What is a Balikbayan Box?
A Balikbayan Box is different from others as it holds a special meaning for Filipinos. These are corrugated boxes that can contain all type of goodies sent by overseas Filipinos to their families or friends, and their shipping is usually done by freight forwarders that specialize in their shipping.
The History of the Balikbayan Box
The Balikbayan box tradition started in 1970 when a Philippines national campaign encouraging people to seek jobs abroad had its intended and expected success, and as a consequence, it helped grow the national economy.
The president during that time, Ferdinand Marcos, decided to incentivize citizen participation in the program by allowing all the Filipinos working overseas to send personal and tax-free items to their families, especially for those that lived in rural areas of the Philippines.
This was how, the tax-free entry of goods evolved into a modern tradition many Filipinos still keep alive, showing their relatives they care about them while being away from home.
Balikbayan boxes, more than fun cargo, are feelings sent through the air to reach their destination, and itâ€™s highly important all the items stay in good conditions.
We understand the importance of this shipping process, as it represents not only your good wishes but a tradition that will surely last many years; this is why you can count on us to guide you with everything you need to send your balikbayan box, from the legal requirements to the perfect box size for your goods.
But, whatâ€™s the core of this tradition and why does it mean a lot to people? The word Balikbayan means â€śreturning to oneâ€™s country,â€ť which would explain the great significance it holds for families that don’t see each other often.
Itâ€™s also a net benefit for both the Philippine and American postal services, since sending items in bulk or larger packages is preferable, avoiding the process of sending smaller, but maybe just as costly, boxes through their services. Delivery might take a few weeks because these bigger boxes require bigger and slower transportation mediums, but it will always be worth it.
Returning to oneâ€™s country is part of the Philippine practice called Pasalubong, which, as mentioned before, represents a cultural tradition that unites family by sending them a box with goods that will demonstrate the senderâ€™s appreciation.
Shipping your Balikbayan Box in 2018 – New Rules
Balikbayan boxes shipping rules are set by the Philippines Customs Administrative Order, and they are always changing, and this year is no exception.
Among the most important changes the balikbayan box rules have gone under, is that before, you could send any box size and weight content by the same price. Now thereâ€™s a special price for each box and the list of items you can ship have been changing constantly.
Senders need to specify every item theyâ€™re shipping and show all the receipts before shipping to the Philippines. This was a new rule implemented in 2017.
The Balikbayan boxes can only be sent by qualified Filipinos that have a student visa, investorâ€™s visa, tourist visas and similar visas that legally permit them to temporarily stay abroad.
These indications are authorized under the Republic Act No. 1083, or the Custom Qualified Filipinos While Abroad (QFWA) to their families is exempt from payment of duties and taxes up to three times, and not exceeding Php 150,000 in a calendar year.
New law limits can be a hassle, but do not worry, as we are here to help you send your balikbayan box to your loved ones. We will guide you through all the steps.
What are the exemptions and limitations?
If the balikbayan box doesnâ€™t qualify for the exemptions and limitations, then it will definitely be subject to duty and import tax.
Balikbayan Boxes can be sent by Qualified Filipinos While Abroad (QFWA), who are non-resident Filipinos abroad who established a Permanent residency overseas but retained their Filipino citizenship, Â or Filipinos who acquired a temporary visa to stay abroad.
When all the necessary requirements are met, then the QFWA can get a duty and tax exemption, but only if they have every document on point.
The QFWA can avail of the duty and tax-free privilege of balikbayan boxes under section 800 (g) of the CMTA (Clearing Member Trade Agreement). So if you want it to be tax-free, you should stick to the strict process.
On an important note, the balikbayan boxes can only be sent to relatives that meet the norms of the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity.
Documentation, rules, and clear information are always needed to make any shipment, and the balikbayan boxes shipping is no exception. Hereâ€™s what you need to send your special balikbayan box:
- Shippers need 3 copies of itemized receipts and a printed copy of the senderâ€™s passport.
- Fill up the declaration form provided by the Bureau of Customs.
- A dual citizen without a passport? Get a copy of the Oath of Allegiance provided by the embassy.
- The declaration list or information sheet, which you can find here.
- Receipt of valuable items.
Balikbayan Box what to put?
- Childcare articles
- Bar Soap
- Assorted cosmetics
- Vitamins or supplements
- Processed food
- Alcohol/alcoholic drinks
- Automobile/motorcycle, parts or whole
- Ceramic tableware
- Cultural artifacts and pottery
- Defense articles or items with military or proliferation applications
- Products containing dog or cat fur, as well as animal hide
- Drug paraphernalia (unless prescribed for medical conditions)
- Firearms, explosives (including parts)
- Cheese, Meat, fruits, and vegetables (unless canned)
- Pets, plants, seeds, soil
- Used clothing of commercial quantity (ukay-ukay or in bales)
- Pornographic materials
- Fluids and perishable food items
Note: One prohibited item caught will affect ALL the packages inside the shipping container.
If you want to read more details about banned and allowed items click here.
Balikbayan Box sizes and price
Balikbayan Boxes come in four sizes:
Mini Box: 1 cubic foot. 12″x 12″x12″
Medium box: 3.0 cu/ft – 18″x18″x16″
Large Box: 4.5 cu/ft – 18″x18″x24″
Jumbo Box: 6.0 cu/ft – 24″x18″x24″
Prices can be around:
Mini $20.00 dlls,Â Â Medium $50.00 dlls, Regular $70.00 dlls,Â Jumbo $80.00 dlls
Mini $25.00 dlls,Â Medium $55.00 dlls, Regular $75.00 dlls,Â Jumbo $85.00 dlls
Mini $50.00 dlls,Â Medium $60.00 dlls,Â Regular $90.00 dlls,Â Jumbo $100.00 dlls
Mini$50.00 dlls,Â Medium $65.00 dlls, Regular $95.00 dlls, Jumbo $105.00 dlls
Where to buy a Balikbayan Box?
Finding online pages where to buy them is not that hard, but you must be careful, as sometimes, depending on the company: good quality, Â reasonable prices, or variety, are not even close to what you need. With us, youâ€™ll always find all of these elements. Contact The Box Zone to buy or ask any question on Balikbayan Boxes. Send this traditional box overseas and let your loved ones know you care for them.