Postage USA FAQS
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We have been fortunate that our knit-a-square community has shared volumes of information about all things to do with posting squares and items of clothing to South Africa. There has also been a wealth of information about packaging and customs duty. The frequently asked questions listed here relate to general topics first and postal rates follow.
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Q: Do I have to fill out a customs form?
If you are sending a parcel/package rather than a letter, yes you will have to.
Q:What is the custom form called?
It is called Customs Declaration CN22, senders declaration and is green and white. The postal clerk is responsible for filling in the weight.
Q:What do I write on the custom's form?
No Commercial Value and For Charity Only.
Q:Should I register my parcel?
No, please don't. If you do then knit-a-square has to pay high customs duty on parcels received.
Q:Should I put a value on my parcel?
No. If you do then knit-a-square has to pay high customs duty on parcels received. You may be asked to put $1 as a value on your custom slip by your post office clerk. This is okay, no duty will be payable on this amount.
Q:Can I send boxes rather than parcels?
Yes, we are receiving all sorts and sizes of boxes, parcels and packages safely in South Africa.
Q:Is there a recommended way to mail large numbers of squares?
Some people suggest using a Tyvek envelope which is light and strong. Or you can use an envelope lined with bubble wrap which is moisture resistant. It has also been suggested that you could use a vacuum (such as 'seal a meal') to reduce the air from your package which would help fit more squares in.
Q:Does it matter if it takes longer to get to South Africa?
No, there is no time restriction on this knitting project and no deadline.
Q:Can I track my package to South Africa?
There is a number on the declarations form. If you enter the number on the post office web site, you may be able to track your package.
Q:How do I know whether my squares have reached South Africa safely?
A list is published on the website of all the squares and items of clothes that have reached South Africa in the preceding month -
Q:Do mailing costs vary from state to state and town to town?
Yes, from all the correspondence we have received there is a variation even between post offices in the same town. Here is an example:
April 16 BeepR, Conneticut
First town: 13 squares and one baby hat - $25.00 airmail
Second town: 13 squares and one baby hat - $11.45 air mail. The second price was in line with the online rates.
14 July Janet Emily mailed three boxes at the Post Office in the next town over for $8.00 less than the clerk in her town was going to charge.
Q:What can I do about that?
We would suggest that you investigate the rates of your nearest post offices for one parcel and compare them. Then check this with the shipping information at the USPS (United States Postal Service) website: http://www.usps.com/
If you are going to contribute to knit-a-square on a regular basis, you should be able to ensure that you are getting the best possible rate.
Q:What's the cheapest way to mail my squares?
This depends on the volume of squares you have to send. If you are sending between one and three, you should be able to send them for as little as $1.98 (W.Dorothy - three squares in a white Tyvek envelope, cost under $1.98).
Once you go above that it is much more economical to mail a greater quantity as the cost for just one more square (4 squares) jumps: (April 15, Ruthie, central New York state, four squares , cost $5.15.)
This example clearly shows how much cheaper it becomes the greater the volume you send if you are using the First Class International rate:
May 12 – RhondaH
Box 1 - weighed 1 lb.+1 oz. (9 wool squares + some yarn) and cost $11.98 = $1.33 per item
Box 2 - weighed just under 2 lbs. (16 squares + 11 hats) and cost $16.99
= 69 cents per item.
Q: What is first class international rate?
Code: 243.4. Packages of four pounds and under with a restricted size: length 24" and total width, height and length no more than 36". This method of postage is cheaper than Priority Mail for example: Jill from New Jersey's package would have cost $37.50 Priority Mail, but only cost $23.67 First Class International.
Here are examples of what you could expect to pay for these weights first class international rate:
weighing not over 4 oz. = $3.81
weighing not over 8 oz. (1/2 lb.) = $6.97
weighing not over 16 oz. (1 lb.) = $10.31
weighing not over 32 oz. (2 lbs.) = $16.99
weighing not over 64 oz. (4 lbs.) = $30.35
Q: What is the priority mail international - flat rate?
You pay a set price for different size boxes which you can pack as much as you can get into up to the maximum weight of 20 lbs (as opposed to packages which have a maximum weight of 4lbs). If you use a vacuum method to pack your squares you can increase the number of squares you can send.
The medium size box is available in two sizes:
11 x 8.5 x 5.5" or 11-7/8 x 3-3/8 x 13-5/8 Cost - $41.95 to ship
The larger box is 12 x 12 x 5-1/2 Cost - $53.95 to ship
You can order these boxes online and have them delivered to your house.
Q: Where can I learn more about post to South Africa?
USPS - South Africa.
If you are reading this you have most likely made a square or more or an item of clothing and are preparing to post it. We would like to thank you for contributing and hope very much that you will soon see your efforts making a child warm.
We would love to welcome you into our friendly, sharing and warm knit-a-square community, so please take a moment to join our
and we look forward to meeting you in there soon.
If you subscribe to our free online magazine,
you will be able to enjoy pictures of your arriving post, the wonderful volunteers who open the mail and sort and record it, as well of the children and their blankets when they are made and distributed.