For years, I never offered international shipping because I had to stand in the long post office line and seek guidance filling out the appropriate customs forms. I preferred to use the kiosk located inside the lobby which was always faster, but you can only ship domestic packages from the kiosk. Since opening my eBay store, I decided to give international sales a try and have not regretted it! International buyers now make up a large portion of my sales.
The employees at my local post office have helped answer many international shipping questions so I wanted to pass along some information I have learned.
- First class mail international is the most economical method for shipping small packages 4 pounds and under. In MANY cases, this option is significantly cheaper than using a Priority Mail flat rate small box or envelope. Also, the delivery time frame may be similar to Priority Mail, depending on the country you are shipping to.
- You must attach PS Form 2976, Customs Declaration CN22. Please note: this form does not allow tracking capabilities. When you type the label number into “track and confirm” on USPS.com, you will only see when the item was received for shipment.
- If you want full tracking capabilities, then do not use this international shipping method.
- Priority Mail International can be used for packages weighing up to 70 lbs.
- Typical delivery time frame is 6 – 10 business days, depending on the country you are shipping to.
- If using a Priority Mail International flat rate small box or envelope, you are required to attached a PS Form 2976, Customs Declaration CN22. This form is used for items valued under $400. Please note: this form does not allow tracking capabilities or insurance. When you type the label number into “track and confirm” on USPS.com, you will only see when the item was received for shipment.
- Customs Declaration and Dispatch Note CP72 (PS Form 2976-A) provides full tracking capabilities via USPS.com. This form is a bit more detailed, but once you get used to the form it’s a piece of cake. Using this form also includes free limited insurance for your package.
- Express Mail International is a bit pricier; however, it is much faster. Typical delivery time frame is 3-5 business days.
- $100 insurance is included.
- You are required to attach Customs Declaration and Dispatch Note CP72 (PS Form 2976-A).
- In order to track at USPS.com, you enter the Express Mail label into the track and confirm box.
Additional International Shipping Tips:
- Some countries have restrictions on what they will accept. I only sell new merchandise so in the “detailed description of contents” section on the customs form I indicate “new” when describing the item being shipped (e.g. “1 new shirt”).
- If a prospective buyer asks you to falsify information so they can avoid import fees (mark package as a “gift” or mark down the value) please understand that it is not only unethical but “a false or misleading declaration may lead to a fine or seizure of the item and additional penalties”. This quote was taken directly off of the instructions for completing customs forms. Not only are you breaking the law, but you are also jeopardizing your reputation.
- Priority Mail flat rate boxes are not always the cheapest international shipping option; although, they are much more convenient to estimate prices when listing items on eBay. I typically use flat rate boxes because I sell high volumes internationally, but if a buyer asks me for a lower rate, I will package the item and take to the post office for other shipping options.
- Remember: tracking is IMPORTANT, otherwise, you have no way of knowing where your package is and most importantly, if it has been delivered. Also, without tracking (using customs for 2976-A) the post office cannot help you locate the item if there is a delivery delay.
- In many instances, you get discounted prices by purchasing postage online.
- For higher valued packages, you can use Global Express Guaranteed. I have never used this method; therefore, didn’t go into details about it. You can read more about Global Express Guaranteed here.
- The full United States International Mail Manual can be found here.
I created a page in my eBay store to outline my international shipping information. I receive a lot of questions from prospective buyers, so decided to create this to help eliminate any questions.