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Import Regulations for Shipping Antiques into the U.S.

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Antiques are old objects which are rare and extremely valuable. That is why it is so important to assure these age-old items are imported with care when being shipped from overseas. If the proper permits or duty documents do not accompany an imported antique, the item can become the temporary possession of another party until the matter is cleared up, which could become both timely and costly.

Import Regulations for Shipping Antiques into the U.S.

So before you begin the process of importing antiques into the U.S., learn about rules and regulations for shipping age-old items and know what the owner of the item can expect when it is being transported via air or water.

U.S. Customs regulations on importing antiques.

The U.S. Customs and Border protection has strict rules when it comes to importing antiques compared to other items. The Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) is governed by the World's Custom's Organization based out of Brussels, Belgium, has 22 sections and 99 subsequent chapters that details the laws on importing antiques. Some of the required details include:

  • Under heading 97.06 in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS), any antique older than 100 years old can be imported free of customs duty, however there must be an age declaration written and signed by the new owner of the antique.
  • Certain items like pearls, natural, precious or semi-precious stones; original lithographs, engravings, and prints; coins and revenue stamps, unused postage or postal stationery are exempt from duty even if they are antiques.
  • Imported antiques that are less than 100 years old can be subject to an import duty around 5.2 to 25 percent depending on the value of the artwork. Keep in mind that if the value of the item is over $2,500 an ACE Import manifest documentation needs to be submitted to successfully clear the customs.

Do proper research for more information on the customs regulations in the country when moving internationally.

International shipper and customs broker

Antiques might be shipped via air or ocean freight or post-delivery, no matter what the method is used, you need to provide specific documents and pay certain duties or taxes to successfully import the age-old antiques. That is where the international shipper and customs broker comes into the picture, acting as a go between the customer and the merchant. However, if the international shipper has a custom broker license, they can handle all the procedural paperwork needed to import antiques.

Here is how a customs broker can help you during the import process:

  • They ensure your shipment meets all rules and regulations assigned by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
  • They file all necessary documents and paperwork.
  • They determine the best shipping and entry methods for your antiques.

Packing antiques for shipping

Since antiques comes in different sizes and shapes, there isn't one specific packing and shipping method that works for all situations. For instance, you may have an antique furniture that is needed to be packed and shipped, specific details such as climate can come into play when working protecting the quality of the item. The total costs can also vary when it comes to how your artwork is shipped.

When importing multiple pieces of antiques, you may have to decide which items you need to pack yourself and which should be handled by professionals.

  • If you choose to pack antiques for yourself, start with the large items. Take photographs for your records and pack them securely with right packing materials.
  • When you choose professionals to handle the task, you may have no control of packing artwork and antiques. So be sure to ask your shipper if they provide assurance for your prized possessions.

What if your antiques are damaged during shipping?

Receiving your antiques correctly should be the end of your import journey. If there are any items arrive damage tough, here are a few things you need to do.

  • Pay for the antique shipment, even though it arrives damaged. Because the documentation of the delivery will be needed during the claiming process.
  • It is always a good idea to take a picture of the antique so that when it arrives damaged, it can be compared with the previous photographs. This will help to submit a claim against the shipping company for the damage of your item.
  • Be sure to have necessary documents when filing the claim including:
    1. Value of your damaged items
    2. Description of the damage
    3. A copy of invoice and bill of lading etc.
  • If the damage isn't noticed until after the delivery has made, you need to contact the shipper immediately because the shipper who handled your item are responsible for reimbursement or you can receive compensation from the insurance company you hired to cover the item.

Note: Keep all documents related to your claim even after it's been completed. If you're having any difficulty during the claims process, your licensed customs broker may be able to assist you.

To have the safest shipping experience, your knowledge on the rules and regulations for importing antiques is necessary. Make sure you need to know everything about the process and conduct thorough research before selecting the international shipper of your choice.

Staff Writer  Posted by Staff Writer on May 15, 2013

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