How Long Do International Shipments Take to Arrive?

Why hasn't my international shipment arrived yet?
how long do international shipments take

These days, it seems like international shipments are taking way longer than they should! Due to the global pandemic, we’re seeing a much higher number of delayed domestic and global shipments. So, it’s increasingly important to track and plan for how long international shipments take, and set expectations with recipients.

Changes to USPS Commitments Affect How Long International Shipments Take

It’s clear that USPS is working hard to uphold international services, though notably, USPS has suspended Priority Mail Express International guarantees and extended their Service Commitments.

Typically, Priority Mail International shipments take 6-10 business days for delivery, while First Class International shipments take anywhere from 1-4 weeks. This is, of course, in addition to any extra customs processing times in the country of origin and destination.

In times like these, you’ll need to factor in at least 1-2 extra weeks of transit time for international shipments. The reasoning here is as follows:

  • USPS uses commercial airlines to transport international packages. With the extreme drop in international travel, it’s taking way longer for shipments to make it onto planes for transport overseas
  • There are only 5 international service centers, located in New York, Miami, Chicago, and San Fransisco. All of these facilities are super backed up, given the volume of shipments currently being processed for transport
  • Delivery times in destination countries are slow, due to the effects of the Coronavirus on their own postal services. Route suspensions in a number of countries also heavily affect the ability of postal workers to deliver shipments like normal

Other Changes to Note

In some cases, USPS is actually reverting to sea transport to deliver shipments, since airlines aren’t flying to certain areas nearly as often as they normally would. This in itself extends the shipping time by weeks as well, so check to see if the country you’re shipping to is affected by this change.

In addition to extra transit time, some countries have closed their borders to international shipments to the time being. Be sure to check the USPS newsroom to keep up to date with those changes.

Pro Tip: Add insurance onto international shipments! It’s more important than ever to protect yourself and your business against losses and damage that may occur due to the global pandemic.

In Any Case…

Don’t panic! As long as you do your research, plan ahead and set expectations with customers, everything will be okay. Things happen, and in this time where things can be a bit uncertain, this guide should keep you on the straight and narrow.

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