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Tips & Tricks for Shipping Customs Forms

Updated: Apr 10

Shipping internationally can feel overwhelming for small business doing their own eCommerce fulfillment. Just ensuring that an international address is accurate can be difficult since every country has a different format! However, international sales are an awesome opportunity!


At Key we ship all over the world every single week and we thought we would share a few tips and tricks for completing your customs forms.


When you ship internationally, you need more than just a shipping label. You also need a customs form and 3 copies of a commercial invoice. The customs form is provided by the shipping carrier and most carriers will also provide commercial invoices.


Commercial Invoice

The commercial invoice helps customs agents determine if entry of your package is allowed and how much duties should be charged. Three copies are required and should be put in a resealable plastic sleeve on the outside of the package. A variety of information is required including detailed information regarding what is being shipped, the recipient, and the shipper.


HS Code

The HS Code (Harmonized System Code) is a standardized code specific to the contents of your package used by customs agents in every country. It allows customs agents to determine if the package will be given entry and what the duties will be. These codes are very specific and it is important to look each product up for its specific code. You can search HS codes at this link.



The value of the item is generally the price a customer paid for the item; not the production cost. It is critical to provide an accurate value. Not doing so is illegal.


Country of Origin

The origin country is the country where the product was manufactured. You might wonder why this matters. However, it is critical in determining the duties charges so it is required. Trade agreements are country-specific and impact duties. For example, in some countries items made in sub-Saharan Africa are duty-free thanks to the African Growth and Opportunity Act.


If you are considering shipping internationally but need more help, we would be happy to assist you with simple integrated orderu fulfillment for your Shopify business. You can learn more about our personalized approach to small business fulfillment our our Order Fulfillment page.

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