Configure Customs Forms


Customs Forms are a staple of international shipping. The form provides the details for what is in the shipment. The carrier may call this form as a commercial invoice, declaration, or something similar. In ShipStation, the form is always called a Customs Form.

Depending on which carrier you use, you may not need to print a physical copy of your customs form. However, you will need to configure the customs declarations regardless of whether it will be sent physically or electronically.

Where to Find Customs Information in ShipStation

To edit the customs for an order, click on the order to open the order details. In the shipping sidebar, below the Rate calculator you will find the Customs Declaration section. It may be collapsed so click the triangle to open it.

V3 shipping sidebar. Red arrow points to the customs declarations section.

This section will contain editable fields for the shipment's customs information. The fields marked with a red star are required fields.

Edit Customs Declarations

ShipStation will automatically fill in some customs details, like item names, quantity, and value. ShipStation pulls these details from the order. Additionally, the Select Contents and If Undeliverable drop-downs will be set to Merchandise and Return to Sender, respectively.

The Select Contents drop-down menu declares the nature of the contents. This is often used by customs to determine Value Added Tax (VAT).

  • Documents: the contents are documents, somewhat self explanatory

  • Gift: goods sent to a person without a sale

  • Merchandise: goods purchased by a customer

  • Returns Goods: the goods are being sent back to their origin

  • Sample: Commercial Samples are goods sent for evaluation or reviews

The If Underliverable drop-down declares the action customs takes if there is some reason the package cannot be delivered.

  • Return to Sender: the package is sent back to the return address

  • Treat as abandoned: the package is destroyed

Then you need to fill in a description for the item in the package. By default, ShipStation will enter the item’s name.

Adding Default Product Description

You can create a new default description for products if the Name of the item is not descriptive enough. Enter this description in the ShipStation product record or in ShipStation's International Settings.

The quantity and item value imports with the order but you can update the number. The total value updates automatically if you change the quantity or item value price.

Product-specific harmonization codes are also entered here. Review the Harmonization code article for more information about how to find the harmonization code for your products.

Finally, set the country of origin. The default value is based on your ShipStation account home country.

Custom Forms FAQ

How many items can I list on a customs form?

The carrier determines the limit of how many items per box you may list.

Set up ShipStation for Custom Forms

You can automate your customs declarations in ShipStation through your account's International Settings and Product Records.

International Settings

First, fill in the account level international settings to set the default values for all shipments.

Default Customs Information and Tracking Information options.

The Customs Declarations drop-down menu will determine how ShipStation handles filling in custom forms. This setting will affect all new orders that import into ShipStation. It does not affect orders that have already been imported.

  • Create Customs from Order items: This option tells ShipStation to use imported information about the product from the order to fill in product descriptions, value and quantity. ShipStation is set to do this by default.

  • Use predefined values: This option will make the customs declaration the same for all orders.

  • Leave Blank: This option will leave the custom form blank so you will have to manually enter information for each international order.

Product Records

Each product record within ShipStation includes a Customs tab. This section of the record includes fields for product description, harmonization codes, value and country of origin. The information here will override anything set within the International settings on your account for that specific product record.

Update Multiple Product Records

If you have many products you wish to update in this way, use the Product CSV Import method to update multiple products at once. Review the Update Products in Bulk section of the Update Products article in this help guide.

Now that you have set up your defaults for customs, you can start printing customs forms.

Print Customs Form

ShipStation sends the customs declarations to the selected carrier when you create the label. The carrier, in most cases, will then send back the customs form(s) you need to print, along with the label (sometimes the customs declarations are printed on the label directly).

There are several places within ShipStation where you can print your customs forms for shipments that have them:

V3 Shipping Grid has a Customs Forms column with 'Created PDF' boxed in red for an order.

The Customs Forms column in the Shipments Tab

V3 Orders tab with red arrow pointing to print menu with drop-down options revealed

The Print menu in either the Orders or Shipments tabs

V3 Shipment Details. Red arrow points to Print menu, with drop-down options.

The Print menu in either the Order or Shipment Details screens

V3 Order Details, red arrow points at Shipment action menu with Print Customs Form option selected

The action menu from the Shipment Widget

Printing Mini-FAQ

Do I need to print my customs forms?

A majority of the time, yes, you will need to print a copy of your customs forms to include with the shipment. Although, some carriers like UPS and FedEx will submit customs electronically. When this is the case, there will be a symbol or abbreviation on the label.

Should I print multiple copies of my customs?

One custom form should be enough. But if you need to reprint, you can do so within ShipStation.

Where do I put the customs form?

The customs declaration needs to be on the outside of the box. In some cases, the customs print on the label, so there is nothing additional you need to do. In other cases, the customs forms print separately. For these cases, you may need to get a clear custom form envelope to attach to the box.

Other Documents

There may be some other documents that you need to include with your customs form. However, these forms are used in specific situations and may not be available within the ShipStation UI.

  • USMCA Certificate of Origin: Shipments requiring certificates of origin should use the USMCA form instead.

  • EPA HS-7 and 3520-x forms: These are Forms for Importing Vehicles and Engines. If you are exporting or importing these types of products, you will need to print these forms outside of ShipStation.