International shipping guide
International shipping guide
Service user guides
Download the International Business Parcels user guide (pdf, 6.56 MB)* for detailed information on our Tracked, Signed and Untracked (Standard) Non Personal Correspondence parcel delivery services.
Download the International Business Mail user guidepdf, 4.19 MB to find out about sending Personal Correspondence business letters abroad.
International Business Printed Matter User Guidepdf, 3.29 MB
Prohibited and restricted items
It is your responsibility to check if items you send are prohibited or subject to restrictions. See our prohibitions and restrictions guide for UK and international mail.
We restrict a lot of everyday items, including aerosols, nail varnishes, perfumes and aftershaves. However, business users can send some of these items to some European countries using our International Tracked and Signed service. For more details, check our International Business Parcels user guide*pdf, 6.56 MB.
Read our detailed country guides to help you choose the right mail service for your destination and requirements. You can check if you need to fill out customs information, read about prohibited and restricted items for that country and learn the best way to address your item.
Electronic customs data
When you send mail from the UK abroad electronic customs data is now mandatory except when sending items from Northern Ireland to the EU. This is to satisfy existing and future legal, security and customs requirements in destination countries and is essential for accurate and timely delivery.
The Import One Stop Shop (IOSS)
Items imported into the EU with a value of €22 or less are no longer exempt from VAT. This means that all goods sent directly from GB to consumers in the EU via online marketplaces or sales which are made directly will be subject to the local rate of VAT in the receiving customers country. We have a number of options available to help you manage these changes – depending on the size and nature of your business.
The EU's Import One Stop Shop (IOSS) can help you begin to or continue trading from GB into the EU. If you are dispatching goods from Northern Ireland to the EU you can make use of the One Stop Shop (‘OSS’) which is another EU VAT scheme that allows you to declare and pay VAT on all sales into the EU by submitting a single quarterly EU VAT return. See here for further details.
Addressing international mail
Read our guide to address formats, which tells you how to write addresses for 40 countries – to help us deliver your item quickly and to the right place.
World mail zones map
Royal Mail services are priced according to geographical zones: UK, Europe, and world zones 1 and 2.
International incidents and public holidays
Sometimes incidents or ongoing situations in different countries can affect mail services, causing delays and other problems.
We regularly update our International Incident Bulletin. If you send a lot of items abroad – or frequently receive items from abroad – you may want to bookmark this page, and complete the form to receive email updates.
Public holidays can also delay mail - check this list of international holidays so that you can factor in more delivery time when needed.
Some countries and international organisations impose restrictions – also known as sanctions – on what you can send to certain individuals, organisations or destinations.
Sanctions can take many forms but are generally intended to prevent certain goods, services, finance and knowledge being supplied to particular recipients.