What is a Document Shipment?

If you’re sending to an international destination, most items will have to travel through customs and be assessed for duty and tax, which will require you to complete a customs declaration.

However, if you are only sending documents your shipment will:

  1. Cost less
  2. Normally be delivered faster
  3. Not require a customs declaration
  4. In most cases will not be subject to import duty or tax.

A document shipment can be an A4 or A5 postage envelope, or it can be a box full of documents.

What if my document shipment contains other items?

If your shipment also contains other items, but you declare it as a document your shipment will:

  1. Be delayed as it will be held in customs until a customs declaration is completed
  2. The cost of the shipment will increase, and you will need to pay the difference
  3. There is also a risk the shipment may be returned to you by the courier, and you will be liable to pay the return shipping costs.

How it works

When getting a quote, click on the documents tab. You can select A4 /A5 envelope to save time, or if you’re sending a larger item, simply select ‘Custom size’ from the drop-down list.


When entering your description into our booking system, it is best to describe what type of document you are sending, for example ‘Personal letter’ or ‘Signed forms’.

Document shipments can include a wide variety of items, including catalogues, manuals and airline tickets. See below for a full list of items that most countries consider acceptable as document shipments.

What else do I need to know?

The courier driver should be able to provide a document envelope to protect your documents. However, they won’t always have one on board, so we recommend you use a rigid cardboard envelope for sending your documents with maximum protection in transit.

Remember, please make sure your shipment only contains documents. Other goods should be sent separately. If there are other items in your document shipment it will be returned to you.

What can I send as a document shipment?

The following is a list of the items most countries consider to be acceptable documents.  

However, if in doubt, it is worth checking the specific rules for your destination country because individual countries may have specific restrictions. 

  • Airline tickets, blank stock
  • Airline tickets, issued/validated
  • Annual reports
  • Artwork inc. drawings/proofs/layouts
  • Blank forms
  • Blueprints
  • Booklets, brochures (non-adv.)
  • Business cards
  • Calendars
  • Catalogues
  • Charts/graphs
  • Computer printouts
  • Diaries
  • Diplomatic mail
  • Documents, general business
  • Drawings, technical/architect/engineering
  • Films: 8mm, 16mm & 35mm
  • Films: promotional, training
  • Invoices, blank
  • Invoices, not blank
  • Labels
  • Magazines, periodicals, journals
  • Manuals, technical
  • Manuscripts
  • Maps
  • Microfiche and microfilm
  • Music, printed or manuscript
  • Negatives, including x-rays, films
  • Pamphlets
  • Personal mail
  • Photographs
  • Photos as part of business reports
  • Plans, architectural drawings and engineering designs
  • Price lists
  • Price tickets for garments
  • Publication not for public resale
  • Publications for public resale
  • Ship manifest (computer-generated)
  • Shipping schedules
  • Slides
  • Visa applications

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