When sending parcels abroad, it’s only natural to have some concerns about the items you’re sending; will it arrive undamaged, in the same condition it was sent? Is it going to clear customs in the destination country? Will it be delayed and arrive late? Will it arrive at all?

Your parcel is important to us and we want it to reach its destination in the same condition you sent it. At DHL eCommerce UK, we employ the best people to ensure your parcel is well looked after, but your parcels are handled at many stages of the journey – particularly when being sent internationally. It’s likely that your parcel will travel through our fully automated parcel sorter and will be measured by volume and weight across our network. So, we recommend you read this information carefully to ensure your parcels comply with regulations, ensuring that if you’re sending goods abroad, they are packaged and labelled appropriately for optimum delivery success.

We’ve prepared some tips on how to send an international parcel – read on to learn more.

Check the address when sending parcels abroad

This may sound obvious, but it's crucial to getting a delivery made successfully when posting abroad. Foreign addresses are often not written in the same format as British ones; with various codes, street numbers, states and provinces listed seemingly out of order. Not to mention the occasionally confusing spelling of local place names or districts.

However, the number one tip for avoiding problems when sending parcels abroad is to ensure that you've got the address absolutely - letter for letter, number for number - correct. Double-check and query it if you’re in any doubt. Then make sure you write the address neatly and clearly. Finally, is it legible? Ask a friend or family member to read the address out to you to ensure it can be read easily.

Don't send restricted or prohibited items when posting abroad

Some items are subject to restrictions, whether they are prohibited or require special certification for customs clearance. This covers antiques, alcohol, sharp objects, some electronic items and much more. If you’re not sure whether your item(s) might be restricted, check with the customs department of the destination country. Each and every country we deliver to has its own page with information on restricted and prohibited items and DHL eCommerce UK also has its own list of prohibited and restricted items - note this is in addition to any country-specific rules, so please check those pages carefully before you send.

You'll also need to place a customs declaration on your parcel prior to sending parcels abroad, which details the contents and value. When you send with DHL eCommerce UK, our online booking system will tell you what forms you need to include with your parcel, make sure you fill them in correctly, clearly and with as much detail as possible. This helps the Customs agents in the destination country process the parcel quickly.

If there are any prohibited items in your package, we won’t be able to deliver it.

Sending goods abroad: Pack it up properly

If you’re sending parcels abroad, make sure you wrap the item up well, using sufficient tissue, newspaper and / or bubble wrap. Ideally, the item shouldn't have space to move about in the box or envelope; either pad it out with packaging materials like those mentioned above and use a slightly larger outer box to contain the parcel(s). If you have an awkward or delicate item, take special care – we have a number of help and advice pages you can refer to.

Mark the outer packaging as 'fragile' as an extra precaution – but remember that automated sorting machines can’t read those instructions. It’s far better to rely on secure packaging.

Do not use black outer packaging when sending parcels abroad. Our automated parcel sortation systems can’t process parcels encased in black wrapping – using it for international deliveries will lead to your parcel being automatically returned.

Use a reliable courier service

We ship to over 160 countries worldwide and offer premium and economy services so, you can select the option that suits your timescales and budget. Every international delivery comes with £50 free contents cover included as standard plus the option to upgrade your cover up to £1000 for those more valuable items. We’re also highly rated on Reevoo.

Check the delivery timings when posting abroad

It's important that you know how long posting abroad might take, particularly if you need to specify it (and claim postage) on an eBay listing. This information is easy to find on our international pages. Even before booking your delivery with us, you can use our quick quote to enter the size and weight of the package and delivery destination to see what the postage costs and timings for delivery will be. This will help to ensure you don’t under-promise on arrival time or over-charge the postage cost.

Return to sender

While nobody wants this to happen, it’s recommended that you make sure you include a return address so that, should the parcel simply not get through for any unforeseen reason, it can at least find its way back to you.

Ready to start sending parcels abroad? Get a quick quote and book your shipping today.