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Shipping items to Hawaii can seem daunting given its remote location in the Pacific Ocean. However, with some key considerations around timing, costs, restrictions and documentation, it is very feasible to get your packages successfully delivered to the Aloha State.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Use a major carrier like USPS, FedEx or UPS and be prepared for transit times of 5-10 days from the mainland U.S. Check Hawaii’s list of restricted items and declare goods if required. Insure high-value shipments.

In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about shipping to Hawaii including:

Carrier Options for Hawaii


The United States Postal Service (USPS) is a popular option for shipping small packages to Hawaii. USPS offers affordable shipping rates through Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express. Delivery times range from 2-4 days for Priority Mail and 1-2 days for Priority Mail Express.

USPS provides tracking and insurance up to $50 or $100 for extra cost. One downside is that USPS does not offer oversized or heavy package shipping to Hawaii.


FedEx is a great choice for shipping larger and heavier packages to Hawaii. They provide express delivery in 1-3 business days. FedEx offers a variety of shipping services like FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, and FedEx Freight for pallet and heavy shipments.

Extra services like dangerous goods shipping, chain of custody, and delivery options are available. FedEx also has an extensive Hawaii network with holding locations for convenient pick-up. Tracking and insurance protect packages.

The main drawback with FedEx is they tend to be more expensive than other shipping carriers.


UPS ships to both residential and business addresses in Hawaii. They have an extensive service portfolio that includes UPS Next Day Air, UPS 2nd Day Air, UPS Ground, and UPS SurePost. Delivery times range from 1-5 days based on the service.

UPS provides several features like Order Tracking and Delivery Intercept to manage orders. However, their shipping rates to Hawaii tend to be higher compared to USPS prices. UPS makes up for the higher costs with great service, fast transit times and package handling.

They also allow customers to drop off and pick up packages from The UPS Store locations across Hawaii.

Transit Times to Expect

From Mainland U.S.

When shipping packages to Hawaii from the continental United States, you can expect transit times ranging from 2-6 days depending on the shipping method you choose. Here’s an overview of average delivery times:

  • USPS Retail Ground: 5-10 business days
  • USPS Priority Mail: 3-4 business days
  • USPS Priority Mail Express: 2-3 business days
  • UPS Ground: 4-6 business days
  • UPS 3 Day Select: 3 business days
  • UPS 2nd Day Air: 2 business days
  • UPS Next Day Air: Next business day

As you can see, USPS and UPS offer a range of service levels based on how fast you need your package to arrive. Priority Mail Express and UPS Next Day Air are the quickest options, getting packages to Hawaii in 2-3 days. Keep in mind that actual transit times can vary depending on origin, destination, and other factors like weather or demand.

From Foreign Countries

International delivery times to Hawaii can range anywhere from 4 days to 4 weeks, depending on the country of origin and shipping method selected. Here are some estimates:

  • Canada: 4-10 business days
  • China: 2-3 weeks
  • Japan: 1-2 weeks
  • UK/Europe: 1-2 weeks

When importing from foreign countries, you’ll need to clear customs which can cause additional delays. Using an express international shipping provider like DHL or FedEx can expedite the process, delivering urgent packages in 4-6 days on average. But be aware these options come at a premium cost.

Pro tip: When estimating transit times for international Hawaii shipping, add at least a week to be safe. Customs and remote destination factors can lead to unpredictable delays.

Restricted Items and Regulations

Agricultural Restrictions

Hawaii has strict agricultural regulations to prevent non-native species from entering the islands and harming the environment. When shipping items to Hawaii, it’s crucial to follow Hawaii’s agricultural shipping requirements.

Many fresh fruits, vegetables, plants, animals, and soil are restricted from entering Hawaii without passing inspection and quarantine. Items such as homegrown produce, house plants, flowering arrangements with soil attached, and wooden items still containing bark have regulations.

  • Fruits and vegetables from your garden likely cannot legally enter Hawaii. Commercial produce grown on the mainland under inspection can be shipped.
  • Soil, compost, potting mixes, and wooden items with bark attached are prohibited to prevent invasive insects and pathogens from entering Hawaii.
  • Cut flowers and leis can enter Hawaii but cannot have soil attached. Any pests on the flowers and leis also must be removed prior to shipping.
  • Pets like dogs, cats, and other animals require specific inter-state health certificates and 30-day quarantine upon arrival in Hawaii.

Before shipping any food and agricultural items to Hawaii, carefully research Hawaii’s Department of Agriculture shipping requirements to avoid penalties, fines, or products being destroyed.

Other Prohibited Goods

In addition to agriculture restrictions, other prohibited and heavily regulated items include:

Firearms and ammunition Strict regulations and registration required before firearms and ammo can enter Hawaii.
Fireworks Consumer fireworks are illegal to ship to Hawaii unless you have a fireworks permit.
Marijuana products It’s illegal to mail marijuana to Hawaii since it remains federally prohibited.

Hawaii also restricts many prescription and over-the-counter medications through the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. Controlled substances require special paperwork and licenses to ship to the state.

Duties and Taxes

Understanding Hawaii’s duties and taxes for shipped goods can get complicated but is important to avoid paying extra fees.

  • Shipments valued over $2,000 may incur custom duties around 1-10% of the item’s value.
  • Certain products like tobacco and liquor have special Hawaii excise taxes added to their standard sales tax.
  • Sales tax in Hawaii is 4% statewide but individual counties can add up to 0.5% in additional taxes.

Use resources like the Hawaii Department of Taxation website to research if items you’re shipping will incur duties, customs taxes, or additional county taxes.

Carefully following all agricultural rules, prohibited items lists, duties, and taxes when shipping to Hawaii is crucial to ensure your package arrives safely and legally while supporting Hawaii’s environment.

Documentation Needed

Customs Forms

When shipping items to Hawaii from the mainland United States, certain customs forms may be required depending on the items being shipped. Some key forms to be aware of include:

  • CF 3461 – Entry/Immediate Delivery form. This is generally required for commercial shipments valued over $2,500.
  • CF 3299 – Customs Form. Required for shipments containing goods valued over $2,000.
  • PS Form 2976-A – customs declaration form required for USPS mail shipments over $400.

Failure to properly complete these forms can delay your shipment’s delivery to Hawaii or potentially lead to fines or penalties. Be sure to check with your chosen shipping carrier to understand exactly which forms are required based on your specific shipment.

Other Paperwork

In addition to customs forms, certain other paperwork may be required depending on the goods you are shipping. For example:

  • Fruit, vegetable, plant, and animal shipments – Require a phytosanitary certificate or health certificate showing the items have been inspected.
  • Alcohol shipments – Require an alcohol shipment permit from the destination state.
  • Firearms – Require a firearm permit and must ship ground to a valid firearms dealer.

Hawaii also has strict regulations on what everyday household goods can be shipped there. Banned items include fireworks, electronics or appliances containing mercury, soil, live insects/snails, and more.

Be sure to check Hawaii’s import/shipping restrictions so you fully understand what can and cannot be shipped.

Streamlining paperwork and understanding regulations upfront makes the Hawaii shipping process smoother. Reputable carriers like Hawaiian Airlines Cargo also have dedicated teams familiar with Hawaii’s unique import requirements to ease the documentation process.

Insurance Considerations

When shipping items to Hawaii, having the right insurance is crucial to protect your delivery in case anything happens during transit. Here are some key insurance considerations to keep in mind:

Cargo Insurance

Cargo or freight insurance covers damage or loss of your shipped goods. This type of insurance can protect you from weather events, accidents, theft, or other unforeseen problems. Some key factors regarding cargo insurance for Hawaii shipments:

  • Purchase insurance equal to 110% of the shipment value, as required for ocean freight shipments to Hawaii
  • Carefully check policy exclusions like wear/tear, inadequate packing, or onboard fires
  • For high value shipments, get tailored coverage with an insurance broker

Parcel Insurance

If shipping smaller packages with delivery carriers like UPS, FedEx, or USPS, consider adding parcel insurance. Some considerations when buying coverage:

  • UPS and FedEx automatically include $100 of coverage
  • Extra insurance can be purchased for 60 cents per $100 of value
  • USPS parcel insurance maxes out at $5,000 per package
  • Document your packaging to prove proper care was taken

Third-Party Insurance

Using a third-party insurer like ShipSurance or UPS Capital can also be an option. Benefits can include:

  • Comprehensive coverage for a wide range of logistics risks
  • Specialized support/claims processing for Hawaii freight issues
  • Potentially lower costs through volume discounts

Following insurance best practices is critical when shipping cargo and parcels to Hawaii. Purchasing the right policy with adequate coverage provides important peace of mind for your delivery.

Packaging and Addressing Tips

Proper Packaging

When shipping items to Hawaii, using proper packaging is crucial to ensure your goods arrive safely. Here are some tips:

  • Use sturdy boxes and packing materials – Opt for heavy-duty cardboard boxes with interlocking bottoms and tape all seams securely. Protect delicate items with bubble wrap or crumpled paper.
  • Waterproof everything – Due to Hawaii’s humid climate, moisture can damage items. Place goods in plastic bags or waterproof packing pouches first.
  • Add extra padding – Hawaii bound packages undergo more handling. Add extra padding inside boxes so items don’t shift and break during transport.
  • Weigh boxes first – Heavyweight boxes over 150 lbs may incur oversize fees. Keep boxes under 70 lbs for best rates.
  • Label properly – Clearly label as “Fragile” or “This Side Up” to caution mail handlers on delicate goods.

Following meticulous packaging guidelines prevents products from incurring damage and needing to be shipped again. One survey showed only 55% of consumers keep and use damaged shipped goods, meaning properly packaging shipments to Hawaii is vital.

Complete Hawaii Address

Providing a complete and correct Hawaii shipping address is crucial for accurate delivery. Key elements include:

  • Full recipient name
  • Street address with apartment/unit number
  • City, island, and HI state abbreviation
  • Full 5 or 9-digit ZIP code
Delivery Speed Transit Time to Hawaii
First-Class Mail 6-10 business days
Priority Mail 3-5 business days
Express Mail 2-3 business days

Hawaii comprises over 170 islands, so specifying both the recipient’s city and island is vital for accurate sorting and routing. For instance, listing Honolulu on Oahu versus Hilo on Hawaii Island will prevent packages from going to the wrong locale. Additionally, provide both older 5-digit and newer 9-digit ZIP codes for best precision.

Leveraging USPS address verification tools like Zip Code Lookup and City State Lookup using the address above can validate accuracy prior to shipping. This prevents delayed or lost packages which account for nearly 10% of Hawaii bound shipments annually.

For further guidance on Hawaii shipping addresses, the USPS Postal Addressing Standards provide specifications. Following exact specifications ensures shipments routing via airplane or barge reach recipients quickly and affordably.


By selecting a major carrier, properly packaging your goods, completing required customs documentation, and understanding Hawaii’s restrictions, you can smoothly transport items from anywhere in the world to the Hawaiian Islands.

Be sure to insure valuable shipments and confirm delivery timelines at the onset. With the right preparation, you’ll be set to ship to paradise!

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