All Things Shipping
Jul 10, 2019

How Long Does International Shipping Take?

International shipping can be complex. Different countries have different policies about what products can enter their borders. Since each delivery route requires a unique time allotment, depending on the travel length and import and export regulations, you may be wondering: how long does international shipping really take? 

It can be challenging for businesses to provide customers with delivery times. The good news is that a shipping software will provide delivery estimates before you purchase a label. 

Still, it’s helpful to gain an understanding of how long international shipping takes to include in your shipping FAQs. Let’s explore what the four major carriers estimate and guarantee, and how to get packages to international customers quickly without breaking the bank. 

How Long Does International Shipping Take for USPS, UPS, FedEx, and DHL? 

We dug into the service levels for the four major carriers to discover just how fast you can get products to customers, even if they’re in other countries.

How Long Does International Shipping Take via the USPS?

The USPS offers the following estimates for international shipping:

  • 1-3 business days: Choose the Global Express Guaranteed option, and you’ll get a money-back guarantee in over 190 countries.
  •  3-5 business days: Choose Priority Mail Express International. Same money-back guarantee, plus you’ll get free shipping supplies.
  •  6-10 business days: Choose Priority Mail International. You’ll get free shipping supplies.

That said, please remember that these estimations are for major markets only, and some restrictions may apply. Consider using a USPS shipping software or USPS API to get a more accurate quote for your specific situation, and to save on shipping costs. Here at Shippo, for example, we pride ourselves on saving our customers up to 90 percent off Retail postage fees when it comes to USPS shipping rates.

How Long Does International Shipping Take via DHL?

DHL Express is a good solution for express international shipping. You’d be surprised how fast they can get your package to another country.

  • Same day: DHL offers emergency international shipping on the next flight out, or a dedicated emergency vehicle, so your package can arrive to its destination as fast as possible.
  • Morning hours of the next possible day: DHL has options to get your package to another country by 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., or noon the next possible day.
  • End of the next possible day: If you have time-sensitive documents that need to get to their destination quickly, but can wait a few hours, DHL Express has a shipping option for you too.

 To get the best DHL Express rates, consider using Shippo. You can even schedule DHL Express to come pick up your package—and it’s free of charge.

How Long Does International Shipping Take via FedEx?

FedEx is another great option for urgent international shipping, plus standard international shipping that can wait a few days. Here are some of your fastest options:

  • The next available flight: Choose FedEx International Next Flight.
  • By 10 a.m. in 1, 2, or 3 international business days: Choose FedEx International First. The service is available in 20 countries, and only in select postal codes.
  • 1-3 business days: Choose FedEx International Priority. Available in 220 countries. However, if you’re shipping to Canada, Mexico, or Puerto Rico, you can choose FedEx International Economy, and still expect it to take 2-3 business days.
  • 5 business days: Choose FedEx International Economy. If you’re shipping to countries other than Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico, expect it to take 2-5 business days. This service is available in more than 215 countries and territories.

Here, too, we recommend using a FedEx shipping software. Find one that lets you compare shipping availability and rates with a single click. You don’t want to waste precious time or miss the next available flight because you were busy trying to figure out the most cost-efficient shipping option–especially when there are software products that can do it for you.

How Long Does International Shipping Take via the UPS?

Let’s explore one more major carrier: UPS. As with the others, the UPS offers a wealth of options for international shipping.

  • Next available flight: When you place the order, the UPS will commit to a specific delivery time.
  • 1-3 days: You can choose the specific timeframe in the day–morning, midday, or end of day. You can get your packages delivered to Canada by the end of the next business day, or to Mexico and major metropolitan areas across the world by the end of the second business day.

Consider getting a UPS shipping software, especially one that partners with a variety of carriers such as Shippo, which is how you’re able to quickly compare prices and get discounts across the board. With Shippo, you’re also able to use UPS Paperless, which automatically sends customs invoices and documents to the customs agency of the country you’re shipping to. This helps eliminate the potential of losing these documents during transit and speeds up the process at customs.

International Shipping Doesn’t Have to Take Long, and Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive

Fast international shipping is possible with a shipping solution to help you save time, compare prices, and get up to 90 percent discounts with one click.

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Michelle McNamara
is a Senior Marketing Manager at Shippo

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