7 Key Points to Consider Before Shipping Overseas

Shipping items overseas has rules, regulations, and costs you may never have even thought about.

You’re not the first to be interested in shipping overseas. Roughly 90% of world trade is international. This move connects people around the globe and provides them with things they may not have had access to before.

Broadening your market can be beneficial. However, it does come at a cost. Outlined here are 7 key points to consider before shipping overseas.

Custom Regulations and Fees

No matter what you’re shipping, it’s going to need to pass customs. Not to mention the paperwork you’ll be filling out. One for the country you’re shipping from, and one for where you’re shipping to.

That extra paperwork isn’t all you’ll need to plan on when it comes to customs. For example, the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) collects taxes and fees on behalf of federal agencies. The fees and taxes range depending on the value of the product and the shipping destination.

While you’re thinking about costs, you’ll need to consider the shipping tariff. This will include the cost of the shipping company and applicable freight taxes. You can price match different companies to ensure you’re getting the best rate for your shipment.

Transit Time

The time it takes to ship and arrive depends on several factors. The shipping company, method, if overnight options are even available, and the product can all influence any transit time. Shipping overseas is no exception.

Shipping items overseas is influenced by all those factors and then some. In fact, international shipments have a higher chance of being delayed than domestic. Depending on what it is you’re sending, customs will take extra time for clearance.

Determining your delivery date goal will need each of these factors to be considered. If you want to be cautious, you should plan accordingly. It doesn’t hurt to add additional time to your shipping.


It should come as no surprise that your shipment will need packaging. However, it’s crucial you use the right type. Different countries have their own requirements for packaging and labeling.

No matter the destination, the goods should be packaged tightly. Depending on the items, you may also be required to label accordingly. You can look up the regulations when it comes to packaging and labeling.

If you’re confused or short on time, you can consider hiring a shipping company that handles packaging too. It may come at an extra cost, but it’ll save you the hassle and the time. This should help you avoid additional delays.

Transportation Method

The method of transportation can and will affect your delivery. The main options for shipping overseas are air and by sea. Either will have their own costs and timeframe.

If you choose to ship by sea, you can expect longer shipping times in exchange for a more affordable price. If you choose this method, you will need to ensure your product is capable of enduring the trip in closed cargo containers.

Shipping by air is by far a lot faster. Not only that, but it’s more suitable for perishable items that won’t last on the sea. Before shipping by air, you should consider obtaining a quote first.

Restricted Items

Although a product may be legal to ship where you reside, it may not be allowed in the destination. The list of restricted items in both places should be closely reviewed. If what you’re sending happens to be on that list, customs could restrict your shipment for an undisclosed period.

Items are restricted to ensure the safety of the receiver and anyone else who handles the package. Some of the common things you’ll find to be restricted are:

  • Airbags
  • Ammunition
  • Explosives
  • Gas
  • Marijuana

No matter where you’re shipping, there are restricted items. This goes for domestic and international. Know what’s restricted so you don’t wind up in trouble with the law.

Shipping Overseas Rules

Shipping overseas has other rules you need to follow. If you’re sending perishables, you must first ensure they’re not restricted items in the destination. They should also be properly labeled with the type and quantity.

When you’re shipping plants, animals, and other living things, there’s even more rules and paperwork. While you may want to handle packaging yourself, this is a good time to consider a company that will handle it. They’ll ensure proper care and safety.

So many rules, so little time. However, as long as you fill in the paperwork correctly and speak with the shipping company ahead of time, you should be okay. Remember to double-check if you’re unsure, it’s better to be safe than sorry.


When you ship items, you’ll have the option to insure your product. This should protect you from the price of unexpected damages or lost items. Both of which can happen on any shipment.

While insurance is usually left up to the discretion of the consumer and sender, it shouldn’t be left out of your planning. Especially when it comes to long shipments and certain products. The longer the trip, the more likely the damage.

Even if you think insurance is unnecessary, you’d be surprised at the risk of damaged goods when shipping overseas. Insurance is like a safety net for your finances. Without it, you risk a falling out with your shipping company and the receiver.

Final Thoughts

International shipping has its perks. You can reach more consumers and provide your customers with things they wouldn’t be able to access without this process. Not to mention, you can cash in on global trade like any successful business owner would want to.

While there are many pros for entrepreneurs to get excited over, you know there’s more than what meets the eye. Following the key points outlined here today will ensure you’re prepared for shipping overseas. When all else fails, you can speak with a professional to clarify the things you’re unsure of.

Keep reading our blog for more shipping information.