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Fedex offers a baggage free traveler's service. It purports to ship your belongings to your destination rather than taking them on your person.

This raises a question:

  1. How are customs declarations and duties handled when the destination is in a different country?

    Luggage you take across a border on your person seems to be considered to be "personal effects" by default and not subject to customs duties. In contrast, items shipped across a border via courier seem to be considered by default to be some sort of commercial item to which a customs duty applies. Which leads to the question:

  2. How do you ship personal effects across a border so that they are not assessed customs duties?

  3. Does Fedex treat "Baggage Free" shipments especially at the customs clearing stage of shipping? Or, is it up to the sender to make some special customs declarations in order to avoid customs fees?

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Turns out that the FedEx baggage free service is unavailable (at least in Canada). This is a moot point, however, as your baggage can be couriered with plain-old courier service and the right customs forms. The details of how to do this are in the Customs Duties section of this answer. –  alx9r Dec 3 '12 at 2:23
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1 Answer

up vote 4 down vote accepted

While I couldn't find anything that pertains strictly to FedEx, I found this website which offers a similar service. Their terms seem to answers your questions.

  1. The luggage would go through customs just like any package being sent through the mail would be. Having the contents packed into a suitcase instead of a cardboard box makes little difference to them when screening.

  2. There would be no way to avoid a fee. Any fee incurred would be charged to you once your luggage arrives at it's destination.

  3. Just like mailing a package, the customer must provide a list of everything contained in the suitcase.

    Any duties, taxes or other fees incurred during the customs inspection process will be passed on to the customer.

    To ensure an expedited customs clearance process and to minimize duties, taxes or other fees imposed by customs or similar authorities, customer is responsible for supplying Luggage Free® with the complete contents of each Item in the shipment.

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