Sell on Amazon Sign in
This article applies to selling in: United States

Importing and exporting inventory

When you expand your business to an Amazon marketplace outside your home country and fulfill with Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) or a third-party fulfillment provider, you'll need to understand your obligations in the import/export process. Although you may want to handle some or all of these import/export steps yourself, it can be easier to hire a logistics provider such as a customs broker or a freight forwarder to handle the process for you. These providers may have the expertise and the time to make sure your inventory moves from one place to another in a timely and secure manner.

Tip: If you use FBA in an Amazon marketplace outside your home country and you wish to use the services of a logistics provider, the best practice is to contact one as soon as you sign up for FBA. The process for completing the necessary paperwork can take some time, and you do not want the process to delay getting your products into customers' hands.

If you engage the services of a customs broker or a freight forwarder to help you move inventory from one country to another, you must engage them directly. You must also directly make the arrangements for establishing the importer or exporter of record. Amazon cannot act in that capacity or make these arrangements for you.

Before you engage a customs broker or freight forwarder to help you move your inventory from one country to a fulfillment center in another country, you will need to decide who will take on certain responsibilities:

Exporter of record (EOR):

Generally, the shipper is the exporter of record. Amazon will not act as the exporter of record. You may be able to contract with your customs broker or freight forwarder to act as the EOR.

Importer of record (IOR):

The importer of record is responsible for ensuring that the shipment is successfully imported into the destination country. Responsibilities include filing legally required documents and paying assessed import duties and taxes. It is important to note that Amazon, including the fulfillment centers, will not serve as the importer of record for any shipment of FBA inventory. Any FBA inventory shipment attempting to make entry with Amazon as the IOR will be refused and returned at the shipper's expense—no exceptions.

Nonresident importers

In some countries, a nonresident (foreign) IOR can arrange entry of goods. To become a nonresident IOR, please contact your customs broker or carrier for details.

Important: It is your responsibility to comply with all import and export laws and to ensure the imported goods comply with applicable laws and regulations. You may not import prohibited or restricted products without all required permits and authorizations. For example, the import of certain agricultural, food products, alcohol, plants and seeds, fish and wildlife products, or medication into certain countries may be prohibited or restricted.

Arrange shipment with a customs broker or freight forwarder

A customs broker or freight forwarder may require you to complete the following forms:

Power of Attorney:

When you sign a Power of Attorney, the customs broker or freight forwarder is authorized to act as your agent to get your inventory moved through the customs process.

Importer of Record registration:

Register as an IOR with customs authorities in the country where you are importing inventory. Amazon, including our fulfillment centers, will not serve as an IOR for any shipment of FBA inventory. This applies to shipments of any size or value, regardless of origin and product. Any FBA shipment attempting to make entry with Amazon as the IOR will be refused and returned at the shipper's expense—no exceptions.

Terms and conditions:

The customs broker should spell out terms for you to help you understand who is responsible for the goods at every step of the shipment process.

Duties, taxes, and shipping costs:

Amazon will not be responsible for or collect any duties, taxes, or shipping costs associated with FBA inventory. All shipments are required to use Delivered Duty Paid (DDP) shipping terms. Any shipment arriving at an Amazon fulfillment center with collect charges, including any duties, taxes, or shipping costs, will be refused without further concession.

Deliver-to party:

An Amazon fulfillment center may be listed as the deliver-to party on your shipping documentation. Here are some examples of how this should appear on the shipping documentation:

Example 1 Example 2
Amazon.com.kydc Amazon.com.dedc
[Seller Legal Name] c/o FBA [Seller Legal Name] c/o FBA
1850 Mercer Drive 500 McCarthy
Lexington, KY 40511 USA Lewisberry, PA 17339 USA

Ultimate consignee

Although Amazon will not serve as Importer of Record, it may be listed as ultimate consignee on your shipping documentation—but only if in care of is listed before the name of the Amazon entity.

If you list Amazon as the ultimate consignee, your customs broker must contact Amazon at sellerimports@amazon.com in advance of shipping any inventory to obtain the EIN or Tax ID # required for customs clearance.

Commercial invoice

When your products are ready for shipment from the manufacturer or distributor, the shipper prepares the commercial invoice. It's critical that the commercial invoice be accurate to avoid delays clearing customs. The following information should be included on the commercial invoice:

  • The date of the invoice.
  • The names of the buyer and seller, including addresses (Amazon should not be shown as the buyer or the seller on the commercial invoice)
  • The name and complete address of the seller or manufacturer
  • The shipper's contact name, company name, address, and tax ID number
  • The ship-to address. Here, enter "In care of," and then the name and address of the Amazon fulfillment center where you are shipping the products.
  • Importer of Record. This field must contain the shipper's name, if the same as the owner of the products. Do not leave this information blank; this will result in the shipment being refused and returned.
  • Shipment method
  • Detailed description of the goods being invoiced. Include the following:
    • Customs Harmonized Codes, if known
    • Number of units
    • Unit values
    • Total value of each product. For samples or products with no commercial value, a nominal or fair-market value must be stated for customs purposes.
  • The type of currency of the transaction
  • The terms of the sale. Note that correct terms must be Delivered Duty Paid (DDP). The shipper or FBA seller should pay all applicable duty and taxes and be responsible for clearing customs before delivery to the Amazon fulfillment center. You are not authorized to import goods in the name of Amazon or to show Amazon as the declarant or importer of record on the customs entry documentation.
  • Shipment tracking number. For shipments to Amazon fulfillment centers, include the Amazon FBA Shipment ID that you receive when you create the shipment in your Amazon seller account. The shipment tracking number can also be an air waybill number if you are sending the package via a carrier service such as FedEx or UPS.
  • Any certifications
  • Name of the carrier transporting the goods
  • Freight payment terms
  • Reason for export

Shipping best practices

Amazon fulfillment centers have requirements for the shipments they receive, including the size of the pallets and the type of truck that can deliver to the fulfillment center. The Truckload delivery to Amazon help page provides the information you need for preparing your shipment to an Amazon fulfillment center. Paying attention to these requirements and best practices will help avoid delays in getting your inventory to the fulfillment center and into your customers' hands.

Note: Pallet differences exist between Amazon marketplaces.

Arrange to have your shipments palletized before they arrive at the fulfillment center whenever possible. Amazon's fulfillment centers will accept floor-loaded shipments but only if you request it in advance when you set up your shipment to the fulfillment center. Additional charges may apply if the floor-loaded shipment requires extensive handling.

Make sure that your shipments comply with Amazon's policies regarding inbound shipments. If Amazon refuses to accept your shipments, you are responsible for removing the shipment from the fulfillment center. For shipments that are less than a half pallet of loose cartons, each of which weighing less than 15 kilograms, you may find it better to ship your products through a courier service. The carrier you use may depend on the destination country because carrier services vary. If you do choose to ship your inventory to a fulfillment center via a carrier service, you should check with the carrier to verify that it can clear your goods through customs based on the commercial invoice you provide. If the carrier cannot clear your goods based on the commercial invoice, then you may need to contact a customs broker.

Logistics companies

There are many online resources that can help sellers determine rates and that can make shipping easier. The following are links to some companies some sellers have found useful. Visit their websites directly to calculate the approximate shipping charges you can expect when fulfilling orders for the Amazon marketplaces in which you would like to list:

We suggest you contact your freight forwarder or courier in advance of shipping any inventory to understand its fees and requirements.

Return of imports

Amazon is unable to return inventory stored in Amazon's fulfillment centers to an address outside of the original import country. Further, FBA does not support pick-up options for sellers at Amazon fulfillment centers. If you wish to have FBA inventory returned to you, you must supply a return address in the country of import in the Create Removal Order form.

Sign in to use the tool and get personalised help (desktop browser required). Sign in


Was this article helpful?
Thank you for your feedback
How can we improve this help page? Note: This form doesn’t create a support case. Please specify what you think is wrong with the content itself.
1000
What was helpful?
1000
Thank you again for your help!
Thank you for your feedback. If you have more questions, please Contact Us.

Reach Hundreds of Millions of Customers

Start Selling on Amazon


© 1999-2019, Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates