Regardless of why you're shipping your printer, the process can be stressful enough -- especially if you're moving your business elsewhere -- without having to deal with some legal or ink-spill disaster because you didn't remove your ink cartridges. How you should proceed depends mostly on the location you're shipping from as well as your method of shipping.

Domestic Shipments

There is no law in the U.S. stating that you can't ship your printer with your ink cartridges installed, as of July 2013. Furthermore, none or the major shipping carriers, such as the Postal Service, UPS or FedEx, appear to have any prohibition against shipping printers in this way. However, laws can change unexpectedly and rather quickly -- especially in terms of national security -- so it's up to you to know the current laws and regulations when the time comes to ship.

Air Shipments

If you travel internationally for business, however, national security matters will have a bearing on how you ship a printer to the U.S. Since November 2010, the Department of Homeland Security has outlawed any ink or toner cartridges over 16 ounces from entering the U.S. on any inbound flights, whether carried on or checked. This policy remains in place as of July 2013.

Prevent Leaking

Laws and regulations aside, some professional movers recommend that you do remove ink and toner cartridges whenever packing and moving your printer to another location. Logically, then, this would apply -- perhaps even more so -- when shipping your printer via a shipping carrier, considering how there's no guarantee as to how your package will be handled. The big concern is that the cartridges will be positioned upside down or at such a tilt that the ink will leak out. This could occur with either ink-jet or laser printers.

Packing Considerations

If your plan is to "ship" your printer by means of a moving truck that you will load, drive and monitor yourself, then you could probably get away with packing and moving your printer with the cartridges installed. Printer manufacturer Epson notes that this is possible as long as you keep the printer horizontal throughout the duration of the move. If you do decide to remove the cartridges, try to put them in their original packaging for transport, and keep the cartridges horizontal and secure.