Mobile phone being placed into packaging

What to know when sending a mobile phone abroad

The type of lithium batteries used in a mobile phone or tablet are classed as ‘dangerous goods’. They are flammable and have the potential to ignite or leak corrosive fluids if damaged in transit.

They are subject to restrictions when being shipped abroad. Loose lithium metal batteries are prohibited from being shipped by air, while rechargeable lithium ion batteries face certain stipulations.

As many portable electronic devices contain lithium cells and batteries, certain considerations apply when shipping a mobile phone abroad.

Specially trained staff are required to handle dangerous goods sent via a courier.

Rechargeable lithium ion mobile phone batteries

Preparing to send a mobile phone abroad

Packaging the mobile phone for shipping

As small and secure as possible is a good rule of thumb for packaging items for shipping. Wrap the device in bubble wrap or similar cushioning, then place the phone into its original packaging (or similar), and place this inside a corrugated cardboard box similar in size.

Pad any internal space, to prevent shifting in transit. Securely tape along the seams, and attach the labels and customs declarations in an obvious place with clear, legible information.

Consider waterproof packaging for mobile phone shipments. However, avoid black plastic wrap, as this can interfere with sorting and scanning machines, which will delay delivery.

As with any valuable item, additional insurance is advised in case of damage or loss.

Labelling and documenting an international mobile phone delivery

Clearly display the name, address, and contact number of the sender on and inside the parcel.

Take accurate measurements of the fully packaged parcel and fill in documents clearly with all necessary information. If the package’s contents are inaccurately disclosed or prohibited from posting, it may be at risk of being disposed of or destroyed.

Package being inspected for dangerous goods such as a mobile phone batteries

Keep hold of documents

The original invoice for your item acts as proof of value. This is important for customs documentation or insurance. Original invoices will not apply to used or second-hand mobile phones which may need a new value appraisal.

You will likely need to disclose the IMEI number of the phone being sent. This can often be found on the original packaging of your mobile phone, within the phone’s accessible interior – such as the SIM card tray – or within the phone’s settings menu.

Check customs regulations for the destination

Regulations, VAT, and other customs duties differ for each country. Always check customs documentation thoroughly and fill out information accurately before sending, to avoid unnecessary delay or disruption. Customs duties will need to be paid on arrival.

Dangerous goods will undergo inspection by the courier before shipping. However, it is the responsibility of the sender to ensure their parcel’s contents comply with regulations.

In the UK, mobile phone batteries should be connected to the device they are intended to power during shipping, to reduce the risk of short circuiting. Some countries ban the shipment of phone batteries entirely, while others regulate quantity and storage during shipment.

Extended shipping lead times may apply

Due to the application of specialised customs processes, delivery may take longer than other shipments to the same destination.

Bear in mind that some lithium batteries (over a certain capacity) are unable to be shipped by air, meaning that slower services, such as sea or land shipping, may have to be used for the device.

Lithium ion battery being inserted into a mobile phone

Secure international shipping for mobile phones

Whether you’re sending a mobile phone in the UK or to one of over 200 international shipping destinations, our fully trained dangerous goods staff can ensure safe, efficient delivery.

Impact Express is one of the few couriers in the marketplace who ship mobile phones internationally. We offer this service complete with full end-to-end tracking.

For more information on our dangerous goods shipping service, or for a shipping quote, get in touch with our friendly and knowledgeable team today.

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  • May 2022
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