Shipping to the United Kingdom from the US | ShipBob

To further grow your eCommerce business, the United Kingdom (UK) is a great country to market to. As you start to do more international sales, you may see orders coming from countries in the UK. As one of the world’s leading economies with excellent trade relations with the United States (USA), UK consumers are an excellent customer base to sell to.

In this guide to shipping to the UK, we’ll go over shipping rules, rates and services to help you get started shipping your products to the UK.

carriers shipping from usa uu. to the UK

who ships to the uk? There are many carrier options available, but the big four are USPS, UPS, FedEx, and DHL. Below we break down the differences in service levels for shipping to the UK, including price and transit times for carriers.

only usps offers flat rates for shipments from usa. uu. to the united kingdom. All other prices were calculated using the respective carrier’s price calculators for a 2kg package as of November 2019. Prices are subject to change.

Note: These are general options for consumer shipping orders. To find out what Shipbob offers when shipping to other countries like the UK, request a quote here.

Exact shipbob rates for customers will vary, as we charge a “full cost of fulfillment” which includes picking, packing, and shipping, among other factors.


usps is a great choice for shipping to the uk due to its flat rate shipping, so you can easily forecast shipping costs. As with other carriers, USPS rates depend on package weight and delivery time.

Using USPS to ship to the UK has a major downside: Tracking packages no longer works once they leave the US. uu. USPS packages are transferred to Royal Mail once they arrive in the UK. this can take anywhere from a few hours to days or even weeks and can delay delivery times.

professional usps:

  • flat rate shipping
  • many locations in the us. uu. to drop off packages
  • ability to transport larger packages cost-effectively
  • without collection fees

usps cons:

  • packages are transferred to royal mail once they arrive which may add a few extra days for delivery
  • your tracking number no longer works once the package leaves the ee uu.
  • tracking options are limited

read more: usps uk country conditions

2. ups and downs

ups is an excellent choice for shipping to the UK due to its global logistics network. They can pick up packages in the US and deliver them to the UK in as little as three days. Unlike USPS, packages are tracked from pickup to delivery through the UPS tracking system.

however, ups can also be an expensive carrier if you are shipping heavier items that are over 10lbs.

best professionals:

  • significant presence in the us. uu. to facilitate package pickup or delivery
  • work with many shipping partners to reduce shipping costs
  • can pick up packages at your location
  • ability to transport packages of all sizes
  • excellent package tracking capabilities

cons improvement:

  • shipping costs are usually higher
  • can be a bit expensive

3. fedex

fedex is another option for shipping to the UK. Because their biggest competitor is UPS, they offer the same services and comparable shipping costs. They can also pick up packages in the US and ship them to UK addresses in as little as 3 days. fedex is a good option if you are shipping large amounts of packages.

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fedex is generally more expensive than usps but offers competitive prices with ups and dhl. If you’re shipping a small number of packages, USPS is often a better option due to lower prices.

fedex professionals:

  • significant presence in the us. uu. to make it easy to pick up or drop off packages
  • many shipping partners to reduce shipping costs
  • can pick up packages at your location
  • prices can be good if shipped in bulk

disadvantages of fedex:

  • can have many fees
  • customs can slow down package delivery times

4. dhl

dhl is well known for its expertise in international shipping for companies based in the united states. They are based in Germany, so they are located close to the UK, making transportation even easier. If you want to ship abroad, DHL is your reference provider.

However, they don’t have as big of a presence in the US. uu. compared to ups and fedex so you may have to struggle to find a dhl location to drop off packages. shipping costs may be somewhat high due to some higher fees.

advantages of dhl:

  • expansive international presence
  • express delivery to many countries
  • cost-effective air and sea delivery options
  • no pickup fees

dhl disadvantages:

  • limited presence of us so delivery locations are harder to find compared to usps, ups and fedex
  • generally higher shipping costs due to international focus
  • generally more fees compared to other carriers

As a non-EU member, you will face large tariffs

Due to the costs associated with international shipping and trade agreements between countries, shipping from the usa. uu. to the UK can be expensive. Unlike trade deals with the UK and the EU, trade deals with the US and the UK involve large tariffs on shipments. the value added tax (VAT) for these products can reach up to 20%.

VAT on common items

VAT can represent around 20% of the value of the products you ship, which is quite high. Common VAT items include:

  • alcoholic beverages
  • cookies (chocolate covered only)
  • bottled water (including mineral water)
  • calendars and planners
  • soft drinks
  • chocolate
  • clothing and footwear (except children under 14 years old)
  • sweets and sweets
  • shipping costs (postage and packing)
  • fruit juices and other cold drinks (not milk)
  • nuts (shelled, roasted or salted)

vat on rare items

Items such as children’s clothing and energy materials are taxed between 0 and 5%. Uncommon items include:

  • children’s clothing (under 14 years of age)
  • fish (including live fish)
  • fruits and vegetables
  • live animals for consumption food
  • meat and poultry
  • milk, butter and cheese
  • newspapers, magazines and newspapers
  • nuts and legumes (raw for human consumption )

update shipping policies for shipments to the UK

To avoid large VAT charges, make sure your shipping policy clearly states whether you or the buyer is entitled to pay the fee. Customers can cancel their orders if the VAT charges are too high, so make sure they can see an exact shipping and tax cost to help them understand costs. There are benefits to bearing the costs of the fees yourself, although you will have to charge more for the products to offset the costs. this is known as delivery tax paid (ddp) shipping (as opposed to delivery tax unpaid or ddu, which requires the end customer to pay any duties incurred once the package enters the destination country).

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Learn how ddp shipping can help you with international shipping costs.

common UK slowdowns

The UK has a strong shipping and delivery infrastructure. Even with the rise of e-commerce and improved logistics operations, delivery delays can occur due to traffic, geography, weather, and general customs procedures. When shipping to the UK, be aware of exactly where you’re shipping to so customers can expect accurate delivery times.

all usps shipments are delivered to royal mail

usps packages are transferred to royal mail once they arrive in the uk. Due to this transfer, package delivery can take anywhere from a few extra hours to days or weeks.

common weather patterns

Weather such as heavy rain, sleet and snow are very common in the UK, especially in the North (Scotland). Please be aware of slowdowns for these weather conditions before you ship and let your customers know when you ship.


Due to the transition from USPS to Royal Mail once packages arrive in the UK, deliveries can be delayed by anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks, depending on how long it takes for the transfer to complete.

do you ship to the uk? a 3pl can help!

If you need help shipping products to the UK, consider working with a 3PL to help make shipping to the UK easy and hassle-free. shipbob is a 3pl offering international fulfillment, including locations in manchester, birmingham and beyond.

With Shipbob, you can bulk ship your inventory to our Manchester location and fulfill orders within the UK. You will only have to pay import duties once when you initially ship your products to our Manchester-based fulfillment center location, instead of paying duties on a per-package basis.

Along with customs, duties and becoming a non-resident importer, shipbob will guide you through the process of shipping cargo to our UK fulfillment centre.

With Shipbob’s logistics handling and fulfillment for UK orders, you can rest easy knowing your products are delivered to your customers. here are the reasons why you should let shipbob take care of fulfillment and shipping in the uk:

offer shipping to UK customers

With shipbob, you can store inventory in one or more shipbob fulfillment centers based on the location of your customers. If you are interested in expanding to England or the UK, Shipbob can help you enter this market more easily and cheaply.

For each package, shipbob’s technology automatically looks up the rates of each of the major mail carriers and finds the cheapest and fastest route. that way you and your customers get the best shipping option for each package without having to lift a finger.

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Average transit time to the entire UK is 1-4 business days using Royal Mail and DPD. we also plan to add more options for carriers and shipping destinations.

shipbob has worked with thousands of brands around the world to scale retail fulfillment, reduce logistics costs and drive growth. partner with us for faster fulfillment and shipping while saving time, money and energy.

“As we expanded our online presence internationally, both directly and by selling through marketplaces, we knew we needed a trusted fulfillment partner with a physical presence abroad.

From our history over the years with shipbob, it was a no-brainer to expand into other markets with them. we know they have done their due diligence to meet the shipbob standard.”

marc fontanetta, director of operations at bakblade

We’ll work with your current carrier or transportation partners, or you can take advantage of shipbob’s relationships with cross-border freight forwarding specialists.

save time and money

When you partner with shipbob, you don’t need to manage warehouses, shipping operations, or hire labor. Working with Shipbob can turn logistics and warehousing into a revenue generator because you can increase revenue and offer the shipping options and delivery speeds that customers want.

You also save time by outsourcing fulfillment tasks to shipbob. you won’t have to spend time packing orders, waiting for pickups, or renting and looking for additional warehouse space. working with shipbob gives him time to focus on more strategic initiatives like customer service and product development.

“We ended up shipping to 55 different countries and all 50 states. there are a couple of ombraz on each continent, so international shipping is very important to us, not only in terms of cost but also in terms of customer experience.”

nikolai paloni, co-founder of ombraz sunglasses

leverage industry experience

Running an eCommerce business means being responsible for marketing, sales, customer service, shipping, logistics, and more. You don’t have time to become an expert in every detail of your eCommerce business, especially for time-consuming storage and shipping tasks.

That’s where shipbob comes in: Comprised of eCommerce shipping professionals, we’re informed and up-to-date with the latest trends and intricacies in the industry, so you don’t have to.

shipbob also has the technical resources and network of partners, including carrier associations, custom packaging providers and more, that enable us to make constant supply chain improvements and help drive your e-commerce success.

“Our account manager has worked hard to understand our needs and has offered more flexibility than other 3pls. they have used their experience to provide us with business-specific solutions that really made a difference.”

Pablo Gabatto, Commercial Operations Manager at Amplefoods


Shipping to the UK from the USA. uu. It doesn’t have to be complicated, especially if you partner with a 3pl. By fulfilling orders within the UK, it saves significant costs and speeds up transit times for international orders. If you need help shipping to the UK, please complete the form below to find out how shipbob can make shipping even easier.

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