How To Ship Foreign Purchases to the United States

There are a lot of things you will need to know when you plan to ship your foreign purchases to the United States. There are rules and regulations for everything. You will have to follow the laws of the country you will ship from, the International Law and finally, deal with US Customs Laws. Be sure that you are not shipping anything that could be illegal (as some items may be legal in one country but illegal in the US). Violations of laws may result in the return of item to origin, confiscation and lastly, prosecution by law.

If you are in a foreign country and hope to bring some items into the United States, you might want to check the following guidelines:
•    Bring It Yourself. The fastest and easiest way to ship in purchases is to carry them yourself. Tons and tons of small items are brought into the US every hour by hand carry. However, you may also bring in items by placing them in your luggage when you board your flight. Unfortunately, there are some airline rules and regulations regarding this. You will have to abide the country of origin and US laws regarding luggage and package regulations.

•    Pack it. When shipping, it is important to pack the item or items well. Some items must be packed with appropriate packing materials (breakables may be shipped with bubble wrap or styro wrapping). You will also need to separate some items from each other: foodstuffs and perfume or other liquids, etc.

Some important things to remember: wrap your purchases with strong material (be sure they will not be easily opened), effective packing materials (foam, paper), identification, and send them through certified shipping companies.

It will be better to identify the items being shipped (its contents if in a box), the origin, destination, contact person, zip code etc. Do not forget to put in “USA” in bold letters.

•    Use International Shipping Companies. You may also avail of shipping services offered by international shipping companies like FedEx or DHL. These companies can handle anything you purchase and ship them in good condition to the US. Though this is relatively easier, it will be much more expensive doing so. Do not forget to put in all pertinent information. Also, ask for the arrival schedule and the rate of insurance.

•    Duty Fees. Be ready to pay duty fees once your purchases arrive in the US. The fees will be given stateside, so it is important to factor in the amount you will have to pay before shipping to the US.

•    Keep Receipts. It is a good idea to keep every receipt regarding the items to be shipped. Keep purchase, official receipts and shipping receipts. You will never know when you will need it to process your shipping.

•    Dispute and Complaints. If you have any questions, complaints and incidents that would like to dispute, you may check for more information at the US Customs Service website at

Shipping to the US is not that difficult. However, it is better to read more or ask questions regarding every shipping transaction than to do so without research. Also, delays and problems may arise and you should prepare for any inconvenience.


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