International Shipping

Please help. When mailing postcards to another country, do you still have to go to post office with the necessary forms ? Or can this be done online now? I prefer to have a tracking number, but I realize that is more expensive to the buyer. Any help or guidance would be most appreciated. Thank you in advance.


  • 3 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Hi Barbara
    Since i'm based on the other side of the Ocean (France), i cannot answer the first part of it but i'd like to make the following comments:
    1. we ship worldwide and the number of countries which really pose risks is.... very limited (most African countries... sad for them). Europe is 99%safe. Russia & China : definitely less
    2. tracking makes shipping more expensive so it is relevant if buyer pays OR if the value is high. Esp for postcards !
    3. you mitigate/limit risks by: taping the back and put non philatelic stamps/label on it. Chance that it is lost/stolen is.... limited

    Use a printer for the address: no risk there too!


  • Hi Barbara,

    You can do everything on line now. However, you need to be aware that rates & rules have dramatically changed since 2018. It is no longer legal to send merchandise via First Class International mail - even 1 postcard.

    Please read the following explanation as provided by Hip Commerce.

    International shipping costs from the US

    Within the United States, effective January 21, 2018, First Class Mail International Large Envelope/Flat service for merchandise is no longer available from the USPS. First Class Mail International Flats will only be approved for use when sending documents. This change was made by the USPS to comply with Universal Postal Union requirements. You can view the USPS announcement here:

    This means that any seller who ships an item from the United States, to an International destination must use the USPS First Class Package International service to legally send any merchandise directly through the USPS; this includes any collectible stamps, postcards, and comic books.

    How much does USPS First Class Package International service cost?

    Rates for USPS First Class Package International service start from approximately $12 to $20 depending on destination.

    Are there any options to ship merchandise for less?

    Yes, there are third-party consolidator services that work in conjunction with the USPS, which can offer sellers a lower rate to ship items Internationally. One such service is ShippingEasy through its "Large Envelope/Flat - Merchandise" service. With this service, sellers can generally ship merchandise starting from approximately $8 to $15 depending on destination.

    Why do some shipping rates for US-based sellers dramatically differ?

    Keep in mind that before January 21, 2018, it was permissible to use USPS First Class Mail International Large Envelope/Flat service for merchandise. This meant that for smaller items, such as a single collectible stamp, these items could be legally shipped from the US to non-US buyers for a little over $1 in shipping costs.

    Beginning January 21, 2018, it is no longer legal to send merchandise via USPS First Class Mail International.. In some cases, sellers may offer lower shipping costs by either using a third-party service such as noted above or by taking a loss on the shipping costs. In other cases, sellers may not be aware of the changes made, or they may be disregarding these new rules.

    We expect that all members will follow any applicable laws and regulations and a buyer may not ask a seller to ship items in any manner which would not comply with applicable laws and regulations.

  • edited June 2021 1 LikesVote Down
    Also, the UK will now require US sellers to register for a VAT number and pay a VAT tax which goes into effect in July. It's getting almost impossible to sell internationally.

    As a U.S. online retailer, you will now be required to register for a VAT number and create an online account from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in order to deliver e-commerce orders into the UK. Once you have your VAT number, you will be required to collect all VAT fees from your buyers at time of product purchase. This VAT fee was previously being completed when a parcel entered the UK, typically with the buyer having to pay VAT to release the package from Customs. The new WTO rules pushes that VT tax collection burden to the online retailer in the U.S. who is exporting the product to the UK.

    VAT rates for collection depend on the product price:

    A. Most Goods and Services valued UNDER £135 have a 20% VAT Rate

    Goods and services shipped to the UK with a value between £0.01 and £135 (between $1 and approximately $180 USD) will incur VAT fee of 20% of the product price (not including shipping fees). U.S. online retailers selling products to UK buyers are required to collect this 20% VAT fee at the time of sale. Online retailers will be responsible to pay all VAT collected to HMRC every three months.

    B. VAT for Goods and Services valued OVER £135

    All shipments with goods and services valued higher than £135 (approximately $180 USD) will be subject to the current VAT procedures, which state VAT is payable as the parcels are being imported into the UK. These types of packages are often cleared through customs via parcel consolidators and all applicable duties and VAT will be paid to HMRC directly by the parcel consolidator, who then normally invoices the online retailer.
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