How to send an international package

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If you or your business need to send parcels abroad, one of the key requirements is a cost-effective international courier. Here are some great tips and advice on international shipping.

It is always worth checking out how you can save money and still have a fast, reliable, parcel delivery service. As well as costs that match your budget or pricing criteria, look for a courier who can help and advise on all elements of international shipping.

UK or European Union Parcel Delivery
If your parcel is a UK delivery or you are sending to a destinations within the European Union (EU), you do not need customs documents. If required, you should be able to get next day delivery to all UK destinations (except for particularly remote locations) and the wide majority of EU countries.

Worldwide Parcel Delivery
International shipping is more complicated than a UK delivery, but you don’t need to be an expert. Even if you are a first timer, your courier should be able to walk you through understanding customs duty and tax, customs documentation and the importance of packaging an international shipment.

Navigating Customs
If you are shipping outside the EU, your items will be subject to inspection by customs authorities in the destination country. Customs regulations cannot be avoided and all international courier services have to comply. The reason customs want to inspect your goods, is so they can determine if any duties and taxes are applicable. Most goods will be subject to taxes, and every country charges different rates and has different rules.

Your customs invoice breaks down each product you’re sending, their individual value and the reason for shipping. Customs will then review your declaration and may apply customs import duty and tax charges. These charges are usually paid by the receiver.

Your courier’s customer service team should be able to give you a ballpark estimate for your goods, based on experience – or you can visit the customs website of your destination country and research charges. And remember, for certain items, there may be no charge at all. If you’re shipping gifts or sending personal effects then they may be exempt from customs import charges. This will depend on the value of the items, and the regulations for that particular country.

What to do if your shipment is stuck at customs?
First of all don’t panic! When tracking your shipment, if you notice a delay (called an ‘exception’), contact your courier and see what they can do to help get your package on its way as quickly as possible. Most clearance delays usually occur when the recipient is delaying their payment of the customs charges. The best way to speed things up is to contact them and ask them to pay the charges as soon as possible. Once payment has been received by customs, the shipment can be released for delivery.

International Parcel Tracking
Not every international courier provides full parcel tracking with real-time scan information but if you want full visibility for your shipment from collection through customs to final delivery, check your courier offers this.

Prohibited Items
There are some items that are not suitable to send internationally, such as perfumes and flammable products. Additionally, every country has a list of other prohibited or restricted products which they do not accept. For example if you’re sending a parcel to some South American countries, shipping used clothing is actually prohibited! If you want to check whether a specific item is prohibited please check this Prohibited Items List.

Excluded Items
In addition to prohibited items, some items are listed as Excluded Items. These are items where compensation is not applicable and the sender is sending them at their own risk and liability, regardless of the courier they are using. These include bottled items, china crockery or ceramics, works of art and jewellery. For a full list of restricted items, check ParcelHero’s list of excluded items.

If an item is damaged in transit, you will only be able to claim if the items were correctly packaged in the first place, so it is particularly important you package your items correctly. We recommend using dedicated new boxes and packaging, but are also aware customers may want to re-use a box. In a nutshell – use good strong packaging, put lots of cushioning inside the box, wrap your item well and seal the box securely.

ParcelHero® is an aggregated online courier service, working with the world’s best couriers including UPS, DHL, DPD and FedEx to offer cheap international courier services to over 220 countries. At up to 60% cheaper than booking direct and up to 70% cheaper than the Post Office.

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