Customs Declarations

How to view and edit customs forms in ShipStation. Includes where to add Harmonization code.

A Customs Declaration lists all the items within a shipment when that shipment crosses international borders. Customs agencies require customs forms to help them regulate the flow of goods in and out of each country.

ShipStation automatically creates customs declarations for orders that import or are created with an international shipping address. How these declarations are created depends on your International Settings in ShipStation. The default behavior is to create customs declarations based on the items included in the shipment. Review International Shipping with ShipStation to see how to create an international label.

ShipStation will send the customs declaration information to the carrier when you create the label for the shipment. If a separate form is required, the form is sent to your ShipStation account at the same time as the label.

Review the Print Customs Forms article to see how to view and print the customs form.

New Harmonized Code Requirement for the EU

As of March 1, 2023, all shipments to and passing through most countries in the EU will require HS (Harmonized System) codes included on customs forms along with a more detailed description of the package contents.

This means that descriptions such as "Clothes" will not be accepted. Instead, a more detailed description such as "Men's Cotton Shirt" or "Women's Leather Shoes" will be required.

Learn more about the new HS code requirements from the following resources:

Look up HS codes for your products using the following resources:

View & Edit Declarations for International Shipments

ShipStation automatically creates customs declarations for international orders based on your account settings.

To view or adjust customs information for a shipment, you'll use the Customs Declarations section in Order Details or in the Orders grid Sidebar.

When you create the international label for this shipment, the postage provider will use this information to create the required customs document(s), which you can then print through ShipStation.

Add Harmonization Codes and Tax Identifiers Automatically

You can manually add Harmonization Codes and Tax Identifiers, like above, or automatically.

Add Harmonization Codes to the Product Record's Customs details in ShipStation. Create an Automation Rule to add your Tax ID numbers to orders as they import.

Notes About Customs Declarations

  • Different countries will sometimes have specific requirements for shipments entering their countries. However, by following a few best practices, you can minimize the possibility of delayed or even returned international shipments:

    • Always include HS Codes and accurate item descriptions. While not all countries require HS Codes, EU member countries recently started requiring them, along with more accurate item descriptions. We recommend always including HS Codes, which you can add to your Product Records in ShipStation. See our Shipping to the EU guide for more details.

    • Always include your company Tax ID numbers (VAT, IOSS, etc.) on your Customs Declarations. You can add your Tax ID numbers to ShipStation's International Settings to automatically add them to every international shipment.

    • As of March 1, 2023, Mexico requires an additional field for Package Description. This is a 35-character field that should include a short summary of the contents of the package. For example, a shipment containing assorted cosmetics will include each item description, and the Package Description would be "Assorted cosmetics" or similar. See our Shipping to Mexico guide for more details.

  • Customs Declarations for USPS shipments are printed directly on the label so no additional documents will be created. For services that print multiple labels, like Priority Mail International, all labels should be included in a clear poly customs form envelope.

  • A CN23 form can be substituted for a CN22. However, a CN22 cannot be substituted for a CN23 form.

  • A commercial invoice details the agreement between the shipper and receiver, but CN22/23 customs forms do not. The agreement details include who’s responsible for the shipment, the duties and taxes, and whether or not they’ve already been paid.

  • A phone number or email for the buyer (also known as the consignee) is required for most international shipments. You may update this information in the Recipient section of your orders.

  • For providers that send their customs forms to your ShipStation account, they do so at the same time they send the label.

  • The Customs Forms column in the Shipments grid will indicate if the customs declarations are included on the label, electronically submitted, or as a PDF that you can download and print.

  • Some carriers may have a limit to the number of items allowed on their customs declaration forms. If this is the case for your carrier, you may need to consolidate some of your customs declaration line items before your customs forms print properly.

    If you are unsure if your carrier has such a limit and the customs forms printed via ShipStation appear to be missing items, please contact with your carrier to confirm.

  • A High-Value Report will be included in the form's PDF for UPS shipments that include carrier insurance and are valued at USD $1000 or more.

  • Private carriers (like UPS or DHL) may have additional requirements for their international shipments. For carrier-specific questions about international shipping, please contact the carrier directly.

  • For more information on US Customs Regulations, please review the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Website.

View & Edit Declarations Legacy Layout

For international orders, ShipStation automatically creates customs declarations based on your account settings.

When you create the international label for this shipment, the postage provider will use this information to create the required customs document(s), which you can then print through ShipStation.