International shipping label guide

International shipping label guide: How to create, attach, fill out


Written by David Renwick

International shipping labels may seem like a relatively small part of the shipping process - but they're actually quite important. Shipping labels are the key documents which share information between the carriers, people and technology that make up the supply chain.

When you get labels wrong, orders could be lost completely, leading to poor delivery experiences and unhappy customers.

In this guide, we'll cover everything you need to know about creating labels for international shipping. We'll also explain how you can automate the process.

International shipping label

How to create an international shipping label

An international shipping label is typically attached to the outside of a package. These documents provide all the details required for the accurate delivery of a shipment across international borders.

Here's what they contain. Don't worry – we'll share more specific tips for these fields further on in the article.

  • Sender information: The name, address, and contact details of the person or company sending the package.
  • Recipient's information: The name, address, and contact details of the person or company receiving the package. Software can help to ensure you get these details right.
  • Tracking number: A unique identification number assigned to the shipment. This allows the sender and receiver to track the progress of the package during transit.
  • Description: A list of the items contained within the package, including quantities, weights, and value. Also include country of manufacture. This information is important for customs clearance and determining duties or taxes.
  • Harmonized System (HS) codes: These are standardised codes used to classify products for customs purposes. HS codes help customs officials identify the type of goods being shipped and determine if any restrictions or regulations apply.
  • Customs declaration: A statement that declares the contents of the package and their value. It may also include additional information such as the country of origin of the goods and any applicable warranties or certifications.
  • Barcodes: Scannable barcodes may be included on the label to facilitate automated tracking and processing of the shipment.

Need some help?

If you’re finding the process of international shipping complicated, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our shipping experts who will be happy to help.

They can explain how you can automate tasks like creating labels with shipping automation.

Who creates international shipping labels?

When you’re sending a package overseas, there are a few different ways to generate and print your label. Which method you choose depends on your needs:

  • Sending a single, one-off package: If you’re sending a single package, you’re best to use a carrier-provided system (like those provided by FedEx and USPS), as they can help you generate one-off labels.
  • Sending multiple packages: If you’re sending multiple international orders, then it’s a good idea to consider some form of shipping automation. With these tools, you manage all orders from one dashboard, pick from multiple carriers, automatically generate customs documents and automate returns.
Starshipit integrates seamlessly with the online platforms and couriers you already use.

Automate the process of international label creation

While you can manually create your own international shipping labels, it's a much faster process with shipping automation software.

You can also generate and print these labels individually or in bulk, whichever option is best for you. See below for an example of what this can look like:

How to use Starshipit to print an international label

  1. Open your order in Starshipit and confirm your carrier selection (if required).
  2. Print your label directly to your thermal printer or download it as a PDF.
  3. To bulk print labels, simply select multiple orders and click Print shipping labels.

Starshipit can also automate the process of adding HS codes and customs information. Across multiple orders, retailers can save hours per week on sending orders cross-border.

How to fill out international shipping labels

We've already covered what goes into an international shipping label, now let's cover the specific considerations for each field.

  • Sender's Information: Include every relevant detail, including your contact information.
  • Recipient's Information: Do the same for your customer details, and add their contact information if you have it. Tip: If the address line seems too long, check if the province has an abbreviation. For example "Nova Scotia" can be shortened to "NS".
  • Tracking number: You get these numbers from your shipping carrier.
  • Description: Be specific and clear when describing the contents. For example, instead of listing "clothing," specify "3 T-shirts" or "1 Pair of shoes". Include material composition or the purpose of the items here too.
  • Harmonized System (HS) Codes: Assign the correct codes to each item. Use the official directory to ensure you've got the correct codes for your items. Tip: Use Starshipit's Product Catalogue feature to load your products into Starshipit, along with the HS codes. This can help to save you handling time.
  • Customs declaration: Declare the contents and their value accurately on the label. If required, include additional information such as the country of origin of the goods or any relevant warranties or certifications.
  • Barcodes: Affix any barcodes or labels provided by the shipping carrier or postal service in the designated areas on the label.

While you can create these labels manually, it's much more reliable (and faster) to use fulfillment software to generate them automatically.

eParcel shipping label

How to label a package for international shipping

Labelling a package for cross-border shipping means ensuring you have the correct address (including destination country) listed on the label.

How to attach an international shipping label

Make sure you secure your label to your package correctly so it remains fixed throughout the shipping process. Here are some tips:

  • Ensure your label is printed clearly and is legible.
  • Find a clear surface on the package, and make sure it's free of dust and moisture.
  • Typically, the label should be attached to the largest side or top of the package.
  • Use a clear plastic sleeve or transparent label pouch to protect it from damage.
  • If the label has self-adhesive, simply peel the backing off and attach it. If you need adhesive tape, cover each edge as well as the top of the label for added protection.
  • If required, attach any other barcodes or shipping documents either alongside or beneath the label, wherever is more appropriate.

How to make international shipping labels easy

International shipping is a complicated process when you're sending one or two orders to international destinations. It's impossible when you need to send multiple orders per week.

From needing to fill out a customs forms to managing multiple carriers, it's all much easier with shipping automation.

With Starshipit, you can:

  • Manage multiple international (and domestic) carriers from one dashboard.
  • Automatically import your orders from your eCommerce platform (and writeback the relevant information).
  • Set up self-service returns portals so customers can manage their own returns (Even from international destinations).
  • Set which rates display at checkout, based on location, with the ability to cover your own costs.

You can set Starshipit up in minutes, all with the help of one of our shipping experts. Book a free consultation now and discover just how much time you can save.

International shipping label instructions per carrier

Below, we'll outline where you can create shipping labels using some of the most popular carriers. Of course, to save time, you can integrate any of these carriers with Starshipit and automate your label generation.

How to create an international shipping label FedEx

You can create labels for FedEx either at an office location or using their tool FedEx Ship Manager Lite.

How to create and fill out international shipping label USPS

For USPS, simply use their Click-N-Ship system to create international shipping labels.

How to create and fill out international shipping label Australia Post MyPost Business

For MyPost Business, you can use the MyPost Business platform to create international shipping labels.

How to create an international shipping label DHL

DHL offers a number of services to create international shipping labels, including MyDHL+.

Can you place tape over an international shipping label?

You can tape over a shipping label, but you need to ensure you use clear tape. You also need to make sure the shipping address and barcode are completely visible.

International Shipping_eBook

Download our eBook on international shipping

Don't let the process of international shipping or creating shipping labels slow you down. To learn how to manage important cross-border requirements, like customs documentation and the technology that can help you achieve international shipping success, download our eBook today.

Download the guide

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David Renwick

David Renwick

David is Starshipit's Product Marketing Lead. When he's not whipping up a fresh new product update or chatting to customers for an exciting case study, you'll typically find him scoping out coffee spots and talking about what's on at the movies. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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