Shipping Your Etsy Products Internationally
Although you can certainly limit your Etsy business to domestic buyers, part of the fun of selling on Etsy is connecting with international customers. First, however, you need to get a feel for the ins and outs of shipping internationally:
Items shipped to some countries, such as Canada and countries in the E.U., may be subject to duties or taxes. Make sure that that your shop's Policies page lets the buyer knows she'll be responsible for these.
If your package contains "potentially dutiable contents" (that's post-office-speak for items subject to duties or taxes), you need to include a Customs form — period, end of story. To figure out what type of form you need, check with your carrier or check out this page on the USPS site.
Shipping things like food products, plant and animal products, precious jewelry, and so on is prohibited in some countries. To find out whether your item is prohibited, check out the Index of Countries and Localities page on the USPS website. Here you'll find a list of countries; click the link next to the country in question to view a list of restricted and prohibited items
Don't indicate that the item is a gift, even if your buyer asks you to. It's not cricket, and it can get you into trouble. Besides, even gifts may be subject to duties and taxes.
Be sure to warn international customers that you can't be responsible for delays if your package gets stuck in Customs. Also be aware that, unless you opt for a courier service like FedEx or DHL, tracking a package beyond your country's borders is nigh impossible.
If you're just getting started, consider shipping to just a few countries — say, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Australia, and E.U. countries. Then when you're more comfortable with the procedures involved, you can expand to ship everywhere. Just don't indicate that you're willing to ship anywhere on earth unless you've done the research to find out how much that will cost!
If you've chosen to ship via USPS, check out the First-Class Mail International Prices page and the Priority Mail International Prices page. Except with flat-rate Priority Mail, the USPS divides countries into groups based on their locations and then assesses pricing by group. To determine which group a country is in, click a View Price Groups by Country link. (You'll see several of these links in the First-Class Mail International Prices and Priority Mail International Prices pages.)
If you find yourself shipping internationally regularly, look into using Endicia. In addition to enabling you to print labels for domestic packages, Endicia allows you to print international shipping labels that integrate the necessary Customs forms — and with a discount, to boot! Plus, Endicia's International Mail Advisor feature helps you navigate the complexity of shipping internationally by spelling out which items are prohibited where, and more.