Going Global? Label Your International Shipments with Confidence
You probably know that correctly labeling your packages for international shipping with the United States Postal Service (USPS) is crucial. An incorrectly labeled package can end up costing you more than anticipated, as well as delay your shipments and disappoint customers. It's, no doubt, a big contributor to why many small online retailers resign themselves to domestic shipping only. But if you're only shipping within the U.S., you're missing out on an entire world of potential customers across our borders and overseas! If you're considering crossing over to the international side, we want to help.
Reusing old boxes
If you're reusing a cardboard box to ship your items, make sure any labels related to the previous shipment are covered and not visible. Doing so will help keep the process moving quickly and prevent the new barcodes from scanning incorrectly.
Our blockout labels are designed to prevent old information from showing through. Print your shipping labels on our impenetrable material or use it to simply cover up unnecessary barcodes.
Creating the address and return address labels
While the USPS permits handwritten address labels (in pen or permanent marker only), relying on postal workers to read your handwriting is not a risk you likely want to take when shipping internationally. An unreadable address can get your package shipped to the wrong place or sent back to you. We recommend printing your shipping labels online instead.
If you decide to print your labels, using tape in the wrong places can interfere with the post office scanner. When placed over barcodes, tape can cause a barcode to be unscannable, sometimes causing a misrouted package. You can tape around it, but it's safer and easier to use an adhesive label. The label paper will also protect your mailing label(s) from tearing.
In either case, the information should be displayed in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. Keep it to five lines or less and skip the abbreviations (that includes spelling out the country name)! Be sure to use everyone's full legal name as well, both yours and the recipient's. Nicknames, initials etc. may hold up the process on either side in customs. For addresses, include the English translation or roman character equivalents under each line if it's written in Russian, Greek, Arabic, Hebrew, Cyrillic, Japanese, or Chinese characters.
Prepping for customs
You can get the customs declarations forms from your local post office or via their website for free. We recommend providing your email address and phone number on them just in case, even though they aren't required. Should the Postal Service need to contact you for clarification, you want it to be as easy as possible.
Below are some additional links that may help you sail through the process with ease:
- Preparing your package for international shipment
- Postage Price Calculator
- USPS Customs Forms
- International Mail Services
- Sending Military Mail
If you're making the leap to shipping internationally, we want labeling to be the easiest part of the process. Shop our selection of labels for every step of the process so you're ready to go global! If you find yourself with label-related questions, we're here to help. Call our support team at 1-888-575-2235 or visit our website for frequently asked questions.