Wednesday, April 1, 2015

iHerb - Ordering with the new Customs Number

I used to order things from iHerb a lot, They were really good for finding organic supplies and hard to find baking needs. They also have some beauty lines and other bits and pieces. Their shipping was excellent and cheap, they even had free shipping offers quite often when you bought over a certain amount which of course I always had no trouble doing. 

After I moved a while ago I had not ordered anything as my address had changed so I needed to get that sorted first and then before I could make any further orders I heard about the new customs issues. Most of you would have heard about it by now, if you have not then I suggest you go to the forum '' and look it up. They have a whole running post dedicated to iHerb. The basics was that you needed to provide a customs number to go with your order, I believe for a while you could just use your ARC number but not sure on that. 

Basically I think that it was just getting to popular, it's not just foreigners using the service but many Koreans order from here now to. So they decided to crack down on it and regulate the service more, because there are some things that cannot be imported into Korea.

I know that now you have to have a special 'customs number' that is issued to you. You have to go to the website, sign in and enter you address and then you are issued your number. When your order with iHerb your name and address must match that which you entered for your special 'customs number.

Now that all seems straight forward enough, they even direct you to the website you need to go to to get this number. There is a big red message on the top of the page that tells you that you need it and then a page where they describe it. The problems for us foreigners is that this website that you have to register on is in Korean, great for if you are one of the many Korean customers or you can read a high level of Korean but for the rest of us it's a tad bit more difficult. The good news is that it is not impossible. I did it myself one night without the help of a Korean (I was going to get help from a friend the next day if I could not figure it out myself) just using the translate function on my phone.

Make sure you are using Internet Explorer, okay so the first thing you have to do is go to this site you can find this on the iHerb page and they show you pictures too. But anyway in the middle of the page there are two boxes you need to fill in, this is where you put your name as it is on your ARC (Alien Residents Card) and then your ARC number. The ARC number one is clear because it has the first box which is your birthday and then a hyphen and the second box is password protected with the stars .

Following the steps on iHerb (and it also shows you on the customs website with pictures of each step) you have to download the certificate identification software just like if you do online banking. If you don't basically it is software that confirms it is your computer,you can only use this certificate on your authorized devices with a password. So download the software and put your password in. 

Once you have done that it is going to go to a page with a form to fill in, this is where it is looking for your details and address. I just used the Google translate app on my phone to find what each part was. I had no trouble. They want you to use the new street address one which if you are like me you have no idea what that is. However you can easily just look it up using the old system, they still have a place for that in the search options, Next to the address field is a look-up function. I used this and entered my basic information like, gu, si and dong. It came back with all the options and I had to scroll through many of the addresses but I found mine. Then you will be back on the fill-in details page. Add your building and any other info and then hit the 'next' button at the bottom.  Again iHerb has pictures if you need them.

Now you are all registered, at the top will be your customs number which is a P followed by about 12 digets eg.PXXXXXXXXXXXX and you should also take note of you address as you have it here, it will need to match when you order on iHerb. If you loose your number you can log back on to the site to find it again easily enough. I had to go back to write down my address as it was in the new street format and I forgot it.

It is definitely not as quick as it once was. I ordered on the 16th of March and it got here about the 26th of March. It's not bad but if you used to order from them like me you know it used to take less than a week which was awesome.

Edit: I've used it since then and it's still pretty fast so that last time may have just been because it was the first time with the new customs number.

So if you were like me and putting of getting the customs number because you thought it would be a hassle, don't worry. It's not that hard and even someone with limited Korean like me managed it :)


  1. I ordered a second time and it was a bit quicker, took about a week.

  2. i want to read this but the background makes it almost impossible.

  3. i want to read this but the background makes it almost impossible.

  4. Which password are we suppose in the software I don't get it?