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How many copies of customs forms do I need for international shipments?
How many copies of customs forms do I need for international shipments?

Most international shipments only require a single integrated customs form, but for some shipments, you may need to print multiple labels

Updated over a week ago
  • Multi-Page Customs Forms Automatically Generate: Pirate Ship knows which services and destination countries require multi-page customs forms, and our software generates whichever forms you need automatically.

  • Line Items May Affect How Many Pages Generate: You may also get multiple pages if you've added a lot of line items to your customs form. In that case, you can just attach both labels to the outside of the box.

Most international shipments only generate a single customs form

  • Single Customs Forms Print for Most Shipments: The majority of international shipments, such as those sent with First Class Package International or Simple Export Rate, only require a single integrated customs form. So, there will only be one label for the entire shipment.

When a shipment requires more than one label, it's created automatically

  • Additional Customs Documents: Some international services or countries do require multi-page customs forms. In those cases, besides the shipping label, you may also get a "Customs Declaration" or a "Dispatch Note."

  • Attach All Customs Documents: When there's more than one, you'll want to print and attach every label Pirate Ship gives you to the outside of the package!

Use the free sleeves you can get from USPS

  • Free Customs Sleeve: It's best practice to use the free Customs Form Envelopes you can order from USPS here.

    • The Order Matters: Put the labels into it in the order in which they printed, so that the shipping label is the first visible one, and the "Customs Declaration" and "Dispatch Note" are behind it.

...or put the extra customs forms in a regular envelope

  • Attaching an Envelope is Okay: If you don't have one of those clear plastic sleeves, just attach the shipping label to the package, put the other labels into a regular envelope that says "CUSTOMS" on it, and tape it to the outside of the package.

Where to put Commercial Invoices for international UPS shipments

  • UPS Commercial Invoices: When you print an international UPS label, the label itself may print out along with multiple identical copies of an invoice (usually three).

    • Those invoices will look almost exactly the same, but do not discard any of these! You need to affix all 3 to the outside of the package!

  • Put the Invoices in a Clear Pouch: Once you've printed your international UPS label and those 3 invoices, affix your label on your box or envelope and be sure to place the commercial invoices in a clear pouch, like a ziplock bag 👌

    • Lastly, write the phrase "Commercial Invoices" on that clear pouch, affix it to the outside of your package, and you're all set!

    • Pro Tip: A ziplock bag should do the trick, but you could also order these clear adhesive shipping pouches on Amazon.

You can also use invoices or receipts from your store or eCommerce platform

  • Providing Your Own Invoices: For UPS shipments, you can use your own invoices or receipts from your store, eCommerce platform, or marketplace! They just need to have the following info on them:

    • Your business name & address

    • The recipient’s name & address

    • The item/quantity/value/description/total

  • Use a Clear Pouch or Ziplock: If your invoices contain this info, simply print 3 copies of them and attach them in the clear UPS pouch or a ziplock bag like we talked about above.

UPS Commercial Invoices must be 8.5x11" (unless you use your own)

  • You Can't Print Commercial Invoices with a Label Printer: One thing to note about commercial invoices for UPS shipments is that they have to be printed on 8.5x11" paper. That means you can't use a 4x6" label printer to print them 🙈

    • UPS considers that size too small for their commercial invoices, and might return your package because of it!

  • Use a Regular Desktop Printer: To print 8.5x11" commercial invoices, you'll need to use either a regular desktop printer or another standard printer you can access outside of your home or office.

    • Alternatively, you can still supply your own invoices from your store, eCommerce platform, or marketplace...and those can be 4x6".

    • If you don't have access to an 8.5x11" printer and can't supply your own invoices, chat with us and we'll do our best to steer you in the right direction!

Let ARRrrr crew know if ye need a helping hook!

There's no need to sail with two eyepatches on, Matey 😉 If you get stuck anywhere, just chat with us by clicking the blue icon at the bottom-right of your screen - we're happy to help!

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