Shipping from Spain to USA: A Complete Guide

Shipping from Spain to USA is very common as the United States and Spain share robust bilateral economic relations. According to the United Nations COMTRADE database on foreign trade, U.S. imports from Spain totaled US$24.3 Billion in 2022. One of Spain’s top five exports to the United States is olive oil, despite its short shelf life.

If you are looking up how to ship from Spain to USA, this guide provides helpful information and direction for your business.

We also offer detailed guidance on shipping from China to USA if you need it.

robust bilateral economic relations between spain and usa
Source: freepic

Things You Need to Notice Before Shipping from Spain to USA

Are your products available to ship from Spain to the USA? How to prep your products correctly? What documents are required in customs when shipping from Spain to the USA? This section contains all the important details you need to know on how to ship from Spain to the USA. 

What Cannot be Shipped from Spain to USA

Several items are prohibited from sale in the USA. The official US Customs website provides all the information about banned items when shipping from Spain to the USA.

Here is the list of some strictly banned items:

  • Absinthe 
  • Biological
  • Automobile
  • Cultural Property and Cultural Artefacts
  • Dog and Cat Fur
  • classified and unclassified military items 
  • Medicinal Drugs
  • Firearms
  • Fish and Wildlife

In addition, it is important to know that some carriers, such as UPS, have different restrictions on certain products. Make sure the transportation companies you plan to use can handle your items before sending them out to the USA.

How to Prep Your Goods Before Shipping from Spain to USA

Here are five simple yet important steps to prepare your freight for shipping:

  • Make sure your products are tightly packed. Damage is very common to those items that are loosely packed. 
  • Always use pallets when shipping from Spain to the USA.
  • If you stack your goods in the incorrect order (either in terms of weight or geometry), you will be in trouble. Also, check that the tops of your pallets are level.
  • Make sure to clearly label each cargo’s sides and top. Read our guide to label and package to get detailed tips.
  • Complete a Bill of Lading.

Moreover, never use the materials listed below when packing. They are not reliable in terms of enough protection and biodegradability. 

  • Foam strips
  • Crinkle wrap
  • Shredded paper
  • Styrofoam

Acceptable standard boxes for ideal packing include:

  • Regular slotted carton (RSC)
  • ECT-32 (Edge Crush Test)
  • B flute
  • 200 lb./sq.inch (burst strength)
regular slotted carton in shipping to usa
Source: freepic

Documents Required in Customs When Shipping from Spain to USA

To pass US customs, you’ll need the following important papers. Failure to have them ready before the shipping process risks having your shipment delayed or even having your goods confiscated. 

Here’s what you need to have:

  • A commercial invoice
  • Payment details, depending on the conditions of the agreement between the parties
  • A packing list
  • A bill of lading for ocean freight or an Airway Bill for air freight 
  • A certificate of origin

In addition to these papers, official regulations may specify the need for further paperwork if you ship unique items. Please visit the U.S. CBP website for further details.

How to Ship from Spain to USA

There are typically two options for companies shipping large items to the USA; sea freight and airfreight. The third exceptionally fast option is Express shipping via FedEx, UPS, and other foreign carriers. But it can be pricey.

Seafreight from Spain to USA

If your goods weigh more than 100 kilograms, it is more cost-effective to ship them via sea. There are two options for sea freight, which are LCL and FCL. Have a look below to understand them better:

What are LCL and FCL

FCL stands for full container load, which means the container is full of your cargo. This option gives you free use of the entire storage. This method is used by companies sending 20- or 40-foot containers of goods. 

On the other hand, LCL shipping involves sharing a container. FCL gives you control over a container, while LCL consolidates your cargo with others. 

Shippers who want more dispatch options often consider shipping less than a container. LCL shipments weigh 1–10 CBM.

How to Choose Between LCL and FCL

Volume, cost, security, and urgency are the main factors that decide whether to choose LCL or FCL. 

FCL may be cheaper for goods over 10 CBM, while LCL is most useful for low-volume shipping.

If the amount already confuses you, ask how much it will cost. For instance, FCL is the cheapest for delivery over 10 cubic meters (CM). FCL is more expensive for shipments under 10 CBM.

Sometimes FCL shipments cost less than LCL shipments because LCL prices rise proportionally with shipment volume. 

FCL is best for transport safety and damage avoidance. If you need the products fast and aren’t picky about delivery, FCL can help!

Recommended Shipping Companies

  • Albatros shipping company: Albatros is your ideal business partner if you run a maritime company with a sea freight emphasis.
  • Arola Commercio Internacional: It focuses on transporting fragile foodstuffs and chemicals.
shipping containers from spain to usa
Source: freepic

Airfreight from Spain to USA

Airfreight is the more cost-effective option if your products are less than 100 kilograms.

Recommended shipping companies

  • Mold trans: It offers various foreign freight forwarding services, including express airfreight, door-to-door airfreight, combined airfreight, and more.
  • Bluewater shipping: Airfreight and chartering specialists are on staff to handle a smooth shipping process.

Express from Spain to USA

If the delivery of your products is time-sensitive, express shipping is the best option to ship from Spain to the USA urgently.

Recommended Shipping Companies

  • UPS: International delivery carriers that are well-known for offering a variety of shipping services
  • FedEx: offers a fast and private express-insurance service from Spain to the USA.

How Much is Shipping from Spain to USA

There are different answers about the cost of shipping from Spain to the USA. For example, UPS charges about $150 and DHL about $130 to ship a package weighing 10 kilograms from Spain to the US. 

Several variables play their part in determining to ship from Spain to the USA cost. Some of the top ones are:

  • Value of the shipment
  • Shipping method(s) you choose
  • Shipping service
  • Any applicable taxes or duties, etc.

Nothing is fixed but rather changes over time!

If you’re shipping a vehicle or other specialty item, the minimum fee according to BR Logistics is $2195. Cold chain transportation can increase the shipping cost of transporting perishable goods like food and pharmaceuticals that need optimal temperatures.

Moreover, door-to-door delivery, port-to-port transport, repackaging, packing, and other shipping-related services are all available. Learn more about Amazon FBA Prep Services and customize your specific needs when negotiating with delivery carriers.

Here is a brief introduction to some shipping services that you can select:

  1. Door-to-Door Shipping

You have minimal involvement in the shipping procedure when you use a door-to-door service. This is because the product is collected by Freight Forwarders like FBABEE from the suppliers you provided and shipped to the Amazon FBA warehouse. From here, FBA takes care of further steps. It is typically more costly than others.

  1. Port-to-Port Shipping

A port-to-port means that the freight forwarder is only responsible for transporting the cargo or products from the airport or ocean port in the country of origin to the country of destination. Whether LCL or FCL, the products are typically transported in shipping containers. 

How Much is Import Tax and Duty Shipping from Spain to USA

Taxes and duties on imported products vary widely depending on the origin of the imported products. The average duty tax percentage is 5.63%, ranging from 0% to 37.5%. 

If your online purchase exceeds the US import tax threshold, you will be charged a flat rate of 3 percent on the difference when shipping from Spain to the USA.

Customs in the United States collect import duties and taxes, but certain items may be exempt from these charges due to an international treaty or arrangement. For more information, visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website.

What are Import Taxes and Duties

Simply put, import taxes are fees that the government enforces on imported products, including duties and tariffs.

Consumers are subject to indirect taxes by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in the form of import duties, also known as customs duties, for bringing in foreign-made products. 

It is collected by the government of the nation which imports the goods.

How Long Is Shipping from Spain to USA

Shipping from Spain to the USA via sea freight can take 15 to 37 days. Meanwhile, shipping via airfreight can take between 8 to 14 days. The length of time usually depends on several factors. Some of the top ones are:

  • Weather conditions
  • Distance 
  • The time it takes to clear customs
  • Speed of the vessel or aircraft
bad weather when shipping from spain to usa
Source: freepic

To help you choose the best shipping route for your goods, here are some recommended ports in Spain and the USA. You can choose the most convenient shipping routes for your goods and final destination.

Sea freight shipping routes and transit time: 

  • Barcelona to Miami—15 days FCL, 31 days LCL
  • Barcelona to New York—18 days FCL
  • Barcelona to Los Angeles—28 days FCL, 31 days LCL
  • Valencia to Cleveland—31 days FCL, 25 days LCL
  • Valencia to Los Angeles—34 days FCL, 34 days LCL
  • Barcelona to Houston—24 days FCL
  • Barcelona to Savannah—20 days FCL

For airfreight, below are recommended shipping routes when shipping from Spain to the USA:

  • Barcelona to Atlanta, Philadelphia, Miami, Los Angeles, or New York
  • Bilbao to Chicago, Houston, or Los Angeles
  • Madrid to Los Angeles, or Dallas
  • Valencia to Los Angeles

FAQs when Shipping from Spain to USA

Do I need import licenses to import from Spain to USA

Most products entering the United States must have import licenses.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website covers all the important information about shipping from Spain to the USA.

You can also contact the local port of entry you’ll be using for import regulations and other information. 

CBP entry forms must be completed within 15 calendar days of the date your shipment lands at a U.S. port of entry, regardless of whether or not an import license is required.

Also, it is important to include your shipper number on all of these documents. It is the number that IRS gives you when you register your company as an importer.

Without this number or company ownership, your Social Security number will serve as your importer number. (SSN).

Do I need shipping insurance from Spain to USA?

Yes, you do need shipping insurance.

If packages are lost, damaged, or gets stolen while shipping, your company can obtain compensation through shipping insurance. The total value of the shipment, including the shipping cost, may be insured against loss or damage.

Coverage for fragile, time-sensitive, high-value, or perishable goods, among other options, can be tailored to your company’s requirements based on the goods you send, how you ship, and the carriers you use.

Shipping insurance will pay out if your cargo is lost, stolen, or damaged in transit.

However, cargo insurance policies may be governed differently by various carriers. Getting shipping protection is a good idea, but it’s ultimately up to you!

Can I buy medicine in Spain and ship to USA

It is prohibited for personal use in most circumstances according to US Customs. In order to conduct business legally, one must obtain licenses and authorization from the appropriate authorities.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must approve a drug and determine that it complies with the FDC Act of 1938 before it can be sold in the United States. Any medication that is “unapproved” or does not satisfy the criteria cannot be imported.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires any company (that plans to import pharmaceuticals into the USA) to first register with the agency via an internet filing system.

The FDA must approve any drug you intend to import, and you must complete an Establishment Registration SPL document. 

How to ship wine from Spain to USA

To ship wine from Spain to USA, you need to prepare the necessary paperwork and apply for shipping.

The wine remains a popular item when shipping from Spain to the USA. However, most postal services and couriers do not advise doing so.

When sending wine bottles abroad via courier, it’s important to use sturdy packaging and take other precautions to ensure safe delivery. Shipping wine needs a “Fragile” and “Burn” label due to the flammable nature of the alcohol and the potentially broken glass bottles.

It is best done by sea freight because airfreight is typically not permitted for alcoholic beverages. Single wine bottles can be shipped to customers by approved companies via courier services, which can be done with the help of special arrangements with the carrier.

Hiring a customs broker is highly suggested in the case of wine because determining wine taxes and duties can be very challenging.

shipping wine from spain to usa
Source: freepic

How to ship olive oil from Spain to USA

In the case of olive oil, shipping from Spain to the USA must follow Food and Drug Administration guidelines.

The first requirement is to use a supplier approved by the FDA and to give advance notification of the olive oil’s impending arrival.

A customs bond is required in addition to meeting all other CBP (Customs and Border Protection) regulations. Olive oil will undergo FDA testing for purity, cleanliness, and correct labeling.

The next step requires documentation of details like the country of origin.

Incomplete or incorrect information at any point increases the likelihood that the shipment will be postponed or even rejected, which usually happens with shipments containing complex olive oil blends used to make so many delicious foods.

If shippers work closely with a customs broker, they can escape fines and penalties that could cost them thousands of dollars. 

How to ship ham from Spain to USA

Although Spain is well-known for its meat exports, the USA is notoriously selective about the nations from which it accepts imported meat. For instance, the nation strictly regulates beef export from only 33 nations, and Spain is one of those countries.

When transporting food products, you have an obligation to make sure that your food product is still fresh. The importer is accountable for submitting entry paperwork to the port director at the USA port of entry through which the ham will enter the country.

If all applicable fees and taxes have been paid to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the importer of record will be able to organize the shipment’s release or delivery. You still have to deposit a customs bond, as food falls under the purview of the FDA.  


There you have it all!

Now you know everything about shipping from Spain to USA. Starting from prohibited items, best packaging guidelines, important documentation, and methods of shipping to shipping from Spain to USA cost, how long it takes to ship from Spain to USA, we’ve covered everything for you!

We hope this shipping from Spain to USA guide will help you with all the shipping problems your import business might face. 

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