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International Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re only selling in the U.S., you’re only reaching a small share of your potential customers.
According to the U.S. Commercial Service, 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside of the U.S.
In addition, small businesses account for 30 percent of all U.S. export shipments. In fact, the fastest-growing segment of U.S. exporting companies — making up a whopping 65 percent of all U.S. exporters — are companies with 20 or fewer employees. So, size is no longer a requirement for international success in global markets.
Some of the benefits for your business include:
Increased sales and profits. If your business is succeeding in the U.S., expanding globally will likely improve overall profitability and increase productivity.
Short-term security. Your business will be less affected by fluctuations in the U.S. economy and marketplace.
Long-term security. The U.S. is a large, mature market with intense competition from domestic and foreign competitors, so international business trade may become a necessity if you want to keep up in an increasingly global marketplace.
Increased innovation. Extending your customer base internationally can help you finance new product development.
Economies of scale. Exporting is an excellent way to expand your business with products that are more widely accepted around the world.
Steps in developing an export strategy include:
Evaluate your product’s export potential.
Determine whether your company is export-ready.
Use market research to identify key international markets for your products.
Find customers and/or suppliers in international markets.
Establish an overseas distribution system.
Determine export prices, payment terms, methods and techniques.
Familiarize yourself with shipping methods, documentation, financing and other exporting requirements.
Understand government regulations, stipulations and restrictions regarding exporting.
Here are a few resources to get you started:
FedEx and the U.S. Commercial Service (USCS). This alliance provides end-to-end export support and advice to help your business find international customers and suppliers. From identifying new markets that offer opportunities for growth to determining a pricing strategy and maximizing the return on your export investment, the USCS can provide advice specific to your industry to help you begin international shipping.
U.S. Commercial Service Basic Guide to Exporting. This is a comprehensive primer for small to medium-size businesses.
U.S. Commercial Service Market Research Library. Here you’ll find more than 100,000 industry- and country-specific market reports to help you find the best global markets and buyers for your products.
The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of International Trade. This site provides a number of resources for small businesses that are new to exporting, such as the Export Working Capital Loan Program and local Small Business Administration U.S. Export Assistance Centers. To locate a local SBA U.S. Export Assistance Center near you, click here.
FedEx® International Services. The site you’re on provides the information you need to ship internationally and expand your business beyond U.S. borders.
Each country has specific document requirements for international shipments. To learn about the most commonly required forms — as well as when and why you need them — go to FedEx International Document Overview.
To determine and print the documents needed to accompany specific international shipments, you can also use the Find International Documents tool on FedEx® Global Trade Manager. Then, while you’re on FedEx Global Trade Manager, you can save time by using the FedEx Document Preparation Center to prepare, store and reuse your international documents. Please note: You must have a fedex.com user ID and password to access both of these tools.
The NAFTA Certificate of Origin is not a required entry document for shipments between the U.S. and Mexico or Canada. You should complete one only if your product qualifies for preferential tariff treatment under the NAFTA Rules of Origin.
If you’re not sure if you need a NAFTA Certificate of Origin, use the Find International Documents tool on FedEx® Global Trade Manager or call FedEx International Customer Service at 1.800.GoFedEx 1.800.463.3339 (say "international services").
For help understanding the certificate — as well as to learn more about NAFTA, how your business can benefit from new markets in Canada and Mexico, and how FedEx® services and solutions can help — see our information on North American trade solutions.
You can find resources to help you with different aspects of international shipping at FedEx® Global Trade Manager.
You can use the Find International Documents tool to determine and print the documents needed to accompany specific international shipments. Then, you can save time by using the FedEx Document Preparation Center to prepare, store and reuse your international documents. Please note: You must have a fedex.com user ID and password to access both of these tools.
Knowing the following information will help you with all three:
The origin and destination countries.
The currency of transaction. (This is the currency in which you’ll be entering the value and charges related to this shipment.)
The purpose of the shipment (e.g. commercial, gift, sample)
The name and description of the product to find its Harmonized Code. (Harmonized Codes are used internationally to catalog and describe products for tariff and regulatory purposes.)
The product’s value for customs. (Enter the selling price or fair market value [even if not sold or for resale] of your shipment contents.)
The product’s country of manufacture. (The country where the product was built or created.)
If you already have a fedex.com user ID and password, enter them where indicated. If you don’t, you’ll need to click the Continue button.
Complete all required fields under Contact Information.
Click on the checkbox under Terms and Conditions.
Choose "Open a FedEx account" under Confirm Your Selected Account Option.
Click on the Continue button
Enter your credit card information.
Answer the shipping-needs questions.
Click on the Complete button.
You're ready to create your shipping label!
If you'd prefer to manually complete paper shipping labels, you can get them at FedEx staffed locations immediately, or you can order them online at fedex.com or by calling 1.800.GoFedEx 1.800.463.3339 (say "order shipping supplies").
Please note: To order shipping supplies online, you must have a FedEx account number and a fedex.com user ID and password. Orders are shipped for delivery typically in 2 to 5 business days.
If you’re shipping a FedEx Express®international package (150 lbs. or less) shipment, you’ll need a FedEx®International Air Waybill.
1. Sender Information
2. Recipient Information
3. Shipment Information
If you’re shipping a FedEx Express®international freight (151 lbs. or greater) shipment, you’ll need aFedEx® Expanded Service International Air Waybill.
1. Sender Information
2. Recipient Information
3. Shipment Information
We’d be happy to assist you.
First, enter your fedex.com user ID and password in the designated fields. If you click on the checkbox “Remember my user ID on this computer," the next time you log in, your user ID will be prepopulated.
Click on the Login button.
The "Ship from" field will be prepopulated with your address information. You can edit it if necessary.
Complete the requested "Ship to" information
Next, choose an international service and the type of packaging you will use.
Enter the number of packages in your shipment.
Provide the shipment weight in either pounds or kilograms. A 1-lb. minimum is required.
To avoid customs delays, you need to provide accurate carriage and customs value information. Carriage value is our maximum liability in connection with shipping a package. Our maximum liability is $100, or the amount required by an applicable treaty, unless you purchase additional coverage. The carriage value cannot exceed the customs value. Customs value is generally the selling price or the fair market value of the contents. Provide both the carriage and customs values in either U.S. dollars or the currency of the destination country. A currency converter is provided to help you.
Select your ship date and indicate the package contents and purpose. Customs may treat gifts and samples differently than commercial shipments.
Your account number will automatically populate in the billing field. The default is set for the recipient to pay any duties, taxes and fees on the shipment. You can indicate that you want the shipper or a third party to pay these charges. If you choose a third party, you will need to enter that party’s FedEx account number.
Select any special service options you might require, such as collect on delivery and courier pickup. Choose email notifications if you’d like us to send you and others notifications of critical shipping events.
You can also check the rate and transit time for your shipment, if you didn’t already before beginning to create your shipping label.
Click Continue to proceed to the required documentation fields.
Highlight "Add new commodity" under the "Select or create" field and enter the required information. The commodity description should be as detailed and complete as possible. Make sure to include details such as what it is you are shipping, what it is made of, and how and where it will be used.
The harmonized code is a standardized number that helps determine which customs documents you need and provides a more accurate duties and taxes estimate. If your shipment contains commodities valued at less than $2,500 each, you can leave this field blank. If any commodity is subject to a U.S. export license, permit or ITAR regulation, the harmonized code is required.
After you’ve completed all the required fields, click the "Add this commodity" button.
Required documentation is country-specific and may be different for commercial shipments. The system will prompt you as you complete your label about the documentation you need for commercial shipments.
Click on Commercial Invoice.
Based on the country you’re shipping to, the Electronic Export Information (EEI) section may appear. If the EEI is not required, click on "No EEI/SED required" in the Electronic Export Information box and select the appropriate code in the FTR drop-down box. If you are unsure whether your shipment requires Electronic Export Information, please call1.800.GoFedEx 1.800.463.3339 and say "international services."
Click on Ship, and you can print your label and the Commercial Invoice document. Be sure to include all printed documents with your shipment. Place the customs documents in a separate pouch from the shipping label, and attach the pouch to the outside of the packaging.
You can also save your shipment details and send another similar shipment with just a few clicks.
The Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS for short) is an internationally standardized numeric system for cataloging and describing traded products. HS numbers are used by customs authorities around the world to identify a product's rate of duty, its import and export admissibility, and whether or not it should be physically examined. Importers and exporters are legally required to declare their products to customs by means of HS codes. Virtually all countries base their tariff schedules on the HS, making it easier to conduct international trade.
EXW (Ex works): The price quoted applies only at the point of origin. The seller agrees to place the goods at the buyer's disposal at the specified place within the fixed time period. All other charges are put on the buyer's account.
FOB (Free on Board): The seller delivers the goods on board a vessel designated by the buyer. The seller fulfills its obligations to deliver when the goods have passed over the ship’s rail. Maritime transport only.
DDU (Delivered Duty Unpaid): The seller delivers the goods to the buyer to the named place of destination in the contract of sale. The goods are not cleared for import or unloaded from any form of transport at the place of destination. The buyer is responsible for the costs and risks for the unloading, duty and any subsequent delivery beyond the place of destination. Used for intermodal or courier-type shipments.
DDP (Delivered Duty Paid): The shipper or seller is responsible for dealing with all the tasks involved in moving goods from the manufacturing plant to the buyer or consignee’s door. It is the responsibility of the shipper or seller to insure the goods and absorb all costs and risks including the payment of duty and fees. Used for intermodal or courier-type shipments.
CFR (Cost and Freight): The seller must pay the costs and freight to bring the goods to the port of destination. However, risk is transferred to the buyer once the goods have crossed the ship’s rail. Maritime transport only.
CIF (Cost, Insurance and Freight): Exactly the same as CFR, except that the seller must also obtain and pay for insurance for the buyer. Maritime transport only.
CPT (Carriage Paid To): The general, multimodal equivalent of CFR. The seller pays for carriage to the named point of destination, but the risk then passes when the goods are handed over to the first carrier.
CIP (Carriage and Insurance Paid To): The general, multimodal equivalent of CIF. The seller pays for carriage and insurance to the named destination point, but the risk then passes when the goods are handed over to the first carrier.
"Incoterms" is a trademark of the International Chamber of Commerce, registered in several countries.
Yes. FedEx offers import and export services between the U.S. and 220 countries and territories. Please note that services available to and from countries vary. To view an import and export international services coverage map, click here.
- For a list of import and export countries served for international package (150 lbs. or less) shipments, click here.
- For a list of import and export countries served for international freight (151 lbs. or greater) shipments, click here.
Check out our information on North American trade solutions to find out how you can benefit from NAFTA, and how FedEx can help you get started shipping to Canada and Mexico. We can help you decide what solutions are right for you.
You can find country-specific international shipping information by visiting the Country Snapshots. The snapshots may include some or all of the following information:
- Prohibited and restricted items that cannot be shipped into or out of the particular country.
- Items that can be shipped into or out of the particular country, but require export controls or additional paperwork.
- Special provisions (such as free-trade zones and special conditions that apply to personal effects, gifts and samples) that mean reduced or eliminated tariffs for certain shipments.
- Import and export clearance information, such as the clearance process, document requirements, and duties and tax assessment.
- Regulatory contact information for the particular country.
FedEx gives you flexibility to match the right international service to your speed-to-market needs.
FedEx International Priority®. Provides customs-cleared delivery typically in 1, 2 or 3 business days to more than 220 countries and territories. You can import from more than 220 countries and territories too.
FedEx International Economy®. Provides cost-effective, customs-cleared delivery typically in 2 to 5 business days to more than 215 countries and territories. You get delivery in just 2 or 3 business days to Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico. You can import from more than 100 countries and territories too.
For your most urgent package shipments, consider:
FedEx® International Next Flight. Our fastest-possible delivery to and from more than 220 countries and territories. Reach major cities in just hours depending on flight availability. It’s available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
FedEx International First®. Reach many destinations in Belgium, England, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland as early as 9 a.m. in 2 business days. You can also take advantage of inbound delivery to select U.S. ZIP codes from more than 60 countries and Caribbean islands in just 1 or 2 business days by 8 or 8:30 a.m.
For a complete review of all international services offered by FedEx, check out the FedEx® international services chart.
FedEx Express provides service to and from more than 220 countries and territories. FedEx Ground provides service between the U.S. and Canada. For a complete review of all international services offered by FedEx, check out the FedEx® international services chart.
We have two express services designed for individual pallets of 151 lbs. or more. Pallets exceeding 2,200 lbs. require prior approval from us, but both services allow unlimited total shipment weight.
FedEx International Priority® Freight. Provides customs-cleared delivery typically in 1, 2 or 3 business days to more than 130 countries and territories. You can also import from more than 100 countries and territories. You can select pickup and delivery at your door or the airport.
FedEx International Economy® Freight. Provides customs-cleared delivery typically in 2 to 5 business days to more than 130 countries and territories. You can also import from more than 60 countries and territories. You can select pickup and delivery at your door or the airport.For your most urgent freight shipments, consider:
FedEx® International Next Flight. Our fastest-possible delivery to and from more than 220 countries and territories. You can reach major cities in just hours depending on flight availability. This service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. For shipments up to 2,200 lbs. per piece (or more with prior approval from us). Unlimited total shipment weight.
For a complete review of all international services FedEx offers, check out the FedEx® international services chart. For a complete list of all international services offered by country, check out the international services coverage map, click here.
Our air cargo services — known as FedEx International Express Freight® and FedEx International Airport-to-AirportSM — are separate from our express and ground services. These are only airport-to-airport services, and they require their own air waybill and booking procedures. And, unlike our express freight services, they don’t offer a money-back guarantee, customs clearance, pickup or final delivery. For more information about our express freight services, please refer to the previous question. What are my freight (151 lbs. or greater) service options for FedEx Express® international delivery? For a complete review of all international services offered by FedEx, check out the FedEx® international services chart.
Use the Get Rates and Transit Times tool at fedex.com or contact FedEx Customer Service at 1.800.GoFedEx 1.800.463.3339.
Use the Estimate Duties and Taxes tool on FedEx® Global Trade Manager to classify your shipment and estimate the duties and taxes that will apply. Please note: You must have a fedex.com user ID and password to access the tool.
You have the same range of billing options for international shipments as you do for shipments within the U.S., including FedEx® Billing Online Plus. This paperless solution enables you to view and download your FedEx invoice data, pay charges electronically, create custom reports, and even dispute charges.
Can someone other than me pay for the shipping charges for my international shipment?
For international shipments — just as with U.S. shipments — you have the option of billing the shipping charges to the shipper, the recipient or a third party. If using FedEx Ship Manager® at fedex.com to create your international shipping label, simply choose from the "Bill transportation to" drop-down list under the Billing Details section. If you are choosing a recipient or third party, be sure to enter the appropriate FedEx account number.
One difference, however, for international shipments is that you also need to designate who pays for the duties, taxes and fees. Your options are, again, the shipper, the recipient or a third party. To do so via FedEx Ship Manager at fedex.com, you choose from the "Bill duties/taxes/fees to" drop-down list under the Billing Details section. If you are choosing a third party, be sure to enter the appropriate FedEx account number.
Please note: If you choose a recipient or third party as the payer of the duties and taxes and they fail to pay the charges, you (the shipper) will be responsible for the payment.
Please note: The party you designate to pay for the duties, taxes and fees can be different from the one you designate to pay for the shipping charges.
Can I bill the charges for an international shipment to someone other than me or the recipient?
You can bill both the shipping charges and the duties, taxes and fees to a third party via FedEx Ship Manager® at fedex.comor FedEx Ship Manager® Software.
To do so via FedEx Ship Manager at fedex.com, simply go to the Billing Details section and choose Third Party from the "Bill transportation to" drop-down list. Then do the same thing in the "Bill duties/taxes/fees" drop-down list. Be sure to enter the appropriate FedEx account number.
Please note: If you choose a third party as the payer of the duties and taxes and that party fails to pay the charges, you (the shipper) will be responsible for the payment.
Your recipient will be charged only if you’ve designated the recipient as the payer of the shipping charges and/or the duties, taxes and fees. You can bill both the shipping charges and the duties, taxes and fees to the shipper, recipient or a third party via FedEx Ship Manager® at fedex.com or FedEx Ship Manager® Software.
To do so via FedEx Ship Manager at fedex.com, simply go to the Billing Details section of the screen and choose Recipient from the "Bill transportation to" drop-down list. Be sure to enter the appropriate FedEx account number. Then do the same thing in the "Bill duties/taxes/fees" drop-down list. You do not need to enter a FedEx account number for this one.
Please note: If you choose a recipient as the payer of the duties and taxes and that party fails to pay the charges, you (the shipper) will be responsible for the payment.
It’s fast and easy to schedule a pickup online.
Plus, when you schedule a pickup online, you get a pickup history record that enables you to check, edit or cancel your pickups. Please note: You must have a fedex.com user ID and password to use this tool.
Use the Get Rates and Transit Times tool at fedex.com.
Yes, you can track the status of your international shipments as quickly and easily as you can your U.S. shipments. Here are some of the shipment-status tracking options available to you:
FedEx® Tracking. Whether it’s via tracking numbers, door tag numbers, account numbers or order numbers, you can track the status of up to 30 FedEx® shipments from origin to destination.
FedEx Advanced Tracking. Provides shipment-status updates in an easy-to-scan format, with powerful search and filtering capabilities that help you quickly find information about your shipments.
FedEx InSight®. This shipment-status tracking and management tool is for shippers with a moderate-to-high volume of high-value shipments. It monitors your shipping activity and provides status updates about your shipments. It’s ideal for managing shipments across multiple locations and accounts. Please note: You must have a fedex.com user ID and password to use this tool.
FedEx Desktop. Download this software to your desktop and actively monitor your shipments. Receive notifications, drag and drop important shipments to your desktop, and email tracking results to your customers.
FedEx® Mobile. When you’re on the go, you can still get instant shipment-status updates anytime, anywhere. Through FedEx Mobile, your cell phone, PDA, Apple® iPhone® or iPod touch® can become an on-the-go shipping device.
Phone. Call 1.800.GoFedEx 1.800.463.3339 and say "track a package."
To learn more about these options, click here.
iPhone and iPod are registered trademarks of Apple, Inc.
For most international shipments, you can request an image of the recipient's signature in a downloadable letter or via email or fax. This service is not available for FedEx International Express Freight® or FedEx International Airport-to-AirportSMservices.
You can pick up shipping supplies immediately at FedEx staffed locations.
You can order them online at fedex.com or by calling 1.800.GoFedEx 1.800.463.3339 (say "order shipping supplies"). Please note: To order shipping supplies online, you must have a FedEx account number and a fedex.com user ID and password. Orders are shipped for delivery typically in 2 to 5 business days.
It depends on what you are shipping in the envelope. If you’re shipping documents, you may only need an international shipping label. For assistance completing an international shipping label, please refer to the How Do I Figure Out What International Labels and Documents I Need? section of these FAQs.
When you ship internationally, you'll need to determine if the item you’re shipping is considered a document or a commodity by the destination country. Although the question seems straightforward, different countries classify documents differently, and those classifications can be confusing.
Generally, a document is typed, written or printed matter and has no commercial value. Typically, a document shipment doesnot require a Commercial Invoice. If the commodity you’re shipping is part of a commercial transaction or has commercial value, it's considered a commodity, thus requiring a Commercial Invoice.
To determine if your document shipment requires a Commercial Invoice, use the Find International Documents tool on FedEx®Global Trade Manager.
Many countries and economies allow unsolicited gifts and personal items to enter the country duty-free if the item is valued up to a certain limit. Gifts exceeding that value limit are subject to import duties and taxes. View country duty-free limits.
To qualify for gift exemption, your international shipment must meet the following requirements:
It must be sent person-to-person with no company involvement or indication of involvement on the shipping documentation.
The shipping documentation must clearly be marked "Unsolicited Gift" in addition to the commodity name and the detailed description.
The total value of the shipment must not exceed the values prescribed by customs.
It’s your responsibility as the shipper to identify, classify, package, mark, label and complete documentation for dangerous goods according to all international governmental regulations. Failure to do so could create dangerous conditions on the aircraft and result in your being subject to governmental fines and penalties under applicable laws.
The U.S. government requires shippers to have dangerous goods training before shipping dangerous goods. FedEx sponsors a number of seminars for which you can register online.
Most shipments to, from or going through the U.S. require a Shipper's Declaration for Dangerous Goods and a 24-hour emergency-response telephone number.
If you have any questions on how to prepare your dangerous goods shipment, please call the FedEx Dangerous Goods/Hazardous Materials Hotline at 1.800.GoFedEx 1.800.463.3339 and say "dangerous goods" to reach trained personnel.
For a list of FedEx® services that can be used for both accessible (must be within access on the plane during transit) and inaccessible dangerous goods shipments, click here.
Many countries allow tax relief — either duty and tax exemption upon entry or a refund after exportation — for temporary import bond (TIB) shipments.
Temporary imports are goods imported for a specific purpose, then either exported back to the country of origin or destroyed. Examples of such shipments include goods to be repaired, trade show displays and tools of trade.
TIB shipments can be accepted using FedEx International Broker Select® option for initial import only.
Special procedures and documentation are often necessary to properly process an international shipment that is to be imported temporarily. The procedures vary depending upon a number of factors, including:
- The origin and destination of the shipment.
- The classification of the goods.
- The value of the goods.
- The origin of the goods (country of manufacture).The two most common errors concerning TIB shipments are:
- Failure to indicate on the shipping documentation that a TIB is required.
- Failure to provide proof of the export or destruction of the articles. When this happens, the bond or security deposit is forfeited, and you, as the importer, bear the duty and tax expenses.
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