A guide to shipping internationally

Shipping internationally may seem complicated, but with this guide you'll find out what a few important terms mean and the type of documents you need to provide.

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What’s the first thing I need to check?

Check out your own and other countries’ laws and regulations regarding your goods. There may be restrictions in place or a total ban on your goods leaving the country or entering another. You can find this information on government websites.

What are Denied Parties?

It’s important to know whether the individual or company you’re shipping to is reputable. A Denied Parties list outlines who you can’t trade with, so check this list to ensure you’re allowed to ship to your receiver.

You can find an example of a Denied Parties list on the US Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) website. Alternatively, you can check your own country’s government website.

What about embargoes and sanctions?

Some countries may have trade embargoes or sanctions in effect, so it’s important to check the country you’re shipping to and see if you can send goods there. This information can be found on your own and your receiver’s government website.

What is a dual-use item?

Some goods are classified as dual-use items. This means they can be used for civilian and military purposes. For example, drones can be used for both filming movies and in military operations.

If your item is dual-use or requires an export license, it needs to be declared clearly on the commercial invoice. For more information on export licenses, watch our video What is an export license?’.

Do I need a commercial invoice?

Yes. When filling it in make sure all the details are correct and the goods are clearly and accurately described.

Include the Incoterms® as they clearly define who is responsible for the costs and risks throughout the shipping process.

If you’re shipping dangerous goods or anything that’s controlled and licensed, declare this on the commercial invoice and air waybill to ensure safe and efficient transportation.

Finally, remember the Harmonised System code also known as an HS code. This is a classification for all products. It explains what it is, what it’s made of and what it’s used for.

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