How Does USPS International Shipping Work? Your Questions, Answered

Shipping internationally with USPS is a great way for you to get your favorite imported items right to your door!

It might seem like a complicated process to get what you ordered to your doorstep, but it follows a smooth, seamless process. Here’s how the USPS international shipping process works.

Differences in Carriers

Different carriers deliver international packages using different means. For example, if you were to use UPS or FedEx, they deliver from your home country to the package’s destination country for the entire process with a stop for customs in the middle.

USPS delivers your package to customs where it is then reviewed and processed. After that, the package’s destination country’s mail courier services handle the actual delivery of the package.

This is a possible disadvantage as it can lead to delays in delivery in the destination country. At that point, it may be more difficult to track your package as well.

Since FedEx and UPS are private carriers, they add on extra surcharges for your delivery costs, and they don’t necessarily get your package there any sooner. With USPS, you’ll have shipping costs but no extra fuel surcharges.

USPS International Shipping Costs

USPS carrier costs vary depending on how quickly you’re wanting your package to arrive. Below is a small breakdown of what to expect.

Arriving in 2 to 5 Business Days

USPS Priority Mail Express International will charge you $56.81. Compare this to FedEx’s $81.96 and UPS’s $82.12, and you’ll save yourself quite a bit of cash.

Needing a package delivered quickly doesn’t mean you need to pay an arm and a leg to get it there.

Arriving in 6 to 10 Business Days

Again, USPS proves itself to be the least expensive option with USPS Priority Mail International for a standard delivery time. You’ll pay $44.50 with no fuel surcharge.

FedEx and UPS will charge more, including fuel surcharges. You can expect to pay about $79 for either of them. That’s a huge price difference compared to using USPS international shipping.

Arriving in 11 to 20 Business Days

FedEx and UPS usually won’t take longer than 10 days to deliver your package, so for them, this isn’t even an option.

For USPS First-Class Package International Service, you’ll only pay $22.63 to get your package to its destination. Even if it takes up to three weeks for delivery, you can rest well knowing you didn’t pay too much in delivery charges.

However, there is better air freight service to look into that provides more than what USPS can. It’s a great alternative to USPS International. Give it a look and see how it can help you ship items today!

How to Package Properly

When sending packages to international destinations, it’s important you know how to seal it and what kind of boxes to pick.

As you get ready to ship your items, make sure you choose the right size box for the items you are sending. New boxes will last better in the delivery process than used boxes. You also need to pay attention to the box’s weight limit.

Then you’ll want to use some cushioning material inside like bubble wrap to help protect the objects you are shipping. If there are multiple items, you can wrap them separately.

Seal the box properly, with more tape for heavier packages. You’ll need tape that can withstand pressure and won’t break its seal. Before you tape it all up, make sure you throw a copy of the shipping label inside the package itself, just in case.

For the final step, you’ll need to attach the customs form to the top of your package where it’s visible and won’t get damaged. Here’s more information on what the customs form entails. The only reason you wouldn’t need a customs form is if you were sending an envelope weighing less than 16 oz.

More on Customs and Other Taxes

There are costs for packages going through customs. These costs will vary depending on the country.

Usually, the recipient of the package will have to front the customs fee. If there are any added duties or tariffs to deliveries, the recipients may have to front that fee as well. Customs help manage the flow of goods into the destination country while duties and tariffs help protect local businesses by applying taxes on items based on their weight or value.

There may be additional taxes depending on the country. Do your research before you send!

USPS Item Restrictions

With USPS international shipping, you also have certain items that are restricted from being imported into certain countries. Some of these items include:

  • cigarettes
  • alcohol
  • explosives
  • marijuana
  • fruits and vegetables
  • perfumes
  • other aerosols

You can find a full list of restricted items with USPS here.

Final International Shipping Advice

Before you send off your packages to international destinations, there are a few things you can do to ensure the best delivery process possible for your package recipients.

If there are any delays, make sure you contact the recipients so they are made aware. You can’t control delays due to weather or other disasters, but you can control alerting your recipient about these delays.

Don’t say your package is a gift if it’s an order for the recipient. Doing this to avoid fees will bring you legal trouble later and isn’t worth the hassle. You need to have your package go through customs properly.

Good luck with sending your packages internationally! Follow all of the guidelines, and it should arrive to your recipient safe and sound. For more information on travel and other topics, check out the rest of our blog!