Free Guide: How To Ship To Canada With The USPS

August 25th, 2017 Comments off

Have you considered expanding your US-based ecommerce business to Canada? When shipping with the USPS, you will not be charged extra fees to deliver packages to Canadian destinations.

If you want to learn the ins and outs of shipping to Canada, check out Stamps.com’s new eBook, “How To Ship To Canada With The USPS.” This guide will walk you through your options for shipping to the great north.

This guide covers:

  • How to evaluate shipping carrier cost to Canada
  • What products cannot be imported into Canada
  • Which duties, taxes and tariffs apply to your products
  • Choosing a shipping carrier for Canadian shipments
  • USPS Priority Mail International zones for Canada
Categories: International Shipping Tags:

How to Mail an International Letter or Postcard

May 26th, 2017 Comments off

Sometimes you don’t need to send a large shipment overseas, but simply want to send a postcard to a relative in Sweden or a letter to a friend in South Africa. Stamps.com makes it easy!

You may already be familiar with our Original NetStamps product. The great thing is that they can be used for both domestic mail and international mail! Keep in mind that Custom (Photo) and Themed NetStamps can only be used for domestic mail. If you need Original NetStamps, you can order them easily from our Online Store at different quantities.

To print postage for international postcards or letters:

  1. Please log in to your Stamps.com software and click on “Stamps.”
  2. Under “Postage Details,” please select “I want to specify the value for each stamp.”
  3. No guesswork is needed: if you need the current international letter or postcard rate, please click on the icon bearing the image of a globe and the word “Intl.” to access our International Rate Calculator. Select the country, territory, or dependency to which you would like to send mail. Select the mailpiece type and enter the weight of your mailpiece. If your mailpiece is less than a pound, enter zero for its weight.
  4. Click on “Check Rates.” You will be given a list of available mail classes and rates for the country you have selected. You would not generally need a customs form for international letters or postcards; you would only need one if your mailpiece is 16 ounces or greater or has a declared value of $400 or higher.
  5. Click on the “Use This Rate” button.

Once you click on “Use This Rate,” you will be taken back to the NetStamps page. Now all you have to do is type in the serial number under “Print Details.” You’ll find the serial number on your actual Original NetStamps sheet. You can print a full sheet of international stamps by making sure that the “Print All” box is checked. You can also print just one by selecting the Print Quantity. Click “Print Postage” when your sheet is ready to be printed.

That’s it! Now all you have to do is affix your stamp to a postcard or letter. NetStamps do not include an address, so make sure you write the complete international address clearly on your mailpiece. No need to wait in line at the Post Office—you can drop your mailpiece off at a USPS blue collection mailbox or in a Post Office mail drop slot.

Categories: International Shipping Tags:

Shipping to Puerto Rico with Stamps.com

January 13th, 2017 Comments off

295248_Stamps_SM_PuertoRico_Blog2

You have a package that needs to go to San Juan, Bayamón or Ponce. Not to worry: Stamps.com can offer you guidance on how to best format your addresses for mailpieces headed to Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rican addresses are considered domestic addresses with the state code of “PR.”  You can use the Domestic options within the Stamps.com platform (Packages, Stamps, and Envelopes).  You are not required to include a customs form.

Urbanizations

One of most important things to remember is that Puerto Rican addresses use a unique identifier called the urbanization. An urbanization (urbanización) is a specific sector of a city, town or residential development. Using the urbanization name reduces ambiguity and the chance that your mail will be incorrectly sent or returned to you. Sometimes the urbanization name will replace the street name entirely. Examples of urbanization names, which can vary considerably, include Urbanización Valencia, Urb. Las Delicias, Mansiones de Ponce, Jardines Paseo del Jobo, and Asociación Residentes El Plantio.

As you might have noticed above, urbanizations sometimes use the abbreviation of “URB.”  However, you may also run across terms like “EXTENSIÓN,” “BARRIADA,” “ALTURAS,” “PARQUE,”  “ESTANCIAS,” and “QUINTAS” to describe an urbanization. The good news is that the powerful Stamps.com software will recognize cases when the address needs an urbanization name and provide an option to you to select a more specific address.

Street Name Formatting

Keep in mind that the Spanish-language terminology as well as the formatting order will be different than what you see in English-language addresses. You’ll see terms like CALLE (“Street”) or AVENIDA (“Avenue”) placed before the street number. For example, instead of “123 Main Street,” you’ll see “CALLE PRINCIPAL 123.” In accordance with USPS guidelines, do not translate the Spanish street name terms – in other words, don’t change “Calle” to “Street.” As an exception to this rule on translating Spanish terms, please use the term “PO BOX” instead of the various Spanish-language equivalents (CALLER, CALL BOX, GPO BOX, PO BOX S–1190, APTDO, APARTADO, BOX or BUZÓN). 

If there is a house number, place it before the street name. For example, if the house number is B-31, write the address as “B-31 CALLE PRINCIPAL 123,” not as “CALLE PRINCIPAL 123 B-31.”

 The Value of Using Stamps.com

Shipping to Puerto Rico is easy with Stamps.com! Since Puerto Rico is considered a domestic destination, you can use the same Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express rates and packaging as normal. What’s more, with Stamps.com you’ll receive the discounted Commercial Base rate, so you’ll save when you print postage with us. We also allow you to easily order free USPS supplies like boxes and envelopes from the Stamps.com Store. With our Address Book feature, you can also save Puerto Rican mailing address for easy future use!

Additional Resources

 

Categories: International Shipping Tags:

Plan Now For Possible Canada Post Disruption

June 29th, 2016 Comments off

SDC Blog Canada PostDo you mail or ship to Canada? Canada Post recently sent a notice to customers regarding a possible service disruption on or around July 2, 2016, as a result of a labor dispute between Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

What does this mean for anyone mailing and shipping to and from Canada?

“In the event of a full labour disruption, Canada Post will not operate,” Canada Post is warning customers. “Mail and parcels will not be delivered, and no new items will be accepted. Any mail and parcels within the postal system during a work disruption will be secured and delivered as quickly as possible once operations resume.”

What can you do?

– If you have recently sent mail or packages to Canada or have any pending shipments, Stamps.com recommends monitoring the situation closely

– If your ecommerce business ships to Canada, update your policy page to notify customers about potential delays and to make clear that you won’t be able to ensure Canada-bound deliveries

– Visit the Canada Post Negotiations Updates page for more information and to sign up for email updates

Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) Codes for International Shipping

June 22nd, 2016 Comments off

HTS BlogYou may have spotted a box called “HS Tariff” in the Stamps.com International Shipping Label’s Customs Information section. What is it and what is it used for?

The Harmonized System, or HS, Tariff code is used to classify physical goods and traded products for export to another country. In the Stamps.com software, you have the option of entering a six-digit HS Tariff, a value developed and maintained by the World Customs Organization (WCO).

Why would you need this code? The codes are used by countries’ customs services to assess product quotas and correctly levy tariffs. This is not necessarily a bad thing: your commodity may qualify for a preferential tariff under a Free Trade Agreement.

Getting Your HS Tariff Code
So where would you get an HS Tariff code? To locate a specific code, please visit: http://hts.usitc.gov/

The Harmonized Tariff Schedule allows you to classify a specific product or product type with a numbered code. It will also provide information on the Tariff Rate of Duty.

Are you an exporter of table-tennis equipment? In the Tariff Schedule search engine, type in “table-tennis.” Reviewing the results, you’ll see HS Tariff code 9506, which is for “articles and equipment for general physical exercise, gymnastics, athletics, other sports (including table-tennis).” What if you’re an exporter of extracts, essences and concentrates of coffee, tea, or roasted chicory? Then your HS Tariff code is “2101.”

The goal is to pick the most specific tariff code for your item. For example, knives with silver handles would have the Tariff Code of 7114.11.10. Tricycles, scooters, and pedal cars would be 9503.00.00.  Perfumed bath salts would be 3307.30.

Using HS Tariff Codes in Stamps.com
To use an HS Tariff code, please select “Commercial Sample” as the Content Type in the Customs Form. You’ll notice some codes are longer than six characters, the maximum limit for the HS Tariff code in the Stamps.com software. Don’t worry: because the HS Tariff classification protocol is used by almost the entire international community, participating countries can add more digits to classify items with more specific detail. However, the first six digits are the same across all participating countries. Because of this, only the first six are used on Stamps.com Customs Forms.

The Customs Form will also ask for a “Country of Origin.” This refers to the origin of the product, not the origin of the mailpiece as a whole. This is required for the sake of security and to prevent any illicit or fraudulent activity, or anything that violates existing export laws.

Once you enter the Itemized Package Content Details, Value, Weight, Country of Origin, and add each line item by clicking on the “Add Item” button, you will be asked to acknowledge the USPS Privacy Act Statement and Restrictions and Prohibitions. Review that, and click OK.

Your form is now ready to print. The HS Tariff Number will appear in a box on the left of your International Shipping Label/Customs Form.

Call us toll-free at 1-888-434-0055, Monday - Friday, 6 AM - 6 PM Pacific Time.