Sending Parcels Overseas: Everything You Need To Know About Postage From US To UK

Thinking about sending something from the States to the UK?

Did you know that UPS ships over 11 million packages each day? FedEx ships around 11.5 million, and USPS delivers a whopping 187.8 million pieces of mail. So, how does this affect you?

Well, with literally hundreds of millions of packages sent each day, it’s a wonder anything arrives at the right address. So, be sure to triple check your address labels before you start fussing over the proper postage from US to UK sites.

Make sure to include the address for both the sender and the recipient. It’s simple, but it’s the most often made mistake. Incorrect postage is next on the list, but it’s a distant second.

Hundreds of millions of packages land in the return pile each year. But, we can help with that. If you want to ensure yours isn’t one of them, read on.

Make Sure It’s Safe to Send

Did you know that it’s illegal to send cell phones to another country? You could face federal charges for sending anything with a lithium battery through the USPS.

The list of prohibited items may surprise you. It includes things like airbags, medication, and some types of hairspray. Sending food of any sort is another common mistake. Ask your postal delivery service for a list of items illegal to send in the mail before you send your package.

It may save you a trip to court.

Understanding Tax and Import Regulations

Every country has customs restrictions. Those are the restrictions placed on items entering the country. Many of which incur additional charges. It’s part of the cost of doing business.

For instance, if you’re sending your mother a Christmas present in the form of a hand-knit sweater, you won’t need to worry about paying a tax. If you’re a merchant and you’re sending electronic equipment to a customer, however, you’ll have to pay a tax.

Double check the UK tax and customs regulations for the latest news on mailing parcels.

Customs Declaration Form

Whenever you send mail to a country in the European Union (EU), you have to fill out a customs declaration form. If you don’t, the recipient must do it for you. This can delay the arrival of your goods by at least 4 weeks.

When you fill out the form, make certain to use a pen with blue or black ink. If you fill out a pdf version of the form, double check that your printer has plenty of ink. Smudged ink or unclear answers will result in your package being returned.

Also, fill out all the boxes unless otherwise specified on the document. The same goes here. It’ll be returned to you if it’s not done correctly and completely.

Postage from US to UK Sites

The United States Postal Service and private services, like UPS and FedEx, calculate the cost of your postage using these factors:

  • Sending location
  • Delivery location
  • The weight of your package
  • The size of your package
  • The speed of delivery

In the US, these prices change often, usually at least once a year. So, if you’re looking to improve your business cash flow by saving a couple of bucks in shipping costs, you’ll have to check in regularly for price updates.

The easiest ways to reduce the cost of shipping is to send it in a smaller box. If that doesn’t work, think about decreasing the weight of whatever you’re shipping. Also, if you’re not in a rush, don’t expedite your shipping.

Options and Pricing

The speed at which you need your package shipped is the biggest factor you have control over. As a broad rule of thumb, packages take in the neighborhood of 3 to 10 days to arrive in the UK. Each shipping service has different rates and options, but most follow the same pattern as the USPS.

Global Express Guaranteed (GXG): If you need your package to arrive within 3 days, this is your only option. It may even arrive within 1 day. Prices start around $68 and include tracking.

Priority Mail Express International: If you want your package to land within 5 days, you’ll want this option. It gives you a timetable from 3-5 days, but you can depend on 5. Rates start at around $44.

Priority Mail International: If you have a 10-day window, choose this one. The USPS gives it a 6-to-10-day likely arrival time. This option will cost you around $26.

First Class Mail International: If you’re not sending a package but a letter, you’ll want this choice. Though delivery times vary, letters will likely take you from 3 to 10 days. Fortunately, this option will only put you out around $1.

Other options exist, such as Airmail M-Bags and Certified letters. You can browse this useful guide to learn more. Just recognize that if you have unusual requirements, you’ll have to speak with your delivery service. Do it in person to find estimated mail delivery times and costs.

Package Your Items for the Trip

At the beginning of this post, we mentioned that over 200 million packages are sent each day. That’s from the US alone. Worldwide, trillions of packages are sent each day.

Postal workers simply don’t have enough time to handle each package with care. It doesn’t matter what you put on the outside of your package. After it leaves your hands it’s going to be thrown around.

That means you need to pack it accordingly. It’s going to take a tumble. As such you need to give it enough support and padding.

If the contents are heavy, purchase a shipping box that’s made of heavy-duty cardboard.

Also, make sure the contents are surrounded by soft, lightweight packing material, such as Styrofoam balls. The material should surround your contents, all the way to the lip of the box.

What’s Next?

Knowing the postage from US to UK sites is only part of the process. Make sure to triple check your labels, fill out your customs declaration form, and pack for the long trip. Because it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Do you want to learn more about how the world works? Great, then come take a look at these deliciously informative articles about health, finance, and travel. So long and good luck!