Can USPS Ship Internationally?

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March 11, 2024

The United States Postal Service is one of the shipping companies that handle not only domestic deliveries but also international shipments. 

However, delivering items abroad poses unique challenges to any carrier. There are hurdles a company must overcome to provide safe, fast, and efficient delivery service. 

So, what process does USPS employ when shipping internationally? Is USPS the right shipping company to handle deliveries intended for other countries?

This article explains the different services provided by the Postal Service for deliveries that may be used for international addresses. It also discusses whether USPS is the better choice for shipping items abroad. 

If you’re shipping a package abroad and want to get the location and contact information of over 31,330 USPS retail facilities and post offices, visit FindPostOffice.org

Our website provides quick access to post office information like contact numbers, addresses, operating hours, and holiday schedules. 

What USPS International Shipping Is and Why You Should Use It

International shipping is the term for package deliveries from one country to another. 

Shipping to other countries involves crossing borders and going through customs clearance, resulting in additional requirements and delays. Meanwhile, the U.S. Postal Service provides international shipping through different mailing options. 

Secure, Affordable Global Shipping

USPS has international mail services that reach over 180 countries, including Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Japan, and Mexico. The Postal Service provides speed and postage prices that include tracking and insurance. 

International Shipping Services

USPS has different international shipping services for personal and commercial needs. 

The following are the primary shipping services that people can use for sending parcels outside of the country. 

Global Express Guaranteed

When you choose Global Express Guaranteed (GXG) service, you can take advantage of international shipping speeds of one to three business days. GXG services also include next-day services to various locations in Canada. 

GXG offers date-certain deliveries with money-back guarantees and ships to 180 countries. The price for Global Express Guaranteed starts at $71.10. 

Priority Mail International

USPS provides an international shipping service with a delivery speed of three to five business days. This mailing option has a money-back guarantee and is available to a few destinations. 

The shipping cost for USPS Priority Mail Express International starts at $54.75. 

Priority Mail Express International

USPS provides affordable international delivery to over 180 countries via Priority Mail International services. This international shipping option has a delivery time of six to ten business days. 

Also, this shipping option includes tracking and insurance coverage of up to $100 for nonnegotiable documents and up to $200 for various merchandise. 

You can ship up to 4lbs via Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelopes and Small Flat Rate Boxes. You can also send up to 20lbs using medium and large flat rate boxes. The postage price for this USPS service starts at $30.35. 

First-Class Package International Service

USPS provides economical package services for international destinations by offering the First-Class Package International service. 

This mailing option provides a means to send lightweight packages (4lbs) containing items with up to $400 in value to around 180 countries worldwide.

This USPS shipping service includes Delivery Confirmation International, which allows you to receive proof of delivery once the addressee receives the package. The international shipping rate for this service starts at $15.75. 

First-Class International Letters

USPS provides an affordable option to send letters, large envelopes, and postcards weighing at least 1oz to 180 countries worldwide. 

Using one Global Forever stamp, which costs $1.50, is enough to pay the postage for this mailing service. For large envelopes (flats), the price starts at $3.00 for parcels weighing up to 15.994oz.

A Global Forever stamp pays postage to send a one-ounce letter to 180 countries worldwide. This stamp is unique because its value is always the same as the price of shipping a First-Class Mail International. 

Airmail M-Bags

Airmail M-Bags are an easy way to send large amounts of printed material to one recipient in any country serviced by USPS. 

You can send books, catalogs, directories, journals, magazines, newspapers, advertising, and promotional materials. The postage price for this service starts at $55.00 at a post office.

International Business Shipping

Businesses focusing on eCommerce need a reliable, fast, and affordable way to ship orders to their customers. The need is even greater today as more online entrepreneurs interact with customers worldwide. 

USPS provides an international business shipping option that provides efficient methods for importing and exporting packages. 

Through the different business shipping options USPS provides, you can send and receive international shipments with relative ease. 

Export Support

Packages sent to destinations abroad are considered exported items. Any exported item goes through the destination country’s customs. 

USPS can help you navigate this process through a collection of services under Export Support. 

Global Shipping Software

USPS provides free software that helps guide you through the international shipping process. 

The Global Shipping Software explains how to create shipping labels, provide postage statements, and help with customs forms and manifests. Also, this software instructs customers on how to prepare documentation for export screening. 

What Global Shipping Software Can Do

  • Accept package information electronically or on-screen, which reduces the need to enter data.
  • Assign package identification or tracking numbers.
  • Help calculate postage prices.
  • Help generate shipping labels, customs forms, manifests, and postage statements. 
  • Generate different USPS forms needed for international shipments.
  • Provide data file with details on package processing and tracking information.
  • Service is available at no cost to qualified mailers.

How It Works

With Global Shipping Software, you can do the following:

  • Pay with a Permit Imprint at a discounted rate.
  • Create required mailing labels and customs forms.
  • Forward package data to ensure export compliance.
  • Receive package processing details, including tracking information, in a data file.

Permit Imprints is a method for paying business postage. USPS provides three business mail payment options, the first two being meters and precanceled stamps, and the third one is Permit Imprints. 

Mailer Requirements

You can pay postage through one of the following methods using this software:

The eVS is a verification system that allows high-volume package shippers and consolidators to pay postage and special service fees and document transactions using electronic manifest files. 

Technical Requirements

Here’s what you should do to access the GSS website:

  • Use a supported browser like Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, and Opera. 
  • Use a computer that runs Windows 7 or higher.
  • Have a label printer compatible with Windows drivers that can print 4in x 6in labels.
  • Secure a reliable internet connection.

Technical Assistance

Suppose you need technical assistance in using GSS. In that case, you can get help by contacting support. You can email the GSS Help Desk at gsshelp@usps.gov. 

Commercial ePacket

A Commercial ePacket allows you to send lightweight shipments internationally with delivery speeds that eCommerce customers demand. You can also track your shipments from drop-off to delivery. 

Package or Parcel Requirements

The following are the package requirements for shipping via the Commercial ePacket service:

  • The item has a maximum length of 24in.
  • The item is large enough to have the required elements in an internationally shipped package, like the address, customs form, and postage.
  • The item has a total dimension (length, height, and width) that doesn’t exceed 36in.
  • The item has a maximum weight of 4.4lbs or 2kg.

Rolls Requirements

  • Maximum length is 36in and, if combined with twice the diameter, 42in.
  • Minimum length is 4in, and if combined with twice the diameter, 6 3/4in.
  • Maximum weight is 4.4lbs or 2kg.

USPS ePacket Country List

The following table includes the countries where you can ship small packages like Commericla ePackets:

Australia
Belgium
Canada
Chile
Croatia
Cyprus
Denmark
Estonia
France (includes Corsica and Monaco)
Georgia, Republic of
Germany
Gibraltar
Greece
Hong Kong
Hungary
Iceland
Indonesia
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Japan
Korea, Republic of (South)
Lebanon
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Malaysia
Malta
Netherlands
New Zealand
Poland
Portugal
Romania
Singapore
Slovak Republic
Spain
Sweden
Thailand
Turkiye, Republic of
United Kingdom of Great Britain 
Northern Ireland

International Bulk and Package Services

Businesses often want to find ways to save money in shipping without sacrificing speed and safety. To meet those business needs, USPS provides international bulk and package services. 

Package Services

Here are USPS services for shipping packages internationally:

  • Priority Mail Express International
  • Priority Mail International
  • First-Class Package International Service

Bulk Services

Here are USPS services that provide bulk shipping services to international destinations: 

  • International Priority Airmail
  • International Surface Airlift
  • Airmail M-Bags

Export Laws and Rules

USPS helps shippers navigate export laws and rules, ensuring customers get a clear understanding of the rules concerning shipping goods abroad. It’s crucial for customers, especially those who rely on regular shipping services when packages go through customs, which can result in delays. 

Pricing and Export Agreements

USPS also helps customers understand the pricing and agreements in exporting items via mailing options. 

Global Expedited Package Service Agreements

When you regularly spend $200,000 or more on shipping yearly, you can enjoy the following perks:

  • Qualify for lower prices on Priority Mail International and Priority Mail Express International.
  • Get free shipping supplies and packaging from USPS.

Commercial Plus Pricing

You can qualify for more discounts when using Commercial Plus pricing when doing business. However, you must regularly spend $100,000 or more on Global Express Guaranteed, Priority Mail International, Priority Mail Express International, or First-Class Package International services yearly. 

Customs Forms for International Mail

When shipping mail abroad, you don’t only worry about international postage prices. However, you need to mind the customs process and requirements to get cleared. 

USPS helps you go through the customs process, which depends on the items you’ve shipped, the service you use, and the package content’s declared value.

Import Support: Global Direct Entry

As mentioned, when you ship items via international mail, you export goods. However, if you receive items from abroad, even if they came through the mail, it’s considered an import. Get help with import support via Global Direct Entry services. 

How It Works

  • Your mailpiece came from and was processed overseas and shipped to the United States through its delivery points.
  • Your mail or package has cleared U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
  • Your mail has entered the USPS mail stream and is ready for delivery. 

Qualified Global Direct Entry Wholesalers

USPS lists wholesalers qualified for Global Direct Entry.

  • 4PX Express Co. Ltd
  • AirCityPost
  • Asendia USA
  • BFE Corporation
  • Bombino Express
  • BoxC
  • CEVA Logistics USA, Inc.
  • Chit Chats
  • Clickbox
  • CNE Express
  • Crane Worldwide Logistics
  • DDP Courier LLC
  • DTDC Express
  • ECMS Express, Inc.
  • ePost Global
  • Essential Hub
  • Estafeta USA
  • Evolucity Commerce
  • FNS, Inc.
  • Freipost Global
  • GELS Logistics, Inc.
  • International Bridge, Inc.
  • Jet E-Commerce Logistics
  • KWT International
  • Landmark Global
  • OCS UK Ltd
  • Orange Distribution Solutions, Inc.
  • Pitney Bowes, Inc.
  • PYK Global
  • UKP Worldwide
  • US ELogistics Service Corp
  • VIPparcel
  • Yanwen Express
  • ZTO

USPS International Shipping Partners

Qualified wholesalers that work closely with USPS to help businesses with mailing and shipping preparation, printing, and transportation. Also, USPS helps customers work with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection when processing incoming packages into America. 

Here is a list of wholesalers that partnered with USPS for international shipping. 

  • Asendia USA
  • CMS, Complete Management Services, Inc.
  • ePost Global
  • Globegistics, Inc.
  • International Bound Couriers (IBC), Inc.
  • International Bridge, Inc.
  • IMEX Global Solutions
  • International Delivery Solutions (IDS)
  • International Mail Service, Inc. (IMS)
  • OnTrac International
  • Pitney Bowes, Inc.
  • Skymail
  • VIPparcel

How Does USPS Deliver Internationally?

International shipping is more complex compared to domestic deliveries. With international shipping, USPS works with other country’s airlines for transport and the destination country’s postal network. Furthermore, USPS works with both U.S. customs and the customs of other countries. 

How to Send a USPS International Shipping Package

When you want to ship a USPS package overseas through the Postal Service’s international shipping service, you must understand customs forms and purchasing insurance. 

Customs Forms

When shipping and receiving items from overseas locations, you need additional documentation to clear customs, like customs forms listing the package’s contents and the declared value of the items. 

The shipper has the responsibility to complete the customs form. Incomplete forms or forms with incorrect information can result in frustrating customs delays. 

Adding Insurance

Some international package shipping services, such as Priority Mail International and Priority Mail Express International, automatically include insurance coverage.

Some of the Cheapest Shipping Services

Many businesses want to find the cheapest way to ship parcels abroad. Some look for affordable services from other courier services like FedEx (Federal Express). However, many businesses use USPS because their services are generally more cost-efficient, which is a plus. 

Flat Rate Pricing

As of October 2023, flat rate pricing for Priority Mail International shipments is as follows:

  • Flat Rate Envelope: $28.57 Commercial Base, $30.35 at Post Office
  • Window Flat Rate Envelope: $28.57 Commercial Base, $30.35 at Post Office 
  • Small Flat Rate Envelope: $28.57 Commercial Base, $30.35 at Post Office
  • Padded Flat Rate Envelope: $28.57 Commercial Base, $30.35 at Post Office
  • Legal Flat Rate Envelope: $28.57 Commercial Base, $30.35 at Post Office
  • Small Flat Rate Box: $29.64 Commercial Base. $31.45 at Post Office

Additional Rates

Priority Mail International shipping service doesn’t include hidden or additional rates. Still, you can purchase additional services for added costs.

Using the Shipment Tracking Feature

Customers can use the free USPS service for mailing options like Priority Mail International. 

When you create a shipping label by going to your local post office or through Click-N-Ship, a service for creating labels online, you get a barcode with the tracking number. 

You must type the tracking number in the search box and get the necessary package notification. 

How to Track USPS International Shipping

You can track your international shipments by typing the tracking number of your package into the USPS Track and Confirm tool. You can access the tracking system by visiting USPS.com.

If you want to find your international tracking number, you can check the following places:

  • Your shipping receipt
  • Your sales receipt, especially if you bought insurance
  • Your shipping confirmation

USPS International Has These Advantages Over the Competition

For many, USPS has the lead in providing affordable package deliveries worldwide. Here are some of the advantages USPS has with the competition:

  • You may get up to $100 insurance coverage in some mailing options.
  • You can purchase additional coverage for your parcels.
  • You can include extra services like proof of delivery even for international shipments.
  • You can keep shipping records when you create shipping labels.

Issues Concerning USPS International Shipping

One issue concerning USPS International shipping is the speed and efficiency of the local postal service of the destination country. 

While USPS may be efficient in providing deliveries, it’s not in control over the postal service of other countries. For this reason, USPS International Shipping is not exempt from issues and limitations. 

Restrictions

Like the United States, other countries have a list of items not allowed entry into their country. Customers should understand the rules and regulations of the destination country to avoid delays in processing their mail. 

Item Restrictions

USPS has the following items placed under restriction and prohibition. The next list indicates the items that are not allowed or undeliverable:

  • Airbags
  • Ammunition
  • Explosives
  • Gasoline
  • Marijuana

Restrictions for Packages

The following items are items or packages that are restricted but not entirely prohibited from entry into the United States. 

  • Marijuana
  • Cigarettes 
  • Explosives 
  • Aerosols
  • Dry Ice
  • Air Bags
  • Gasoline
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Nail Polish
  • Ammunition
  • Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
  • Perfumes 
  • Poison

Furthermore, there are weight limits for packages for specific mailing options. For instance, USPS Priority Mail International has a maximum weight limit of 70lbs. 

On the other hand, Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelopes and Small Flat Rate Priced Boxes have a maximum weight limit of 4lbs. For medium and large Priority Mail International Flat Rate Boxes, the maximum weight limit is 20lbs. 

How to Clear the Customs

You need to have the necessary documents to be cleared from customs. These documents should be accurate and not tampered with to avoid problems getting cleared from customs. 

You can also call your local post office for help if there are shipping issues that require their immediate assistance. You can visit FindPostOffice.org and get the latest contact number of the USPS retail office near you. 

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

  1. Can USPS track international packages?

Yes. USPS can track international packages via a service that has tracking for free. You must get your tracking number and input it into the tracking system to get notifications of your package’s status. 

  1. Is USPS still doing international shipping?

Yes. USPS still ships internationally, and this service is growing. USPS continues to provide delivery services to over 180 countries worldwide. 

  1. Is it possible to track a USPS international package?

Yes. You can track a USPS international package via its tracking number. You can head over to USPS.com and into the tracking system page, and then monitor your delivery from your home. 

  1. Is my USPS international package lost?

USPS considers a package missing or lost when it isn’t delivered at the scheduled delivery date. Once considered missing or lost, you can request a mail or package search via USPS customer support. 

  1. How do I track an incoming international package?

You can see whether your package is in transit to your location by monitoring the status updates.

  1. How long does USPS international shipping take?

Shipping time depends on the destination and the mailing service used. For Priority Mail Express International, delivery time is one to three days. Some services provide the same time frame. 

  1. Why is my USPS tracking not updating?

There are many reasons why tracking is not updating. One reason is that the package might not have been scanned properly. 

Another reason could be that it is already with a delivery courier and being shipped to the next destination facility.

  1. Does USPS have international tracking customer service?

Yes. USPS has customer service for international concerns like tracking. You can contact USPS if there are issues by calling USPS Customer Care Center at 1-800-222-1811.

  1. What countries are not accepting USPS?

The following countries don’t accept USPS packages from the United States:

  • Afghanistan
  • Belarus
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Gaza Strip
  • Myanmar
  • Russian Federation
  • Syrian Arab Republic
  • Yemen 

Laos and Niue accept Priority Mail Express International only.

  1. Is it better to ship internationally with UPS or USPS?

According to customer feedback, USPS can be an excellent choice for shipping small packages internationally. On the other hand, UPS is relatively cheaper when sending larger packages abroad. 

References

  1. International Services
    https://www.usps.com/international/
  2. 532 Export Licenses
    https://pe.usps.com/text/imm/immc5_015.htm
  3. What is a Permit Imprint?
    https://faq.usps.com/s/article/What-is-a-Permit-Imprint
  4. e-VS (Electronic Verification System)
    https://www.usps.com/postalone/evs.htm
  5. International Business Shipping
    https://www.usps.com/business/international-shipping.htm
  6. Priority Mail International
    https://www.usps.com/international/priority-mail-international.htm