Six Easy Steps to International Shipping

As a small-business owner, you’ve probably become accustomed to wearing a lot of different hats. On any given day, you might be called upon to play the part of chief operating officer, director of customer service, a marketing guru… and of course, there are those extra-special days where you might simply be in charge of running out to pick up office supplies

When the time comes for you to assume the role of president of global trade and international shipping, you can relax a little. FedEx international shipping services make it easier to complete documents, navigate through customs, and export your products. Just follow these 6 simple steps:

Step 1: Check shipping availability with commodity acceptance

The first step to shipping internationally is to check commodity acceptance. If you’re shipping a commodity, you’ll typically need a Commercial Invoice. Items that are not commodities are usually documents with no commercial value. It’s trickier than it sounds, though, as some countries have different definitions of a commodity. Simply check the country snapshots on to find out what the country you’re shipping to regards as a commodity

Step 2: Pick the best service for your needs

You can choose from a wide variety of international shipping services with FedEx — from time sensitive to budget friendly. Simply go to our easy-to-use online tool and enter your info. You’ll be provided with all the choices that meet your needs, plus a rate quote and expected delivery times.   

Step 3: Print labels and prepare documents with our free FedEx Ship Manager® tool

Save your business time and paperwork by taking advantage of free tools from FedEx to print shipping labels and prepare international documents. If you already have a FedEx account, simply go to the FedEx Ship Manager tool to get started. The site will provide you with step-by-step directions. If you need to set up a FedEx account, please go to our new customer center to learn more.

With a FedEx account, you also gain access to FedEx® Global Trade Manager where you can log in to take advantage of a wealth of convenient tools that will make shipping internationally easier. Use it to

  • Find International Documents. FedEx Ship Manager makes it easier to find and print copies of the documents that must accompany your international shipment, saving you the effort of setting up your own filing system. 
  • Estimate Duties and Taxes. With just a few clicks, you can estimate the duties and taxes that will be levied against your international shipment, so you can more accurately manage your finances.
  • Screen For Denied Parties. Save your business the hassle of having a shipment refused by using FedEx Ship Manager to confirm that you can send your product to your consignee/buyer/end user.
  • Perform Harmonized Code Searches. Use FedEx Ship Manager to identify the Harmonized Tariff code that accurately describes the products you're shipping. This helps you accurately prepare your customs entry and duty/tax rate assessments

While you’re preparing your paperwork, it’s also a good idea to determine the following points of information and confirm them with your buyer: 

  • Your importer of record, since it might be a different party than your ultimate consignee
  • Who will be paying for any duties and taxes that may be assessed
  • Your estimated total landed costs, including duties and taxes. 

Step 4: Prepare your shipment 

With international shipping, packing and preparing your shipments correctly is one of the most important steps you can take to protect your business from wasted costs, missed deadlines and customer complaints. To help you learn how, we offer these complimentary guides: 

Step 5: Get your shipment going

When you’re ready to send your shipment off, simply drop it off at any nearby FedEx location, or schedule a pickup.

Step 6:   Track your shipment online, anytime

You’ll have the advantage of a variety of FedEx tools that can help you easily track and monitor your international shipments. Go to our tracking page to learn more about all of your options, including tracking by reference number, obtaining proof of delivery and more.    

Ready to get started with international shipping?  Go to our new customer page to sign up for a FedEx account and jump to step 1. 



Please note

You are not using a recommended browser for this area of You may be able to use the site, however you may experience some difficulties. Fully supported browsers and operating systems include.

  • Microsoft Windows
  • Windows 200, XP, Vista
  • Google Chrome 13+
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 8+
  • Mozilla Firefox 10+
  • Apple Mac OS
  • Mac 10.4+
  • Google Chrome 13+
  • Mozilla Firefox 10+
  • Safari 5.0+
  • iPad & iPhone
  • iOS 6+
  • Safari
  • Android
  • Android OS 4+ (Ice Cream Sandwich)
  • Chrome
  • Platform Browser