International Shipping Guide

One of the beautiful things about Reverb is its function as a global marketplace, giving you instant access to both buyers and sellers from around the world. Because prices on Reverb tend to be 20-40% less than typical retail prices in the U.K., Japan, or Europe, there's a huge demand from international buyers.

Of course, to take advantage of this massive opportunity as a U.S.-based seller, you need to be willing to ship internationally. Simply put, the more places you are willing to ship to, the more you’ll sell. Though many sellers find international shipping intimidating, it actually isn’t much more difficult than shipping within the U.S.

Here’s a look at how to get started with international shipping:

1. Estimate Rates

Choose a carrier and determine rates to key regions.

  • USPS tends to be significantly cheaper than UPS or FedEx but has sizing and insurance restrictions.
  • Use our shipping calculator to find out the typical cost to ship different instruments.

2. Add Rates

Add international rates to your listing or to your shop profile.

  • Click My Shop → Shipping
  • Either create a new shipping profile or edit an existing profile.
  • Enter rates for either regions, like the EU, or individual countries.
  • Be conservative in your initial prices - you can always negotiate shipping rates during the “Make an Offer” process.

Be careful with vintage instruments that contain restricted materials like Brazilian rosewood or ivory - you may need a license to ship them.

  • Many vintage guitars may contain materials from endangered species and can’t be exported due to the CITES treaty.
  • Typically, these materials are ivory, tortoise shell, or Brazilian rosewood.
  • If your instrument was manufactured before the date a species was added to the convention (i.e. 1992 for Brazilian rosewood), you are exempt if you get a permit. However, it can take several months and hundreds of dollars to receive a permit.
  • Click here for a nice breakdown on the permit process.

Communicate Well

Ensure international buyers are aware they are responsible for taxes in their country.

  • The buyer is typically responsible for taxes, duties and customs fees.
  • It varies by country, but most governments charge local tax plus import duty. For example, most guitars imported to the U.K. pay a VAT rate of 20% plus a Duty of 3.7%.
  • The shipping provider will collect these costs from the buyer before releasing the package.
  • A fee is charged for clearing customs paperwork. USPS is significantly less expensive than UPS or FedEx.
  • Most worldwide deliveries take 5-10 days, though high-value packages may be held by customs inspections for 2-4 extra weeks.

When shipping to Australia, instruments made in US are exempt from duties (not taxes) if you supply an AUSFTA statement of origin. If you ship to Canada or Mexico, instruments made in the US are exempt from duties (not taxes) under NAFTA.

1. Pack It

Ensure your instrument arrives safely by following our packing guides.

2. Print A Shipping Label

Gather the info needed to buy a shipping label.

  • All major shipping providers allow you to purchase shipping labels and fill out customs forms online.
  • Determine the exact weight and dimensions of your package.
  • Go to your preferred carrier’s website and select “international shipping.”
  • Follow the instructions to complete your label - see below for a step-by-step on filling out customs forms.

Take advantage of Reverb's discounted labels.

  • If you are a seller based in the U.S. and shipping internationally, you can purchase a discounted Reverb shipping label via USPS, UPS or DHL.
  • Labels are subject to availability based on the buyer's location.
  • Maximum declared value of $2,500 USD.
  • Reverb shipping labels are fast, easy to use, and offer the same great shipping protection as domestic labels.

3. Fill Out A Customs Form

The main customs form required is a Commercial Invoice; your shipping provider will have a template.

  • Most information is straightforward, such as address, dimensions, etc.
  • You will need to enter a Harmonised Tariff Schedule. This is a standard classification and can be found here. For example, an electric guitar is 9207.90.
  • A “Waybill” number is just the tracking number on your shipping label.
  • The “Reason for Export” will typically be a sale.
  • Make the description as specific as possible. For example, “A red 1998 Gibson ES-335 semi-hollow body electric guitar, serial number 915480300.”
  • The country of origin is where the instrument was manufactured, not where you’re shipping from.
  • Do not mark your item as a gift. Buyers sometimes ask sellers to do this so they don’t have to pay duties or taxes. This is a surefire way to get your gear confiscated by customs.

If needed, complete an EEI.

Instruments over $2,500 shipped anywhere except Canada require an Electronic Export Information (EEI) form.

  • To complete an EEI, you’ll first need an Employer Identification Number (EIN). If you don’t have one, you can get one here. You don’t need to start or be a business to get an EIN number.
  • You will need to set up an account with the Census Bureau’s AES Direct website so you can file your EEI form. You can do that here.
  • Once you’ve registered, fill out an EEI form on AES Direct.
  • Once filed, you will receive an Internal Transaction Number (ITN) as confirmation of your filing. The ITN starts with an “X” and has 14 digits.
  • UPS and FedEx may have the ability to file the EEI on your behalf if you give them power of attorney.

4. Drop It Off

Drop your package off and enter the tracking number on your Reverb sales page.

And you’re done. See? It’s a lot less intimidating than you probably thought (especially if your package is valued at under $2,500). For more info, visit the UPS International Shipping Guide.

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Your purchases help youth music programs get the gear they need to make music.

Carbon-Offset Shipping

Your purchases also help protect forests, including trees traditionally used to make instruments.

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