Postal Restrictions to the USA & customs changes?


vintage bag lady
Mar 29, 2008

This only affects buyers in the USA and people who sell into the USA.

Some countries (Japan and Australia) are applying postal restrictions to the USA on items over 453grams (16OZ). From what I have read, this is in response to USA requests for security - so it is would be inappropriate to comment further on why, so let's focus on the practical issue of shipping.

This first surfaced in Japan about a week ago and there is now information in English on Japan Post. Some sellers are currently unable to post items over 16 Oz. Some have systems in place which mean they are exempt from this restriction, and others are using alternative carriers etc, others are busily trying to qualify for the exemption process. Sea mail is available, cheap and and takes about 2 months for your average bag to arrive on the mainland from what I can see. It came up very suddenly.How long this will be in place is unknown. It could stop as fast as it started, or it could go on for some time. If your seller says they are doing their best to get something to you - they are. Others may be canceling some listings, which is unfortunate for them as well as for USA buyers.

It is quite possible that there will be minimum impact from all of this. But it is nothing anyone wanted to see happen and it just requires a bit of flexiblity from people while this process takes it's course. You may be affected by a surcharge or by slightly different systems for postage or maybe it won't affect you at all.

Australia Post has also published a statement and set up new guidelines but theirs are different to the approach used by Japan Post. eBay just put up a message about it. Here's the Australia Post link here. eBay asks that comments on the issue be directed to Australia Post, not eBay.

Australia Post's way of dealing with it is to drop a AU$9 surcharge onto all items over 453 grams posted to America. They also mention that there are delays of about 48 hours expected. eBay suggests that Ozzies should not use the Shipping Calculator in the short term, because it does not factor in the AU$9 surcharge.

What was very interesting was that Australia Post also made a reference to customs duty.
USA admits duty-free genuine personal gifts not exceeding $US 25 value (excluding tobacco products and perfume).
USA readers, is this tax arrangement new? Do any of you know what the story is here? I thought that the limit was US$100 for gifts and $200 for most merchandise.

Are any other countries following this pattern?

thanks in advance
Last edited:
Mar 3, 2010
Honolulu, Hawaii
wow, this is the first i am hearing about this...
i'm not sure about what the limit was before
the only one i know that when you return to US from Japan your customs limit is $800

This new info makes me think twice about bidding items that Japan ebayers are selling. The last LV bag I ordered from Japan was stuck in customs for almost 2 weeks and I paid about $35 in customs fees for a $500 bag =(


vintage bag lady
Mar 29, 2008
Sounds like you got charged 7%, which might sound high to you, but would be very very attractive to a European, who would be paying much, much higher rates of tax. Having your bag stuck in customs can happen no matter where it is from. If the bag plus the 7% was still cheaper than what you can buy it for in the USA, then you got a deal!

I was surprised when I saw Australia Post pushing a figure of a $25 duty free limit for items entering America. Because unless the USA has changed their limits, Australia Post is wrong.

I thought that the USA system was $100 for gifts and $200 for merchandise and that 7-8% of declared value would be the tax amount. I just looked on the US Border Protection site, but now I can't find anything about the limits there anymore.

Getting charged customs duty is nothing to do with these restrictions. The restrictions are totally separate. It means that some sellers are able to operate "business as usual" and others are affected in that they can't post an item of 16oz or more by air transport. It just means that a few sellers will be posting their items by surface mail which will take about a month or so to arrive. Others have systems which mean they can continue to USE EMS. Hopefully this won't last too long. Easiest thing to do is just read the listing - the seller will state they are not shipping by Air to the USA if they are affected.
Nov 8, 2009
I read this on eBay, too. It makes zero sense to me. What is the point of a $9 surcharge exactly, other than Australia Post like money?


May 17, 2010
This was a surprise to me when I went to some of the trusted reseller's stores and realize that a lot of them aren't selling to US for the time being. . .

And I agree, what would the $9 difference do in AU???


Dec 14, 2010
Ok so i just found this - it might be helpful , leather purses valued over $20 each but under $2000 (not so sure about this number ) - the import fee is 10% BUT ! there are exceptions :
7.2% (E)

So I guess there is no fee for importing from : Australia ,Bahrain, Canada, Chile, D-? I assume Denmark?Israel, Jordan, J+ i assume Japan ??? , Morocco, Mexico, Oman, P - ? don't know, Peru, Singapore
Once again - I am not sure but it might be helpful
Source :


Oct 28, 2009
I'm from OZ, I have sent package to the USA on the 22nd of Dec, and yes, I have to pay the extra $9 fees.
Not sure about other restriction but fees are now permanently charged for every packages over 453grams (16OZ) to the USA. It's horrible, as their charges for EMS and Express method is expensive enough without the extra $9 on top. The shipping fee I've paid $108 via EMS to the USA include ($24 insurance value up to $600, as I believed insurance is for seller) I charge customer $55, so I have to pay the extras and pay the $9 on top as well. It sucks!!