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International Bicycle Shipping & Preparing Your Shipment for Customs

When using BikeFlights.com for international bike shipping, your shipping documentation is personally prepared for you and provided to you by a member of our Customer Support team. We also utilize our extensive knowledge, experience and international network to directly assist you throughout the shipping and customs process. However, customs clearance is ultimately the responsibility of the recipient shipping the bicycle and/or gear into the country.

Upon submitting your online order, we will request additional documents to support customs clearance. We recommend allowing at least one business day if shipping from the U.S. and three business days if shipping from outside the U.S. to complete this document submission process and to ensure on-time shipment of your bicycle and/or gear.

In addition to your shipping label as usual, you must attach the customs documentation prepared by BikeFlights.com as well as copies of any information that was requested during the preparation of the customs documentation. Required supporting documentation varies by destination country and depends on the purpose of the shipment. We will provide guidance on what information is required. If you do not provide the requested documentation, BikeFlights.com reserves the right to decline to ship your bike, in which case we will cancel and refund your order.

Before booking your shipment, we recommend that you consult guidelines from our partner carrier FedEx to learn about relevant customs information for your shipment’s destination: https://smallbusiness.fedex.com/international/country-snapshots.html.

You DO NOT need to fill out customs forms when shipping within the United States, within a foreign country or within the European Union. Shipping between the U.S. and a territory such as Puerto Rico does require customs documentation.

What do I need to know before booking an international shipment?

The following MAY be shipped internationally with BikeFlights.com:

  • Bicycles.
  • Wheels.
  • Gear.
  • Clothing.
  • Accessories.
  • Tools.

The following MAY NOT be shipped internationally with BikeFlights.com:

  • Food such as sports bars, sports drinks, sports drink mix and gels.
  • Liquids such as tire sealant and bottled water.
  • Goods that are flammable, explosive, compressed, toxic, etc. such as lubes, degreasers, camp stove fuel, C02 or lithium batteries.
  • Controlled goods and substances such as alcohol, medication and drugs.

Contents of all shipments MUST BE completely clean of dirt and excessive oils. Most countries do not allow incoming shipments of items that are dirty or muddy. BikeFlights.com suggests that you thoroughly clean your bike and gear prior to packing and shipping. A dirty bike or gear may be detained, and cleaning fees may be incurred if not properly cleaned ahead of shipment. BikeFlights.com’s estimated shipping transit times for international shipments DO NOT include possible delays that may occur during the customs clearance process. The reason we request supporting documentation is to minimize the chance of customs delays, and we provide direct assistance to our customers should there be any delays.

BikeFlights.com’s shipping rates DO NOT include duties, taxes or other customs fees. These fees are typically due for customs clearance of commercial shipments, which include sold or purchased items, gifts and returns, repairs and warranty items. However, each country has the right and authority to assess additional fees for clearance of any imported good. If these fees are assessed during the customs clearance process, then they must be paid by the recipient.

Size does matter. To get the lowest shipping rates and to reduce shipping delays, pay close attention to bicycle shipping box dimensions. To ship using the less expensive International Express service, the size of bike cases and boxes must be no greater than 130 inches (330 cm) where size = length plus girth and girth = 2 * height + 2 * width. Many standard boxes used by manufacturers meet this size requirement, such as the “Road Bike Box (estimated)” in our drop down menu. Popular cases like the Serfas, Thule, Trico and Pika also ship at the international small package rate. If your box or case exceeds this size restriction, BikeFlights.com can still ship your bike at the more expensive International Express Freight rate.

What happens when I book an international shipment?

Once you book an international shipment with BikeFlights.com, a Customer Support representative will contact you to collect key information required to complete your customs forms. Forms must be completed BEFORE we can issue your shipping label.

We will always ask you to provide a packing list detailing the contents of your shipment and their estimated value as well as an in-country phone number for the recipient in case we need to resolve any delivery issues; we may ask for additional information depending on the purpose of your shipment. Please note that the value of shipment contents for consideration by customs is the estimated resale value, not the replacement value.

Read on for more information about different types of international shipments and how they are handled.

What if I’m travelling with my bike or gear for vacation, to participate in an event or to move?

When you travel for vacation, an event or because you are moving, your associated shipments will be classified as “Personal Effects”. Such shipment types are for goods that are previously owned, meant for personal use during your stay in the country and not intended for resale. There is no guarantee that you will not have to pay duties or taxes for Personal Effects shipments - each country has its own regulations.

BikeFlights.com will ask you for additional documentation so that we can prove the reason for your shipment and request relief from payment of duties and customs taxes for import or export of your personal bicycle and gear. This documentation includes a BikeFlights.com Personal Effects form (with the information detailed below) as well as any country-specific forms, if required.

  • Confirmation of shipper and recipient information, including in-country phone numbers.
  • Packing List and description of goods.
  • Passport image and number (digital image or scan).
  • Flight itinerary confirmation (if applicable).
  • Event registration or employment letter (if applicable)

Customs may delay your shipment of personal effects if the contents of your shipment are of a high value, are intended for resale or are prohibited. They may also search your shipment or subject it to duties and customs fees.

Most, but not all, countries have a duty-free allowance for items shipped by returning residents and visitors and those moving there. Typically, those items must have been owned for at least six months prior to shipment. The recipient is responsible for the payments of any duties, taxes or fees that are levied.

Packages sent to business addresses are more likely to be flagged as potential commercial shipments requiring additional clarification. This includes shipments to hotels, so we suggest that you include a c/o [YOUR NAME HERE] in your “ship to” information so that your package will be more clearly recognized as a personal effects-type shipment.

What if I’m buying or selling a bike or gear?

When you ship a bike or gear that has just been bought or sold, your shipment will be classified as “Commercial”, and you will have to provide a receipt documenting its value. Such shipments WILL be subject to local duties and taxes.

BikeFlights.com will ask you for the following:

  • Copy of your sales receipt (such as a bike shop receipt, screenshot of eBay auction close or PayPal transaction) that describes the contents and displays the purchase price of the item(s) in your shipment.
  • Country of Manufacture for the bike being shipped. If unknown, then provide the specific make, model, and year.

The recipient is responsible for the payments of any duties, taxes or fees that are levied.

What if I’m sending my bike or gear as a gift?

When you ship a bike or gear as a gift, your shipment will be classified as “Commercial”, and you will have to provide a receipt documenting its value, whether or not any payments were made or services were exchanged. Such shipments WILL be subject to local duties and taxes.

BikeFlights.com will ask you for the following:

  • Copy of your sales receipt or proof of value that describes the contents and displays the purchase price of the item(s) in your shipment.
  • Country of Manufacture for the bike being shipped. If unknown, then provide the specific make, model, and year.

The recipient is responsible for the payments of any duties, taxes or fees that are levied.

What if I’m sending my bike or gear back to the seller for repair, return or warranty service?

When you ship a bike or gear for repair, return and warranty service, your shipment will be classified as “Commercial” shipment and WILL be subject to local duties and taxes.

BikeFlights.com will ask you for the following documentation:

  • Return/Repair Authorization form that describes the contents, the repair that will be completed (if applicable) and the value of the repair or item being returned as appropriate.
  • Country of Manufacture for the bike being shipped. If unknown, then provide the specific make, model, and year.

The recipient is responsible for the payments of any duties, taxes or fees that are levied.

What do I do with my customs forms and label once I get them from BikeFlights.com?

Once you receive your completed labels and customs forms, print both and affix them to the outside of your shipment. When shipping with a bike case, use a standard large luggage tag to hold the label and customs documentation and attach the tag to a handle of your plastic hard case or soft-sided case. Secure it in place around the handle with a zip tie. When shipping with a cardboard box, put your label and customs documentation in a self-adhesive label. Both luggage tags and self-adhesive labels are available for free at any FedEx shipping location.

We also recommend that you print a second copy of your label and customs forms and place them inside your shipment.

If your shipment is classified as “Personal Effects”, we suggest that you also print a third copy of your label and customs forms and keep it with you should Customs request this information directly from you.

What happens to my shipment en route?

Most international shipments via BikeFlights.com will pass through customs without being delayed.

However, if your shipment is pulled aside for further review by customs, it can take 24-72 additional hours for information to be received and processed. Once any additionally requested information is received and/or any duties or taxes are paid, it can take another 24-72 hours from the time customs officials clear your package until it is back in the hands of carriers and goes out for delivery.

Therefore, BikeFlights.com suggests that you ship your bike and gear sufficiently ahead of time so as to allow time for possible delays in customs.

If you are travelling to some countries, they may require you to provide additional information in person upon arrival as you pass through customs. For example, you may have to provide your packing list again or show your passport.

Some countries will X-ray or open your shipments as they move through customs. DO NOT LOCK any cases or luggage containing your shipment - customs officers must be able to easily open your shipment for inspection.

Some countries may apply local inspection fees or other customs fees depending on the circumstances or contents of your shipment. Any such fees are the responsibility of the recipient.

All customs duties, taxes and local fees will have to be paid directly to customs before your package can continue on to its destination. In some cases, when shipments have been pulled aside for inspection by customs, they may be subject to an additional delivery fee before delivery can be completed. And in still other cases, someone may be required to collect the shipment in person from a local customs office.

What if I’m having any issues with my international shipment?

Please contact BikeFlights.com at (541) 705-2453 (not the carrier) throughout the shipping process - regarding orders, pickups, dropoffs, delivery and claims. Our friendly Customer Support staff, all fellow cyclists, take care of you and your shipment.

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