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International Shipper's Checklist

The International Shipper's Checklist Part 2: Customs Brokers

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The International Shipper’s Checklist Part 2: Customs Brokers

Customs brokers help streamline the process of shipping internationally. They will ensure that your cargo arrives safely and on time, take care of all the paperwork and documentation, and deal with any issues that may arise.

What are Customs Brokers?

A customs broker provides valuable advice on shipping your cargo from your country to theirs. They ensure that your cargo meets all transport needs. Whether your freight is a small package or a large unit, using a customs broker helps ensure a hassle-free experience. You can also find brokers through the National Customs Brokers & Forwarders Association of America. Before settling on a broker, make certain they have a license through the CBP (U.S. Customs and Border Protection). You can double-check licensing at the CBP site.

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Ship Internationally Using Customs Brokers

If you ship freight internationally, it’s important to know the customs process. Regardless of the country of destination, your shipment may need to go through customs clearance, which typically involves two steps: declaration and inspection.

The customs declaration is a document containing information about your shipment’s contents. You’ll need to provide details such as the value of the goods, the date of departure, and the mode of transport. The customs inspection is a physical freight inspection to confirm that it meets all regulations.

What CAN’T Ship Internationally

There are a few restrictions on what can be exported internationally. The laws on what can be sent will differ from country to country or between postal services. Here is a list of non-shippable items and specific items limited by US postal shipment companies like USPS.

  • Banknotes, money
  • Hazmat waste
  • Human/fetal remains
  • Postage stamps
  • Vape products
  • Fireworks

Customs Laws

While shipping internationally through customs laws can be confusing, they are important to understand. If you are planning to mail goods internationally, there is one big thing to remember. Each country has its own shipment laws. It is important to research the requirements of your destination country before you send anything. For example, some countries restrict what types of goods you can import. Others may require obtaining a license or permit before sending certain items. You will need to fill out customs paperwork when you export your goods. Also, you may be required to pay customs duties or taxes when it arrives. Knowing the customs requirements of your destination country helps you know your shipment will arrive safe and sound.

Customs Border Protection

The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the federal agency responsible for regulating the flow of goods and people in and out of the country. CBP is a division of the Department of Homeland Security. Agents are stationed at ports of entry all over the country. Explicitly, CBP’s mission is to stop terrorist attacks and other illegal activity. However, they also play an important role in allowing proper trade and travel. Nonetheless, a regulated and steady flow of products between countries is essential to global security.

Before sending anything internationally, check the list of restricted items for the country you are exporting to.

Shipping With a License

When it comes to shipping internationally, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First, you need to have a license. Without a license, you cannot ship your goods overseas. For example, sending medication to some countries may require a license.

  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Animal products, furs
  • High/unusual value items
  • Weapons and ammo
  • Live animals
  • Tobacco
  • THC/CBD products

Make sure to cover your goods with the proper insurance. This will protect you if something happens to your shipment while it is in transit.

Working with Customs Brokers

Going through customs can be a complex process, which is why many businesses work with customs brokers. Customs brokers are approved by the government and know the regulations around international shipping. They help businesses complete the required paperwork, estimate import duties and taxes, and track the load throughout its process. In addition, customs brokers establish relationships with shipping companies, which can help guarantee delivery on time. As a result, working with a customs broker can save businesses both time and money.

Catch You at the Next Port of Call!

We still have a little ways to go before we get the full picture. However, we’re already halfway there! Continue to our next port of call, where we cover paperwork. Learn how to carve out a time frame for your international freight shipment.

Need to send something? Use our free online quote tool to start! For other destinations, call our shipping experts at 800.716.7608.

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