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Posting internationally requires a bit of research and a little more effort than when posting domestically. That’s due to the different import rules and regulations that are in place for individual countries, which are policed by customs departments. Parcel Monkey can give you access to some of the most well known courier operations, but when it reaches customs it’s out of our partners’ hands for a period, while it’s cleared for entry into the country.
In order to minimise customs issues when posting abroad, it’s important you do your research and make sure your parcel ticks all the right boxes before sending it off. Otherwise, your package could be delayed, returned or attract unexpected tax and duty charges. We don’t want you to experience any of that while using Parcel Monkey, so we’ve come up with this, our comprehensive guide to avoiding customs issues.
Customs is an authority that controls what comes into and goes out of a country. Amongst many other responsibilities, it ensures no illegal or prohibited items get through, and that the government receives tax and duty for goods that are liable for charges. Most country’s rules differ in some way or another, so it’s vital you know what the guidelines are for the country you’re sending to before posting anything off.
Every country has a list of items that they don’t allow in. This includes all the usual things you’d expect, like aerosols, flammable liquids and, yes, animals. However, there are often goods that you might not expect to see on these lists as well, so check carefully. For instance, you can’t send money to many countries; likewise, leather products, mobile phones, musical instruments and tobacco may not be accepted.
Other items may be allowed, but come with restrictions or strict guidelines on packaging. The country may also have rules on the size and weight of the package. We suggest checking out our destination pages, which have information for almost every country, or simply ask us if you’re not sure.
You must complete a customs declaration form when posting abroad. This will include a description of the goods, the value of them and the nature of them – in other words, whether they’re a gift, personal belongings or something you’ve sold. Parcel Monkey will provide an easy-to-fill-out form during the booking process that covers all this, so you don’t have to worry about missing anything out.
It’s important to be as clear, honest and upfront about the contents of your parcel as possible by listing every item in your parcel individually and not just writing gifts or clothing. List what the items of clothing are for example; 2 x red t shirt, 1 x black jeans etc.
It will only delay its arrival or stop the parcel from being delivered altogether if customs have reason to believe the information you’ve provided is inaccurate.
When posting abroad, goods will be subject to a duty charge and local taxes. The amounts vary from country to country, and there’s no getting around them. Well, you can try, but you risk your parcel coming back to you – at your expense.
The responsibility to pay any local duties and taxes falls to the recipient of the package, so make sure they’re aware of this. It is very important to note that you should always provide the recipient details when sending the good overseas as they may need to be contacted to ensure the goods are delivered. Packages will be held with customs until payments are made, and returned if payments aren’t received.
Most of the time, if you’re sending a gift, personal belongings or a business sample, you don’t have to pay duty or tax so long as they’re below a certain value. Again, the allowance varies depending on the destination country.
Make sure everything is packaged securely so that the contents don’t rattle around or make any noises. Remove the batteries of electrical products, as batteries are prohibited items. Many items have specific packaging instructions, so be sure to check. Musical instruments, for example, must be packaged in a solid box.
This may sound obvious, but there are plenty of ways you can slip up here. Check with the recipient that the delivery address is correct, or use Google Maps to ensure all the details are right. It is easy to make a mistake with the Zip Code. so check, check and check again!
We provide shipping labels when you book, so print them out and attach them securely. Make sure any barcodes are scannable and that nothing is blocking them and they are stuck flat to the box without creases.
It is also a good idea to write in marker pen the delivery address on the box too. If you do this the country you’re sending to has to be written in capitals, on the last line, and without any abbreviations. And it goes without saying that you should write as clearly as possible. It’s best to put the name of the recipient on there, too, whether that be an individual or a company.
We recommend you include your own address, or a return address, on the package. That way, if there is a problem the parcel can be returned to you easily. To be doubly sure, put the return address inside as well.
Check you’re not sending a prohibited item
Make sure you’ve filled in all paperwork
Consider tax and duty charges
Package your item appropriately
Write the address correctly
Let the recipient know it’s on its way
Customs is just one part of the international shipping process so If you need more information about how to send a package, have a quick read of our guidance.