How to Claim Packages Stuck at Spanish Customs in Barajas Airport

The holidays are a chaotic time at post offices in Spain, and for anyone who has lived in Spain long enough, it’s a time when lines are long, prices for shipping are sky-high and the inevitable holiday cheer package gets stuck in customs.

While it’s enough to make you go full-on Grinch at the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, you can usually get your packages back, though you’ll usually have to fork over VAT, or duty, tax. Read on, brave soul:

I followed your advice on your Sending and Receiving Packages post. But my stuff got held up in customs anyway. Now what? 

Well, you aren’t the first. Due to terrorism (and we don’t just mean the homegrown politicians-trying-to-keep-the-budget-on-track-by-charging-study-abroad-kids sort), Barajas Airport’s customs staff have been working overtime to inspect packages due to threats.

If your package gets stuck, you can file a reclamación with Correos in Madrid. You will receive a notificación de aviso through snail mail with a tracking number and instructions for how to reclaim your package, which will be released from customs but you will be responsible for any delivery fees.

You have two weeks to gather and submit documents, or risk your package being returned to sender. In other words, Elvis and your package have left the building.

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Point your browser to ADTPostales, the customs division of Correos. Click on the tab labeled aportación de documentos, where you’ll be asked to write in your international shipping number, plus your personal email. Create an account on the following page by clicking ‘registrarse.’

Enter your email twice, followed by your NIE. Note that passports are not accepted. Then, repeat your tracking number and choose a password of eight characters.

First, you must fill out the Datos de Envío by writing your name, contact number, NIE, address and a brief description of what the package contains. It’s not necessary to write down the value.

How to fill out a dates de envio correos

Then, click on the Documentos tab and upload the following:

  • a copy of your NIE (passports are not accepted)
  • the notificación de aviso filled out and dated
  • proof of purchase or document that claims the items’s value

Should you not have any receipts, download and fill out a declaración jurada de valor, which can be found on the ADTPostales website. Note that a value over 0,20 must be declared, or your proof will not be accepted.

Once your documentation has been received by ADT, you will receive a notification from Correos about the status of your package within 72 hours.

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My documents were accepted. Now what?

Congratulations! The hard part is done. Correos will drop by your house within five days to attempt to deliver your package, but be forewarned that you will likely have to pay a customs tax upon delivery. If you are not home at the time of delivery, you can pick up your package at the Correos office listed on the back of the form within 15 days, so long as you bring proof of identity.

I live in Madrid. Can I pick up the package myself?

Yes. Once you have declared the items and paid their value, you can stop by customs at Barajas airport. Call ahead to see if you have to pay on delivery, or to inquire about the status of your package.

I didn’t meet Correos’s deadline. Will my package be sent back?

In theory, yes. Ask the package’s sender to call the company as a head’s up and be sure to follow the package’s tracking number. Correos does not take responsibility for packages once they’ve left Barajas on a plane out, so it’s best to be in contact with DHL, UPS or your country’s postal service.

While we know how nice it is to get receive a package from home, as long-term expats, we’ve learned to be wary of having our families and friends send us anything in the mail beyond cards! Consider using Amazon for purchases in Europe, fork over the money at Taste of America or Costco, or ask politely for a bank transfer – we promise it will save you headaches!

PLEASE NOTE

COMO Consulting has no more information regarding Spanish customs than what is listed on this page. While we’ve hoped to help you get answers as to why your items are held up in customs, we are NOT a part of Correos España nor are we a courier service. Please call the Correos number listed above for more information regarding your case.
 
Please consider this thread closed. We will no longer respond to comments on this blog post or emails due to the sheer volume that we receive and our inability to release packages from customs itself.

Author: Como Consulting Spain

Cat and Hayley are relocation specialists who can help you move to, live in and work in Spain. We'd love to hear from you! hola@comoconsultingspain.com

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51 Comments

  1. Can someone tell me what to do because one of my friend send me a package but it’s almost 3 months and 13 days from now and i haven’t receive my package. I send all the documents needed and all was accepted. But my problem is, the number 3. Tramites de importacion was in color red also below of it. All was green except the number 3. Anyone can help? 🙁

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    • And when i send them a letter..it says here: We are pleased to inform you that the reference packet has already left our warehouse. Receive a greeting

      And we don’t know where is it now 🙁

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    • Sounds like you have to pay a fee. It would be best to call ADT at 91 660 24 54 and ask to speak to someone in English. Good luck!

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      • I already pay fee when they sent me an email. I’ve waited 11 weeks,i already got my package just this week 🙂

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          • How can i delete the files that been attached to adtpostales website? When i send them the email they said that ” If you want to make an inquiry, please delete the files attached and formulate new query you want” but i don’t know how to do it. Someone send me again a package and this happens

        • HI, Princess

          How do you know how much does it cost for your package? i meant how can you get email back from them
          Thank you i advance

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      • now it changed the proceed to upload 5 documents and i have 4. I dont understand ‘justificante de pago’ it means i have to pay a fee first? the problem is it’s not show fee cost so… what should i upload this doc?
        Thank you i advance. ^_^

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  2. Hello,

    Does anyone have any information about express shipping in Spain? My mom sent me a package from the US and it is stuck in customs in Madrid. The problem is I will only be here for another week, and I’m wondering if there is any way to get the package express shipped. Thanks!

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  3. I am currently going through this ridiculous nightmare of outright banditry and pointless bureaucracy. I left my DSLR cameras in a Dubai hotel and as friend kindly collected them and forwarded them by mail to Spain. I have an NIE and visa and a full team of Spanish English language teachers behind me and it was still a Byzantine affair that took a long phone call to Madrid. One thing you seem to have incorrect. Although you may only need to send three documents, the documentos obligatorios section of the documentos page on the adtpostales.com site won’t let you submit until all five “documentos obligatorios ” are attached. In my experience, is a common problem on Spanish government websites. Compared to my home country of New Zealand where the post is efficient, prompt, ultra reliable and helpful the Spanish postal system is an utter joke.

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    • Tell me about it, spanish government works file papers in the morning, and before leaving, unfile and shuffle them just so they will have something to do the next day. You just have to hope that something works out, otherwise youll be perpetually stuck in this shuffling and sorting.

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  4. Need again some help, just wanna know how many days/weeks/months to get back the package to the sender because I didn’t meet the Correos deadline.

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  5. I go through a nightmare every time I have to deal with Correos. Recently my parents were sending me some of my stuff from US that didn’t fit in my luggage – used clothes, shoes and documents (obviously no electronics, I’ve learned my lesson after I had to pay 150 euros to receive my own iPad for Christmas).

    I received a Delivery notice, gathered all the necessary documentation and met every freaking deadline they’ve been giving me. The documents were accepted and then silence… I’ve been calling ADT several times wondering what’s wrong and they’ve been assuring me that I had to wait for several days more till they send me a “presupuesto”. I’ve been calling them constantly till one day one of their representatives informed me that actually my package is on it’s way to its origin. Just like that, obviously they have no idea why and cannot give me any explanation till i make an official claim.

    I’ve filed a claim and it took me a whole month to get a resolution from them. They’ve sent me an email basically saying that by the time Customs finally received my documentation the package was already in the process of being returned back to the sender. They apologize and hope this mistake won’t happen again…

    In a week my parents got all my stuff back and no one is giving their money back, even through I’ve provided with every possible document they needed and I did meet their deadline from my side.

    If you need to send anything outside of Spain my advise just find a relative or a friend that is traveling to Europe, Spanish postal Service is a total joke.

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    • Thank you but the sender already got the package.

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    • Hi Katya, the exact same thing happened to us. My mother in law send us some stuff from South Africa. We have provided all the documents (even though some of them needed to be submitted twice). Then we heard nothing. I kept calling them, but they always said that someone will call me back ( I wanted to speak to someone in English). Nobody ever did. The next thing I know, the package had been sent back to South Africa! I don’t even know why! We have provided all the documents to them! Anyway, I can tell you I was not happy about that, neither was my mother in law. She even paid a lot of money so we have it by Christmas!! This however never happened! We have learnt our lesson and won’t be sending anything to Spain via post anymore!

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    • lol, we are finding out how fun it is to work with Spains postal service too. We sent our daughter (studing abroad for a semester) a pkg, just some things she missed. We sent it March 1st, it arrived in Spains customs on the 7th. She still hasn’t received it. I called our main USPS in town and they said it will be in customs for 22 days (not sure if that is business days or not) Not sure what to do now

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      • Exactly the same situation even with the same dates. I guess our packages were on the same craft) I’m typing an email to spain post office requesting a return of my package. Let’s see what happens!

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  6. Thank you very much for the excellent information regarding “How to Claim Packages Stuck…”! I bought a wood carving in Thailand that I sent to my father-in-law in Spain (Postal Parcel by boat). Thailand Post said it would take approx. 6 weeks for the parcel to reach my father-in-law. After 8 weeks it still had not reached him. I checked, via Thailand Posts Track & Trace service, and saw that the package had arrived at customs in Spain within three weeks. Thanks to your advise, info and links we could find that the notice sent to my father-in-law had not been sent to the right address (Correos had truncated the address!). Tomorrow we will know whether the parcel is still in Spain or is “gone”.

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  7. Just received the notice that my package is stuck as well. 2 questions! First what if we don’t have an NIE/is there an NIE on my student visa? I don’t understand how they expect us to retrieve our packages if we don’t have a spanish ID number. Secondly, once I submit all this documentation will my package even arrive in a timely matter? I’m only in Spain for another month and a half so i’m even wondering if it is worth getting the package or will they just send it back to the states? I’m glad I found others with a similar issue!

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    • I don’t know how long you have been in Spain, but legally you are meant to register with the police in the first month if you have a long stay visa. You have an NIE on your visa, but if you haven’t registered with the police it won’t be registered with El Correo either. If your NIE is not registered with El Correo, you will have to find someone who is, photocopy their NIE/DNA, get them to hand write and sign a note on the photocopy authorising the use of their ID, scan that, and upload it as an additional document on the adtpostals website.

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  8. After many attempts by several people I have finally been able to get to the page on ADTs website where they ask me to upload the required documents. Problem is that they are asking for 5 whereas their aviso de llegada only asks for three.
    The other two are 1)justificante de pago and 2) documento de uso y destino.
    What are they and where can I find them?

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    • If you don’t have “Justificante de Pago” which is a receipt you can just upload Declaration where you list contents of your package and an approximate price. That would be enough for them.

      “Documento de Uso y Destino” is basically the same thing as Declaration (you provide almost the same information but in different format). I think on the same page where they ask you to provide additional documents they provide you with a draft below.

      Post a Reply
  9. Hello guys, I have heard that is not allowed to import/receive cosmetics products to Spain unless you have a license. Is that true? I want to buy some makeup from US and send it to here (Ceuta) Thank you

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    • I don’t think it’s prohibited if you have a receipt, BUT in one of the emails I’ve received from Correos they say:

      “Le informamos que los productos alcohólicos, tabaco, cosméticos, cremas, corporales, comida en general, etc, están excluidas de la franquicia de Efectos Personales, ya que algunos de estos productos tienen Impuestos Especiales, y otros, están sujetos a Inspección de Sanidad, Farmacia, etc.”

      So yes it’s risky to send makeup but why don’t you declare it as toiletries or smth like that? You’ll avoid unnecessary stress when the time comes to receive it.

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      • I tried to import cosmetics, paid the taxes etc, uploaded all the documents as required, and my package was shipped back. They didn’t inform me either that they were doing it, and when I called they said something like they forgot to update the next steps. I wouldn’t take the risk, depending on the brand more and more US products are available in Europe and can be ordered online. Now to get refunded the €€ I paid in taxes… 😐 I ordered in early February and it’s still going on!

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        • My parcel is in Customs clearance now for the 2nd day. I hope it will go through!! It contains lipsticks and some face creams and cosmetic brushes.. talking about brands, any idea which are OK to import from US without complications?

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          • Maybe it would be best not to declare it as cosmetics next time so it will not bring their attention? They don’t check the contents in customs anyway and it will save you time.

  10. Hi Ive been on correos website can’t find the link and correos say they have no parcel UK say it’s definitely in Spain I’m being given the run around can someone help me please

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      • The customs link … I posted my parcel 9th June in UK as of today still no sign of it in Spain royal mail assure me it is in Spain

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  11. I shipped a new Iphone to my girlfriend living in Barcelona. It’s being held at customs for now 8 days. Do I wait for it to clear or do I start making steps to contact customs in Madrid? What do I do? Is it best if she takes the train to Madrid and goes to the customs office in person to retrieve?
    Any help is appriciated.

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    • Did you ever figure this out? I’m currently dealing with the same situation except I’m on the receiving side of things, so I’m interested in how it all turned out.

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  12. Hi , it is been 3montys but til now my parcel has not yet reach in my house. I sent them all the documents needed and paid them already. But everyyime, I check their website no progress yet it is still X on no.3. What will i do ? I thought if I paid them tbey will send my parcel right away but I was wrong it really gives me nuts.

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    • Did you try calling ADT and ask them to confirm if they’ve received your documents? They can check the status in their system and maybe give you some more information on your case.

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  13. I am getting really confused here, i have ordered a phone and it took over a month for them to contact me and inviting me to submit all the information via their website.
    I did all they asked for, however their website is really not intuitive. For example i managed to submit my NIE/DNI and my Bill as a proof of the product (Factura).
    However they are now asking me to submit a document with signature on it.
    (- Documento de tramitación con correos debidamente cumplimentado y firmado.)
    which i don’t know how to upload…-_-

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    • What document exactly do they want you to submit? You can do it at the same page where you submitted the previous documentation. Concerning the signature, in my case I just took a photo of my signature and pasted it to every document I submitted to be safe.

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      • I figured it out, the thing is, that once you press the (submit) button, you cant modify or attack new documents until they check and it and ask for them themselves. The thing is that they are too slow, they said that the documents will be checked and the process can continue in the time period of 3 days max, but it took them over a week.

        Now i have payed the IVA 21% tax through the bank, Correos confirmed my payment, but still say nothing about when my product will arrive to me.

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  14. Hi I need to file a complaint but I don’t have a NIE what can I do ? thanks

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  15. Thanks for such a nice and useful post. Just submitted all the docs and will let you know how it goes.My mom stated a value of $50, so I will probably have to pay tax. We’ll see what happens….

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  16. It has been more than 2 months and I still haven’t got my parcel and today we called again and they said it is missing and they can’t find it. They said it hasn’t returned to seller and I should just login adtpostales from time to time to check if their will be an update. I don’t know what to do anymore. It is just stressing me.

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    • same exact thing with me.let us know if the problem solve it will help to others too in future that what gonna happen with their pakages when they stuck in customs and how retrieve them

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  17. I need help Please.
    So i send a package to my brother in Ghana from Spain. I have been tracking the package for 15 days and it showed it had been accepted by correos. which meant it hadn’t arrived in Ghana. so I called customer care only for them to tell me the product is stuck at customs office at Madrid airport because there is a dangerous merchandise. now i have been trying to reach the customs office via their mobile number, but since the initial automatic response directory is in Spanish I am unable to reach them. The worst of all is that I sent the package a few days before my studies ended in Spain and I am nw in Switzerland. I need help on how to get to the customs. Thank You

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  18. how can request to Madrid custom “that please send our thing back if they can’t give it to receiver” i send $649 worth of iphone 7 to my cousin in Barcelona but it held in custom since 8 weeks now.my cousin did finish all the requirements they needed. Now he calling them to ask for pakage and they say this pakage is not even exist and im tracking it its still in Madrid custom. So how say to them please do some mercy

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  19. Hi!

    I got a USPS tracking notification a couple of days ago that my package is held in customs, but have yet to receive a notification through mail telling me what to do. Does anyone know how long it typically takes to receive the notification or if there’s anything I can do?

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    • Hi! It’s either going to be delivered to you without any action required on your part, or you’ll get a letter with instructions. What’s the value? My mom stated $50 when she sent some of my stuff here so I had to pay €27 tax. If it’s lower than a certain amount, I forgot what it is, they will not charge you anything. I think a lot of people panic because they don’t know what to do and can’t read the Spanish text in the letter. I didn’t everything asked and got my package with no problem.

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    • Ellen they send the notification by mail, so it will be a couple of days not counting the weekend. Good luck!

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  20. My parcel has been stuck for a week now. Sent from the UK! Wgy would they hold a parcel sent from the eu? Content Intel CPU.

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  21. I sent a package of goodies to my son and his girlfriend who are in Spain while she is in a Teaching program… It arrived and has been “Held in Customs” in Madrid since April 7th. Its now the end of the 14th, Is this normal? Or is this a bad thing? I listed Gift and Candies and cereal on the description and value at $20 american dollars. Just curious. Any positive feedback would be wonderful. 🙂

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  22. Hi, my package has been in customs for over for months. Needless to say I am beyond frustrated with the entire situation. My friend followed all of the steps above and we finally received notice that within 10 business days she would receive the package. It is no past the 10 days and still nothing. Does anyone have an recommendations or suggestions as to what we should do at this point? Anything would be appreciated.

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