The Ultimate Guide to International Shipping from Singapore

Cover Image for The Ultimate Guide to International Shipping from Singapore

You need international shipping from Singapore, and you’re here to find out not just how to ship your items but to do it successfully. This means getting your stuff delivered quickly, safely and smoothly at the lowest cost possible and with the least hassle.

You’re at the right place! JustShip is an international courier service from Singapore, and we ship thousands of parcels out every month, all over the world.

We’ll share with you the things we keep coming back to, to achieve those outcomes you want. Here’s the ultimate guide to shipping internationally.

Find out if your items can be shipped

prohibited restricted and dangerous items for shipping

First things first, you want to make sure that the item you want to ship is allowed for shipping.

Your item could be restricted for shipping by the shipping provider because it’s a hazard. For example, if you are shipping flammable chemicals, then additional dangerous-goods paperwork and processes have to be completed.

Your item could also be restricted or prohibited for import by the destination country’s customs department.

Countries restrict or prohibit items for many reasons. One obvious example is prohibiting the import of drugs like cocaine.

A less obvious example is the restriction of importing meat into the USA. This restriction is to protect the USA from importation of any infectious substances accompanying unlicensed meat.

Some items, like drugs, are widely prohibited by most countries. Some other items, like pencils, are restricted only in some countries.

So, when you are finding out what you can or cannot ship, you can and should approach it two ways.

The first is to start from the items you are shipping. Find out the general restrictions and prohibitions placed on your item, and whether there’s country-specific restrictions for your item.

The second is to start from the country you are shipping to. Find out the common restrictions and prohibitions of the country by visiting their customs website e.g. US customs, and see if your item is in that list.

Getting this step right is going to reduce the chances of customs delays and shipment rejections. This is the big secret to getting smooth shipping and avoiding reshipping costs.

start shipping now

Find out if you will get taxed

shipping tax

While we’re still on the subject of countries and items, make sure you check whether you will get taxed. Shipping providers often don’t mention taxes, as it is a separate charge by Customs.

So when new shippers ship out their parcels after painstakingly managing their budget, taxes can become hidden charges that hit you like a truck.

We put together a deeper piece on duties and taxes for those who want to learn more on what taxes are for, and how to navigate taxes.

The “too long, didn’t read” summary version is - find out from the pages below if you’ll get taxed.

Shipping taxes to USA

Shipping taxes to UK

Shipping taxes to Australia

Shipping taxes to Hong Kong

Shipping taxes to Canada

Shipping taxes to Malaysia

Shipping taxes to Japan

Shipping taxes to Germany

Shipping taxes to France

Shipping taxes to New Zealand

Shipping taxes to Italy

Shipping taxes to Netherlands

Shipping taxes to Korea

Shipping taxes to Belgium

Shipping taxes to Greece

Shipping taxes to Portugal

Shipping taxes to Spain

Shipping taxes to Sweden

If you’re not going to get taxed, rejoice.

If you are going to get taxed, you can find out how much it is likely to cost by using any number of tax calculators online that estimate it for you.

At JustShip, we provide you with the choice to prepay a fixed charge before shipping out. Here’s a short article to help you make an informed choice on managing duties and taxes if you’re shipping with JustShip.

Getting this step right will protect you from hidden charges and rude shocks.

Pack your items securely and efficiently

packing parcel

Don’t glance past this step. Remember, we kept this guide as short as we could, so this topic is here for an important reason!

Packing securely is key to ensuring your items arrive safely. The journey across the world isn’t a short one, and parcels have to handle stress and impact. If you want your items to arrive safe, then packing has to be secure.

At the same time, packing tightly is key to ensuring you ship at the lowest possible cost. Couriers charge on shipping based on volumetric weight. All that is to say, it’s not just how heavy your parcel is, it’s also about how big it is. So, pack tightly!

If you’re too busy for this, we also offer packing services for our dear shippers, so you could always opt for that!

Find out what you should consider for your situation

Every shipping situation has its own common set of considerations.

If you’re relocating, then the choice between air and sea shipping would be more important to consider.

If you’re a home business, knowing what your target customers’ shipping considerations are will be important for you.

If you’re a care package gifter, then protecting your recipient from getting taxed might be something you care more about.

So, after you go through the first 4 steps in this guide, this final step can be a useful one just to do a final round of checks to make sure you’ve prepared everything you need.

Pick a courier that addresses your needs

So which is the best Singapore international courier service? Well, obviously JustShip! Just look at what our shippers are saying.

justship's google review

Okay but jokes aside, who you ship with will depend on your needs and values. How fast do you need your shipping, how safe does it need to be, how much are you able to spend on shipping? Do you need shipping insurance?

We touched on the topic of choosing a courier here:

Which is The Best International Courier Service in Singapore?

Tips for Choosing the Right Courier Service

Finalise your shipment details

Overseas shipping has a notorious reputation for hidden charges. Nobody likes hidden charges!

Choosing a well reviewed courier service can help you sieve out bad actors so you work with shipping partners that are well intentioned.

More importantly, make sure your shipment details are finalised. Don’t sabotage yourself! Shipping partners can only quote you based on the information you give them. If your shipment information changes midway through, the quote understandably will change.

One example is your package dimensions. If you declare your package to be lighter or smaller than it actually is, don’t be surprised that you have to pay more later.

If you decide to re-declare your package value or item list, this can affect the amount of taxes you have to pay.

If you change your recipient address midway through, you may incur charges like a rural surcharge depending where exactly your recipient is situated.

In sum, if you don’t want hidden charges, make sure you provide clear and consistent shipment information!

Give shipment delays the right attention

If you’ve done the previous steps right, the chances of shipment delays happening will be reduced significantly. Nevertheless, it can still happen to the best of us.

First, reach out to your courier to find out what happened.

Some delays don’t require actions from you. In such a case, just rest easy! Worrying won’t do you any good. It could be that customs is inspecting your shipment and just needs more time. Or perhaps bad weather conditions delayed all shipments in the region.

If customs says that it requires action from you, most often it is an issue of pending payment for taxes or missing paperwork. In both cases, the key is to act fast when customs identifies and prompts you to address these issues.

There is also a chance that a delay is the beginning of a shipment rejection. This will happen if the item you shipped was prohibited.

If that happens, your parcel will likely be returned back to Singapore, and you will have to pay for the return shipping fees as well, which can really hurt. So, make sure not to ship anything prohibited!

If you are shipping with JustShip, you can worry less about reaching out to us regarding shipment delays.

We have parcel tracking which will update you if you need to complete any actions to have your shipment released. This saves you the time needed to contact and get instructions.

Our value-add services like expert review and prepaid tax also help to minimise delays and rejections.

We have a more detailed section on steps specific to JustShip’s service which you can take if you encounter shipment issues.

To sum up this section, if your shipment gets stuck but does not require your action, learn to keep calm and let it be. If the shipment requires your action, do it quickly! When you know these steps, it can really give clarity and take the fear out of shipping.

JustShip it!

That’s all for our guide! Feel free to browse and learn more, but when you feel half ready, just take action!

Get an instant and accurate quote with our rate calculator. To begin your international shipping from Singapore, fill up this form and we’ll be there as early as tomorrow to pick your items up for free.

If any problems arise, we’ll support you along the way so put aside your worries! If you have questions, just hit us up on WhatsApp at 91187671 or on email at

August 31, 2022
international courier service singapore, how to ship internationally from singapore

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