If you're shipping internationally, you'll be required to fill out a customs form. Countries use customs forms to decide whether your recipient will need to pay import taxes or duties on declared items, so it's important to be honest. Here's more information on customs duties.
Pirate Ship automatically requires you to fill out the form when a country other than the United States is selected. This is also true for Puerto Rico, Guam, US Virgin Islands, US Minor Outlying Islands, FPO & APO Military Addresses, depending on the weights. For packages under 1 pound, you may not be prompted to fill out a customs form for the locations listed above.
If you're using a Saved Package, you'll have to click Modify Package to fill out the customs form. We recommend pre-filling customs forms for your Saved Packages so you don't have to do this every time 👍
The customs form looks like this:
Sign Customs Form As
Put either your name or your business's legal entity in the "Sign Customs Form As" field. You do not need to physically sign the customs form after printing it, since this field is filled out.
Package Content Type
Select from the dropdown whether you're shipping Merchandise, Documents, or a Gift.
If you're shipping a package with multiple items, you can click Add Line Item to add rows. For example, if you're shipping one bottle of grog, two eyepatches, and ten pirate flags, you'd need three separate Line Items.
For each description line, be as detailed possible! For instance, if you're shipping a 13-inch MacBook Pro, don't just write "Laptop" - write "13-inch MacBook Pro" 😉 If your customs form isn't detailed enough, your package could be subject to a Return to Sender. The more detailed you can be, the better!
Entering the correct Item Value is also crucial to your package being accepted by your destination country's customs department. If you under-represent the value of your item(s), your package could be held up in customs a long time...and even still get marked as Return to Sender 🙈
All in all, the best way to avoid returned packages and extended delays is to be as accurate and detailed as possible in every field of the Content Description section.
Enter TOTALS for Qty, Value, and Weight
For each line item, add the total quantity of that item, a brief description of the item, the total value of all the items in this line, and the total weight of all the items in this line. For example, if you're shipping ten pirate flags worth $10 each, enter a quantity of 10, a value of $100, and the total weight of all 10 items.
Harmonization Codes aren't required, but they're helpful for customs agents in foreign countries who don't speak English. You can click the blue Search #'s link to find the correct code to use for your item. You can only enter one code per line item.
Country of Origin means the country where the product originated, e.g. were produced, manufactured, or assembled... not where you're shipping from! 👍
You may get a multi-page customs form!
Most international shipments will generate a single customs form that's integrated with the shipping label, so there will only be one page. However, some international services do require multiple pages, and whenever that is the case, you'll want to attach every label to the outside of your package, in the order that they are printed. We recommend using the free customs form envelopes you can order from USPS here.
Lastly, we always highly recommend adding insurance to all of your international shipments. Here's more on that.
Let us know if you need any help, we're always happy to chat!