Generosity is a hallmark of Filipino culture, and one of the most tangible expressions of this trait is the Balikbayan Box. If you have relatives working abroad, chances are you’re familiar with the concept. Packed with imported goods ranging from food to beauty products, these boxes are not just a glimpse into foreign lands but also a means to share love with family and friends in the Philippines.
What is a Balikbayan Box?
A Balikbayan box is a term used to describe how Filipinos send packages to the Philippines. It can be a single large corrugated cardboard box or multiple smaller ones. These boxes undergo a special process to ensure a hassle-free delivery to their destination.
Who Can Send Balikbayan Boxes?
While anyone can send Balikbayan Boxes, tax and duty-free privileges apply only to three categories: resident Filipinos, non-resident Filipinos, and overseas Filipino workers, including those with dual citizenship or specific visas.
Documents Required When Sending a Balikbayan Box: To send a Balikbayan Box, specific documents must be prepared and submitted to the consolidator abroad, who then transmits them to the Bureau of Customs in the Philippines. These include an Information or Declaration Sheet, a photocopy of the passport’s biographical page, and an invoice or receipt if applicable.
Items Allowed and Restricted: Balikbayan Boxes can contain various items, but there are restrictions. Some items, like childcare belongings and certain cosmetics, are hassle-free, while others are regulated or restricted, such as firearms and illegal substances.
How Much Does it Cost to Ship a Balikbayan Box?
The cost of shipping a Balikbayan box varies based on the shipping company, destination, and box size. Here’s a rough estimate for various countries:
- USA: P2,000 to P6,000
- Canada: P3,500 to P4,800
- Japan: around P4,200
- Australia: P4,100 to P6,600
- UK: P4,200 to P6,000
How to Send a Balikbayan Box (Step-by-Step):
- Research Shipping Companies: Compare prices and services. Look for reviews and recommendations to choose a reputable company with a track record of secure and timely deliveries.
- Pack the Box: List items on an information sheet, secure liquids, and protect fragile items. A thoughtful and organized packing process ensures that items arrive in good condition.
- Secure the Box: Use tape, attach a label with recipient details, and ensure sturdiness. Adequately securing the box prevents damage during transit and facilitates efficient customs processing.
- Get it Delivered: Bring the box to the courier or schedule a pickup. Confirm the shipping details and estimated delivery time with the chosen company to keep both sender and recipient informed.
How Long Does it Take Before a Balikbayan Box Arrives in the Philippines?
The shipping of the Balikbayan boxes usually takes around 8 to 12 weeks depending on the shipping company, the season and the source of cargo, so make sure you don’t include items that are needed urgently back home.
Tips on Sending Balikbayan Boxes
- Be practical and avoid redundant items. Consider the preferences and needs of the recipients to make the contents meaningful and practical.
- Follow customs rules and declare items accurately. Adhering to customs regulations helps in smooth processing and prevents penalties or delays.
- Monitor the package’s weight to avoid extra fees. Shipping companies charge based on weight, and exceeding the allowed weight may result in additional charges.
- Plan well in advance for special occasions. To ensure that the Balikbayan box reaches its destination in time for special events or celebrations, plan shipments well ahead.
- Choose a reliable shipping company. Opt for shipping providers with a reliable reputation, transparent pricing, and excellent customer service to ensure a positive experience.
- Pack items securely to withstand handling. Use appropriate packaging materials, especially for fragile items, and secure the contents tightly to prevent damage during transit.
More Questions on Balikbayan Boxes
- What is the Balikbayan box privilege?
- It allows qualified individuals tax and duty-free shipments to their families in the Philippines.
- How many times can I use my Balikbayan box privilege?
- Three shipments annually with a total value not exceeding P150,000.
- What is De Minimis Value?
- Goods valued at P10,000 or less are exempt from duty and tax.
- Does the Bureau of Customs check my Balikbayan Box?
- Yes, each box undergoes inspection and assessment via x-ray scanning before reaching its destination.