If you need to ship mail internationally to China, you might be wondering whether you can do this via USPS’s service, and how to go about it. Fortunately, you can! USPS offers lots of international shipping services, so let’s learn more about how this works.
If you want to ship mail to China, there are a variety of options that you can use available through USPS. However, they recently suspended one of these services, Priority Mail International, so you will have to choose from their other options. Depending on what you are sending, you might choose First-class Mail International, Global Express Guaranteed, or the First-Class Package International Service.
Which USPS Services Can Be Used To Send Mail To China?
Several USPS services are available for shipping mail to China, even though the Priority Mail International service is currently suspended. Depending on what you are sending, how much it weighs, and how fast you need it to be delivered, you might choose to use:
- First-Class Mail International
- First-Class Package International Service
- Global Express Guaranteed
- Airmail M-Bags
These are currently the four options that you have for shipping mail to China via USPS, although when the Priority Mail service is resumed, you will also be able to send mail via Priority Mail International and Priority Mail Express International.
To make the list more useful, these services will be included in the options, but check with USPS about their status before trying to use them to mail items to China.
Let’s explore all of these options in more detail so you know what they are useful for and in which circumstances they can be used.
These are intended for use by international students who plan to send multiple packages back to their home country. They cannot be used by non-international individuals, or by those who are not students.
They are intended predominantly for mailing books, and the price starts from $52.80. The delivery speed will depend upon the intended destination of the package, and you can send up to 66 lb of printed materials. This service is tracked but not insured.
First-Class Mail International
This is intended for anyone sending letters that weigh less than 1 lb. The price starts at $2.60, and this service is generally used for shipping documents or postcards. There is no tracking and no insurance, so it is best to use this only for letters and documents that have no value, and which don’t need to move quickly.
Items exceeding 1 lb must be sent using a different service, such as the First-Class Package International service.
First-Class Package International Service
This is for items that cannot be sent via the First-Class Mail International service (so anything over 1 lb). Items must be less than 4 lb, and have a value of less than $400. This service is usually used for items that do not need to travel too quickly.
You can send packages from $14.85, and the delivery speed depends on the destination. There is tracking available with this service, but insurance is not available and cannot be purchased. Avoid sending high value items using this kind of shipping.
Priority Mail International
This service is one of the most popular ways to send mail to China because it is fast, allows for tracking, and you can insure packages up to $100 for documents, or up to $200 on goods. You can also buy additional insurance for up to $5000 worth of goods.
This service starts from $29.60 and is priced by weight, but you can send items via the flat rate service. It should take 6-10 business days for mail to arrive at the destination.
You cannot send items over 70 lb using Priority Mail International, so make sure you are aware of this when choosing your service.
Priority Mail Express International
This is the faster version of the above service, and costs from $47.95. Again, you can send items up to 70 lb, and they should arrive within 3-5 business days – so noticeably faster than the non-express version.
The service comes with tracking and the same insurance ($100 dollars for documents, up to $200 for goods, with the optional purchase of insurance for up to $5000).
This is ideal if you want to mail packages to China quickly, with both tracking and insurance. It has a money-back guaranteed arrival date.
Global Express Guaranteed
This service is perfect for those who want items to arrive even more quickly, and it should take between 1 and 3 business days at the most. It is a bit more expensive than Priority Mail Express International, with rates starting from $67.80, and again, it has a maximum weight limit of 70 lb.
You also get a money-back guaranteed arrival date, plus tracking and up to $100 insurance. If you need more insurance, you can purchase up to $2499.
This is the most expensive option offered by USPS, but it’s perfect if you have urgent packages that need to arrive in China as soon as possible.
Why Has USPS Suspended Priority Mail International For China Deliveries?
USPS has suspended this service to China because of transportation issues. The company is not currently able to meet its promises for this service, and has temporarily removed it.
The company will still deliver mail that was sent prior to the suspension, which occurred at the end of January 2022, but will not guarantee the delivery times. The suspension will likely be lifted when these issues have been resolved, but not before this point.
When Will The Priority Mail International Service Be Resumed?
There is no way to say when the Priority Mail International service will be resumed. The disruptions are due to the coronavirus pandemic and other associated issues, so it is likely that as these issues are resolved, the services will be resumed. However, USPS has not given any indication of when it expects to be running this service again.
How Long Will It Take To Ship Mail To China?
The shipping time to China will depend heavily on the service that you choose to use. Some of the services are as quick as 1-3 business days, while others will take several weeks. If you need an item delivering quickly, you will need to depend on one of the more expensive services, such as Global Express Guaranteed.
The other USPS services, such as First-Class Mail International and First-Class Package International, will generally take between 11 and 20 working days – so they are not quick options. Discounting weekends, this means it may be a month or more before your package arrives at its intended destination.
Other couriers also offer services to China, so check whether you can use one of these to better suit your needs if none of USPS’s options will work for you.
How Much Does It Cost To Ship Mail To China?
Again, the prices vary depending on the service you choose and the size and weight of your item. Large, heavy items will cost more to ship to China than light ones (although specialized services, such as the Airmail M-Bags, provide cheaper options in some circumstances).
The lowest cost service to China is the First-Class Mail International, which costs upwards of $2.60. For packages, you will likely be paying for the First-Class Package International service, which will be over $14.85 and will be charged according to weight and size.
For faster mailing, you’re likely to be sending items at over $50 per package, so be aware of that if you have anything that is time-sensitive.
Which Other Couriers Will Ship Mail To China?
There are many couriers that will ship mail to China, and you can choose from DHL, FedEx, UPS, and more. Many of these also have express services that will get items to their intended destination quickly, although prices can vary.
For example, FedEx charges $72 for International Priority, which takes 3-5 business days, and $65 for International Economy, which takes 6-10 business days.
DHL charges $63 for International Express, which takes 3-6 business days.
UPS charges $67 for Worldwide Expedited, which takes 2-5 business days. This is among the fastest options for shipping internationally.
Does USPS Work With Other Companies In China?
When shipping internationally, USPS often partners with local shipping companies in order to deliver packages. This is because USPS does not have couriers in every foreign country.
Usually, USPS will deliver packages to the customs office of the relevant country, and customs will inspect the package.
It will then be taken over by local courier companies, who will transport the package to its intended destination using their networks, which will already be in place and able to deliver items quickly and efficiently.
You should therefore expect that a package sent to China will be delivered by a different company, not USPS.
Can I Ship Overnight To China Via USPS’s Service?
Unfortunately, USPS does not offer a guaranteed overnight service to China. The distance between China and the United States would make this infeasible to guarantee, and even the fastest guaranteed service (currently offered by UPS) will take 2 working days.
You can send packages quickly, but USPS’s fastest global service is the Global Express Guaranteed, and this can take up to 3 working days. It may be delivered in 1, but you cannot depend upon this, and as long as it takes 3 days or less, you will not be able to complain to USPS.
If you need to guarantee that the package will arrive more quickly, it may be better to use UPS’s service. However, it is possible for the Global Express Guaranteed service to get there in a similar timeframe, or take just one day longer.
Will I Get A Refund If My Package Doesn’t Arrive In Time?
This depends on the service that you have used for shipping. If you use one of the guaranteed options, such as Priority Mail International or Global Express Guaranteed, and your package doesn’t arrive within the advertised time, you should be able to apply for a refund.
For example, with Global Express Guaranteed, you can get a refund for your shipping if it takes longer than 3 business days. If this happens, you should get your full mailing costs (minus any additional fees paid for things like insurance) returned.
You can request a refund via the USPS website or by phoning USPS, but you cannot get one from a post office. You will need your tracking number in order to request a refund, so make sure that you keep this safe. Without a tracking number, you may not be entitled to a refund.
Note that USPS will not necessarily offer a refund if its failure to deliver was based on factors outside of its control. For example, if bad weather hits, customs holds up the package, there’s an international strike, or other problems occur, you may not be able to get a refund even if the delivery doesn’t arrive within the advertised time period.
Do You Need A Customs Form To Ship To China?
Yes, you will need a customs form if you wish to ship items to China. This can be acquired easily from USPS and is relatively straightforward to fill in, but you must have one.
China customs regulations are strict and therefore packages will not be allowed through without a properly filled in customs form. This is particularly true of food and cosmetics. Make sure every package you send is accompanied by a form to reduce delays.
Have you ever heard of a Virtual Mailbox? This is the ideal tool for anyone who receives a lot of mail. It offers you a secure US address for mail delivery, and all mail will be scanned on arrival. You can then choose to have mail opened and scanned internally, so that you can read the contents of letters.
Packages can also be delivered and signed for, and then stored securely. They can be forwarded to you at your leisure, and one of the great advantages of this system is that you don’t lose your address when you move – you will have a permanent US address that is secure and always available to accept mail.