There are online stores in the U.S. that don't ship to Russia. They say that customs house makes delivery "impossible". UPS delivery support told me that delivery to Russia is possible via their service as long as the shop has a contract with them. Then I found out that there a certain companies called "parcel forwarders" which lend their customers from Russia an address in U.S. They have a store on this address and I can order an item from a shop to their store. And for a bit of extra money they will forward my parcel from their store to me in Russia.

I was thinking about using these services. But this all sounds really strange to me. The delivery is possible in some shops of U.S. straight to Russia, but not in others. UPS and DHL may or may not ship into Russia depending on contracts and other details.

Are forwarder companies like this legal?

  • Can you give an example of "some online shop never deliver to parcel forwarder stores"?
    – Greendrake
    Nov 4, 2021 at 0:15
  • 3
    I would wonder if the forwarder is going to help you evade customs requirements by marking the package as containing something else. Nov 4, 2021 at 3:24

1 Answer 1


Yes they are legal

Brokers who carry or forward freight to other countries are very common. This is an example of that. This is done not just in the US but across the globe. These companies might move the freight in bulk to the destination country and induct it into that country's parcel systems or they may just be performing the service of shipping it internationally when a domestic company chooses not to. Some of these companies might also accept payment from foreign sources that the selling company doesn't accept.

There are companies who would prefer not to deal with freight forwarders because their customers no longer have the ability to easily return their items and can get mad about it. The primary reason companies do not want to ship internationally is fraud and theft. Customs is troublesome as well when customers don't understand their country's rules, which often involve large tariffs that must be paid at the destination country. Shipping internationally is also just harder, with additional paperwork and government requirements.

The brokers performing this service meet the legal requirements for exporting/importing and thus run afoul of no laws.

  • 1
    I would qualify the headline to state that with this class of businesses, in principle, may be legal, this doesn't mean that a particular firm could legally ship a particular package. Some packages may not be legally shipped at all. Some firms are subject to regulatory licensing requirements that they don't meet. And, many smaller operations conduct their business in a manner that illegally circumvents applicable border control/customs laws.
    – ohwilleke
    Nov 4, 2021 at 20:09

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