January 9, 2017 Update

It's still possible to order from iHerb tax-free if you choose SF Express for delivery and the total tax is under 50 yuan (using the old tax calculation system). I just made this order today and it was tax-free with free shipping using SF Express. It's not as easy as before to get both free shipping and no tax because the tax rates have changed. Most items are taxed at 15% now instead of 10% which means you need to make your order over $40 for free shipping but less than ~ $47 (depending on USD/CNY FOREX rate). Some of the shopping carts I have shared on this page might not be tax-free any more.

If you have trouble getting the right items in your cart for both free shipping and tax-free then you can order over $20 and the shipping is only $4.

Here are the new tax rates for personal online shopping.

China new tax rates for online shopping

Special Note for Customs Clearance for Foreigners

If you are making your first order then you will need to upload your passport to SF Express for customs clearance. If you click the link on iHerb, it will ask you for a Chinese ID card. Just place your order without uploading your ID and then send a copy of your passport to id@sf-express.com with your order number and they will enter your passport details in their system manually. This is only necessary for your first order, the information will be saved in their system for subsequent orders.

iHerb is a great USA website to shop from in China. They offer free shipping by international Shun Feng (SF Express) for orders over $40! If your order is under $40 but over $20 then shipping is only $4. Each order is limited to 10lbs if you are shipping to China. It can sometimes be a challenge to get $40 and not go over 10lbs. I usually start with coffee beans which have a high price to weight ratio and then fill my cart with other items until I get close to 10lbs.

Click on any of the images from my actual orders below and you can easily add these items to your own iHerb shopping cart. You can always delete items, add other items, or modify quantities later. All of my orders are strategicly chosen to meet the following criteria.

1. Free Shipping to China.

2. Tax/Duty free for import to China.

Click any image below and try these great products for yourself.

Cart 1


Cart 2


Coffee beans, Quinoa, and Peanut Butter - My favorite coffee beans. Organic, high altitude, shade grown, Peru. Very good peanut butter made from all natural ingredients. No trans fats, cholesterol, hydrogenated oil, or high fructose corn syrup.

Vega All in one nutritional shake and luxury soap - High quality plant protein. Soy-free and diary-free. Each serving has 20g protein, 6 servings of greens, 50% of daily recommended vitamins, fiber, omega-3, antioxidants, and probiotics. This brand of soap is a little expensive but very good. I usually get 4 bars with each order. I you order too much "cosmetics products" in the same order then you will have to pay duties/taxes. Check for this on the checkout page.

There is so much good stuff I can't possibly list all of it. I am making 2-3 orders every month. Check back soon for some detailed products reviews.

Tips for iHerb

  • Be careful of the customs tax. If you choose SF Express then the customs tax will be calculated automatically. If you see a value other than $0 then you need to adjust the quantity of your items until it says $0. Try different quantities of different items until it says $0. The tax depends not only the the quantity of each item but depending on what other items are in your cart. Sometimes you can split your orders into multiple orders to avoid customs tax. All of the shopping carts that I share on this page are tax-free.
  • Certain products are not allowed to be shipped to mainland China. This is always changing but currently "The following items are not allowed to be imported into China: red sorghum, raw flaxseed, raw seeds, aloe, (except aloe vera), raw beans, and products containing hemp or meat (such as jerky)." Sometimes you can still order these items if they don't flag it properly. For example you cannot order quinoa but this one specifically is still available (and a very good one by the way).

Update March 2016 - A few things have changed at iHerb recently. Before the two shipping methods were UCS and SF Express. Now UCS was replaced by China EMS. If you choose China EMS you need to enter a China ID card number for customs clearance. I would normally use SF anyway because it's faster but this item was not available to be shipped by SF for some reason so I choose China EMS. After chatting customer service using the live chat on the website (terrible service by the way) I finally figured out that it's not possible to use China EMS if you don't have a China ID card number.

After placing my order I received this email from service@mail.11185id.com (in my SPAM folder).




Dear Sir/Madam,

According to China Customs regulation,packages for personal use import shall provide the identity card of the People's Republic
of China on customs clearance,China Customs do not accept other identity information for declaration, it is required that the
customers should provide information of identity as the China Customs demand. 
Your order number: 39397527,please click the following link to modify your identity information:

Thank you

After I clicked the link I was asked to enter my China ID card number (身份证)and there was no option for passport.

china ems cannot enter passport only china ID card

The second part that changed is good news. You will now get a "loyalty credit" worth 10% of your order value that can be used on your next order. The loyalty credit will expire after 60 days if you don't use it. For my order of $73.74 I now have $7.37 of loyalty credit!

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