How to Send Parcels Internationally


Whether you are sending a parcel as a gift or to a customer out of the country, there are some steps you must take to make sure it arrives safely at its destination. International shipping is more expensive than domestic shipping and your parcel will travel a long distance and may be exposed to variable environmental conditions, so be sure to pack it neatly and securely to avoid unnecessary delays or failure of delivery. There are a few extra things to consider when mailing a parcel internationally that do not necessarily apply to domestic mail.

Things You'll Need

  • Box or shipping envelope
  • Mailing tape
  • Black marker
  • Customs form


  • Pack your item in a sturdy box or envelope designed for shipping and secure it with enough tape to make sure it open during shipping. If you're reusing a box, remove or completely cover all previous labels and marks with a black marker. Address the parcel to your recipient and include your return address. Write neatly with a marker or print out address labels in uppercase and cover the recipient's address with clear packing tape so it won't smear during shipping. Mark your package as fragile or perishable if necessary.

  • Fill out a customs form. A customs form is required for all non-letters being mailed internationally and is an itemized list of the contents and value of items inside of your parcel. Select a customs form based on the weight of your package and chosen method of shipment. You are required to include your name and address as well as the name and address of the recipient.

  • Take the package to your local post office or shipping store such as The UPS Store or FEDEX. Select a shipment method; the options available and the price for shipping will vary depending on the size, shape, weight and destination of your parcel. Choose your option depending on the speed at which you need delivery to occur and the price you want to pay. You can also add options such as package insurance coverage, delivery confirmation with return receipt, registered mail and restricted delivery.

Tips & Warnings

  • There are several types of customs forms to consider. The proper form to use is determined by the weight of your parcel and your method of mailing. You can pick up a customs form at the post office or your local shipping store; consult with a shipping agent to confirm that you are using the correct form.
  • Many shipping companies allow you to track your package online with a tracking number. Your shipping agent can explain how this is done.
  • Sending prohibited or illegal items through the mail will likely result in your parcel not arriving to its destination. Consult the recipient and your local post office or shipping store if you are unsure whether an item can be mailed or not.
  • Don't use string, cord, masking tape, or cellophane tape to seal your package because they tend to fray or break during shipping, resulting in delay or failure to deliver your parcel.
  • Customs agents may open your package to inspect its contents. If your customs form is correct and all of your items are legal or not prohibited in the destination country, this should cause no delay or problems. Agents will often leave a slip of paper inside stating that your package was inspected.

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  • Photo Credit air mail image by Nikolay Okhitin from
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