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UPS - International electronic transmission


We have had an increasing number of UPS international shipments get hung up because, despite including the required three copies of the commercial invoice in an envelope on the package, it gets flagged for manual processing and they email/call saying there was no invoice information. It was all on the package, but we can't fix UPS processing.


The natural answer would be to do it electronically, but it would seem that currently there is no way to have ShipStation send shipment information to UPS electronically for international shipments.  I spoke with support and they say this isn't even on the roadmap, much less does it have an ETA.


The strange thing is, this seems to be yet another feature that used to exist but does not any longer:  (?)


I looked at using webhooks/API to possibly set up a separate process to handle this, but the features are insufficient. There is no way to access the commercial invoice via the API, nor am I sure that all the required information is even available via that channel.


Doesn't anyone ship internationally from the US via UPS with ShipStation? This seems like it should be functional with UPS and Paperless Invoices.


As an aside, it would also help if a signature could be securely uploaded to be used on the existing commercial invoice form so at least they could be printed/downloaded as a PDF, signed and dated, and then emailed to UPS. They said we could send them in email with the subject comprised of just the tracking number and the recipient to At least this would be "somewhat" streamlined, but as it is they would have to be printed, signed, rescanned in, then emailed.


Occasional Contributor

Our company ships internationally often. Shipstation does have Electronic invoice transmission, but it's something that needs to be activated by UPS. You'll have to reach out to your UPS rep and ask them about activating paperless invoicing on your UPS account. once it's activated, it will carry over to Shipstation when you ship using that UPS account. It's quite nice since you don't have to worry about printing the 3 customs docs and signing. I occasionally will print out the 3 docs as an extra precaution, if it's a super important item/client, but most times I go paperless.


You'll know it works if your UPS label says "EDI" in the corner instead of "INV".

Funny, because their online documentation has a red box that specifically says it is not supported for international shipments. I quoted that page to support and they then replied that it only worked for domestic shipments.


Confusing and frustrating, but I am trying to get the UPS account side enabled.


Occasional Contributor

If you take a look around the forum and the posts this past month regarding the massive dissatisfaction with  the rollout of the new V3 layout of Shipstation, you'll notice that the staff seemingly doesn't know the head from their ass. They don't seem to have an understanding of the product, how it actually works, and the needs of the users.  With that in mind, that's why you see conflicting information from the staff regarding this feature. 


Rant aside, hit up UPS and they'll get you going.


I've recently gone through this process myself and it turns out you only get customs info sent electronically if you enable paperless invoices on a separate UPS account and ship via that account in shipstation. If you use the built-in 'UPS by shipstation' (which we do because it's significantly cheaper for us--we have relatively low volume), it does not send the info. It seems this is something on UPS' end because other shipping software services don't do it either. 


Shipstation doesn't include the shipping or insurance charges paid by the customer on the UPS forms. Better off printing them and correcting them.  


This is the case for USPS customs info on shipping labels too, so I don't think there's a good solution if you want to be compliant with international customs laws.


Nearly every one of the 40+ countries we ship to tax the full value of the package, including shipping/insurance paid by the customer. 



Just an FYI... We used to have this happen all the time, and I finally started taking photos of the packages before they were shipped, just to prove to the UPS service rep that the docs were actually attached at shipping, and were not missing.  They informed me that this is all done electronically by the package scanners, and if the scanner doesn't find the barcode, it automatically assumes it is not there.  They advised that the barcode for the shipping label and the barcode for the customs docs must be in close vicinity of one another, but most importantly, face the same direction.  So if one barcode runs east-west and the other runs north-south, it will be kicked out as missing docs.  Since we have been making sure they all face the same direction, we've not had this problem.  Hope that helps.