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Shipping Packages Internationally

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Shipping packages internationally may sound risky, but you can set things right by following all necessary guidelines. When sending packages around the world, you must know how to label them, how to choose a suitable carrier, and so on. To make sure your shipment arrives safely at the destination, it'll be helpful to learn some tips and understand the process as explained here.

Shipping Packages Internationally

Types of carriers and international shipping services

There are various carrier options to choose from, like DHL, UPS, USPS, or FedEx. Many carriers have services to help you ship packages internationally and websites that can give you shipping quotes.

Typically, most carriers will offer the following services:

  • International Delivery
  • Express International Delivery
  • International Freight Shipping
  • Same-day shipping

International freight shipping and same-day shipping services may not be offered through your carrier. Make sure to check if these services are available online or contact the shipper directly.

How to choose a suitable carrier?

The best way to choose a suitable carrier for your international shipment is by comparing quotes from multiple carriers. You may also look for regional couriers that specialize in delivering service to the required location. For example, you can find some couriers delivering services in specific regions like the Middle East or Latin America. Choosing them may help you ship your package overseas at an affordable cost.

Shipment Considerations

Before you go on to ship your package overseas, you'll need to make sure that it's allowed to be shipped. Different shipping restrictions may apply for individual countries, but any explosives, dangerous chemicals, corrosives, and other hazardous materials won't be shipped. Checking with your carrier regarding which items are not allowed into a country can prevent issues with delivering your package.

Other than the restricted items, the language and format used in a country is also a big consideration when shipping packages overseas. For example, if you are shipping to a country that uses non-Roman letters, such as Russia, Israel, or Japan, then you must mention the address in English along with the other language.

TIP: You may be able to request pick-up service for your properly labeled international packages. Make sure to contact your shipper to confirm that pick-up service is available. You will still need to physically hand your package to the shipper.

Preparing Your International Shipment

Once you have chosen your carrier and made sure that the desired items can be shipped, you'll need to prepare the package for shipment. The following steps explain the process of preparing an international shipment:

  • Pack the item: Pack the item with proper padding using bubble wrap or any other suitable material. This will ensure that the package arrives safely without any damage. You can get the packing supplies online or at the carrier's store.
  • Ensure you have correct details: Make sure that you have the correct contact details, otherwise, the shipment will never reach its destination. Besides, a local contact number and email address can also be provided to the courier so that the recipient can be contacted in case of a missed delivery.
  • Figure out the tax/duty: If there is any tax/duty applicable on your shipment, you can ask the carrier to let you pre-pay the amount. This will reduce the time taken by the shipment to go through the customs and any other additional charges.
  • Insurance and tracking: Apart from the taxes and duty, you will also have to consider some additional costs to ship the package internationally. The carrier you choose may ask you to pay extra to track your package. Although it's optional, tracking will help you locate the package if there is any delay in the delivery.

Many couriers include insurance by default for all items up to $100. However, if it's costlier, you may have to pay around 3% of its value for insurance.

  • Documentation: There will be documentation required for each international shipping method. It may differ based on the origin, destination, and the items being shipped. You can locate these requirements on a carrier's website or at their store.

    Apart from the required documents, you'll be required to fill a US Customs form that can be obtained from the carrier. In this form, you'll need to fill in the following information:

    • The sender's and recipient's contact information
    • The package's contents
    • The approximate value of the package's contents

This information will help the customs authorities determine whether the goods can be moved in and out of a country along with the applicable duties and taxes.

  • International shipping label: For labeling, certain carriers will require that you fill out one of their international shipping labels. You may be able to print out the required label from the shipper's website or at the carrier's location.
  • Get the package to the courier: Finalize the preparation by attaching the label and documents to the shipping container and get it to the courier store. You can either pay online and request for a pickup or you can drop the package off at the store and make the payment there.

TIP: International packages must be physically handed to your shipper even if you printed postage or labels at home.

Whether you are shipping a package for an international move or sending it to someone for any other purpose, the process is quite straight forward. Make sure you choose the services of a reliable carrier and fulfill all the requirements regarding documents, duty, and contact details.

Patrick Hanan  Posted by Patrick Hanan on August 27, 2009

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