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How do I ship gifts and samples internationally?

You are probably familiar with the concept of going through customs when you travel internationally. It’s an opportunity for you to declare things you are bringing into that country. When you are shipping, though, you are not there to make that declaration. So that declaration is made with Commercial or Pro Forma Invoices. See article explaining the difference between the two invoice types here.

Do I need to declare a value on a gift?

It is not uncommon to think that if you are sending a gift or a sample that you should declare no value on the Invoice. That is not correct, however. Every item in the world has a value. It may be a low value, but it would cost something to replace it if it got lost or damaged.

How should I designate a gift or sample on customs forms?
  1. Value: When shipping gifts or samples, list the value of what it would cost to replace the item if something were to happen to it.
  2. Description: Adding “sample,” “personal effects,” “gift,” “not for resale,” and “value for customs purposes only; no commercial value” to the description can help customs know how to handle clearance and any duties or taxes properly.
  3. Customs Invoice: Make sure the customs Invoice states the reason why that item is being sent to the receiving country so that customs officials know how to handle it. A Pro Forma Customs Invoice Format is commonly used for gifts or samples to signal to customs officials that the nature of the goods is informal. Note some countries do not allow the use of Pro Forma Invoices and instead require a Commercial Invoice format be used. \

Countries that don’t accept Pro Forma invoices for customs clearance of non-document shipments are:

Aruba
Bahamas
Barbados
Belize
Bermuda
Bolivia
Cayman Islands
Chile
Congo
Curacao
Ecuador
French Guyana
Grenada
Guatemala
Guyana (British)
Haiti
Honduras
Jamaica
Liberia
Madagascar
Martinique
Montserrat
Namibia
Nevis
St. Barthelemy
St. Eustatius
St. Kitts
St. Lucia
St. Vincent
Suriname
Trinidad And Tobago
Turks And Caicos Islands
Uruguay
Virgin Islands (British)

Our customers are welcome to contact us at 800-827-7987 or customerservice@preferredship.com if they have any questions regarding the shipping of gifts and samples.

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We have more than 25 years of experience supporting small and medium businesses with their shipping needs. As the oldest authorized reseller of DHL Express, we are international shipping experts. In addition to our international import and export services, we offer heavy air freight, domestic USPS services, and domestic trucking services.