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International Shipping Tips

Opening up your market internationally can feel daunting as there are a lot of rules and regulations to shipping products worldwide. This guide provides international shipping tips and references to help you understand international shipping with Chit Chats. Read more below or the PDF version for more information.

How Does International Shipping Work?

Our partner carriers handle package delivery up to customs at the destination country. From there, the postal service of the destination country handles package delivery to the recipient.

Diagram showing how Chit Chats in Canada transfers to USPS in USA which transfers to Royal Mail in the U.K. before reaching the recipient
Example: Client shipping USPS via Chit Chats from Ontario to London, U.K.

Is it a Good Fit?

Do your research and review the list of restricted and prohibited items to see if your product can be shipped to the country in question

Some items are restricted or prohibited to be shipped internationally.

Small, lightweight items are ideal for international shipping

Package your items as small as possible to minimize costs.

Package items with extra care

Processing facilities in the destination country have different procedures which can impact the handling of your shipment.

Manage buyer’s expectations with communicating delivery times

Delivery times to international destinations can vary due to custom delays depending on the country.

Destination countries have different expectations for address formats

It is important that you supply all of the address details required by the country you wish to ship to. For example, countries such as Oman and the United Arab Emirates require a P.O. box number rather than a street address. Find more details on USPS` guide to address information.

Restricted & Prohibited Items

Start by researching specific countries (prohibited items, delivery times, exceptions etc.) and targeting customers within those areas first.

Shipping carriers have their own set of regulations to what can be shipped. For example, some items can be shipped via ground with USPS but not via air. See the list of USPS prohibited items for more details or our own quick guide.

Be aware of country-specific regulations and requirements. Below are some examples of prohibited and restricted items by country. This list is not exhaustive, so do your own research.

Australia

Restricted: Jewelry is permitted only when sent as an insured parcel.

China

Prohibited: Radio receivers, transmitters or receivers of all kinds, walkie-talkies and parts thereof; valves, antennae, etc.

Italy

Prohibited: Albums of any kind (of photographs, postcards, postage stamps, etc.). Leather goods.

France

Prohibited: Cigarette lighters using butane gas.

Restricted: Books in the French language printed abroad must have the names of the publisher and printer shown as prescribed by the French copyright laws.

Mexico

Prohibited: Tickets, lists, and circulars for foreign lotteries. Works infringing copyrights covering Mexico.

United Kingdom

Restricted: Aerosols. Christmas crackers (holiday popper).

Customs, Duties & Taxes

Know the Total Cost Before Sending an Order to Your Customer

If you don’t know the total cost, your customer may be hit with additional charges they weren’t expecting which makes for poor customer experience. Standard practice usually has the recipient responsible to pay for any import fees and duties to receive the package.

It Is Illegal to Mark an Item as a Gift When It Is Not.

Customers may ask you to do this so they don’t have to pay import taxes, but remember you will be liable if it is discovered.

Be detailed and descriptive as generic descriptions may delay your packages. The more information you provide, the less chance your package will get delayed.

Remember Taxes and Duties Vary by Destination Country

In Europe, VAT is not due when the total value* of all goods in a consignment is less than a threshold. The threshold may vary from 10 euros to 22 euros, depending on the EU country.

The Australian Government announced starting July 1, 2018, a Goods and Services Tax of 10% will be implemented on low value imported goods (less than AUD 1,000), services and other items sold or consumed for over AUD 75,000 in Business to Consumer gross sales revenue per annum. Shipments under the import threshold of AUD 75,000 in Business to Consumer gross sales revenue per annum, the current de minimum for low value goods of AUD1,000 remains in place and will be subject to normal border reporting, duty and tax collection processes.

*Value not inclusive of customs duties or transport costs.

Tracking & Delivery

Typically international shipments are updated during initial acceptance and delivery or attempted delivery. In some cases, there will be additional scans at delivery points, as the item moves in transit.

Other international services with a tracking number will only be traceable until they reach the International Service Center (ISC). Once these shipments depart the U.S. their tracking will cease to update.

Delivery to international destinations vary by country. Depending on the country some packages may have longer delays due to customs. Delivery days provided are always an estimation in business days and never guaranteed. The only service that guarantees delivery to international destinations is USPS Express Mail International.

Partially Tracked

Refers to shipments that are tracked along to a certain point. This can include tracking updates within the U.S. but not the destination country or tracking updates in the destination country but not including delivery confirmation

Fully Tracked

Refers to shipments that are tracked the entire journey with delivery confirmation.

Delivery Confirmation

Some international services offer delivery confirmation to the final destination.

USPS First Class Package International & USPS Priority Mail International offers delivery confirmation to 43 countries.

Asendia Priority Tracked offers delivery confirmation to select countries.

You can learn more about tracking from this post: How to Track International Shipments.

Useful International Shipping Links

  1. USPS’ guide on international addresses 
  2. USPS prohibited items
  3. USPS prohibited and restricted items by country
  4. Canada Post prohibited and restricted items by country
  5. Taxes and duties
  6. Countries that Asendia ships to

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