Important Tips for Shipping Internationally

It is very important to be aware that all packages shipped internationally go through customs and that every country has their own specific requirements for importing different products. Here are some regulations that we have come across while helping our customers.

Important Tips for Shipping Internationally

Posted by Tania

It is very important to be aware that all packages shipping internationally go through customs.  Unless you are shipping documents only, a commercial invoice is required.  This is not a regular commercial invoice between you and your receiver – it is a specific customs document that must contain the following information:

  • Name of product
  • Brief description
  • Reason for Export (I.e. permanent, temporary, return, gift)
  • Value
  • Currency (i.e. is value in CDN or US dollars)
  • Country of Origin

You cannot simply write “sample” or “part” or “gift” in the description.  A description of the item is required.  In addition, if you are shipping anything with fabric (i.e. clothing, banners etc) the type of fabric is required. The more information you provide, the less chance your package will get delayed at customs.

If you have the HS code of your product, please include it. If not, leave it blank and customs will process it under the product description indicated on the commercial invoice. If you are unsure of the HS code, it is better to leave that section blank as the wrong HS code can result in added charges.

If your product is made in Canada, United States, or Mexico, please assure to add a Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA/USMCA) to not apply any taxes and duties. Click here to download the CUSMA form. For high value shipments (valued over $1000.00) going to a business in the US, please include a tax ID of the receiver or the company that is the IOR (importer of record). If the shipment is going to an individual, customs will require the receiver’s social insurance number. If it is an international shipment, customs will always contact your receiver, regardless if the shipment is going to a business or individual.

It is important to be aware that every country has their own importing procedures and may have specific government regulations. Here are some regulations that we have come across while helping our customers who are shipping internationally:

  • Spain: No food products can be shipped to an individual. It must go to a company that is registered to have the permission to import food.
  • Russia: You can ONLY ship documents to individuals, no products of any kind. If a shipment is going to a business, the business must have permission to import into the country.
  • Europe: If you are shipping to AMAZON in Europe, please note the following:
    • You must have an EORI Number
    • Amazon will NOT be the IOR ( Importer On Record). You must indicate on the commercial invoice that the receiver is Amazon and the “sold to” is under the shipper’s information with their EORI number.
  • Make sure you include 3 copies of the commercial invoice with your shipment, whether it be generated from FlagShip’s online shipping system or your own. The couriers will input the information into their importing system. A commercial invoice is always required unless the shipment is a document.
  • Europe: When sending articles that are defective, include the following with your commercial invoice,
    • Original receipt and documents (ex. commercial invoice)
    • On the Return Commercial Invoice, you must indicate in the description if the product is being returned for/from repairs, or if it will be repaired and sent back to you. On the commercial invoice, the reason must be listed under “return”. Please take note that the value of the shipment is based on the service charge for repairs/replacement and not the value of the product. It is also important to indicate in the description that the product is under warranty. Not all countries will accept returns, even under warranty – it is best to check with your shipping provider if you are not sure how to send your return shipment.
  • Shipping anything with a battery*, shipment must be in limited quantities and are limited to devices such as laptops and cell phones. If the shipment is in a large quantity (ex. multiple laptops and cellphones), it must go through as a dangerous goods shipment. For FlagShip customers, the FlagShip team will need to process your dangerous goods shipment.

*Here is the guideline for the amounts for Lithium battery:

  • 21 Watts Per Cell
  • 100 Watts Per Hour

International shipping regulations may change so it is important to check with your shipping provider if you are not sure of your shipment’s procedure. For more tips on shipping internationally, click here or visit our blog.