Everything You Need to Know About Shipping Parcels to America

ParcelBroker’s trusted courier comparison service ensures your package arrives in the US.

ParcelBroker provides the cheapest rates on shipping costs, Your parcel could arrive as early as 3 business days when booking through us, including tracking and up to £1000 transit cover.

  • Save up to 70% when exporting to the USA.
  • A service you can trust with the highest rated courier comparison site on Trustpilot.
  • Expert advice from our friendly team, including live chat.

ParcelBroker has created this comprehensive guide on the most frequently asked questions about sending your parcels to the USA, including delivery times, weight restrictions, tax and import duties, pallet deliveries and more. As the world’s second-largest importer, the US is a popular destination for international shipping for all manner of goods.


What's the Cheapest Way to Send a Parcel to the USA?

Sending packages to the USA from the UK can be as cheap as £21.92 for our UPS: Express Saver service, with same day pickup and full parcel tracking offered. Book your delivery today and enjoy up to £25 free extended liability cover from ParcelBroker.

Your package could arrive in as little as 2 business days with DSV. However, you will need to take into consideration the following variables when booking your delivery, which may affect delivery time and prices offered. You can use our shipping calculator to get up-to-date delivery costs.

Go to our Shipping Calculator

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Package Weight

The weight of your package will alter the cost of delivery. You can ship parcels up to 50kgs in weight through Parcelforce, DHL, FedEx, and UPS with ParcelBroker’s trusted courier comparison service. Use our handy shipping calculator to obtain up-to-date prices on deliveries by adding the dimensions, weight, and quantity of packages for a live quote instantly.

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Package Dimensions

Your package’s dimensions will determine which courier service can handle your delivery. If you are sending multiple large items to the United States, it may be cheaper to combine multiple packages into a single pallet.

Many of our express courier partners can carry long or large parcels, but they may attract additional surcharges for handling, this surcharges are included in the instant quotation we provide



Can I Send a Pallet to the USA?

ParcelBroker provides pallet deliveries to the USA through our PB:Express Pallet service, and through DHL: Express Pallet. You can use our pallet delivery calculator for instance live quotes on your pallet delivery to the US.

Pallet deliveries are your best option for sending heavy, bulky, or multiple packages in a single shipment. Simply obtain a pallet from your local supplier, stack your items according to our guidance below, and secure your package with shrink-wrap.

Packaging Your Pallet

An additional charge will be incurred if your pallet is not stackable with others. You can use our guidance on non-stackable freight to ensure your pallet is stacked correctly, which will allow you to avoid charges or rejection of your pallet by the courier.

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You can also explore our Pallet Delivery Guide for more information.

Courier Pickups for Pallets

Once your courier arrives to collect your pallet, you can either load it onto their truck yourself using a forklift, or you can request for the courier to provide a pallet pump truck to assist in lifting your items onto the truck. Bear in mind that your pallet must be easily accessible and on a flat surface for a courier to accept it.



Same-Day Pickup and Local Drop-Off

You can usually obtain a same-day pickup if you arrange your delivery before 12 noon from the majority of couriers, or you can utilise one of many local drop off points. If you are sending a pallet then you will need to plan your collection in advance, as vehicle space will need to be allocated for your pallet. If you are planning on dropping off a pallet yourself, you will need to use a local depot rather than a drop-off point.

You can compare our live prices below to gain up-to-date costs for shipping to the USA:

UPS FedEx DHL DSV TNT Parcelforce
0.5kg £30.41 £33.70 £26.53 £21.92 £30.60 £27.25
1kg £32.88 £36.78 £29.58 £23.67 £33.27 £29.72
5kg £60.46 £59.30 £48.06 £38.88 £55.30 £50.42
10kg £81.91 £88.79 £78.35 £56.72 £83.69 £70.12
15kg £101.50 £120.33 £97.42 £70.47 £103.23 £86.56
20kg £121.10 £145.04 £116.51 £85.16 £122.90 £102.98
25kg £142.42 £146.68 £135.60 £101.83 £142.62 £119.41

Prices as of May 21, 2024


How Long Does it Take to Deliver to the USA?

Your package can arrive in the US in as little as 3 days with ParcelBroker’s trusted courier service. You can also use a number of local drop off points to speed up your delivery times, or arrange a collection straight to your door.

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How to Address my Parcels to the USA?

Make sure you correctly address your package before collection or drop-off at your local postal depot.

Below we have included some tips on correct formatting for address labels to the USA:

  • Write the name of your recipient on the first line.
  • Write the apartment unit and number on the second.
  • Write the city, state, and zip code on the third.
  • Write USA on the fourth.

In this example, the addressee lives in apartment 34, at 343 Park Avenue - New York:

Kurt David
343 Park Avenue
Apartment #34
New York, NY 100014
USA

USA States and Zip Codes

USA STATE
ZIP CODE
Alabama
35004 to 36925
Alaska
99501 to 99950
Arizona
85001 to 86556
Arkansas
71601 to 72959
California
90001 to 96162
Colorado
80001 to 81658
Connecticut
06001 to 06928
Delaware
19701 to 19980
Florida
32003 to 34997
Georgia
30002 to 39901
Hawaii
96701 to 96898
Idaho
83201 to 83877
Illinois
60001 to 62999
Indiana
46001 to 47997
Iowa
50001 to 52809
Kansas
66002 to 67954
Kentucky
40003 to 42788
Louisiana
70001 to 71497
Maine
03901 to 04992
Maryland
20588 to 21930
Massachusetts
01001 to 05544
Michigan
48001 to 49971
Minnesota
55001 to 56763
Mississippi
38601 to 39776
Missouri
63001 to 65899
Montana
59001 to 59937
Nebraska
68001 to 69367
Nevada
88901 to 89883
New Hampshire
03031 to 03897
New Jersey
07001 to 08989
New Mexico
87001 to 88439
New York
00501 to 14925
North Carolina
27006 to 28909
North Dakota
58001 to 58856
Ohio
43001 to 45999
Oklahoma
73001 to 74966
Oregon
97001 to 97920
Pennsylvania
15001 to 19640
Rhode Island
02801 to 02940
South Carolina
29001 to 29945
South Dakota
57001 to 57799
Tennessee
37010 to 38589
Texas
73301 to 88595
Utah
84001 to 84791
Vermont
05001 to 05907
Virginia
20101 to 24658
Washington
98001 to 99403
West Virginia
24701 to 26886
Wisconsin
53001 to 54990
Wyoming
82001 to 83414



American Shipping Customs Procedures

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When exporting goods to the USA, including gifts, it is mandatory to include a customs declaration form that contains information such as the item's ingredients, weight, materials used, and expiry dates. While ParcelBroker can provide you with all necessary documentation upon completing your order, it is your responsibility to accurately complete these forms.

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will require the following:

  • Entry Manifest or Application and Special Permit for Immediate Delivery.
  • Commercial invoice or pro forma invoice if a commercial invoice cannot be produced.
  • Packing/ingredient list

You will also be subject to FDA approval of your package if you are sending food, sanitary products, human and veterinary drugs, biological products, or medical devices. For this reason, it is important to clearly state on the packaging if your item falls under one of these categories.

A package will usually take around 24 hours to clear customs, provided there are no holds currently in place by the USA Border Force.

Why is my Package Stuck in USA Customs?

Here are some of the most common reasons for a package to be delayed at US customs.

1. Unpaid Duty Payments on Your Item(s)

When sending items to the USA, duty tax is typically required and calculated based on the commercial value of the items being shipped. The recipient should anticipate paying approximately 5% of the item's value for customs duty and approximately 10% for Goods and Services Tax (GST).

These fees are expected to be paid upon collection of the package. Failure to do so could lead to the package's disposal, abandonment, or return-to-sender with additional charges.

Duty tax rates in the US can be between 0% to 37.5%, though the typical rate is 5.63%.

2. Missing or Incorrect Documentation

To successfully ship goods it is necessary to provide documentation, especially when including restricted items in your package. If you are a supplier sending commercial goods to the USA, the following documents are mandatory:

  • Commercial Invoice: This document outlines the pricing and quantity of the goods being imported to the USA.
  • Packing List: This list should contain specific details on the weight and dimensions of the items being shipped.
  • Certificate of Origin: This certification indicates the country where the goods were manufactured. If the USA has a free trade agreement with the country of origin, this type of documentation could be advantageous for the sender.

You can view downloads for our documentation here.

Sending Gifts to the USA

It is possible to send gifts to friends and family members in the US without paying duty or tax if the value of the gifts is $100 or less per person per day. However, if the gifts are being mailed or shipped from an insular possession, the value limit increases to $200. Please note that items such as alcohol, tobacco, and perfume that contain alcohol cannot be sent as duty-free gifts.

Sending Multiple People Gifts to the USA

If you are sending gifts to multiple recipients, you can package them together as long as each gift is individually wrapped and labelled with the recipient's name. However, make sure to label the outermost wrapper with the following details:

  • Unsolicited Gift
  • Consolidated Gift Package
  • The total value of the package
  • The names of the recipients
  • The nature and value of each gift inside.

Provide a list of the gifts and their values for each recipient, such as:

"To Jesse Weathers - one belt, $20; one box of chocolates, $5; one pair of shoes, $20.

To Carl Ventura - one book, $45; one tie, $15; one cushion, $30."

If any of the items exceed the $100 gift allowance, the entire package will be subject to duty. If the package is sent through mail and is dutiable, the US Postal Service will collect the duty along with any applicable postage and handling charges from the recipient.

Import Tax and VAT on Items Sent to the USA

If you are sending items from the UK to the USA, duty tax rates will typically be in the range of 0% to 37.5%, however, the most common duty tax rate sits at 5.63% VAT. Items with a value of $800 or more will generally be subject to duties and taxes.

Goods manufactured or produced in Canada or Mexico receive free or reduced rates under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). However, increased duty is applied to certain products from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Ukraine.



What Can and Can't I send to the USA?

As with all countries, there are a number of items which are either restricted or outright prohibited for import to the US. You can find a full list of these items on the US Customs and border Protection website.

Items you Can’t Ship to the USA that May Surprise You

Whilst most items on the restricted and prohibited list for the USA are not surprising, the US is one of the only countries that expressly states that ‘traitorous material’ cannot be brought into the country, although a clear definition on what this restriction refers to is not provided.

COMMONLY PROHIBITED ITEMS

  • Food and drinks
  • Narcotics and certain other medications
  • Absinthe (unless thujone free)
  • Plants, seeds, vegetables and fruits
  • Soil, livestock or animal pests (clean any children’s items, or items used outside prior to shipping to avoid issues due to soil residue)
  • Biological cultures and specimens (unless you have a permit from the Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service)
  • Dog and cat fur
  • Fish, fish eggs, and certain other wildlife products
  • Endangered wildlife species or products (for example clothing and accessories made with tusks or skins)
  • Traitorous material
  • Gold from certain countries including Cuba, Sudan, Iran, and Burma (Myanmar)
  • Certain cultural artefacts and property
  • Items infringing trade and copyright regulations
  • Certain firearms
  • Photographic film containing prohibited material
  • Hazardous articles and substances

What are the USA's Top Imports?

The USA is the second-largest importer of goods around the world, and in 2022 imported more than $3.376 trillion worth of goods, and the following items made up the majority of imported goods, according to a recent analysis from WorldsTopExports:

  • Electrical machinery, equipment: US$477.1 billion (14.1% of total imports)
  • Machinery including computers: $475.9 billion (14.1%)
  • Vehicles: $329.6 billion (9.8%)
  • Mineral fuels including oil: $322.7 billion (9.6%)
  • Pharmaceuticals: $165 billion (4.9%)

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At ParcelBroker, we pride ourselves on providing trustworthy international shipping at affordable prices. We ship to over 220 countries, working with the best couriers to help our customers send parcels safely. Whether it's a personal package for a friend or family member, or a business managing multiple shipments – Find out how ParcelBroker can help you.

For more help with shipping parcels internationally you can browse our frequently asked questions (FAQs) and helpful shipping guides here.

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