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U.S. Exporting guide

This guide will contain details related to exporting products and the documentation required to do so. The following topics are covered:


Shipper’s Export Declaration (SED)

What is a Shipper’s Export Declaration?
The Shipper’s Export Declaration (SED) is a U.S. Commerce Department form required for international shipments (except to Canada) for orders with a Commercial Invoice value that exceeds $2500. An order can experience delays in customs without the proper SED documentation.

SED forms
You can fill out the form here: http://www.princeton.edu/engineering/pdf/UPS_Shippers_Export_Declaration.pdf

You will also require License Number/License Exception Symbol and an Export Commerce Control Number (ECCN). You can obtain both of these numbers by calling the Bureau of Industry at the following numbers:

East Coast: (202) 482-4811
West Coast: (949) 660-0144

Are SEDs required in all cases?
An SED is not required when sending an order to Canada that will not be forwarded to another country.

It is also not required when sending a product to yourself at one of your locations (i.e. to a Shipwire warehouse). In this case, you can edit the commercial invoice to be at the cost value and if the total is less than $2,500, an SED form will not be needed.

A commercial invoice that exceeds $2,500 with retail values may be less than $2,500 when using the wholesale values. If an order is filled out with wholesale values and does not exceed $2,500 then an SED is not required.

In cases of damaged or returned goods that will be scrapped, the declared commercial invoice value can be lower than actual value, which in some cases will not require an SED.

Employer Identification Number (EIN)

If you are shipping merchandise from 1) one of our U.S. warehouses to a non-U.S. address, 2) one of our non-U.S. warehouses to a U.S. address, or if you are sending in a new receiving order from 3) a non-U.S. address to one of our U.S. warehouses, please note that U.S. Customs Border Protection (CBP) guidelines require that import/export filings include the shipper’s EIN number. In the case of imports, CBP does allow the Importer to list the consignee’s EIN or SSN number, but practically speaking, there is no easy way for most merchant’s to collect this information. As a result of these changes, Shipwire requires that merchants with shipments in one of these three categories, to enter their EIN number.

If you do not yet have a Federal Tax ID, then you have two options that will allow you to get one:

  • Incorporate your business in the US in 2-3 business days by visiting 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 (Alternately, visit this page). An alternate number if you do not have a U.S. Social Security Number is 800-818-6082 (Toll-free) or 302-636-5440. Please tell them at that Partner #9105 sent you.
  • Obtain a personal tax id from the IRS online or via forms
    • If the link above doesn’t work for your computer or you have issues, you can fill out Form SS-4. (Application for Employer Identification Number). IRS Form SS-4. Instructions for Form SS-4. (Please 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”³.)
      • Over the phone only takes a few minutes: Call 215-516-6999 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.
      • Via 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).
      • 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 form 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.

Feel free to list the Shipwire warehouse address where you are storing your inventory on your EIN documentation as a location of product storage.

[Please Note: Shipwire does not provide a tax ID number for import purposes.]

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