Shipping Unboxed: FAQs about International Shipping

By Baillee Perkins
Dec 2, 2022

We hope you have your suitcase packed and your passport in hand because in this edition of Shipping Unboxed, we’re covering international shipping! If you have questions while traveling through the world of international shipping, we’re here to answer everything from customs forms to the most commonly used USPS international shipping services. We’ve even included some of our other blogs to expand your international shipping knowledge. Without further ado, let’s dive into this edition of Shipping Unboxed. 

Question Quick Jump

  1. How long does international shipping take? 
  2. How does USPS international tracking work? 
  3. How does FedEx international tracking work? 
  4. Are military addresses considered to be international addresses?
  5. What are customs forms? 
  6. Are there USPS international holiday shipping deadlines? 
  7. What is VAT? 
  8. What is IOSS?
  9. What are some commonly used international USPS shipping options?
  10. What is GlobalPost?
  11. Where can I find USPS international shipping restrictions?
  12. How much can I save on international shipping costs with UPS through ShippingEasy?
Did you miss the last edition of Shipping Unboxed? Check out Shipping Unboxed: FAQs about Holiday Shipping!

How long does international shipping take?

It depends on the service and/or the destination. For example, Priority Mail Express International is a guaranteed delivery service, so your shipments should have a 3-5 day delivery window. However, with services like the First-Class Package International Service, it’ll vary depending on where your package is headed. 

Check out the lowest USPSⓇ rates in the industry with a ShippingEasy 30-day free trial.

How does USPS international tracking work?

Great question! Global Express Guaranteed, Priority Mail Express International, and Priority Mail Internationalall include tracking information you can follow like domestic services. The only thing to note is that the tracking may include additional stops along the way for customs. 

Learn more about tracking shipments in Shipping Unboxed: FAQs about Tracking Shipments!

How does FedEx international tracking work?

FedEx services like FedEx International Ground®  for shipping from the US to Canada include tracking to follow that’s very similar to the tracking you see in domestic FedEx services. We’ve also included a video from FedEx below to give you more information on their international shipping services. 

Video source: YouTube

Are military addresses considered to be international addresses?

This one’s a bit tricky! Military addresses, like addresses to US territories, are technically domestic shipments. But, anything over 16 ounces sent to a military address will still need customs forms, and most domestic services won’t deliver to military addresses. We recommend reaching out to your carrier directly before sending your package to confirm it can be sent using the service you’re considering.*

*Note: Our team is limited in the support we can provide for military shipments, and ShippingEasy currently only supports outbound shipping from the US.

For more information about shipping to specialty addresses, read our blog.

What are customs forms?

Customs forms are documents that detail what you’re shipping. This way, when your shipments reach their destination country (and sometimes when they’re getting ready to leave the US), whoever is checking your package can assign the correct taxes and duties. It also makes it easier for shipments to be checked for anything potentially harmful and/or dangerous. 

Make international Shipping Easy with a 30-day free trial!

Are there USPS international holiday shipping deadlines?

Yes! Like domestic services, USPS international services also have shipping deadlines, or dates your shipment needs to be sent by to arrive in time for Christmas. These dates are usually days, if not weeks, earlier than domestic shipping deadlines. We recommend checking out our blog, so you can share these dates with your customers are soon as possible to keep their holiday season merry and bright. 

Help your customers get all of their international gifts ordered in time for Christmas with our 2022 USPS International Shipping Deadlines blog.

What is VAT?

VAT, or Value Added Tax, is a tax based on the cost of your product, including all of the materials used in the assembly process. However, if a part of your product has already had this tax applied, you shouldn’t be taxed twice for it. Any products shipped to the UK and the EU are subject to VAT, so keep VAT in mind when you’re shipping to customers in these regions. 

US merchants are also now required to register with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs to get a VAT number as well as to collect these VAT taxes from your customers when they purchase something from your store. If your store doesn’t already sell to the UK, it’s a good idea to start researching everything your store will need sooner rather than later. 

Learn more about VAT in our Shipping 301 blog!

What is IOSS?

IOSS, or Import One-Stop-Shop, gives your business the opportunity to pay and report VAT taxes instead of your customers in the EU for up to €150 ($156.60). This number is generated by whichever stores and/or marketplaces your business sells through, so you can reach out to those channels directly for your IOSS number. 

Once you have your VAT and IOSS numbers, you can add them to your Shipment Settings in ShippingEasy. This way, you can just select your number from a drop-down menu instead of having to type it in with every international order. Pretty cool, right?

This is how to add VAT and IOSS numbers to your ShippingEasy account. 
Is international shipping right for your business? Find out in our blog!

What are some commonly used international USPS shipping options?

Some of the most commonly used USPS international shipping options are Priority Mail International and First-Class Package International Service, but it’s all about finding the right service for your customers’ needs! Do they need tracking? Does their package need to be delivered in a specific timeframe? That’s why we definitely recommend checking out the USPS International Services portal. Plus, we’ve included a table with some of the features of the USPS international services below for a quick overview. 

Image source: USPS
Do you have more questions about USPS? Find the answers in Shipping Unboxed: FAQs about USPS.

What is GlobalPost?

GlobalPost is a carrier, as well as one of our partners, and they’re here to make your international shipping even smoother. GlobalPost offers Economy and Standard international shipping services that serve over 200 countries. GlobalPost also assigns all of the customs forms you need at their distribution centers, so you don’t have to worry about attaching any documents when you send your shipment. 

Image source: GlobalPost
Learn more about GlobalPost over on our blog!

Where can I find USPS international shipping restrictions?

Another great question! USPS has dedicated a section of their website to international shipping restrictions. You’re able to check both restricted and prohibited items and grab more information about the specialty packaging needed for some of these items. We’ve grabbed an example for you, so you can have a peek at what information is available. As always, if you have any additional questions, contact USPS before you package your shipment to avoid any penalties and/or surcharges.  

Image source: USPS
Not sure how to tell your customers about international shipping deadlines or restrictions? Check out our blog for tips!

How much can I save on international shipping costs with UPS through ShippingEasy?

This might be our favorite question! ShippingEasy customers who use the UPS account included with your ShippingEasy account can see up to 88% off UPS international services. 

You’ve arrived at your destination: a 30-day free trial of ShippingEasy!
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Baillee Perkins

Baillee Perkins is a writer of shipping by day and pop culture by night, so her Google search history is an actual nightmare.

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