Table of contents
    the United States

    Website customs the United States
    Government website
    Website chamber of commerce
    Country Alpha-2 code: US
    Country Alpha-3 code:
    USA
    Country numeric code:
    840
    GDP:
    USD 25.463 trillion (2023)
    Currency:
    US Dollar
    Inhabitants:
    335893238
    Language:
    English

    Freight forwarders in the United States
    Seaports in the United States
    Anacortes
    Ashtabula
    Baltimore
    Baton Rouge
    Beaumont
    Boston
    Charleston
    Chicago
    Airports in the United States
    Muir Army Air Field (Fort Indiantown Gap) Airport
    Nightmute Airport
    El Toro Marine Corps Air Station
    Ogdensburg International Airport
    Chicago O’Hare International Airport
    Oxnard Airport
    Pierre Regional Airport
    Poplar Bluff Municipal Airport

    Shipping between the United States and the United Kingdom

    Table of contents

      Shipping goods across the Atlantic between the United States and the United Kingdom can be a breeze, but navigating costs, regulations, and choosing the right method requires some planning. This guide equips you with the knowledge to ensure your shipment arrives safely and efficiently.

      Below you can also request multiple quotes from freight forwarders for your shipment.

      Pre-import considerations

      First of all, you should know the product class of what you are shipping. Determine the correct Harmonized System (HS) code for your goods, as this dictates applicable customs duties and taxes.

      If you are importing from the UK to the USA, check the Customs Tariff from the USA. If you are importing from the USA to the UK, check the Customs Tariff from the UK.

      Make sure you understand all the product regulations, certifications, labeling requirements, and potential import restrictions or tariffs specific to your product category. A specialised freight forwarder can help you with this process.

      Customs Clearance Process:

      1. Customs value: Calculate the customs value based on the transaction value. Provide supporting documents like invoices to demonstrate the value. The customs value is the sum of the following:

      • The price paid for the goods
      • Insurance costs (if applicable)
      • Packaging and similar expenses
      • Fees, royalties, commissions, or similar charges (if applicable)
      • Shipping costs

      2. Duties and Taxes:

      • Customs Duties: Calculate based on the HS code and customs value. Check for preferential tariffs under any trade agreements.
      • VAT
        • For the UK this is
          • 20% standard rate
          • 5% reduced rate
          • 0% zero rate
        • The USA has no national VAT, but a state sales and use tax that varies between 2.9% and 7.25%
      • Customs Clearance: Customs authorities will verify documents, potentially conduct physical inspections, and require payment

      Costs to consider

      • Carrier fees: USPS, UPS, FedEx, and DHL are major players, each with tiered pricing based on weight, speed, and service.
      • Customs duties and import VAT: The UK charges duty and Value Added Tax (VAT) on imported goods, impacting the final cost for the receiver. Utilize resources like the UK government's trade tariff tool to estimate these fees https://www.gov.uk/trade-tariff.
      • Brokerage fees: Complex customs clearance may necessitate a broker to handle paperwork for a fee.

      Saving on Shipping Costs

      • Compare rates: Get quotes from different carriers to find the best deal. Consider aggregator services like Parcel Monkey https://www.parcelmonkey.com/destinations that compare rates across carriers.
      • Consolidate shipments: If you're a business, combine multiple smaller packages into a larger one for a more economical rate.
      • Choose the right speed: Urgent deliveries justify express shipping, but non-critical items can benefit from slower, cheaper options.

      Major Routes and Transit Times

      • Air: The dominant mode for US-UK shipping, with major routes traversing the North Atlantic. Transit times typically range from 2-10 business days depending on the chosen service.
      • Ocean: Though slower (weeks or months), ocean freight is the go-to for bulk shipments. Major routes connect the US East Coast and West Coast to UK ports like Southampton and Felixstowe.

      Sending a Package from the USA to the UK and from the UK to the USA

      Sending packages between the US and the UK is a common necessity for businesses and individuals. Here's what you need to know:

      • Packaging: Ensure your package is securely wrapped and protected.
      • Documentation: Complete a customs declaration form accurately.
      • Carriers: Choose reputable carriers like USPS, Royal Mail, FedEx, UPS, or DHL.
      • Costs: Prices vary based on weight, dimensions, and delivery speed. Generally, prices start at around $20 for small packages.

      Airfreight Between the Two Countries

      Airfreight is ideal for high-value, perishable, or time-sensitive goods.

      • Advantages: Fast transit times (1-3 days), reliable schedules.
      • Disadvantages: Higher cost, weight and size limitations.
      • Major Airlines: British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, American Airlines, Delta.
      • Costs: Ranges from $4 to $8 per kilogram, depending on the service level.

      Seafreight Between the Two Countries

      Seafreight is suitable for large, heavy, or bulk shipments.

      • Advantages: Cost-effective for large volumes, large capacity.
      • Disadvantages: Slower transit times (10-21 days), potential for delays.
      • Major Shipping Lines: Maersk, MSC, CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd.
      • Costs: Container shipping costs range from $1,000 to $3,500 per container.

      Container Shipments Between the Countries

      Containers are the backbone of global trade, providing standardized shipping solutions.

      • Types: Standard 20ft and 40ft containers, refrigerated containers, and specialized containers.
      • Booking: Done through freight forwarders or directly with shipping lines.
      • Costs: Vary based on container type, route, and volume, typically from $1,000 to $3,500.

      Carriers Who Ship from the US to the UK and Vice Versa

      Here are some leading carriers with their pros and cons:

      • FedEx:
        • Pros: Reliable, fast delivery, extensive tracking.
        • Cons: Higher cost.
      • UPS:
        • Pros: Reliable, good tracking, comprehensive services.
        • Cons: Expensive, especially for international shipments.
      • DHL:
        • Pros: Excellent international network, reliable service.
        • Cons: Higher prices.
      • Maersk (Sea Freight):
        • Pros: Extensive network, reliable schedules.
        • Cons: Slower transit times, potential for delays.
      • MSC (Sea Freight):
        • Pros: Competitive pricing, large capacity.
        • Cons: Longer transit times.

      Helpful Online Resources for US-UK Shipping (US Specific):

      • US Postal Service (USPS): https://www.usps.com/international/ - Provides detailed information on international shipping options, costs, and customs forms.
      • US Department of Commerce's Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS): https://www.bis.doc.gov/index.htm - Offers resources on US export controls and licensing requirements.
      • US Customs and Border Protection (CBP): https://www.cbp.gov/ - Provides information on customs regulations, duties, and restricted items for imports into the US.

      Helpful Online Resources for US-UK Shipping (UK Specific):

      Additional Resources for International Shipping:

      • International Chamber of Commerce (ICC): https://iccwbo.org/about-icc-2/ - Provides resources on Incoterms (International Commercial Terms) used in international trade.
      Knowledge base
      the United Kingdom

      Website customs
      Government website
      Website chamber of commerce
      Country Alpha-2 code: GB
      Country Alpha-3 code:
      GBR
      Country numeric code:
      826
      GDP:
      USD 3.071 trillion (2023)
      Currency:
      Pound Sterling
      Inhabitants:
      67596281
      Language:
      English

      Freight forwarders in the United Kingdom

      the United Kingdom has no freight forwarders

      Seaports in the United States
      Aberdeen
      Belfast
      Bristol
      Dover
      Falmouth
      Plymouth
      Felixstowe
      Glasgow
      Airports in the United Kingdom
      Isle of Wight / Sandown Airport
      City Airport Manchester
      Blackbushe Airport
      Cambridge Airport
      RAF Kinloss
      RAF Mildenhall
      Papa Westray Airport
      Stornoway Airport
      the United Kingdom

      Website customs
      Government website
      Website chamber of commerce
      Country Alpha-2 code: GB
      Country Alpha-3 code:
      GBR
      Country numeric code:
      826
      GDP:
      USD 3.071 trillion (2023)
      Currency:
      Pound Sterling
      Inhabitants:
      67596281
      Language:
      English

      Freight forwarders in the United Kingdom

      the United Kingdom has no freight forwarders

      Seaports in the United States
      Aberdeen
      Belfast
      Bristol
      Dover
      Falmouth
      Plymouth
      Felixstowe
      Glasgow
      Airports in the United Kingdom
      Isle of Wight / Sandown Airport
      City Airport Manchester
      Blackbushe Airport
      Cambridge Airport
      RAF Kinloss
      RAF Mildenhall
      Papa Westray Airport
      Stornoway Airport
      the United States

      Website customs the United States
      Government website
      Website chamber of commerce
      Country Alpha-2 code: US
      Country Alpha-3 code:
      USA
      Country numeric code:
      840
      GDP:
      USD 25.463 trillion (2023)
      Currency:
      US Dollar
      Inhabitants:
      335893238
      Language:
      English

      Freight forwarders in the United States
      Seaports in the United States
      Anacortes
      Ashtabula
      Baltimore
      Baton Rouge
      Beaumont
      Boston
      Charleston
      Chicago
      Airports in the United States
      Muir Army Air Field (Fort Indiantown Gap) Airport
      Nightmute Airport
      El Toro Marine Corps Air Station
      Ogdensburg International Airport
      Chicago O’Hare International Airport
      Oxnard Airport
      Pierre Regional Airport
      Poplar Bluff Municipal Airport
      Knowledge base
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