Shipping·Oct 13, 2023

Sending Parcels from the USA to France: A Complete 2023 Shipping Guide

a young man and woman are holding a box in front of the eiffel towerArticle updated on Oct 13, 2023

Shipping packages from the United States to France can be quite complicated. International shipping, especially to France, requires careful consideration and attention to detail. Understanding the regulations and requirements for international shipments, such as the customs form and declaration form, is essential. Additionally, relying on reliable couriers who specialize in international delivery, like UPS, USPS, DHL, and FedEx, can ensure fast and efficient shipping for online orders and mailing.

In this blog post, we will provide an overview of the shipping process from the US to France, highlighting key factors that affect shipping costs and delivery times. Whether you are a business owner or an individual sending a package, this information will help you navigate the complexities of international shipping and ensure your packages reach their destination in a timely manner.

Whether you are an e-commerce company or an individual sending a personal package, understanding the ins and outs of shipping to France with USPS will help you make informed decisions and successfully navigate the world of international shipping. From choosing the right boxes to utilizing priority mail services, importing packages to France can be made easier with the right knowledge.

Why Choose the US for Your Shopping Needs?

A joyful young woman with curly brown hair smiles brightly, wearing a purple jacket and a shirt with a logo

Living in France, you might wonder, "Why should I shop from the US?" Well, let me tell you, my friends, the answer is plentiful and exciting too! It's a combination of a wider product range, exclusive items, top-notch quality, and some incomparable deals! Plus, shopping from the US is an adventurous journey!

First and foremost, the variety of products available in the US is remarkable. In order to access this wide range of products, customers can easily fill out a form and receive them by mail. You'll often find products that are not available anywhere else. (Been there, done that!). You get to select from a broader offering, from high-end goods like tech gadgets and designer brands to niche products like dietary supplements and unique collector's items. The choices are endless! 

  • Exclusive Items: The US market is often the first to receive new products. This early access ensures shoppers can procure the latest innovations and trends before they gain global traction. Furthermore, many brands release special editions or limited runs exclusively in the US, making it a treasure trove for unique finds.
  • Quality assurance is an essential aspect of US products, as they undergo rigorous quality control measures to ensure their form and mail meet the highest standards. It does provide some peace of mind.
  • Better Prices and Discounts: A highlight for many is the competitive pricing, impressive sales, and discounts the US offers, particularly during the holiday season. Anticipation often builds up for events like Black Friday, where exceptional deals become available for shoppers worldwide.

With online shopping, these American goodies are just a click away! So, why not take advantage of shopping from the US and let's form a connection in this exciting marketplace together?

Shipping options and services for sending packages from the US to France

A miniature replica of the Eiffel Tower stands beside a lavender gift box with a ribbon

There are several popular shipping carriers that offer reliable services. These carriers have a form of transportation that ensures timely delivery. Let's explore the different shipping options and services available, so you can make an informed decision about how to send your package.

  • USPS (United States Postal Service): USPS provides various shipping options for sending packages to France, including Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelopes and Priority Mail International items. They offer competitive rates and reliable service.
  • UPS (United Parcel Service): UPS is another well-known carrier that offers international shipping services. With a strong network, they provide efficient delivery options for packages going to France.
  • DHL: DHL is a renowned courier service that offers international shipping services from the US to France. With their extensive network and efficient delivery options, they provide reliable and timely delivery of packages to their customers.
  • FedEx: FedEx is a well-known shipping carrier that offers international shipping services from the US to France. With their reliable and efficient delivery options, they are a popular choice for sending packages to France.

Different types of shipping options are available, such as express, standard, and economy

  • Express Shipping: If you need your package delivered quickly, express shipping is a great option. It ensures fast delivery within a specified timeframe but may be more expensive compared to other options. With courier services such as DHL Express, FedEx Priority, etc., you can have your packages delivered quickly to your address.
  • Standard Shipping: Standard shipping offers a balance between cost and speed. It provides reasonable delivery times at affordable rates. FedEx International Connect Plus service will respond to your need for standard delivery.
  • Economy Shipping: For those looking for more budget-friendly options, economy shipping is ideal. While it may take longer for your package to arrive, it offers cost-effective solutions. You can make budget-friendly shipments with services such as FedEx Economy and APC Postal Logistics.

Information on tracking capabilities and insurance coverage provided by shipping companies

Tracking capabilities allow you to monitor the progress of your shipment from pickup until delivery. Most shipping companies provide tracking numbers that can be used on their websites or mobile apps to track your package in real time.

Insurance coverage is essential when sending valuable or fragile items. Many carriers offer insurance options that provide compensation in case of loss or damage during transit. It's advisable to consider insurance based on the value of your package.

Availability of additional services like package consolidation or forwarding

Forwardme offers additional services like package consolidation or forwarding. Package consolidation allows you to combine multiple packages into one shipment, which can help save on shipping costs. Services such as are beneficial for sending packages to alternative addresses in France.

Forwardme provides flexibility and convenience, allowing you to customize your shipping experience based on your specific needs.

Tips for shipping to France from the US

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The importance of accurate address labeling and providing contact information for smooth delivery

Accurate address labeling and providing contact information are crucial when shipping items to France from the US. This ensures that your package reaches its intended destination without any hiccups along the way. Make sure to clearly write your receiver's name, address, and phone number on the package. Double-check for any errors or misspellings before sending it off.

Packaging tips to ensure safe transportation of items during international shipping

Proper packaging is essential to protecting your items during international shipping. Here are some tips to ensure safe transportation:

  1. Use sturdy boxes: Choose a box that can withstand the rigors of shipping. Reinforce weak spots with tape if necessary.
  2. Cushioning materials: Fill empty spaces in the box with bubble wrap, packing peanuts, or crumpled newspaper to prevent items from shifting during transit.
  3. Wrap fragile items individually: Wrap delicate items such as glassware or electronics in bubble wrap before placing them in the box.
  4. Seal securely: Use strong packing tape to seal all openings of the box, ensuring it is tightly closed.
  5. Label as fragile: If you have fragile items in your package, label them clearly so that handlers take extra care while handling them.

Luckily, with Forwardme as your trusted courier partner in the US, you can rely on them to handle the aforementioned tasks for you.

Customs documentation preparation, including a commercial invoice

When shipping to France from the US, it's essential to prepare proper customs documentation. This includes completing a commercial invoice, which provides details about the contents, value, and origin of the package. Here are some tips:

  1. Fill out the commercial invoice accurately. Include a detailed description of each item in the package, along with its value.
  2. Declare accurate values. Be truthful about the value of the items to avoid any issues with customs authorities.
  3. Research import regulations: Familiarize yourself with any specific requirements or restrictions for importing certain goods into France.
  4. Provide supporting documents: Include any necessary certificates or permits required for specific items.

You can edit and manage your commercial invoice from your Forwardme account easily.

Comparison of shipping rates and quotes for shipping to France

Gift boxes with ribbons are placed near the storefronts, surrounded by vibrant mounds of red and purple flowers.

When shipping packages to France, it's essential to compare shipping rates and obtain accurate quotes to ensure you're getting the best deal. Various factors can influence shipping rates, such as package weight, dimensions, and the destination address in France. By understanding these factors and comparing different carriers' pricing structures, you can find cost-effective options without compromising service quality.

Factors Influencing Shipping Rates

The weight and dimensions of your package play a significant role in determining the shipping rate. Heavier packages generally incur higher costs due to increased handling and transportation expenses. Larger packages may require special handling or oversized surcharges.

The destination address in France is another crucial factor. Shipping rates can vary depending on whether you're sending your package to a major city like Paris or a remote area. Carriers often have different pricing tiers based on regions within a country.

Comparison Between Carriers' Pricing Structures

Different carriers have their own pricing structures. Some carriers offer flat-rate options where the price remains constant regardless of package weight or destination address. This can be advantageous if you're shipping heavy items or need predictable costs.

Other carriers may have tiered pricing based on weight ranges or zones within France. It's important to consider these variations when comparing quotes from different providers. Keep an eye out for any additional fees that may apply, such as fuel surcharges or customs clearance charges.

Using Online Tools for Accurate Quotes

To obtain accurate quotes for shipping to France, online tools can be incredibly helpful. Many carrier websites provide calculators that allow you to input specific details about your shipment, including weight, dimensions, origin address, and destination address. These tools take into account applicable prices and fees based on the provided information.

By utilizing these online tools, you can quickly compare multiple carrier quotes side by side and make informed decisions about which option best suits your needs. It's important to note that the accuracy of these quotes depends on the accuracy of the information you provide.

Shipping options and fees to France by FedEx, DHL Express, USPS, UPS

Delivery Choices and Rates to France via FedEx, DHL Express, USPS, and UPS

Using Forwardme's shipping calculator tool, which displays rates based on different courier choices, you can obtain shipping quotes from leading courier services like UPS, DHL Express, FedEx, USPS, and Aramex to ship your packages to France.

Tips for Finding Cost-Effective Options

When looking for cost-effective shipping options to France, it's crucial to balance price and service quality. Here are a few tips to help you find the right balance:

  • Compare quotes from multiple carriers: Don't settle for the first quote you receive. Take the time to compare rates from different carriers to ensure you're getting a competitive price.
  • Consider transit times: While price is important, don't forget to factor in how quickly you need your package delivered. Some carriers may offer faster shipping speeds at a higher cost.
  • Evaluate additional services: Some carriers may provide extra services like package tracking or insurance at an additional cost. Assess whether these services are necessary for your shipment or if they can be omitted.

By considering these factors and utilizing online tools, you can navigate through various shipping rates and quotes effectively.

Restricted/Prohibited items to ship to France

Gift boxes with ribbons are placed near the storefronts, surrounded by vibrant mounds of red and purple flowers.

Shopping from the US and shipping to France can be a fantastic experience if done correctly. Understanding the list of restricted and prohibited items is pivotal. Knowing what cannot be shipped to France not only saves you from a ton of unnecessary trouble and costs but also ensures you keep everything legal and above board. So, what on earth can't you ship to France? Let's dig in!

Now, it's important to note that the list of items banned from shipping to France is exhaustive, but here are some of the commonly shipped goods that are on the prohibited item list. 

  • Weapons and ammunition: This probably goes without saying, but our French friends won't be too keen on someone shipping in weapons or ammunition of any kind. So, if you had any plans to buy a samurai sword from that quirky specialty store in the US, you might want to reconsider.
  • Counterfeit items or pirated goods: Knockoff designer handbags, pirated DVDs, counterfeit watches—anything that infringes copyright or trademark laws is a strict no-go for shipment into France.
  • Hazardous materials: This includes explosives, flammable items, radioactive, poisonous, or infectious items, and any goods that are generally regarded as dangerous for transportation.
  • Drugs and narcotics: This includes both recreational drugs and certain types of medication, especially if you don't have a prescription or if they're not approved by the French health authorities.
  • Endangered species and products deriving from them: Any product or animal that falls under the Washington Convention (CITES) cannot be shipped to France. This includes elephant ivory, turtle shells, some types of coral, and certain species of orchids.

The importance of checking with carrier's guidelines before attempting to ship restricted items

To avoid any issues or delays when shipping internationally, it is crucial to check the carrier's guidelines before attempting to ship restricted items. Different carriers may have specific policies regarding what they will and will not transport. By consulting their guidelines beforehand, you can ensure that your inventory complies with all necessary regulations

Prohibited items:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Animal skins
  • Clocks/watches
  • Communications equipment
  • Compact discs (CD)
  • Computer software
  • Counterfeits
  • Diskettes/floppy disks
  • Drugs (prescription and non-prescription)
  • Electronic games
  • Fabric and fabric samples
  • Foodstuffs
  • Gambling devices
  • Grain samples
  • Hazardous goods
  • Hemp cannabis
  • Jewelry
  • Leather goods
  • Lighting conductors with radioactive elements
  • Plants and plant products
  • Radar equipment
  • Telecommunications equipment
  • Televisions and television equipment
  • Works of art

Restricted items:

Understanding the Calculation of Customs Duties, Taxes, and Fees

Shop from, ship internationally

When shipping items to France from outside the European Union (EU), it is important to be aware of the customs regulations in place. These regulations govern the importation process and ensure that goods entering the country comply with various requirements. French customs authorities have specific rules for imports that are separate from those within the EU. This means that when shipping goods to France, you need to follow a different set of guidelines compared to shipping within the EU. It's essential to understand these regulations to avoid any potential issues or delays.

An explanation of how customs duties, taxes, and fees are calculated

When importing goods into France, customs duties, taxes, and fees may apply depending on the nature and value of the items being shipped. Customs duties are calculated based on a percentage of the item's declared value, while taxes such as Value Added Tax (VAT) are applied at a standard rate. To determine these charges accurately, it is crucial to provide accurate information about your shipment's contents and value. The French customs authority will use this information to assess any applicable duties and taxes owed upon importation.

Landed costs for France

Are you aware of the fact that, in most cases, the Value Added Tax (VAT) and duty tariff involved in international shipping can significantly increase your final costs? And, quite honestly, it can turn a world of beautiful shopping deals sour pretty fast. Therefore, let's delve into understanding VAT and the tax implications it offers for items shipped to France. 

The total cost of an international transaction covers all the duties, taxes, and charges linked to the buy. This includes:

  • Product price
  • Shipping
  • Duties
  • Taxes
  • Fees (currency conversion, carrier, broker, customs, or government fees)

CIF stands for "cost, insurance, and freight." It's a way to figure out import taxes or duties by adding together the price of the order, the shipping cost, and the insurance fee.

French de minimis, tax, and duty

Further explanations of de minimis, tax, and duty are provided below.

Duty and tax de minimis

  • Tax de minimis: 0 EUR
  • Duty de minimis: 150 EUR

Based on the CIF value of the order

De minimis value

For imports into France, duty is only applied if the total CIF (cost, insurance, and freight) value surpasses France's set minimum value, known as the de minimis. The duty-free threshold in France is 150 EUR. However, there's no minimum value for taxes, meaning every import into France will be subject to VAT. If the CIF value of an item is below 150 EUR, it won't be charged duty.

Understanding VAT and Tax Implications

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In France, like many other European countries, the standard VAT rate is 20% applied to the value of the goods, including the shipping cost. Now, this could be a bummer, but knowing this helps you prepare ahead. Make it a habit to consider the VAT while assessing the total cost of your purchases.

Additional Taxations 

Besides VAT, international shipments to France may also be subject to other taxes. These could include excise duty for specific products (like alcohol, tobacco, etc.) and import duties. The import duty is typically calculated as a percentage rate applicable to the total value of the goods.

  • Excise Duty: This largely applies to items such as alcohol and tobacco. The rates can vary significantly based on the specifics of your items.
  • Import Duty: The rates of import duty can vary between 0% and 17%, depending on the nature of the goods. Import duty applies on a CIF value basis (cost, insurance, and freight of goods).

Now hold on; don't let these tax burdens discourage you. With a bit of knowledge and planning, you can still find lucrative shopping deals in the US. It's just a matter of aligning your purchases tactfully with these arrangements. Sounds strategic, doesn't it? It's all part of the fun!

Documentation required for customs clearance in France

To clear customs when shipping items to France, you will need certain documentation. The specific documents required may vary depending on factors such as the type of goods being imported or their value. However, there are some common documents you should be prepared to provide:

  • Customs Form: A completed customs form is typically required for all shipments entering France from outside the EU.
  • Commercial Invoice: This document provides details about your shipment's contents, including item descriptions, quantities, values, and other relevant information.
  • Packing List: A packing list outlines each item included in your shipment.
  • Proof of Payment: This can include invoices or receipts demonstrating payment for purchased goods.

It is crucial to ensure that all documentation is accurate, complete, and properly filled out. Any discrepancies or missing information could lead to delays in customs clearance.

Information on customs procedures and potential delays

When shipping goods to France, it's important to be aware of the customs procedures involved. After your shipment arrives in France, it will go through a process of customs inspection and clearance. This process ensures that the items comply with regulations and that any applicable duties and taxes are paid.

While most shipments clear customs smoothly, there may be instances where additional inspections or paperwork are required. These situations can potentially cause delays in the delivery of your package. It's essential to factor in these possibilities when estimating delivery times. It's also worth noting that French customs authorities have specific rules regarding personal effects, antiques, cultural heritage items, and other goods with historical or cultural significance. If you are shipping such items, additional documentation or permits may be necessary.

Package dimensions and size restrictions for shipping to France

When you're planning to ship a package to France, it's important to be aware of the size limitations imposed by carriers. Understanding these restrictions will help ensure a smooth and hassle-free shipping process. Let's take a closer look at the key points you need to know:

Size limits and dimensional weight calculation

Carriers have specific guidelines. The size limits typically refer to the maximum length, width, and height of the package. These measurements are usually expressed in inches. To determine if your package meets the carrier's size requirements, you'll need to calculate its dimensional weight. This is particularly important for larger packages that may not weigh much but occupy significant space. Dimensional weight is calculated based on the volume of the package, taking into account its dimensions.

Accurate measurement for proper pricing calculation

To accurately measure your package's dimensions, use a measuring tape or ruler. Measure the length, width, and height in inches from their longest points. Ensure that you round up each measurement to the nearest whole number.

For example:

  • If your package measures 12.4 inches in length, round it up to 13 inches.
  • If it measures 8.7 inches in width, round it up to 9 inches.
  • If it measures 5.2 inches in height, round it up to 6 inches.

By measuring accurately and rounding up appropriately, you can avoid any discrepancies when calculating dimensional weight and pricing.

Additional fees for exceeding size restrictions

If your package exceeds the carrier's specified size limits when shipping to France, additional fees may apply. These fees are often referred to as oversized or non-standard surcharges. It's crucial to check with your chosen carrier about their specific policies regarding oversized packages before shipping. By staying within their prescribed size limits, you can prevent unexpected charges and delays in the delivery process.

Cost-saving strategies for shipping to France

Optimizing package dimensions and weight

To save on shipping costs when sending packages to France, it's essential to optimize the dimensions and weight of your shipments. Smaller and lighter packages generally cost less to ship. Consider these tips:

  • Use appropriate packaging materials that provide sufficient protection without adding unnecessary weight.
  • Remove any excess packaging or empty space in the box to reduce overall dimensions.
  • Break down larger items into smaller components if possible, as this can help reduce both size and weight.

Keep in mind that the Forwardme team will do the above for you.

Benefits of consolidated shipping services

Consolidated shipping services or bulk shipments offer significant cost-saving advantages. Instead of sending multiple individual packages, you can combine them into a single shipment. Here are some benefits:

  • Reduced shipping fees: Consolidating packages allows you to take advantage of economies of scale, resulting in lower per-unit shipping costs.
  • Streamlined customs clearance: By consolidating shipments, you can simplify the customs clearance process, potentially reducing delays and associated fees.
  • Environmental impact: Consolidation reduces the number of transportation trips required, leading to a smaller carbon footprint.

Choosing slower delivery options for cost savings

While expedited shipping may be tempting for urgent deliveries, opting for slower delivery options can result in substantial cost savings. Consider the following points:

  • Economy shipping: Selecting economy or standard delivery instead of express services often comes at a lower price point.
  • Planning ahead: If time permits, allow for longer transit times when scheduling your shipments to take advantage of cheaper rates.

Estimated delivery times for shipping from the US to France

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General Timeframes for Different Types of Shipping Services

When shipping from the US to France, it's essential to have an idea of the estimated delivery times. The time it takes for a package or shipment to reach its destination can vary depending on several factors. Let's take a look at some general timeframes for different types of shipping services:

  • Standard Shipping: On average, standard shipping from the US to France can take anywhere between 7 and 21 business days. This is typically the most economical option but may not offer expedited delivery.
  • Express Shipping: If you need your package delivered faster, express shipping is a great choice. With this service, you can expect your shipment to arrive in approximately 3 to 5 business days.
  • Priority Shipping: For even faster delivery, priority shipping is available. This service usually ensures that your package reaches its destination within 2 to 3 business days.

Factors Influencing Delivery Times

Several factors can influence the delivery times when shipping from the US to France. These include:

  • Distance: The distance between the origin and destination plays a significant role in determining how long it will take for a shipment to be delivered. Longer distances generally result in longer transit times.
  • Carrier: Different carriers have their own processes and networks, which can affect delivery times. It's important to choose a reliable carrier with experience in international shipping.
  • Customs Clearance Process: Shipments crossing international borders must go through customs clearance. The time it takes for customs officials to process and inspect packages can impact overall delivery times.

Possible Delays Due to Unforeseen Circumstances

While estimated delivery times provide a general guideline, it's crucial to note that unforeseen circumstances could cause delays along the way.

  • Weather Conditions: Inclement weather, such as storms or hurricanes, can disrupt transportation and cause delays in package delivery.
  • Holidays: During peak holiday periods, such as Christmas or New Year's, there may be delays due to increased shipping volumes and limited staffing.

Importance of Tracking Shipments Online

To stay informed about the progress of your shipment and receive real-time updates on estimated delivery dates, it is essential to track your packages online. Most carriers provide tracking numbers that allow you to monitor the status of your shipment throughout its journey. By tracking your shipment, you can have peace of mind knowing where it is and when it's expected to arrive.

Shipping packages with Forwardme

A lot of shipping boxes on the street going to France to be delivered.

Forwardme is a top-notch package forwarding service that helps customers ship their packages from the US to France. They are known for their reliable and efficient shipping services, making them a popular choice for people who need to send parcels internationally. You can sign up to Forwardme to get your free US addresses to shop from any US-based store you want!

Explanation of How Forwardme Works in Assisting Customers with International Shipments

The process is quite straightforward. First, you need to sign up for an account here. Once you have your account set up, you can start using mail forwarding services. You will receive a special US address from Forwardme to ship a package. This address serves as your virtual mailbox in the US. When you make purchases from US retailers, you can have your packages delivered to this address. You can benefit from tax-free shopping with Forwardme's sales-tax-free warehouse in the US.

Once your packages arrive at the Forwardme warehouse, they will notify you through email or their online portal. You can then log in to your account and choose how you want your items shipped to France. They offer various options, like Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail International, and Priority Mail. Forwardme also provides consolidation services that allow you to combine multiple purchases from different US retailers into one shipment. This not only saves money on shipping costs but also makes it easier and more convenient for you to receive all your items at once.

Benefits of Using Forwardme's Consolidation Services for Multiple Purchases from Different US Retailers

Using Forwardme's consolidation services has several advantages:

  • Cost savings: By combining multiple purchases into one shipment, you can save money on shipping fees.
  • Convenience: Instead of receiving separate packages from different retailers at different times, consolidating them allows for one-time delivery.
  • Reduced risk of lost packages: With fewer shipments being sent out, there is less chance of any items getting lost or misplaced during transit.
  • Easy tracking: When all your items are consolidated into one shipment, it becomes easier to track the progress of your package using the provided tracking number.

Overview of Additional Features Offered by Forwardme, Such as Personal Shopper Assistance

Forwardme offers more than just package forwarding services. They also provide additional features to enhance your shipping experience. One such feature is personal shopper assistance. If you need help purchasing items from US retailers, their team can assist you in finding and buying the products you desire. Furthermore, Forwardme provides a shipping calculator on their website that allows you to estimate the cost of shipping before making any purchases. This helps you plan and budget accordingly for your international shipments.

Key points about shipping to France

In conclusion, shipping packages to France from the US requires careful consideration of various factors. It is important to explore the available shipping options and services, compare rates and quotes, and understand any restrictions or prohibitions on certain items. Familiarizing yourself with French customs regulations and package size restrictions is crucial for a smooth shipping process. Implementing cost-saving strategies can help minimize expenses while ensuring timely delivery. If you're looking to ship packages to France, consider using Forwardme as a reliable shipping service provider.

Frequenlty Asked Questions to Ship a Parcel to France

Article written by

Volkan Haslak

Volkan Haslak
Volkan is always eager to dive into new and intriguing subjects. This curiosity led him to his current passions: yoga, working out, playing piano, diving deep into marketing, and fostering community connections. At Forwardme, he primarily concentrates on marketing and growth engagement.More links