First of, it is important to pack your work properly. Here is a tip that I found useful and I had packed my work in a similar fashion before (click image to follow link) :
Avoid using wood as packing material!
There are stringent import regulations for solid wood packing, and these regulations are international, not just US. This was most likely the case that held up our shipment from Paris to Mexico. The regulations are similar everywhere, here are the ones for the US:
Implementation of Wood Packaging Material Regulation - USDA United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
Even though it says, in part: "WPM made entirely of manufactured wood material (e.g., particleboard, plywood, oriented strandboard),wine and whiskey barrels, and WPM with a thickness of 6 mm or less are exempt from the treatment and marking requirements." - I would sooner not take a chance and preferably use something other than wood.
Import and Export Requirements for Wood Packaging Material (WPM) into the U.S.
the abbreviation HTSUS means: Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States
for more info read Works of Art, Collector’s Pieces, Antiques, and Other Cultural Property
For further research, I suggest looking at this, because this is what HTSUS-9701 is based on:
UNESCO Agreement on the Importation of Educational, Scientific and Cultural Materials, with Annexes A to E and Protocol annexed 1950 - scroll to Annex B - Works of art and collectors' pieces of an educational, scientific or cultural character.
You find additional information, specific to the US here: US Customs Regulations
From our colleague Bruce Rimell comes this advice about forms:
- Three copies of an artwork declaration similar to this one (which is the one Fedex uses). One set will cover multiple artworks I believe.
- Three copies of a Commercial Invoice with the Insurance value of the artwork(s).
- The following text, which should be on the Commercial Invoice. I also attach it to the package itself for absolute clarity: "Contents as Artworks are Duty-Free under Article HTSUS-9701. Please see attached Artwork Declaration."
I've done my homework about this years ago - once I learned that the sometimes wrongly given "advice" of low-balling your insurance value could get you into trouble. I had the experience before when artwork was held in customs for this very reason.
As a alternative, while in Canada, I had good experience with this company: GPNS Logistics
I shipped my artwork to Austria with them for a fraction of the quote I got from FedEx; so if you are in Canada, this would be a lower cost alternative. Interestingly, my shipment arrived in Vienna via FedEx!
Untested USA and UK, whereas Austria and Canada I used before, and so did a few friends. You may inquire about quotes from these companies:
- in the USA - Pak Mail Centers of America
- in Canada - GPNS Logistics
- in the UK - PACK & SEND Systems Pty Ltd
- in Austria - pack&weg! Spedition und Handels GmbH