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International Shipping...customs issues...please help...

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St. Louis, MO
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International Shipping...customs issues...please help...

Some of you may know me and know that I am moving to Guatemala from the states in a few months and am getting to the point of very high stress trying to deal with last minute details. I want to thank you all in advance for your advice, input, and knowledge. It is helpful to me and everyone on this forum. Thank you!

Okay...here is my question. I have picked out the international shipper that I want to use. I am going to pack the boxes myself and I need to stay under or at 2000 lbs. It is a door-to-door delivery. However, and I didn't think about this until today, but what about customs in Guatemala? Do I have to pay duty? Who do I contact about it? Has anyone gone through this and have good news or horror stories? Please, any info you may share will be helpful. Thanks you guys!

Jennifer

Guatemala City...
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682 posts
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1. Re: International Shipping...customs issues...please help...

Jennifer,

I work in international shipping, feel free to email me at

eric-holbik@aimargroup.com

Although i work in Honduras..our office is based in Guatemala. I also had to go through the same thing when i moved down from florida.

Hopefully this is helpful for you....

OK.. customs in Guatemala... you will need to present original invoices & Packing list for anything you bring to the country.

When you are packing..keep a record of what you have and an estimated value for it. You then need to list it out.... usually the duty is 12% + additional taxes on the cost of your goods + freight costs. Some items will not be taxed or tax exempt. I dont know the specifics... but a customs broker can. (Later on this)

The company you are working may offer door to door service but you will need to clear customs in Guatemala City. Its very important you have the documents ready at the time of export. The shipping company in Guatemala will need to present this information to move the container from Puerto Barrios to Guatemala City bonded warehouse. Without this information, you will hold up the consolidated container at the port.

You will need a customs broker to help you. Find out from your shipping company who is their agent or representavtive on the other side and if they can do the customs clearance. Otherwise you will need to find one..

Once you present your invoice and packing list.. Guatemala customs will inspect your goods... your customs broker can be there to verify the inspection. Once you pay your taxes... the shipping company will make delivery.

Let me know if you have any questions... just curious why you have to keep it under 2000 lbs??

St. Louis, MO USA
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2. Re: International Shipping...customs issues...please help...

E,

Thanks so much for all of that information. I appreciate you taking the time to respond.

I am keeping the weight under 2000 lbs. because the company I am trying to work with charges $2400.00 for 2000 lbs and a dollar more per any pound over that weight. I am feeling very overwhelmed. It's hard to save for something I don't even know exact amounts I will owe. I also don't understand the point of being charged 12% on my own estimated value of my stuff. Couldn't someone just say it's only worth $1.00? If you could offer any clarification, that would be wonderful. By the way, I am going to copy/paste what my shipping agent just sent me when I inquired about this.

Jennifer every country is different. Once your move is booked with me you will be contacted by our international dept that will walk you through these processes.

Helpful. :<\ That struck me funny, like they are trying to lock me in and then charge me up the wazoo and there wouldn't be anything I could do about it. What do you think?

Thanks,

Jennifer

St. Louis, MO USA
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23 posts
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3. Re: International Shipping...customs issues...please help...

E,

He then sent me this, probably sensing my very serious irritation.

Guatemala Custom Regulations:

P.S. Jen here is what I have for you.

Back to top

Note:Due to Customs Regulations are subject to change at any time.Please always double check with yout local embassy or consulate.

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED

Passport with entry stamp (original), for each member of the family

Valued Inventory, in Spanish or English, legible (with no declared values)

Shipping advice including a contact address for client

CUSTOMS REGULATIONS

CUSTOMERS PRESENCE IN GUATEMALA IS REQUIRED TO CLEAR SHIPMENT

All household goods and personal effects are subject to Customs duties and taxes. If no value appears on the documents, Customs will determine the value of the shipment

All shipments inspected

SURFACE shipments:

Clearance at a bonded warehouse recommended

PROHIBITED ITEMS

Weapons and ammunition

Narcotics

Legitimate archaeological or colonial articles

I guess I need to find out whom to call to find out how much money I will need... :(

Guatemala City...
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682 posts
10 reviews
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4. Re: International Shipping...customs issues...please help...

Jennifer,

email me.. probably will be easier... i can help you better.

Regarding the packing list/invoices..

yes you can put the value you want. EG. $1.00 or whatever..... customs will open the box and confirm the contents and probably wont give you a hard time.

if you bring in used personal effects..should not have a problems... its just that sometimes people bring in brand new TVs and declare $50... customs will designate another value.

otherwise you should be fine.

Guatemala City...
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682 posts
10 reviews
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5. Re: International Shipping...customs issues...please help...

Jennifer,

How much stuff are you planning to ship? Email me at either eholbik@yahoo.com or eric-holbik@aimargroup.com

i can probably get you a better rate... $2600 seems very high...

when are you planning on doing this...

Antigua, Guatemala
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53 posts
2 reviews
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6. Re: International Shipping...customs issues...please help...

Ask your shipper about this, and get the answer in writing. Some friends of ours just got through with shipping their things from California to Guate, and things went very smoothly. The shipper handled everything. The only negative experience they had was that the shipper tried to add on additional charges when everything was delivered. They finally agreed on our friends paying only slightly more than the originally agreed price.

When you live in Guatemala you will become accustomed to everyone trying to get just a little bit more from you (sometimes a whole lot more), even after you think you have a firm deal. We call it the squeal factor. They will squeeze you for more money until you squeal "Ay No".

Best of luck. You will love it here.

St. Louis, MO
10 posts
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7. Re: International Shipping...customs issues...please help...

Thanks guys...I appreciate the input. Juan, I do love Antigua! I was there for the first time last year on a missions trip and I can't wait to move, that is of course, if I can manage to get all of this together in between studying for my teaching certificate, working two jobs, planning a move, and manageing my household!

Have a great night you two!

Jennifer

ps...it's me...creatajen...I have a different user name at my home address...sorry for the confusion

St. Louis, MO
10 posts
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8. Re: International Shipping...customs issues...please help...

Okay, I am SO frustrated with the darn Chicago Guatemalan Consulate office. Every time I call I get conflicting information. I swear I want to cry right now. I'm thinking just about selling EVERYTHING! I may as well just "start over"!

Antigua, Guatemala
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53 posts
2 reviews
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9. Re: International Shipping...customs issues...please help...

I can't advise you what to do as to shipping or not, but I can tell you that your experience with the embasy is what you will encounter with all government agencies in Guatemala. The rules down here are written in Jello. Nothing is firm, and everything is subject to change at any time. However, this is also one of the good things about living here. You don't have the feeling that your every move is controlled by rules and laws, as in the U.S. If someone doesn't like what you are doing they can't say "I'm going to sue you".

Ottawa, Canada
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32 posts
84 reviews
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10. Re: International Shipping...customs issues...please help...

I've seen few people as determined as you're to move there...There's significant potential hassle in what you're planning on doing. My advice will be to get personally in touch with someone who's done this recently and talk about the many off-the-record issues that you need to be aware of as you ship your stuff. In addition, do not send in any valuables nor items that can be damaged by direct contact with water. Good luck in your endeavors. WF