What is EMS?
EMS is Express Mail Service. The US equivalent is Priority Mail International. It's expensive as hell, and all packages over a certain weight and dimension are required to be sent Priority Mail out of the States (this is why postal charges for mailing things out of the US start at a minimum of $30 usd).
EMS is pretty fast. It usually takes around a week at most to ship from the origin country to US customs. Sometimes, weather, holidays, or other issues can cause shipping delays. Packages from Korea tend to arrive in the States within 3-5 days after acceptance at the origin post. Packages from China tend to take 5-7 days, occasionally more.
Once EMS passes through customs, the package is turned over to your post office, in my case the United States Postal Service (usps).
Why is EMS expensive?
EMS is expensive because it includes insurance and tracking. Packages sent out of the US and most countries are more expensive when sent with these options. Sometimes you can choose airmail options, which do not come insured or with tracking.
What is Customs?
Please read this post here for more information on Customs.
I always go for EMS- it's the best way to protect myself when ordering should something happen to the order en route to me.
To Use USPS Tracking:
First go to the Track Trace site here
Type in your tracking number.
- In this box, retype your tracking number.
- In this box, type the numbers. If you see Chinese characters, they will change to numbers we can read when you hover in that box. Then hit track.
The Tracking Process:
- This is the date the package was mailed out.
- This is the date it entered US Customs. As you can see, it took 5 days from posting to arrival at customs.
- These are the various post office sorting centers in China. Packages from S/L start in Taihe, go to Jian, then Nanchang. They finally leave China through Shanghai.
- This means that they've taken the package to the postal center. If you don't see this, they either haven't taken it yet, or the post office hasn't scanned it yet.
- This means the package has left the sorting center and is on its way to the next center.
- Arrival at sorting center means it's made it to the next destination and will be scanned before leaving.
- This tracking shows that US Customs released the package. Sometimes it will say something else here, like detained by customs or something like that. It usually just says this for me.
- This indicates the point of entry for the package. For my state, packages pass through San Francisco first. Depending where you live, they could pass through here or Chicago or other places.
- In this box, you will see a verification code. Like on the front page, you need to type this code to make sure you aren't a bot.
Okay this is the USPS version of the tracking for the same package:
- Acceptance- this means Luo has dropped off the package.
- USPS only shows the final stop for the package out of China. You will not see any of the movement in China.
- This means it's getting put on a boat or plane to head to you.
- This means it's been dropped off, and US customs now has it. They may open the package to inspect it, or they may not.
- Inbound Out of Customs means that customs looked at it, and then they sent it on.
- This means USPS officially has the package, and it will be delivered to you within a couple days (usually 2-3 days for me from this point).
This is the same package from nine9style, tracked on the EMS track trace site:
As you can see, there is a great deal more info available, but most of it is in Korean.