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  • Anyone recently sent back a kit from Australia?

    Hi - hope someone can help on this!

    I'm travelling to Australia later this week to take a kit to one of my (very few) paternal cousins. I'll need to arrange/pay for posting the kit back from Australia.

    This is all new to me. In the past, kits I've sent back to the US have had postage pre-paid. I'm aware the kit has to be sent as a parcel - so I'm guessing I have to go to a post office (if they still exist in Aus) to buy the right postage.

    Another question that's causing me much anguish ... will I also have to complete a customs declaration? And if I do, what do I declare the contents as?

    I opened a request about this, but haven't heard back.

  • #2
    Just write "genealogy sample" on the customs declaration.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks

      Many thanks, ltd-jean-pull ... a brilliant suggestion!

      Comment


      • #4
        Is a year ago recent enough ? Jokes aside, here are the facts.

        Exempt human specimen


        is the international designation for the DNA samples of the type used by FTDNA. Australia allows exempt human specimen to be shipped as a small packet. Most countries that belong to Universal Postal Union do.

        Any courier (in any country) might not be the best choice, since couriers do not follow Universal Postal Union rules.


        You may want to check Australia postal laws (search for exempt human specimen), before going to the post office, so you can tell the clerk which part of the postal regulations allows such shipments, ii might always happen that a clerk is not aware of such a designation.



        Good luck - Mr. W.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Fern View Post
          Hi - hope someone can help on this!

          I'm travelling to Australia later this week to take a kit to one of my (very few) paternal cousins. I'll need to arrange/pay for posting the kit back from Australia.

          This is all new to me. In the past, kits I've sent back to the US have had postage pre-paid. I'm aware the kit has to be sent as a parcel - so I'm guessing I have to go to a post office (if they still exist in Aus) to buy the right postage.

          Another question that's causing me much anguish ... will I also have to complete a customs declaration? And if I do, what do I declare the contents as?

          I opened a request about this, but haven't heard back.
          I've sent samples to the US from Aus.
          Yes we do have Post Offices and agencies. Most shopping centres and City centres will have a post office.
          I usually used the padded envelope/packet that came with the kit or you can buy a small padded packet at the post office.
          It usually only cost me abt $5 for airmail. Though those prices may have gone up in the last few years.

          The customs form is quite small and simple, I usually said saliva sample for genealogy.

          You could also just take the swabs back to the US with you.

          Comment


          • #6
            More thanks!

            Thanks, Mr W ... yep, a year ago counts as recent in this situation! Not so sure about "exempt human specimen", though. It may be legally correct but I'm not sure if I want to run the risk of the person on the other side of the counter not knowing about it

            Thanks, rivergirl ... very helpful info

            Comment


            • #7
              Any other wording than exempt human specimen should only be a secondary one. That applies to Australia and any other country.

              Postal office clerk (anywhere) might not be aware of exempt human specimen designation, but that can be looked up. That is why I suggest searching for the exact rule in the sending country postal code. Any other wording except exempt human specimen does not allow post office to accept the shipment. They might ask for a secondary description, and the wording genealogical sample looks like the perfect choice for that purpose, but in no country I found that it was their mandate.

              Why exempt human specimen ? ? ?

              Because that actually implies both the content and the packaging. Here is a quote (not from Australia Post!) that nicely describes all the elements:
              Human or animal specimens for which there is minimal likelihood that pathogens are present are not subject to this Code if the specimen is transported in a packaging which will prevent any leakage and which is marked with the words “Exempt human specimen” or “Exempt animal specimen”, as appropriate. The packaging should meet the following conditions:
              • The packaging should consist of three components:
                1. a leak-proof primary receptacle(s);
                2. a leak-proof secondary packaging; and
                3. an outer packaging of adequate strength for its capacity, mass and intended use, and with at least one surface having minimum dimensions of 100 mm × 100 mm;
              • For liquids, absorbent material in sufficient quantity to absorb the entire contents should be placed between the primary receptacle(s) and the secondary packaging so that, during transport, any release or leak of a liquid substance will not reach the outer packaging and will not compromise the integrity of the cushioning material;
              • When multiple fragile primary receptacles are placed in a single secondary packaging, they should be either individually wrapped or separated to prevent contact between them.

              As you can see the FTDNA packaging complies with the requirements 1-3. Adding a paper tissue (or something else small, but absorbent) to the inside of the plastic bag might be required to comply with the entirety of the requirements. I have not seen recent kits from FTDNA, so I am not sure whether they include absorbent pad(s). Anyone who has handled IN* collection kits in 2018?


              I went to the Australia Post website (see the postscriptum), and the important Australian requirements are:
              • the addressee to be “a recognised laboratory” (so it is important to use the original envelope and potentially being prepared to suggest ftdna.com or Wikipedia entry for FTDNA, if the clerk is particularly suspicious);
              • “name and telephone number of the person responsible for the shipment” to be listed on the packaging.




              Mr. W.


              P.S.
              Australia Post
              Dangerous and prohibited goods and packaging guide – September 2017 • Section 10 – Preparation and packaging
              https://auspost.com.au/content/dam/a...oods-guide.pdf
              page 40

              I found it funny that in Australia a sample like we use for FTDNA is not allowed to be mailed domestically by ordinary citizens, but they can send it away
              Last edited by dna; 7 May 2018, 09:17 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by dna View Post
                Any other wording than exempt human specimen should only be a secondary one. That applies to Australia and any other country.

                Postal office clerk (anywhere) might not be aware of exempt human specimen designation, but that can be looked up. That is why I suggest searching for the exact rule in the sending country postal code. Any other wording except exempt human specimen does not allow post office to accept the shipment. They might ask for a secondary description, and the wording genealogical sample looks like the perfect choice for that purpose, but in no country I found that it was their mandate.

                Why exempt human specimen ? ? ?

                Because that actually implies both the content and the packaging. Here is a quote (not from Australia Post!) that nicely describes all the elements:
                Human or animal specimens for which there is minimal likelihood that pathogens are present are not subject to this Code if the specimen is transported in a packaging which will prevent any leakage and which is marked with the words “Exempt human specimen” or “Exempt animal specimen”, as appropriate. The packaging should meet the following conditions:
                • The packaging should consist of three components:
                  1. a leak-proof primary receptacle(s);
                  2. a leak-proof secondary packaging; and
                  3. an outer packaging of adequate strength for its capacity, mass and intended use, and with at least one surface having minimum dimensions of 100 mm × 100 mm;
                • For liquids, absorbent material in sufficient quantity to absorb the entire contents should be placed between the primary receptacle(s) and the secondary packaging so that, during transport, any release or leak of a liquid substance will not reach the outer packaging and will not compromise the integrity of the cushioning material;
                • When multiple fragile primary receptacles are placed in a single secondary packaging, they should be either individually wrapped or separated to prevent contact between them.

                As you can see the FTDNA packaging complies with the requirements 1-3. Adding a paper tissue (or something else small, but absorbent) to the inside of the plastic bag might be required to comply with the entirety of the requirements. I have not seen recent kits from FTDNA, so I am not sure whether they include absorbent pad(s). Anyone who has handled IN* collection kits in 2018?


                I went to the Australia Post website (see the postscriptum), and the important Australian requirements are:
                • the addressee to be “a recognised laboratory” (so it is important to use the original envelope and potentially being prepared to suggest ftdna.com or Wikipedia entry for FTDNA, if the clerk is particularly suspicious);
                • “name and telephone number of the person responsible for the shipment” to be listed on the packaging.




                Mr. W.


                P.S.
                Australia Post
                Dangerous and prohibited goods and packaging guide – September 2017 • Section 10 – Preparation and packaging
                https://auspost.com.au/content/dam/a...oods-guide.pdf
                page 40

                I found it funny that in Australia a sample like we use for FTDNA is not allowed to be mailed domestically by ordinary citizens, but they can send it away
                I'm sorry Mr W, you are so "over thinking" this.
                I doubt any Aussie Post worker would even blink at a saliva sample being sent to the US.
                We do have 'a lot' of advertising for a certain US company doing DNA/genealogy testing.
                I've not had a problem for the dozen or more samples Ive sent from Australia to the US and UK for DNA testing
                Last edited by rivergirl; 8 May 2018, 09:06 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by rivergirl View Post
                  I'm sorry Mr W, you are so "over thinking" this.
                  I doubt any Aussie Post worker would even blink at a saliva sample being sent to the US.
                  We do have 'a lot' of advertising for a certain US company doing DNA/genealogy testing.
                  I've not had a problem for the dozen or more samples I've sent from Australia to the US and UK for DNA testing
                  You are 100% right, most of the time the worker on the other side of the counter cares about neither the actual content nor the content description.

                  My answer was written for a reader with a worrier gene


                  I happen to use the old fashioned mail system in multiple countries, including the US, for more than FTDNA kits . And occasionally (but as you are pointing out rarely) there is
                  • a trainee and her or his supervisor is showing or enforcing every detail of the existing procedures;
                  • a new person just after training still trying to follow the regulations;
                  • some event (postal strike, new postal code, etc.) that makes regulations to be followed.
                  The above examples are from my recent experience.


                  Mr. W.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I've sent many kits from Australia to USA (Ancestry, FTDNA & MyHeritage) as recently as December 2017.

                    The custom declaration I use is "genealogical sample".
                    I declare a value of A$10.
                    My mailing cost could be as high as A$25 (if I wish to track the despatch) or as low as A$6.

                    I have sent multiple kits in one envelope to FTDNA/MyHeritage.

                    In the last two years, I have "lost" two kits in the mail (out of about 16). So I tend to favor the expensive tracking option.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thank you EVERYONE

                      And thank you, Mr W, for alerting Larry Peters to this thread

                      All the replies have been much appreciated!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        As of today my place of work became a postal centre. I'm unlikely to be involved with this. I've been active on EBay and other trading sites as a buyer and seller since about 2000, so I'm rather familiar with posting and shipping requirements. Anyway...if I need to help out I'll pull out the book of regulations and follow them to the letter...

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