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International Shipping Guide
International Shipping Guide

Some tips for creating international labels on Pirate Ship

Updated over a week ago

Pirate Ship makes it easy to create labels for all of your international shipments 🛫 In this guide, you’ll find some tips on preparing your packages and shipping them properly to best avoid any issues!

Check for any shipping restrictions

Depending on the kind of item(s) you're sending, USPS may not allow you to ship your package at all! Checking the USPS Postal Explorer to see if USPS restricts or prohibits your items is always a good idea before buying any labels 😉

Check the USPS Individual Country listings

Next, when shipping with USPS, we always suggest browsing the USPS Individual Country Listings to look into your destination country. Some countries prohibit certain items, and you can use this to see if your country allows for the importation of what you're sending 👍 You'll also be able to see if the country you’re shipping to also has any specific weight and size limits you need to be aware of.

Check the UPS Import/Export Regulations

Similar to USPS, UPS prohibits and restricts certain items addressed to certain countries. Before you buy your international UPS label, we suggest visiting the UPS Import/Export Regulations and checking the following boxes:

Be sure to choose "United States" as your Origin Country or Territory, and then check the boxes: "Commodity Specific Stipulations," "Prohibited or Restricted Commodities," "Special Clearance Requirements," "Value Limits," and "Weight and Size Limits."

When you click the Show Regulations button, the UPS website will display all of the guidelines you'll need to abide by, along with any prohibited and restricted items.

Note: You aren't able to ship any item with UPS on Pirate Ship that UPS restricts, prohibits, or requires a special contract for (including shipments containing hazardous materials). For more information, see the list of items UPS prohibits.

Properly addressing your international packages

Some international addresses are tricky, and may not be the most obvious when it's time to make your label (we're looking at you, Thailand). If you need help formatting an international address, just let us know! Our pirates are ready on deck to help with that 💪

Keep in mind that Pirate Ship doesn't validate international addresses, so it’s important to confirm any address information with your recipients before you make your labels.

Use your recipient's full legal name when entering your label information

When entering your recipient info for an international shipment, the USPS website states that your label "must indicate the addressee’s full legal name." If you don't include this information, your package may get sent back to you 😅

Including your recipient's full legal name is best practice for sending any international labels, regardless of whether you're shipping with USPS, UPS, or using Pirate Ship's Simple Export Rate® service.

Formatting APO/FPO/DPO addresses

If you're shipping to an overseas APO/FPO/DPO destination, do not include the city or country names in the shipping address! This will keep your package from entering any foreign mail networks. Just make sure you include the unit and box numbers for APO/FPO/DPO shipping addresses (if assigned).

Need some help entering an APO/FPO/DPO address? Check this guide out: How do I ship to military APO, FPO and DPO addresses?

Choosing a shipping service

When it's time to ship, your international packages can be sent with both USPS and UPS! USPS offers Priority Mail International, Priority Mail Express International, First Class Package International, while UPS offers UPS Standard (to Canada & Mexico), Worldwide Expedited, Worldwide Saver, and Worldwide Standard. For lightweight shipments under 4 lbs, we also offer our very own Simple Export Rate® service.

Our software automatically chooses the cheapest service for you, but you can always choose a different service if you prefer! Here are some things to consider when selecting your service:

  • For USPS, only Priority Mail services include automatic insurance. For international shipments, you're covered up to $200 with the USPS insurance. Any other service you use other than Priority Mail services do not include insurance.

  • All international UPS services come with $100 of built-in carrier liability.

  • Simple Export Rate is an invite-only service similar to First Class Package International, but with the cheapest rates you'll find on the seven seas 💰 Chat in with us if you'd like to try it out!

Consider adding insurance and extra services

Some countries' postal services aren't as reliable as USPS, so we always recommend adding insurance to international shipments 😅 If you’d like to protect your packages with insurance, this guide will show you how: Does Pirate Ship offer insurance?

Before purchasing insurance on your items, be sure to familiarize yourself with the Terms and Conditions from our partner, Shipsurance. Also, keep in mind that the maximum value that you can declare for insurance on an international package is $2,500.

This maximum value of $2,500 for international packages is because the U.S. Census Bureau requires shippers to register with the Automated Export System (AES) when sending an overseas shipment containing goods valued at $2,500 or higher. Unfortunately, Pirate Ship cannot support shipments that need to register with AES...hence the maximum value 🙈

If you need to send one of these shipments, you'll need to register with AES through the U.S. Census Bureau and use a carrier outside of Pirate Ship. Learn more about registering with AES for high-value shipments.

Creating customs forms along with your label

All international shipments are subject to customs fees and import duties, and any time you create an international label, Pirate Ship generates customs forms so you don't have to 🎉

Most international shipments only require a single integrated customs form (meaning the label doubles as your postage and customs form), but for some shipments, you may need to print multiple labels. You can read more about how to create customs forms here.

Keep in mind that you can only print customs forms on standard 4x6" label sizes 👌

Additional resources for customs forms

Have any more questions about international shipments? Chat in with our Support Crew - we're happy to lend a hook 😃

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