible as correspondence.

For example, when I run write-back puzzles on another forum, I only choose certain prize items—such as origami, stickers, or paper bookmarks—that I’d be able to argue are nondutiable and even then I try to write a portion of the correspondence on them to further improve my case!

But with stuff like this, it’s very much “if you know one country, you know one country”, so things are likely very different in Japan and you have my sympathies for the strictness of the current international postal system!


Fortunately, in Germany you can (still!) send postcards and letters without a customs label.
BUT: Since 1 January 2019, only documents can be sent abroad in letters. For shipping goods, business customers can use Warenpost International, while private customers should use DHL Päckchen International or Paket International for goods sent abroad.

1 Like


I am not sure if Japan is strict about sending International mails because as for HS codes on the customs declaration labels, it is actually the European countries like Germany and Ireland mainly that ask HS codes to be mentioned. USA do not seem to ask much about HS codes, though. Japan basically seems to be obeying for what other countries ask.

But from now on, from Japan, we may have to prepare a customs declaration label with HS code for just sending items like several origami paper, several sticker pieces to overseas as they are not free-items.

And the customs labels, actually two labels, are quite big and do not fit on the regular-sized envelope… In Japan, the postal clerks could charge extra just because of that, which rather troubles us who want to include small items along with a postcard and letter… :sweat:

1 Like

Oh, I very much understand and sympathize.

The point I was trying to make, though, was that if I write at least part of my message on those items—as they’re paper—then that makes them part of the correspondence and thus nondutiable, no?

With the example of origami, if I write as little as my name on the sheet, fold it into shape, and include it in an envelope, how does that differ from writing my name on a sheet of writing paper, folding it in half, and placing it in an envelope?

And while that doesn’t provide a solution to wanting to include blank postcards in an envelope for remailing, it does provide a defensible justification for the inclusion of certain items within a regular, nondutiable, letter-post envelope.

But again, a justification isn’t certainty, merely an argument to be made to the postal authorities…

1 Like

The unpleasant circumstance arises for me at the moment when I have to fill out a customs declaration. Even if I tick “Gift”, I have to declare the contents and the value. Which, unfortunately, takes the surprise out of a gift for me. :frowning_face:
There is a saying in Germany: “The jug goes to the well until it breaks”. In combination with the human creativity to interpret restrictive regulations favourably, I see the possibility of what we in Germany call a “loophole”. :grin:



Thank you!

From now on, it seems it is going to be kind of a troublesome for us in Japan when sending items other than a postcard and letter to abroad, even small items - who knows, even for several origami paper and several sticker sheets…

I am going to ask at the post office later today about this matter but I do not think the postal clerks are aware of this kind of matter of sending mails to abroad yet, as they usually deal with domestic mails… :sweat:

1 Like