How to ship samples

A sample is usually a trial product sent from a seller to buyer, who isn’t usually charged for receiving it. However, many countries will only accept your goods as a sample if they meet strict conditions. To ensure a smooth shipment, check what information you need to provide and how to mark your product as a sample.

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Does my sample require a commercial invoice?

Even samples of low value require a commercial invoice. This includes a realistic value, detailed description and reason for export – in this case it’s ‘sample’. This way, customs will know the goods are not for commercial use.

Do I have to provide a value for the sample?

Yes. Even though buyers aren’t normally charged for the sample, sellers must declare an accurate value – if you’re not sure what it’s worth, ask yourself, ‘how much would this sample cost to replace?’.

Do I have to pay duties and taxes?

No, taxes don’t apply to samples. For this reason they should never be sold commercially. By tearing, perforating, or permanently marking your samples, you can make sure you comply with any requirements. It’s also a good idea to check the exact requirements with the authorities or receiver.

Anything else? 

You need to be aware that some countries have restrictions on samples and only allow goods through that meet strict conditions.

Double check you’ve completed the commercial invoice and have all other necessary documents ready for shipping.

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