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Setting up International Shipping in 5.3 steps (for US Sellers)

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Inactive Etsy Member 3:54pm Aug 15, 2007 EDT
International shipping seems to scare a lot of people, but it usually isn't any more difficult than domestic shipping. Here's a quick way to get set up for international shipping on Etsy that will make sure you charge the right amount and cover most of the countries in the world.

Service and Rates:

For packages, there are now two levels of service for international shipping that you need to know - First Class International and Priority International. Both go by airmail. The primary difference is that Priority should take a few days less to deliver, and that insurance is available only on Priority International packages. If it is important for you to insure your package, you will want to use Priority International. If your package weighs over 4 pounds, First Class International is not available

There are 6 shipping zones in the US Postal Service rate system, but since some have essentially identical rates, the shipping zones can be broken down into just two - Canada/Mexico and everywhere else.

Armed with this information, you're ready to set up your international shipping:

1. Make up a sample package with your item and weigh it. If you don't have a scale, take it the Post Office and ask them to weigh it for you. You'll need the weight to properly calculate the shipping.

2. Use the Canada rate to find your Canada/Mexico shipping cost by going to this site:


a. Select "Package" and enter the weight in pounds and ounces, then hit continue.

b. You will see a table of service levels with the postage rates. Choose the service level you want and write down the postage rate.

c. If you want to insure the item, choose Priority and then hit the "Continue" button. Some insurance is included in the Priority rate. The following page will tell you how much. If you want more than the amount listed, check the "Insurance" box and enter the amount in the box that appears. The amount for the additional insurance will be shown. Add this to the postage rate.

3. For the Everywhere Else rate, use the United Kingdom as an example. Go to the following web site and repeat the steps above:


4. Now you have your two international rates (You can get an estimate for domestic rates by following the same steps with the domestic calculator at ircalc.usps.gov ) Add to each of them the cost of your packaging. This will be the shipping charge you enter for your item on Etsy.

5. When listing an item, use these four destinations: United States, Canada, Mexico, and Everywhere Else. Your Canada and Mexico rates will be the same, and will be the one you calculated for Canada. Your Everywhere Else rate will be the one you calculated for the UK.


There are two customs forms you may have to fill out, depending on the weight and value of your item. For items under $400, you may have to use the little green form. It is self-explanatory. You write a brief description of the contents, the weight of the package, the value, and the addresses of the shipper and receiver. If you have an item over $400, or over a certain weight, there is a slightly longer form to fill out with essentially the same information. These forms are available at the post office, and the clerk will tell you which one you need when you mail the package.

Non-Machinable Packages:

You may find that the rate you are charged is a little higher than you expected. If so, ask the clerk why. It may be that your packaging is too large or too small or the wrong shape to go through their automatic sorting machines. There is a surcharge for this. In general, make sure your packages are at least 3.5 by 5 inches, and not perfectly square. If you can't change the packaging, be sure to add the extra charge to your rates.

162 Responses

bless you.
Wow, great breakdown. Thanks for sharing, dingo!
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Inactive Etsy Member 4:15pm Aug 15, 2007 EDT
bookmarking this... thanks!
oh, thank you so much!
bookmarking! Thanks :~)
huggss to you Dingo!
awesome just what i needed (o:
Thanks for the info........I've shipped to Canada but nowhere else....I feel better.
Thank you sooo very much for this information. You are absolutley wonderful for posting this and making it so easy to understand.

I vote this the most valuable info I have read since I joined Etsy.

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