How to Get Started Shipping Internationally
Posted by Doug Sherman (Import), Last modified by Doug Sherman on 16 Nov 12 01:40 PM

Shipping internationally requires some additional work as compared to shipping domestically but is not all that difficult and typically worth the effort.

The major difference when shipping internationally is the need to deal with customs documentation, taxes and tariffs, and prohibitions/restrictions of items.

Customs Documents
The export forms are supplied freely distributed by the carriers. In most cases you must provide multiple typed/printed copies of an invoice showing the merchandise that is being shipped. The invoice should include a description and price of the product(s), your full address and telephone number, and the recipient's full address and telephone number. The carrier web sites often provide assistance with properly completing the documentation.

Taxes and Tariffs
Most smaller resellers do not need deal with taxes and tariffs but instead leave that up to the consumer to pay when receiving the merchandise. The AuctionInc Shipping Calculator does not attempt to deal with Taxes and Tariffs due to the complexity. It is recommended that you add a disclaimer on your web site or auction listing that addresses international purchases. Here is a sample disclaimer:

    International Purchases
    Our prices do not include taxes and tariffs. Any fees, duties, taxes, or tariffs assessed by the governments of international purchasers are the responsibility of the purchaser. Customers outside of the United States may be required to pay these fees to the courier, as applicable, upon delivery. Since there are hundreds of countries and variable rate schedules, we are unable to provide customers with costs. The International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce has a website that provide Tariff and Tax Information, that can help you in determining your costs.

    Various countries have prohibitions and restrictions that may prevent us from being able to ship to your country. It is recommended that you verify that the merchandise that you are ordering can be shipped you your country. The United States Postal Office maintains a list of Restrictions by Country that you can reference.

    It is a violation of international trade laws for a merchant to mark a purchased item as a gift in order to avoid taxes, fees, or tariffs therefore we will NOT accommodate such requests. Nor can we send an invoice showing a purchase price less than the actual order amount.

Prohibitions and Restrictions
Each country maintains a list of items that are prohibited or restricted so it is up to you to determine if your product(s) are allowed by the countries that you intend to ship to. The lists change occassionally so it is best to check each time before shipping. Each carrier may add further restrictions so also check with the carrier.

When shipping items internationally some carriers offer little to no insurance. It is best to check with the carrier to determine what the cost of insurance would be. Insurance can be expensive through the carriers and some third party insurance companies can offer more competitive rates. The AuctionInc Shipping Calculator will quote shipping rates which include insurance as long as the item is specified to be insured and has a value.


Below is a list of resources that may help you in getting started.


-How to ship internationally 



-International Shipping 101



-A Guide to International Shipping


US Postal Service

-International Mail Manual
-International Restrictions by Country
-USPS Publication 51, International Postal Rates and Fees



-Shipping Documentation
-Shipping Your Products Overseas 
-Tariff and Tax Resources

3rd Party Insurance

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