How to ship to the US

The US is a vital shipping destination for businesses of any size. And like any other country you need to be fully aware of their customs procedures. So to avoid any delays at customs, learn more about these regulations and what kind of details you need to provide.

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What do I need to include on the commercial invoice?

Provide the following details in English:

A precise goods description

Make sure you provide a full and accurate description of your goods. Be specific and try to avoid generic descriptions. Refer to these questions – what is the item? What is it made of? What is it used for? For more information watch our video How to provide a clear goods description’.

An accurate Harmonized System Code

You can look up an item’s HS code on your country’s government website. You can also use an HS code search tool online – just type in a detailed goods description and you’ll get the code. For more information watch our video ‘What is a Harmonized System Code?’.

Country of origin

You should list your goods’ country of origin. This is where your goods were manufactured and not where you’re sending them from.

The receiver’s contact details

You need to provide their details in case the US customs authorities have any questions.

What is the FDA?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the importation of products such as food, biological substances and medical devices. Each FDA-regulated product needs to be electronically screened before it enters the USA.

What does your receiver need to do?

Your receiver needs to comply with US Regulations, so it’s important to check if they need any authorizations or certificates.

Send a copy of the invoice to your receiver to ensure the details are correct before shipping. They may also need a customs broker (international trade experts who are responsible for preparing and clearing your goods through customs). If they do need one, remember to include the broker’s contact details on your invoice.

And if you’re shipping FDA-regulated products, your US receiver will need FDA approval. To get this, they need to enter their details on the US Customs and Border Protection website.

Finally, make sure you check US regulations before shipping as they’re frequently updated.

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