Sending Stuff Home via Mail

This is a bit of a shot in the dark, but I know there are a fair number of expats and ex-expats on the board, so here goes:

I’m moving back to the US from Japan and the cheapest way I’ve found to get my books, etc., back to the US is through the Japanese mail. I know that since I’m a returning resident I don’t have to pay customs on household effects I’ve had abroad for at least a year.

I also (think I) know that I should fill out CBP form 3299, “Declaration for Free Entry of Unaccompanied Articles” to ensure the I don’t get dinged by customs when the boxes arrive. The thing is, though, that the form reads as if (unsurprisingly) it is meant more articles being sent by a shipping company. There’s a ton of information about the form on-line but that information is (again) provided by shipping companies. I can’t find any mention of this form being used with the mail.

Anyone know anything about this? I’m assuming that I can’t just mail my stuff and then (in the admittedly small chance) I get dinged by customs establish its duty-free status afterwards. I’m not moving anything large, it’s essentially all books but does also include my stamp collection which is worth a fair amount (and will be insured, obviously).

When I returned home from Oz, I merely used the standard mail customs form. Each form was attached to the 20+ boxes I shipped via the postal service. (It was far cheaper than a standard bulk shipper.)

Mind you this was pre-9/11 so I’m not sure what may have changed.

My daughter shipped things home from Namibia via the Nambia post office. There were customs forms for each. BTW, nothing we ever shipped to her, or she shipped back to us were subject to customs duties.

Thank you for your replies. I’ll be going with just the standard forms.