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US customs declaration for international kits ?

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  • US customs declaration for international kits ?

    An employee at my local post office in Germany informed me that any letter sent to the US which contains not only paper needs a content declaration for the US customs.

    According to the same employee such letters without a customs declaration are at a higher risk of a closer inspection and thus a longer time for the delivery.

    Apart from a delay, international FTDNA customers really do not want their precious vials contaminated by some overly zealous CBP/DHS agent or USPS employee.

    So how should an international FTDNA customer best declare the contents of their FTDNA return letter in order to minimize the risk of such problems?

    Thanks,
    -Lars.

  • #2
    23andme uses a phrase like "exempt DNA specimen in aqueous buffer solution."

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    • #3
      A UK Royal Mail clerk said no Customs declaration is required because it is obvious what is in the envelope.

      The sample arrived (at Genographic) without one.

      Regards,
      Jim

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      • #4
        I did attach a CN22 customs form and it got there without delay (from UK)

        FTDNA support told me "...it is very important that when declaring what is contained in the kit, you only notify customs that it contains cotton swabs. Do not notify customs that the package contains DNA, as in fact what is being sent to us is just material from your cheek. If you declare that you are sending DNA, the package will be held up at customs and may not be delivered..."

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Mike_ View Post
          I did attach a CN22 customs form and it got there without delay (from UK)

          FTDNA support told me "...it is very important that when declaring what is contained in the kit, you only notify customs that it contains cotton swabs. Do not notify customs that the package contains DNA, as in fact what is being sent to us is just material from your cheek. If you declare that you are sending DNA, the package will be held up at customs and may not be delivered..."
          Ah yes, the dangerous DNA, almost bad as hydrodioxide.

          Thanks for the answers.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Lklundin View Post
            An employee at my local post office in Germany informed me that any letter sent to the US which contains not only paper needs a content declaration for the US customs.

            According to the same employee such letters without a customs declaration are at a higher risk of a closer inspection and thus a longer time for the delivery.

            Apart from a delay, international FTDNA customers really do not want their precious vials contaminated by some overly zealous CBP/DHS agent or USPS employee.

            So how should an international FTDNA customer best declare the contents of their FTDNA return letter in order to minimize the risk of such problems?

            Thanks,
            -Lars.

            I think I remember reading recently on one of the blogs that human DNA testing is illegal in Germany. Simply mailing the sample might be illegal too?

            Comment


            • #7
              Using Google, I've found DNA testing is legal but more restrictive. I would hope that in a reasonably free country, a direct-to-customer personal DNA test would be legal

              http://www.dw.de/new-german-law-rest...ng/a-4201588-1

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Bertp View Post
                Using Google, I've found DNA testing is legal but more restrictive. I would hope that in a reasonably free country, a direct-to-customer personal DNA test would be legal

                http://www.dw.de/new-german-law-rest...ng/a-4201588-1
                Right.

                FTDNAs European partner igenea.com markets their DNA-testing in Germany (with igenea.de and a German customer service phone number), so genetic DNA-testing cannot be that verboten.

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                • #9
                  My UK post office clerk suggested I put "commercial sample" on my declaration

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                  • #10
                    Ive sent many kits from Australia and I just write "Saliva sample."

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Bertp View Post
                      I think I remember reading recently on one of the blogs that human DNA testing is illegal in Germany. Simply mailing the sample might be illegal too?
                      There are legal issues with using DNA testing for paternity cases in France, but I've not read of any DNA testing issues in Germany.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mike_ View Post
                        I did attach a CN22 customs form and it got there without delay (from UK)

                        FTDNA support told me "...it is very important that when declaring what is contained in the kit, you only notify customs that it contains cotton swabs. Do not notify customs that the package contains DNA, as in fact what is being sent to us is just material from your cheek. If you declare that you are sending DNA, the package will be held up at customs and may not be delivered..."
                        One kit I administrate was mailed to the USA two weeks ago with a CN22 attached: "Cheek swabs for recreational DNA-testing".

                        Although the kit was just received at FTDNA (and thus presumably with the vials intact), I take note of the various advice above and will from now on instruct relatives who test to declare (if requested) the content as:

                        "Cotton swabs in aqueous buffer solution".

                        Perhaps FTDNA should consider an international variant of the instructions they include in their kit.

                        I can only imagine that many of FTDNAs US customers would be happy to see that testing became a bit easier for people of the old world.

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