Shipping Instructions


Please make sure that the samples you ship to us EXACTLY MATCH the information entered in your order submission form. Discrepancies may delay or prevent sample processing.

Each order will be assigned a unique 6-character order code after it has been submitted and confirmed through your Plasmidsaurus Dashboard.

  • Write the first 2 characters of your order code on the 1st tube of each strip.
  • Write the sample number on each tube of the strip.
  • If shipping in 96-well plate format rather than strip tubes, label the front edge of the plate with the full 6-character order code.
label demonstration

Make sure to AVOID THESE COMMON MISTAKES to prevent any processing delays:

  • DO NOT ship your samples in individual 200 µl PCR tubes, unless your order contains only 1 sample.
  • Do not ship your samples in 1.5 mL tubes, 0.5 mL tubes, 384-well plate format, or opaque tubes where the liquid is not visible. These are not compatible with our rapid workflow.
  • Do not label your tubes with sample names or any other info besides the order code and sample numbers as instructed.
  • Do not ship any extra samples that are not included in your submitted order form. If you need to change the number of samples, please cancel your existing order and submit a new order before shipping.
  • Do not include any tubes that contain only water (no sample). These look the same to us as extra samples, and will delay processing your order.
  • Do not ship samples from multiple orders within the same tube strip. Each order needs its own strip tube labeled with its own order code.
  • Do not leave empty tubes in the middle of a strip or plate. Please fill strip tubes with samples in a contiguous manner.

If sending strip tubes or single PCR tubes:

  • Ensure caps fit snugly and close them firmly. Do not use brands of strip tubes where the caps can easily pop open during shipping
  • Wrap caps in one light layer of parafilm to keep the caps closed during shipping.
  • Place the labeled, wrapped tubes into a small protective vessel (such as a Falcon tube, a small box, or bubble wrap) to protect them during shipping. Why?

If sending 96-well plates:

  • Plates must be sealed extremely thoroughly to survive shipping without leaking -- sadly we receive a lot of leaky plates.
  • We recommend using a heat seal (rather than adhesive) or snugly-fitting strip caps on top of the plate. Adhesive seal is NOT recommended as the chance of leakage is very high, but if that's all you have available, click here for some examples of sealing technique.
  • Wrap each plate individually in bubble wrap or other packaging material to prevent cracking and seal punctures. DO NOT stack multiple plates directly on top of each other, as the wells of one plate will likely puncture the seal of the next plate.

  • Once labeled and sealed, place your samples into a small bag with a printed copy of your order confirmation sheet (folded so that the QR code is visible).

For fastest results and easiest shipping, please place your samples in a Plasmidsaurus Dropbox!

If you opt to ship your samples to us directly, please ship them a sturdy cardboard envelope, padded envelope, or cardboard box via any Express or First-Class shipping carrier such as FedEx, UPS, DHL, or USPS. The shipping address to the lab location for your specific sample type will be provided on your order confirmation sheet.

DO NOT ship your samples in a regular paper envelope meant for letters, as the postal service sorting machines will destroy your samples when it goes through the rollers. We cannot put an envelope full of crushed plastic pieces onto our sequencing instruments.

Multiple orders can be shipped in the same package, as long as each order is separately labeled and placed into a separate bag with its corresponding order confirmation sheet.

Room temperature shipping is fine. Dry ice and cold packs are not necessary.

If you are shipping your samples to us directly (not using a Plasmidsaurus Dropbox) from outside the US to one of our US locations, you will need the following 3 documents:
Commercial Shipping Invoice (Download Template)
For best results, make sure to include the shipper's identity, shipper's address, and the quantity of items within the shipment.
Detailed Description (Download Template)
Example description: "The enclosed material is plasmid DNA which does not contain a vector that is pathogenic to plant, avian, or livestock species, and does not contain any other materials above Biosafety Level 1 (BSL1). The material is not derived from animal cultures and contains no animal products. The plasmids are diluted in water or Tris buffer. Plasmids are produced by microbial fermentation of laboratory strains of E. coli and yeast and isolated using a plasmid purification kit. The end use of the material is DNA sequencing. This material does not contain any infectious biological agent. Samples are isolated from non-infectious laboratory strains, and chemically treated during the purification process with a lysis buffer that destroys living cells. As per USDA Guidelines 1110, 1114, and 1116. Harmonized Tariff Number: 2934999000."
Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Certificate (Download Template)
We recommend writing something like "DNA for research purposes only" in the Product Description section.

If you are shipping your samples to us directly (not using a Plasmidsaurus Dropbox) from outside the UK to our UK location, you will need the following 2 forms:
Commercial Shipping Invoice (Download Template)
For best results, make sure to include the shipper's identity, shipper's address, and the quantity of items within the shipment.
Detailed Description UK (Customs description UK download)
Example description: "The enclosed material is plasmid DNA which does not contain a vector that is pathogenic to plant, avian, or livestock species, and does not contain any other materials above Containment Level 1. The material is not derived from animal cultures and contains no animal products. The plasmids are diluted in water or Tris buffer. Plasmids are produced by microbial fermentation of laboratory strains of E. coli and yeast and isolated using a plasmid purification kit. The end use of the material is DNA sequencing. This material does not contain any infectious biological agent. Samples are isolated from non-infectious laboratory strains, and chemically treated during the purification process with a lysis buffer that destroys living cells.

Further Guidance for International Shipping:

  • Make sure all forms are fully completed. Incomplete and/or missing forms will likely cause delays and other issues.
  • Keep an eye out for any communication or information requests from your shipping company of choice in case of issues. It is your responsibility to provide any information they request, and we advise following their guidance as their systems will have the most up-to-date customs information.
  • Samples must be packaged and shipped in accordance with U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and/or International Air Transport Association (IATA)/ International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and carrier regulations.
  • The information below constitutes only a recommendation for shipping samples classified as "non-regulated materials" to our facility. Due to continuing changes in state and federal regulations, clients should always check with their safety office and/or shipping department to ensure regulatory compliance.
  • Your international courier will require you to complete a commercial invoice to be included with the shipment.
  • The commercial invoice should describe the contents as “non-hazardous, non-contagious research sample.” Please list your institution as the "Manufacturer" of the samples if Manufacturers Identification (MID) code is required.
  • State that the “contents are Not Restricted under IATA DGR regulations.”
  • We recommend that you include a Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) Certification. If you do not include this, the package may be delayed at customs until the courier receives the proper certification.
  • Declare the value of the goods to be $1.
  • We only accept pure DNA samples that are intended for Research Use Only! We DO NOT accept any samples for clinical diagnostics or trials. Any samples that do not conform to our submission guidelines will be discarded and/or submitted to the United States Postal Inspection Service.

Plasmidsaurus Dropboxes


For fastest results and easiest shipping, simply place your order in one of our over 500 Dropboxes around the world and enjoy free overnight shipping! No shipping envelope or special shipping documents required, just place your samples with order confirmation sheet in a bag and drop it off at a dropbox. Create an account/log in to view our Dropbox Map.

Our dropboxes reduce our impact on the environment by combining samples from many researchers into a single shipment.

If there is not a Dropbox at your institution already, contact support@plasmidsaurus.com and we will get one set up!