How To Send Balikbayan Box to the Philippines (New Rules 2020)

The new policy regarding the rules of sending the Balikbayan Boxes to the Philippines affects a lot of Filipinos abroad.

Since 1st August 2017, the new policy that has been implemented by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) has caused lots of buzz in the media and within the Filipino communities abroad.

Read the latest updates about the 2019 Balikbayan box rules amendment, how to send a balikbayan box that is compliant to the new Bureau of Customs guidance and how to qualify the tax-free exemption.

Balikbayan box to the philippines
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Read More: How to Get A Balikbayan Visa for Foreign Spouse and Filipino Dual Citizen

I also received a few queries about it from fellow Filipinos here in the UK and other parts of the world.

Sending Balikbayan boxes to our families in the Philippines has been a part of the Filipino modern tradition.

Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) and the Resident Filipinos abroad are working hard and saving up to fill up these precious balikbayan boxes.

What are the “Balikbayan boxes”?

For those who are not familiar with this term, these are the boxes that Filipinos are sending to their families in the Philippines filled with toys, clothing, appliances, groceries etc.

The Balikbayan boxes come in various sizes depending on your preference and budget.

Filipinos who work and live abroad, typically fill the Balikbayan boxes throughout the year and send it to their family few months before the Christmas season or on several occasions in a year.

What are these new policies about sending Balikbayan boxes:

The new policy primarily aims to tackle the illegal importation (smuggling) of imported goods in the Philippines. The tax will also be a new source of revenue for the government public funds.

From 1st August 2017, balikbayan boxes will now be subject to duty and import tax with certain exemptions and limitations.

What do I have to do?

You can still carry-on and send your balikbayan boxes as usual. However, there are a few things that you should make note of.

Based on the new policy, valuable new items (e.g. gadgets, jewellery, appliances, watches etc.) that are sent thru the Balikbayan box should need to be declared and supported with a receipt.

The used items, groceries and less valuable new items (e.g everyday clothing, toiletries, chocolates etc.) is not required to have a receipt when sent thru the balikbayan box but you have to list them on the declaration form.

Upon sending the Balikbayan box, the sender is required to fill up the declaration form that is provided by the Bureau of Customs.

This will be submitted together with the receipt/s or proof of purchase to the Cargo companies that will transport the Balikbayan Boxes to the Philippines, IF AVAILABLE.

The declaration list and the receipts will be the basis of the duty and import tax that you have to pay when the items arrive in the Philippines.

Download Here: Balikbayan Information Sheet from Bureau of Customs (Declaration Sheet)

What are the exemptions and limitations?

Everyone is still allowed to send a balikbayan box to the Philippines.

However, the balikbayan box that won’t qualify for the exemptions and limitations will be subject to duty and import tax.

The Bureau of Customs set some special arrangements for the Qualified Filipinos While Abroad.

The Qualified Filipinos While Abroad (QFWA) are the OFWs, Non-resident Filipinos abroad who established a Permanent residency overseas but retained their Filipino Citizenship (Dual Citizen), and the Filipino Citizen who acquired a temporary visa to stay abroad (e.g. students, business visa etc.)

Qualified Filipinos While Abroad (QFWA) and Dual Citizens Filipinos can now send up to 150,000 Pesos worth of TAX-FREE BALIKBAYAN BOXES containing personal effects and household items ONLY, based on the new terms and condition about the BALIKBAYAN BOX. You can read the new terms and conditions here.

Requirements:

  • A copy of the Philippine passport
  • If dual citizen without a Philippine passport, a copy of their Oath of Allegiance provided by the embassy during their Re-acquisition of the Philippine citizenship.
  • The Information sheet (declaration list) from the BOC (link provided above)
  • Receipt of the valuable items, if available.

The QFWA is limited to send 3 balikbayan boxes with the total worth value of PHP 150,000 per calendar year to qualify for the duty and tax exemption. The items should not be in commercial quantity and considered to be allowed and/or regulated items.

If the balikbayan box would worth below PHP 10,000 it won’t be classified as part of the duty and tax-free exemption scheme, but will be classified as De Minimis Importation so it is automatically exempted to the duty and importation tax.

If you go over the allowed limits and conditions, the balikbayan box will be subjected to duty and import tax.

Only the family and close relatives of the QFWA should be the receiver of the balikbayan box in the Philippines.

If the QFWA will be sending the balikbayan box to their friends or non-relatives, this will also be subjected to the duty and import tax (if over the allowance of De Minimis Importation value of Php 10, 000).

For Non / Previous Filipino Citizens (PH citizens who acquired new citizenship from other country and choose not to retain their PH citizenships), will also have to pay for the duty and import tax (if over the De Minimis Importation value of 10,000 PHP), same goes with other foreign nationals who wish to send balikbayan boxes in the Philippines.

If you want to know in advance on how much is the potential duty and importation tax of your balikbayan box, you can message the Bureau of Customs FB page or email boc.cares@customs.gov.ph .

Don’t forget to include the itemized list of the goods that you will be sending so they can provide you with a correct computation.

If you have decided to apply to re-claim your Filipino citizenship after acquiring new citizenship from another country, I made a blog post about it, please read it on the link below.

Read More: Benefits of having Dual Citizenship (British – Filipino)

How would I know my limit or differentiate the personal and commercial quantity of goods in my Balikbayan box? 

We do sometimes get carried away on how much stuff we can put in our Balikbayan box for our family and relatives.  Here are the guidelines from the BOC

list of goods limitations from BOC
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These are some of the guidelines about the Import restrictions and the regulated ones for commercial purposes.

regulated import products
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restricted goods in balikbayan boxes
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If you have other concerns, about the new Balikbayan box policy please contact Bureau of Customs on their  Facebook page or email boc.cares@customs.gov.ph

I hope that this clarifies the process on how you can send your Balikbayan boxes to the Philippines under the new policy of the Bureau of Customs.

 Let me know in the comment box below on what you think of this new policy and your experience in sending your Balikbayan boxes.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ryazan Tristram EverythingZany Author Bio
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Ryazan Tristram

Travel Writer & Photographer

Ryazan has a Bachelor’s Degree in Tourism and Hotel Management. She also has more than 10 years of work experience gained from working in the hotel and travel sectors in Asia and Europe. Her work has been featured and published on Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Discovery Channel, World Travel Guide, MSN, CNBC, GMA, Lonely Planet and many more. She is currently living in the UK as a dual citizen (British – Filipina). Join her on travelling around the globe with a mission to share the best of the world.

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101 thoughts on “How To Send Balikbayan Box to the Philippines (New Rules 2020)”

    • hi,
      i am mr.dong ofw working in saudi arabia i would like to ask if how many kilos of date fruit i am allowed to send to the phils. via freight forwarder for family consumption and gifts to my relatives.

      Reply
  1. Hi… I sent 3 Medium Size Boxes in the Middle of July 2017
    so am I exempt from the Rules that started on August 1st ??
    Also I sent a Tool Box of Used Tools within the Box, is this OK??

    Reply
    • Hi Billy, I can only assume that you’ll be exempted from the new policy since you sent your boxes around July. I would suggest to contact Bureau of Customs directly to be 100% certain. I put the contact info on my blog post. Good luck!

      Reply
  2. Thank you for your very informative article! We’re in Republic of Ireland and it applies to us here because most Filipinos here still send Balikbayan Boxes to our hometown. I have read somewhere about equivalent price for used items, do you have it? I believe that even if you send used items, it should still be worth upto PHP10K only…

    Reply
    • Hi J, Thank you very much. Yes, Even the used item will be accounted for the PHP10k limit under the De Minimis privilege. I don’t have an equivalent list for it because it will be calculated based on the information (declaration) sheet that you will have to submit together with your balikbayan box. I would suggest to drop an email to Bureau of Customs (I put their contact details on this blog post) regarding your itemised list of used items to see it they will get value below PHP 10k. Or, try to estimate a value for it.

      Reply
  3. How will those used clothing be priced then? Does that mean I have to keep every single receipt I have for every single item in case I decide to send it in a few years? And if they were bought on the sale, but I have no receipt will they google the price and come up with the full price? This is a rip off!

    Reply
    • Hi Jan, As for the used items, you don’t need to provide a receipt but you need to list them on the information sheet provided by the BOC ( link is in this blog post). As for their pricing, I’m not so sure how would they calculate it. I can only assume to give the estimated value of it. If you want to clarify this you can contact the BOC on the email address I included in this post. I must admit it is pretty difficult for us OFW.

      Reply
  4. Sending balikbayan boxes used to be fun experience because it makes us feel good to know we can make our relatives and friends happy….but with these new requirements, it became a hassle! I don’t understand the necessity of copying one’s passport when you are aware that confidential and pesonal information are contained in this document. When we purchased the items, we were already taxed….why do recipients have to pay taxes on new items again? Just letting you know how ridiculous these new requirements are!!!

    Reply
    • Hi Lily, The BOC suspended the policy until the 31st March 2018. So just send your balikbayan box as usual until March 2018. I put the link to the memorandum on the top of this blog post.

      Reply
    • good day mam,
      i would like to know how much kilos of date fruit i can send to my family and relatives in the Phils via freight forwarding or thru the balikbayan box
      thank you

      Reply
  5. Is this ruling still applucable, now that faeldon is gone? I think this rulung is for the benefit of rhe forwarders. If you’re only limited 3 boxes per year and at 10k per box what is this 150k limit per year for? I don’t get it. Like here in the US the box cost 5 bucks freighting to our province is 80 bucks that’s 85 bucks for freighting alone. For 200 dollars worth of goods? That’s rediculous. Can they just leave the ofw alone. Balikbayan bix is the only thing that makes our family happy and connect us atleast. Why always the ofw have to suffer for the failure of the BOC to collect if they’re not yet collecting. Those taxes from the big importers. Is it because the tax is for their pocket and since ofw is not as big as those importers they will let us pay taxes. What happened to the ofw bagong bayani? I hope this stupid ruling will be recalled.

    Reply
    • I understand your concern. I’m an OFW as well. The latest update that BOC confirmed with is that they suspended the policy until 31st March 2018 to give way to the holiday period and to amend the policy.

      Reply
      • I am a British man
        Who is getting Married to a Filipino later this year after I emigrate there?
        My Questions are.
        Has the Tax exemption been lifted again?
        Also, when I am there, can my friend send me a Balikbayan box to the Philippines, as I will be leaving a few things behind.
        Due to the weight allowance on the plane.
        Like my DeWalt Battery operated Drill, and other things.

        Regards

        Derek

        Reply
  6. my brothers and cousins asked shoes for their gift this christmas. You know how expensive basketball shoes are, i patiently bought every one of them monthly as not to rip my pockets. How in the world would this shoes get there without getting taxed absurdly? How would it be possible to send a balikbayan box that would cost only 10,000 pesos??a single pair of shoes is already more than that. They playing OFWs as dirt poor. Let us have the chance to give our family decent gifts not garbage.

    Reply
    • Absolutely! I hope they will change the policy soon and adjust their limits or better yet remove it. BOC just confirmed with me that they are suspending the policy until 31st March to give way for the holiday season and amend the policy.

      Reply
  7. The Philippines is turning out just like all the other countries. They don’t understand that foreigners are what keep the place going and soon they won’t go there with all these restrictions in place.

    Reply
    • Hi Dwyane, BOC confirmed with me earlier that the policy is currently suspended until 31st March 2018 to give way to the holiday period and amend the policy. I think the government main concern here is about the smuggling of goods to the Philippines.

      Reply
    • Hi Sierra, The BOC balikbayan policy is currently suspended until 31st March 2018. So you can send your balikbayan box as usual without requiring your passport while the policy is on hold.

      Reply
  8. Hi Ryazan Tristram, do i need to pay the tax now if i spent more than 10,000 pesos for my balikbayan box ?am about to send it tomorrow. thank you.

    Reply
  9. Hello Ryazan.. I am sending balikbayan boxes this afternoon. Do I need to accomplish 3 copies of balikbayan-information sheet? Thank you.

    Reply
  10. Hello there. Since the policy is currently suspended so meaning to say we could send boxes even without accomplishing the information sheet with the itemized stuff or goods inside the boxes. Is my understanding of this is right? Please advise. Thank you.

    Reply
  11. My thoughts on this memorandum…I guess the Philippine government agency would like to encourage Filipinos abroad to spend their hard earned money in the Philippines to help the economy grow and patronizing Philippine made products well of course most product now are made in China and sold ridiculously in the Phils. I understand that memorandum is currently suspended and I hope and pray that it will not take effect at all. I am a Filipina married to an American citizen and we are planning to retire in Manila next year. I have used clothings that I wish to send back home so that I won’t have to buy clothes anymore plus other items my husband and I will need to start a new life in the PI. Where the heck will I get the receipts when it is all been thrown to the trash bin. This memorandum/policy is just way out of hand. Whoever thought about coming up with such policy is thinking about how to get more taxes on OFW and the like. I can only shake my head in disbelief. We can only hope for the best.

    Reply
  12. Worker Needed soon with $300 Weekly allowance in USA. contact me with your Details if anyone like to work as House Work,Gardener soon and Driver. roberthandersonhall500(@)gmail.com

    Reply
  13. Hi, I’ve been searching about the new policy of BOC for balikbayan box and check-in baggage. Your blog is very helpful.

    I have some questions.

    1. Since the New policy is suspended until 31st of March 2018. What if I send my package on the last month of suspension date (March 2018) and will arrive on May 2018. Is the suspension policy still applies? Or Does it mean that the package must arrive ON or BEFORE the Suspension date? I just want to make sure that I will still be able to use the old policy which is more easy and convenient.

    2. Is this New Policy of BOC applies also for check-in luggage? It is my first time to travel back again to Philippines from Europe. I only know that I must declare all my baggage especially if there are pasalubong included. I just want to know if the policy also the same as balikbayan?

    Thanks a lot and sorry to much question hehehe..

    Reply
  14. Apparently
    12% VAT
    up to 40% income tax
    yearly property tax
    foreign liquor tax
    fuel tax
    unsubsidized farming, water and electric
    unsubsidized public transport

    higher taxes and less public services than other comparable nations, where does all the money go?

    Now they have to tax “the people’s in family welfare.” No doubt these new duty and taxes are “the project of X senator” that’s not willing to put their name on it. RIGHT?

    Reply
    • This is a Disgrace! As if life isn’t already hard enough for the Filipino People! the Filipino people work very hard abroad to pay for these Boxes for their family in the Philippines! No doubt the Extra Taxes from these new changes will go into the wrong hands as usual! I just hope the People Stop sending Parcels for a while and see how quickly this will change! The Government will soon change their Rules!

      Reply
  15. OMG! this is ridiculous, So i am pilipina was married to an american and i am american citizen now. Is this mean that i will pay TAXES to the balikbayan boxes i send?. I already payed taxes here in america for each items i bought for my bro’s, sis’s, nephews and nieces not to mention inlaws. What, 10k pesos? limit in 1 box, how in the world is that? if you buy 2 nike shoes or 3 thats’s already over 10k pesos. BOC ARE RIPPING US OFF specially me because i’m not a pilipino holder anymore. I send balikbayan boxes to my relatives every year for them to enjoy, How in world can i do that now?.. I mean, BOC will say: YOU CAN STILL SEND BALIKBAYAN BOXES as advertise, WELL, LOTS OF LIMITATION as in I got 10 nephews. They want Jansport bagpacks, i bought 10 pcs and the limit is what? 2!…. Crap!
    BOYCOTT on BOC….. I hope this will change!

    Reply
  16. My niece and her husband own a small hospital and I would like to send charitable donation cloth materials, in yards, for patients gowns and gifts to indigent patients. Some pay patients can’t pay hospital, doctor, RN etc. With this help, I would Javonillo Hospital help more patients in need. This my first time to send balik bayan box. If this not possible, please suggest how I can do it.

    Reply
  17. hello!if i send a balikbayan box in the philippines,do i need to follow the new rules for requirements or not?because it said so its still suspended this new rules until march 31, 2018?thanks

    Reply
  18. hello… can i send a balikbayan box to my fiance in the philippines??? or do have to i send it to my brother??? thank you…

    Reply
    • Hi Al Jude, I think its ok. I have sent cellphones and laptop before in my balikbayan boxes. You have to make sure its properly wrapped and with silica gel to absorb moisture while in transit. Also you have to remove the battery from the mobile phone or laptop unit.

      Reply
  19. Hello Ryazan Do i still need to give receipts for the rice cooker, shoes,tablet and phones na papadala ko sa Pinas this second week of march. FIRst time ko po magpadala for my family sa Manila philippines d ko din sure if paano ko ililista sa form ung items pwede ba isulat ko lng din if my damit or toys d na xa itemized like sa toys if my barbie dolls or car toys. PWEDE BA ILISTA KO NLNG 2 toys like that. Thanks in advanve

    Reply
    • If the items are brand new, I suggest keeping the receipt. You can list the items using the balikbayan box form from BOC or from your cargo company. As for the toys, you can label them collectively and just give the rough estimates for it.

      Reply
  20. hello, my sister sent us a balikbayan box and until now we still not received the box. She sent the balikbayan box since december and until now no response from it? The last update that my sister told us was it is still in the Customs’s custody. With whom we can follow-up for it

    Reply
    • Hi Jennifer, I suggest to check on the cargo company first as it is their responsibility to update you on what’s the status of your cargo box. They should be the one who has contacts within the BOC to chase this up for you.

      Reply
  21. hi there,
    per box to be tax exempt, the de miminis value should be 10K in PHP, my questions are:
    is it possible to send 2 boxes at the same time, worth P9,500 each since the limit is 3 boxes with a total worth of 150K per calendar year?
    is the new rule already in place?
    Thank you

    Reply
    • Hi the balikbayan tax suspension is still valid and extended. So you can send your boxes as normal regardless of their value but you still have to itemised the stuff in the box.

      Reply
  22. Hi, does the balikbayan box need to be sent by specific freight forwarders? Or can it be sent by any preferred courier to qualify as a balikbayan box?

    Reply
  23. Is the new balikbayan-box/de-minimis ruling in place now?

    Because i want to send some items by de-minimis-rules,
    i wonder how they will check the items. I want to send
    mostly food, but have no receipts for the items.

    Reply
  24. Am I allowed to send my collection of used CDs through Balikbayan boxes? What are the requirements to do this? Thank you for the response?

    Reply
  25. Hello! Do you think I can send 10 new signatured purses in one box? Any idea how much will they tax it if it exceeds to 10thou php?

    Reply
      • I’m about to send my balikbayan box next week. Is the new policy still suspended? Do I just need to list the items that I put inside the box? No need for them information sheet that the BOC provided?

        Thank you!

        Reply
  26. Hello everyone, I have a fond woman friend that lives in Leyte Philippines and I normally send pkgs by way of USPS. How can I send using these “balikbayan boxes”.
    thank you, Joe

    Reply
    • Hi Joe, You can start by looking for a trusted cargo/balikbayan boxes courier in your area and just follow what I explained in this blog post. Good luck! This will definitely save you some cash in the long run instead of sending it with the premium cargo companies. You have to remember balikbayan boxes can arrive to the Philippines around 2 to 3 months.

      Reply
  27. Hi! Is the rule still suspended today? I am about to send 10 signature bags. Is the 10k for each item or for overall package? Also what if these items are put on check in baggage? Do i still need to declare it. Thanks

    Reply
  28. My fiances cousin is willing to send a box on my behalf. How do you determine the value of used goods, here I can get 2nd hand jeans for 5 usa dollars ea or half that on sale at a thrift store. that is 1250 to 2500 pesos but my fiance says used jeans are only 300 pesos in manila. also I can get jeans from garage sales for 1 us dollar ea or 50 pesos.
    can I use a handwritten receipt from a garage sale? Can you advise me? where do I ship from the usa?

    Reply
      • Hi, I will be sending about 20 pairs of boots/sneakers/sandals to my family in the Philippines. This will be my first time to send a balikbayan box and only one this year. I don’t understand if the rule is strictly 10k per box. And what is the 150k limit about then?

        Reply
        • Hi Angel, the 10k limit is for the tax free limit for small packages/box. The 150k is for big balikbayan boxes. As long as you list the shoes on your balikbayan list, you should be fine. IF the cargo provider ask for the receipt you can show it. otherwise, you will be ok.

          Reply
      • Hi I’m a foreigner and I want to send a few big balikbayan boxes to my girlfriend in the Philippines including stuff for her of course but also my personal collection of used vinyl records (a few hundred of records). Of course these are old records with music of the 70s and 80s. Will I need to pay taxes also on these preloved records cause my intention is to stay in the Philippines and get married. Thanks

        Reply
  29. Can we send prescription medication to elderly parents who are on extended stay in Philippines through balikbayan boxes?

    Reply
  30. Good Day Mam,

    Paano po yong mga appliances tulad ng Washing Machine at Refrigerator na wala nang receipt dahil dalawang bisis na kami naka lipat at nawala ito.

    Ano dapat gawin?

    Jeddah Saudi arabia,

    Reply
  31. Hi this is is Jun I just want to inquire if the courier company of balikbayan boxes cater personal effect, what would be the requirements of the company for adding importing commercial products?

    Hope for the response. Thank you.

    Reply
  32. Dear Madam,

    I would like to send balik bayan through LBC express sea cargo shipping from the UK to the Philippines, inside the box I have some red wines about 3 or 4 bottles for personal use and I did not put on the list item for my declaration. my question is, are they allowed in sea cargo or Should I declare in the form?

    I’m looking forward to hearing from you soon.

    Yours faithfully,
    Pablo

    Reply
  33. Hi, would it be safe to send a laptop in a balikbayan box? What’s your advice?
    Also, if it’s an opened laptop, that means it’s already “used” right?

    Reply
  34. Hi. Would you know if an ipad that will be sent thru fedex for faster shipping will be exempted of tax and duty fee if sent by a filipino citizen?

    Reply

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