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US import guide

Shipwire offers three warehouses in the US: Chicago, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia. We recommend using this guide to import your products into the US market. Use this reference guide to learn about doing business in the US and refer to the information on the USA.gov page for further knowledge.

US customs brokers
Since goods arriving at a Shipwire warehouse must be DDP (Delivered Duty Paid, or free of all import taxes or customs clearance charges), Shipwire recommends working with a customs broker to import your products into the US. While there is typically no legal requirement to hire a customs broker, it is often the most efficient way to clear customs. A licensed customs broker will fill out paper work and obtain the required documentation to complete the import.

You can find a list of licensed US customs brokers on this page.

On this page


Register your business in the United States

In order to ship merchandise into the US, customs requires the owner of record to have a US Federal Tax ID number (also known as an Employer ID #) with a US mailing address. If you are a merchant using Shipwire to ship merchandise for you, you are the owner of record for anything we receive on your behalf. Merchandise we receive must be free and clear of customs duties in order for us to sign for it.

If you do not yet have a Federal Tax ID, you have two options:

Option 1: Incorporate your business in the US.

  • Visit incorporate.com
  • Ask for an EIN (Employer Identification Number)
  • If you don’t have a US mailing address get a mail forwarding address from them.
  • If you want to call them dial 1-888-340-7239 and tell them you came from Partner #9105 (We track aggregate sign-ups to ensure that you get the highest quality service).
  • Get your EIN now. If you do not have a U.S. Social Security Number, call 800-818-6082 (toll-free) or 302-636-5440 instead. Please tell them that Partner #9105 sent you.


Option 2: Obtain a personal tax ID from the IRS online or via forms

  • Get a US EIN number online from IRS.gov
  • If the link above doesn’t work, you can fill out Form SS-4. (Application for Employer Identification Number). IRS Form SS-4. Instructions for Form SS-4. NOTE: We try and keep these links up to date, but you can also go to www.irs.gov and search for ‘form SS-4’.) There are other options available:
    • Phone: Call 267-941-1099 for the international bureau of IRS registrations. The number can be issued the same day if you talk to an agent and then fax in your signature.
    • Fax: Can take 4-5 days. Fax a completely filled out Form SS-4 to 800-829-1040 (domestic fax machines only) or 215-516-1040 (for international faxes).
    • Mail: You can also submit the form by mail which can 30 days or more (not advised).
  • In some cases you may be asked to get the final confirmation from the IRS forms office. Call them at 215-516-2000 and ask them to issue a registration confirmation via fax. You can then forward this to your carrier for processing of the import.

NOTE: Shipwire does not provide our tax ID number for import purposes. You must have a non-Shipwire mail or mail forwarding address in the U.S.; this address should be used for the Importer of Record on all customs paperwork.

Confirm your goods can be imported

Prior to importing your products, identify any regulations on the goods you plan to import. You must have an accurate description of the goods you plan to import before proceeding. Determine which country the goods are coming from and in which country they are manufactured and make sure the goods are not prohibited from coming into the US by checking the Customs and Border Patrol’s list of prohibited and restricted items. Confirm your products are not excluded by the Shipwire Acceptable Use Policy.

Understanding shipping in the US

Please refer to the following warehouse guide(s) for shipping capabilities, available carriers, and features:


Understanding pricing

Shipwire has purposely aligned the way it prices its services with the needs of the fast-growing business. Our pricing is designed to be simple and transparent, to not require any management or oversight on your part, and to reward increased order volume. Learn more about pricing:

Shipping fees are denominated in US dollars. Shipping rates may fluctuate as the dollar fluctuates. Please read our Terms of Service for more information on shipping price quotes.

Handling 1 item from Chicago is the same as shipping 1 item from any other Shipwire location. For example if you ship 50 orders in one month, split evenly between Chicago and Los Angeles. On the 51st order, you upgrade to the next handling level, decreasing your handling price on the following orders for the month.

Storing 1 pallet in Chicago is the same as storing 1 pallet in any other Shipwire location. For example, if your account includes up to 4 pallets of storage. If you store 1 pallet in Chicago, and 1 pallet in the Los Angeles, you have 2 pallets of storage left.

How does Shipwire calculate currency rates?
The most readily available information on currency exchange rates is based on “interbank exchange rates”. Interbank exchange rates are established in the course of currency trading among a global network of over 1000 banks, and are not available through consumer or retail channels. Consumers may use these rates as a reference, but should not expect to use interbank rates in transactions that involve currency conversion. To obtain actual retail rates, contact your local financial institution or currency exchange.

If your transaction involves a currency conversion, it will be completed at a retail foreign exchange rate determined by Shipwire, which is adjusted regularly based on market conditions.

This exchange rate includes a 3% spread above the exchange rate at which Shipwire obtains foreign currency, and the spread is retained by Shipwire.

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