Sending and Receiving Packages in Spain

When it comes to living abroad, missing your favorite products from home is only a matter of time.  Moreover, when the holidays approach or an important birthday peaks your friends and family will likely want to mark the occasion with a gift in the mail. But before you decide to send or receive a package in Spain, be forewarned: sometimes the thought really should be what counts.

The easy answer is to tell loved ones to send you some money or buy from Europe-based Amazon.es, but read on if you’re still keen on receiving packages or sending them to someone in Spain:

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Know Before You Go… to the Post Office

All packages entering the EU from non-EU member states are first filtered through Spanish customs, or aduana, to assess a duty, VAT (Value Added Tax) and import costs. The total of these fees is then fixed to your package and must be paid upon arrival, usually in cash.

How do customs calculate what to charge? Before mailing any package your handler will ask you to fill out a form naming the contents of your package and estimating their value for insurance and customs purposes. As of 2014, expect to pay 21% VAT, up to 17% duty and a flat fee for the processing of each package.

I (Hayley) spent Christmas in Spain this year so my parents decided to mail me a few things. Here’s a breakdown of each package’s contents, shipping costs and the fees paid in euros on arrival.

Contents

Total Estimated Value

Shipping Cost

Customs Fee on Arrival

boots purchased on US eBay

$70

$50

28€

various American food items

< $100

$56

0€

Makeup, clothes, and food items

$265

$173.50

101€

Conclusion – I could have saved my parents and myself money had I taken the following advice.

A Few Alternatives to Consider:

There are several questions you should ask yourself before deciding to ship from North America to Spain. First, could you find these items online using a European website? Try Spanish, French or UK Amazon and eBay to search for products before resorting to US or Canadian based sites. Second, if a friend or family member is making a trip to Spain in the near future, ask them to make room in their suitcase for your things. Or, simply say no to people offering to ship you packages to Spain.

I’m Still Shipping to Spain, How Can I Keep Costs Down?

If you are still set on shipping a package to Spain, take the following into consideration: packages that are specifically marked as gifts and whose value does not exceed 45€ are exempt from customs fees. While we do not advise that you lie on a form that will be assessed by a government office, there are a few ways to avoid excessive fees.

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Step 1: Fit it all in one box. International shipping fees have a base rate per box and increase with weight. Surprisingly, mailing several smaller boxes will always cost more then one, heavier box.

Step 2: If the products you are mailing are new, remove all price tags and plastic packaging. Customs reserves the right to open all packages entering Spain and if merchandise that could be sold in Spain is found they can and will levy fees. Avoid that possibility by throwing in a card or hand-written note, some decorative tissue paper or stickers decorating the box. If it’s clear that your package is personal and not commercial they are less likely to investigate.

Step 3: When filling out the customs form always stipulate that the contents are a gift. Also, lowball the value of your package, but within reason. Most carriers require senders to quote a minimum value based on the size and weight of the package. Finally, remember that packages with an estimated value under 45€ (around $60) will not incur customs fees.

Step 4: Keep your item descriptions somewhat vague and always, always, stipulate that it is an unsolicited gift. Use words like toiletries instead makeup or medications and food rather than a can of Arriba hot sauce.

One final word of advice – having family or friends purchase and then ship expensive electronics to Spain is never advisable. Aside from the risk you run for said items being taxed, they could also be damaged during transit.

Instead, order from European-based countries like Amazon UK to skip the charges. If your package does get held up in customs, please see our follow-up article: How to Claim a Package from Customs.

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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226 Comments

  1. Great advice, Hayley. Thanks for putting this together. I found it very helpful.

    My family and I plan to move to Granada this summer for at least one year. We’re trying to determine the best way to bring our ‘winter’ gear as I understand it can get kind of chilly there in Dec/Jan. We’re debating whether or not it needs to come with us right away (if we’ll even have the space) or if we should have someone ship it to us closer to the season. Decisions, decisions. This post makes it clear we’ll definitely label it as a gift and ensure there is no new clothing included.
    Buck recently posted…Spain Preparation – The CommitmentMy Profile

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    • Hi Buck,
      We’re glad you found the article informative. Actually, we’re planning on writing further on the topic in the future with information about moving to Spain or back home from Spain and the best way to get larger and heavier quantities from one country to the next. If you’re thinking of bringing snowboards or skis, my advice would be to pay extra on your flight over or have someone who plans to visit you before the slopes open in Sierra Nevada bring it with them. It will always be cheaper to pay an extra baggage fee on an international flight than shipping!
      Como Consulting Spain recently posted…Sending and Receiving Packages in SpainMy Profile

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    • Go to Decathlon! They have a great selection of winter gear for great prices.

      Post a Reply
    • why not just buy new on arrival? higher quality for lower price.

      i lived in Sevilla for 6 months. wore my winter coat, hat & gloves to bed every night in the winter.

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      • (it was very cold & i was on a pretty tight budget) I dont do that in the US.

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    • hi there so i have recently moved to granada spain
      a friend sent me some haircolor from los angeles as a gift
      my package is now at customs in madrid,not only do they want me to pay import fees
      they say without a dne residence number i cant receive it???!!!!
      can visitors not allow packages(medication,personal forgotton items etc..)
      i would greatly apreciate some help on this matter as it will be sent back to the US on the 12th …..and my hair looks terrible:)

      Post a Reply
      • Hi Natalie,

        Sorry about the trouble with your package. The form you received is probably a general one, if you provide your passport number and photocopy of the first page you should be fine. Hopefully it will clear customs and get to you soon.

        Post a Reply
        • Where would you provide the passport number to?? The post office is SO unhelpful. I have a package from NZ caught up in customs and I cant get it because I also don’t have a DNI number as I am travelling.

          Post a Reply
          • Hi Alice, travelers have this problem, as they are unable to provide a Spanish-issued ID number. Passports, unfortunately, do not count. Do you have a Spaniard who could help you and provide his/her DNI number?

    • Hello, I’m studying aboard, and my phone got lost, so i had to ship my phone, and my mom decided to ship me my new phone and my canon camera, we used express USPS mail, and its being held in customs, I’m worried its gonna be taxed if there are gifts.

      Post a Reply
    • I am really dissapointed in how I have been treated with the service from Correos as I tried contacting you lot on facebook and got no help at all, just one worded replies, no consistency at all in the service, I expected a parcel as usual last week and its been in transit for over 7 days, I cant even track it on Royal Mail, how can you help, if you do at all that is?

      Post a Reply
      • Toq,
        We do not work for Spanish correos nor are we experts in shipping. The article clearly states that we no longer reply to comments left on this thread but encourage other readers to share their stories and experiences. We’re sorry you feel frustrated.

        Post a Reply
  2. Here’s what I’m wondering.. I ordered a pair of boots from a US/Guatemalan company and they’ll be shipped to me shortly. This post says “if merchandise that could be sold in Spain is found they can and will levy fees” but my boots are handmade in Guatemala by Guatemalan artisans that use hand-woven traditional Guatemalan textiles.. aka not something that could be made in Spain. Do you think there’s a way to prove this and get out of the fees?

    Post a Reply
    • PS forgot to mention that this post is super informative and helpful. If I do have to pay the taxes, at least now I know how much to expect. Thank you!!

      Post a Reply
      • Hi Ashley. Thanks for reading and great question. The catch here is that you’ve ordered an item from outside the EU that you could then turn around and sell for your own profit, which is why Spain takes their part in taxes. Buying something that could not be fabricated in Spain isn’t the issue. I’m afraid to say you’ll have to pay the taxes if you want to wear your new boots. But hey, new boots!

        Post a Reply
        • Ah, got it, “could be sold,” like I could sell them here, not buy them here. Thank you! And yes, I’ll suck it up and pay: new boots!

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  3. Thanks for the info…It’s good to know these things. How about shipping back to the US? What carrier is advisable? Is it just as expensive?

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Rachel. We’re glad you found the article helpful. Shipping items, especially larger ones, back to the US can be quite expensive. We will be writing an article about this in the future but in the meantime check out carriers like http://www.pharosparcel.com/ or http://www.packlink.es. Remember too that if you’re flying it’s usually cheaper to pay for an extra bag than ship. For international moves look into renting a container on a cargo ship. It takes up to two months but it’s much cheaper. Hope that helps! If you have a more specific question feel free to email.

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  4. can anyone please help? thnx: i sent a parcel to my son in Spain via USPS just regular mail… his used summer clothes, shoes & etc. no food…US post office requested me to fill out custom declaration in detail.. qnty of tshirts, value… etc. they told me it could not be shipped intl without that paper. ok, i did it.. the parcel was shipped on 04/25/14.. it is in madrid customs from 04/29/2014….. and it shows Custom clearance on 04/29/2014 and in transit … and thats it.. the final destination is Alicante… my son goes to post office there almost every day.. they r saying it is in madrid.. now my question: will they charge for used clothes?? i ve read so many info on the web.. i just want to know what to expect… and how we will know if Customs want $$$$ i really dont understand… thank you so much

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Stella,
      Thanks for reading and we understand your confusion and frustration. Things move slowly in Spain and package tracking, once it’s in their hands, is probably unreliable. The customs fees your son will have to pay will depend on how much money you quoted the package being worth in the US. If you stated it was a gift of used clothes with very little value he might not have to pay anything at all! Also, remember there was a long holiday weekend at the beginning of May in Spain and even today is another holiday in Madrid. Hold tight, the package is surely on its way!

      Post a Reply
      • thank you so much for your response… custom clearance office in madrid was contacted. and they said the form was mailed for my son to fill out,,, well no forms rcvd,,,, they said if the forms not rcvd by june 8th, and the fees paid… the parcel goes back to US… well in all this situation this is the best choice i think. my son leaves spain in a couple of days. so, hopefully hopefully maybe the parcel will come back to Los Angeles. if they dont decide to open it and…. never thought in 21sr century it is so hard to send parcels to EU… anyway thanx for your response.. and yes custom declarion here was filled out honestly.. used clothes have value,, and the value was high.. lets see when it arrives here…thank you for your aassistance, you are great!

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  5. My son’s cell phone was stolen on day #2 in Barcelona, and he’s in Spain for 5 weeks. He did not take a separate camera, but has one at home that I could send him. It’s not a gift–it’s his, and a used item. How is something like that handled? Or would he be better off buying disposable digital cameras there?

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Jody,
      We’re so sorry to hear that your son’s phone was stolen. However, we would not advise sending any electronics by mail from the US. Firstly, because it’ll take a few weeks to arrive and secondly, no matter what you put on the customs forms they will almost definitely charge him tax on arrival. His best bet would be to buy a cheap digital or disposable camera while in Spain. Try stores like Fnac or Media Market for the cheapest deals on electronics and good luck!

      Post a Reply
      • Thank you for the quick response, and so I will NOT be shipping a camera from home to him! I did discover that I’m able to log into Amazon Spain with my account info and so I think I can order him a camera that way. They have better prices than what I saw on Fnac, and appear to accept my Prime membership too. Does anyone have any experience going that route?

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  6. Hola! Just wanted to know if the parcel were not deliver after the form was emailed, what process should the receiver do to get that package? What will happen to the package? Will it be return to it’s sender? How many days/months before it will send back to the sender? This page is very informative.. Thank You so much!!

    Post a Reply
    • Hi There. We couldn’t tell you exactly how long a package that was never received is returned to the sender, but it will eventually be returned if no one claims it. Sometimes larger packages are kept at the post office and notices are sent to the address explaining that the package should be picked up within a certain time frame or it will be returned to the sender. You might suggest that the person visit their local post office in Spain and ask, the notice might have got lost in the mail.

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      • I sent package to spain in april 2014… was never delivered bcz of declaration amount i guess. never rcvd any pprs in spain for collecting the parcel after paying taxes or whatever. the package never left the customs warehouse at Madrid airport.. after contacting local postal office in los angeles, they told me they had sent emails to spain ( though i doubt it ) .. the package returned to USA , Los Angeles, after 2 months , rcvd end of june… now started a claim with us post office for returning my $220 i paid for shipping. they returned bcz i marked “send to sender if the reciever doesnt get a package”… i ll never send anything with declaration form, or you should write less than $100… i hope this will help others. thnx:)) and good luck

        Post a Reply
        • Thanks for sharing your experience, Stella. We always warn people to write down low amounts (even 100 is high!) because you’ll then no be subject to the high taxes it takes to free your package from customs. Hope you get your things back!

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  7. I sent my daughter a package on July 6, 2014…from VA to Spain….it has been in customs in Madrid airport since July 10th. She was notified at some point to fill out a form that had the contents of the package (even though there was a customs form attached to the outside that I had filled out in the US). My daughter is in a small town about an hour from Madrid. It is now August 13th and she was told that it would cost 41 euros to get it out of customs. Everything inside was gifts for the family that she is staying with and one bottle of hair moisturizer for her hair. I’m not sure what is going to happen to this package or how long she has to get it out. I will keep you posted (no pun intended)

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  8. I want to send a cell phone to spain to a family member. I want to know how much will it cost me to send it from NYC to spain.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Susy, we wouldn’t recommend sending a phone through regular mail – it will likely get caught up in customs once in Spain, and your family member will have to pay to pick it up.

      Post a Reply
  9. This is fantastic information. When I was living in Spain. My mother sent my Old Navy coat to me. The winter coat was on sale and purchased for $20.00. I received a mail slip sharing the date and a location to pick up my parcel. I arrived at the airport only to be redirected to a bus outside. This bus was suppose to take me to the external customs office. However, the driver of the bus was new to the route and shared he wasn’t sure where to go. I was relieved when a passenger familiar with the route provided directions. When I arrived at the location, I saw an officer at the gate and approached him. He said nothing and pointed to the building across the street. I entered and went to a number of different offices to obtain a parcel pickup consent form. When I received the stamped carbon copy I was told to pick up my parcel at the address provided. Then I went to same silent officer who verified the consent form and told me to quickly pick up my parcel because the office would be closing shortly. (Oh Siesta) I run up the hill and smile because I had made it with 10 minutes to spare. I submit the consent form and the associate walks back and brings out the parcel. (yay) Then he says that the package will cost 45 Euros. What?!!!! I tell him that the coat did not cost $45, there was no way I would pay 45 Euros. We go back and forth until he agrees to lessen the charge. I hand him my card and he apologizes. At the time you could not pay by credit/debit card. He suggest I hurry to the ATM machine, which is located where? Yup, located down the hill. Ahhh! So now I’m running and guess what it starts to do….rain. So I’m cold. It’s raining and now I have to pay 25 Euros for my $20 Old Navy coat. I get to the ATM and realize I don’t remember my pin. I go to the door of the bank and the teller locks the door. Shrugging while looking at the clock. “You have got to be kidding me.” I was about three seconds from crying. I go to the ATM machine and put in a series of numbers and it works but it is only offering me 10 euros. I go back to the bank door and try to explain to the teller and his colleagues who are smiling and preparing for their four lunch break. I take the 10 Euros and run as fast as I could up the massive hill. I was told again that I had to pay 45 Euros. What!!!! The coat cost $20.00 I was so upset and couldn’t even think about speaking Spanish, so I shared my frustrations in English. The entire office watched in silence. The associate went to the back and brought my parcel and handed his colleague money. I wiped my tears and thank him graciously offering him the 10 Euros, he declined. I tell him I am thankful and explain the significance of the day in my country. I open the box in front of them. I put on my coat and carry my Snicker bar and Twizzlers in my bag. I smile and wish to myself “Happy Thanksgiving”

    From that day on, Amazon & Ebay became my dear friends!!!

    Post a Reply
      • My daughter has been living in Spain for more than 16 years. In the past couple of years we have had customs nightmares for sending her Christmas or birthday gifts. I am disabled, have very little money but like to create nice care packages. Package 1: My mother gave me a large skein of polyester yarn that had been donated to her church. I knit a simple little shrug for my daughter. Cost of the yarn normally would be about 4 USD. I went to a dollar store and purchased 4 sandwich wraps (like for picnics) for 50 cents a piece. I bought 2 bags of marshmallows and 2 bags of chocolate chips. Total amount I spent on the entire contents was less than $25. Customs seized the package, declared the shrug would be worth $140 Euros and required VAT and an “administrative fee” that was about 60 Euros.

        The description this young woman gives about the run around with Customs in Madrid is exactly the same experience my daughter and son in law report.

        Another time I purchased an electronic gadget as a Christmas gift for my son-in-law for 45 USD and had it shipped directly. No problems with customs.

        Another time I purchased a glass Tzchotke in a gift box from a local gift shop for $24. I enclosed it with other items (small items from the dollar store). Customs seized it and required I send an affidavit of purchase price (of course I had the receipt) or they were going to assess a $400 Eu VAT for the gift.

        ALL of these packages were marked as gifts. A decade or so ago I used to be able to send many things for birthday/christmas gifts without problems. Now, I think twice, three times even four times before sending anything. Many times it’s just better to send money or credit with Amazon. It seems to me that Spain has started to become very stringent on the value of gifts that can be sent without VAT assessment (it is now 45 E or less, a significant reduction). It seems Spain sees these VAT assessments as a cash cow.

        Post a Reply
        • You’re exactly right – it’s a revenue issue, so we always suggest ordering from Amazon Spain or having someone bring over gifts!

          Post a Reply
  10. Can you help. I had a ukulele being sent from America to Spain. All I have is the tracking number. It has left Spain and arrived at customs clearance on the 2nd august. Since then it hasn’t moved. I have looked on usps tracking and also the Spanish postal service, they both say the same. It’s now the 9th of august. Do you think I should wait longer?. If I have to pay taxes that’s fine, but I have no idea who I should be talking to to do this. Please, any advice would be great. Starting to get rather worried I’ll never see it.

    Post a Reply
    • Sorry it has left America and is now in Spain as of the 2nd august.

      Post a Reply
      • Hi Lisa,
        These things definitely take time, especially on arrival in Spain, where the tracking and locating becomes difficult as the package switches hands from the US carrier to a Spanish carrier (if shipped through USPS). We’d suggest waiting another week then calling up the postal service you used and asking as to its whereabouts. Best of luck!

        Post a Reply
  11. I mailed a package to my son, 2 shoes, some socks, 2 packs of cigs (as I thought it would be a nice little gift/memory for him and his friends in Spain), and some chips/skittles. The total value was listed at $149.00 USD. I mailed the package and my son received notification in Spain that he needed to submit the delcaration to the website (Madrid Customs) and then the package would be released. He complied with this instruction. He informed me that I would get an e-mail informing me that the package was released and being delivered. I received an e-mail that stated I needed to furnish Customs with a DNI or NIE to discharge from a tax agency. Furthermore, if I could not provide this documentation within 72 hours, then I could send a photo of my son or his acquaintance (I believe they are asking for his passport picture). Is this typical? If I do not furnish this information – will they just send the box back to me?

    Post a Reply
    • Hi There. For starters, packages shipped to larger cities are always more complicated to retrieve than those sent to smaller places. Second of all, you’ve included items like cigarettes that are definitely taxable (and at a rather high rate I’m afraid as they’re considered luxury items). It is normal to ask for a DNI / NIE / or passport number to identify a person so that they can claim their package. I’ve never heard of having to provide a picture, but if the letter came from an official body then yes, I would say that it is normal/part of their procedure. You might also warn your son to bring 50 to 100€ in cash with him, because I would guess he’ll have to pay a pretty hefty fee to pick up his package. Good luck!

      Post a Reply
  12. I stumbled onto your website and glad I did! I have not sent any packages yet. My daughter is studying abroad and needs her prescription. I was looking to send via Federal Express. While I am sure costly, I need to make sure it gets there fast and into her hands. I saw that there is a location in Madrid. Is that a better way to go than USPS?

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Mary.
      Thanks for reading. Our suggestion would be to get the International Non-proprietary Name or INN of the prescription your daughter needs filled. With that, she might be able to simply go to a pharmacy in Spain and ask for it. Just in case, if you could send her a scan or picture of her Rx so that she can show that she was prescribed the medicine by a doctor. Medication in Spain tends to be much cheaper. If you’d prefer to ship it, you can go UPS or USPS or MRW. They are all reliable. Unfortunately though, Madrid is such a big city that packages tend to take significantly longer and usually must be redeemed at a central post office rather than delivered to a doorstep.

      Post a Reply
  13. Thank you very much for this great information!!! I do have a question, I send a package to Spain, and when tracking the package this is what it says: “Power of attorney documentation is missing and is required for clearance. We’re working to obtain this information. Your package is at the clearing agency awaiting final release”. What is this means???? What do I need to have a power of attorney doc??? Can someone please tell me 🙁

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Jessica. Thanks for your question. I’m afraid we don’t fully understand the situation. Who is asking for proof of power of attorney and in what language? Usually this type of document can be rather unofficial, for example a hand-written note which identifies the full name and ID number (passport of Spanish NIE/DNI) of the person who will pick up the package, signed by the sender or receiver. However, without more information we’re not sure how to help. Send us an email to hola@comoconsultingspain.com with more details or a picture of the request and we’ll see if we can help you sort it out.

      Post a Reply
  14. Thank you for the information, it seems that the package has already cleared from where was held up and has finally arrived in Barcelona, Spain. Not sure what that was all about, but it got me concerned because it was bouncing back and forth between US and Europe (including Spain-Germany-Spain). I was tracking my package through UPS and the write up was in English.

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  15. Hey, thank you so much for this post. Is it any item valued at under 45 euros that gets through with no charge, or only gift items under 45? Thanks!

    Post a Reply
    • I’m not sure there’s a hard and fast rule. If your aim is to not be charged on arrival then avoid quoting more than 50 odd euros and make absolutely sure it is marked as a gift.

      Post a Reply
  16. Hello:
    Just wondering if I send package via ups or Fedex will it still get caught up in the postal system in Spain? My daughter is in Seville. I mailed her a card and it was returned undeliverable three weeks later. Is there a specific format to the address?
    mary recently posted…Understanding the New FATCA Laws for AmericansMy Profile

    Post a Reply
    • It doesn’t matter which company you use to send, everything goes through Spanish customs.

      As for your daughter’s cards, an address should have the format

      NAME
      STREET NAME and NUMBER /ADDITIONAL APARTMENT INFO
      ZIPCODE CITY (PROVINCE)
      SPAIN

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  17. Hi
    I just had a box sent from Spain to the USA. Unfortunately, the sculptor overlooked the delivery type and my box was marked and sent International Economy from Correos when I wanted it sent International Priority. Do you know how long Correos Internacional Economico box will take to get the USA. Im devistated that he overlooked that when I clearly stated over and over it must be sent priority mail.

    Hope you can help!

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Jared. Thanks for reading. I’m sorry to say we have no idea how long it might take your package to arrive in the US. I’d estimate a few weeks. They should be able to better estimate at the post office you mailed it from.

      Post a Reply
      • Hi There,
        Thanks for responding. My sculptor tried to change the type of shipping but the local correos said that the only way to ship to Guam was via surface mail economical. I find that absolutely impossible! I have always ordered around the world, its sent via air to the states and then to guam via USPS. I am part of the USA, a territory as a matter of fact and never heard of this type of answer. Im certain, my box will arrive by boat somewhere in the states and then get sent on another boat to Guam. I do believe Correos isnt exactly familiar with the USA and its territories.

        Post a Reply
        • Oh my. We’re not surprised and definitely feel your frustration. Sometimes you just have to take a deep breath, because #Spain

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  18. Our 17 year old daughter is an exchange student in Ca’ceres and she has received 2 packages with relatively little trouble, but we are currently struggling with a 3rd (she misses her peanut butter)She has not received regular mail though except for postcards!? any advice. . . ! ? Please help!

    Post a Reply
    • Crystal – Our honest advice would be to send your daughter to the supermarket Mercadona for a 3€ tub of crema de cacahuetes. It isn’t extra creamy or chunky, but when you miss a certain food your taste buds really won’t mind as its close enough. You’ll save money on postage and she’ll get her peanut butter fix much sooner than a package from the US could arrive!

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  19. I have been having trouble collecting a gift from my girlfriend in Barcelona. I had the guy at the post office help me fill in the “Declaracion jurada de valor” for me and I told him its a gift so I have no idea what value or content is in it and he said it should be fine and you will probably not be charged as it is a gift. After that was done I sent the information to adtpostales as instructed. But I keep on receiving emails that they need to know what is the content and value which really annoyed me, so eventually I had to ask what the gift was and it was just instant noodles and some coffee packets. I changed my form and replaced stated the goods inside. For the value I just guessed it. I have sent another email hoping this one works! Is there anything else I should also be doing so I can just get this over and done with? Also this has been going on for two weeks now and I’m hoping they do not send it back to sender because it has already passed the due date. sigh.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Kelvin,
      We’ve never heard of the form you mentioned or sending emails to aduanas, so you’re in uncharted territory. Let us know what happens though!

      Post a Reply
      • The first time I went to the post office with the notice of arrival form and my passport thinking I could collect the package on the spot, but they gave me the other form to fill. Its just stating my name,dni,nationality,location and the description of the products (value, quantity etc). They instructed me to send the forms to adtpostales.com under providing documentation. It shouldn’t be this hard to collect a package no? I’m from Australia and it is much easier to collect a parcel there where I just need a student card or any form of identity, no questions asked and collection on the spot. Maybe they misunderstood me and are thinking that I want to post something? I’m not fluent in Spanish so it’s abit harder for me to communicate properly.

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  20. Hey, well I have been thinking about sending something i painted myself to a family member in Valencia but i really dont know how all of this work would be any fees and charges on something a simple as a picture/painting?

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Veronica,
      Are you shipping from the US to Spain? The only fee I imagine you’ll have to pay would be the cost to ship your painting and as long as you put on the form that it is a gift I doubt the person on the receiving end will be charged extra tax (but with Spain you really never know). That being said – sending your painting might be much more costly than you imagine. Take it down to your local post office and see, but set a limit for yourself!

      Post a Reply
      • Yes, from NYC to be exact and is my first time shipping anything there i never though it would be so complicated. I would have taken it myself but i found out that i need a visa to enter the country (which is also crazy) so i figured it would take more time and shipping it would have been easier

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        • Unless i have been misinformed this all very confusing

          Post a Reply
          • Veronica – if you are a US citizen then you do not need a visa to physically enter Spain. You would be traveling on what is known as the Schengen Visa, but it is not something you apply for.

  21. Hello,

    I would like to ask if i send some beauty gift that will cost less than 20$ to a friend Mom in Spain for xmas will she have to pay taxes or anything?
    Iam planning to send via EMS. When i send email to Spanish post office they didn’t gave up any answer and asked to send again to ask via customer service page which i did .
    if i send via UPS will it change anything ?
    any help appreciated .

    Thanks
    Alanood

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Alanood, In theory as your gift is only valued at $20 it should pass customs just fine and not carry any extra taxes on arrival. However, there are no guarantees with Spain. Just make sure to clearly mark on the form that the item is a gift. No matter which company you choose to mail with, the box must still pass through the same customs, so use whichever company is cheapest!

      Post a Reply
  22. What would be the postage rate to send something from Madrid to Barcelona? Thanks!!

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Hanlie. Shipping within Spain is actually quite cheap. If you want to know how much it would cost to send something just go to your nearest Correos and ask! You could also try poking around the correos website at http://www.correos.es

      Post a Reply
      • Thank you! I don’t actually live in Spain. Wanting to send a package with a friend for her to post to my in-laws. Was a little concerned that it would be more to post the package than the actual value of the items 🙂 Thank you for the link, I will go have a nose around.

        Post a Reply
  23. I wanted to send some drills to my son who is a religious but after reading all the posts I am afraid! I have sent books in the past and he did not mention that he had to pay a tax. Power tools, he says are more that 2x’s the price. So yes they will be a gift but cost $200-$300 worth of tools. Is there a way to get around this tax when it is going to a religious community? They are located south of Valencia, about 1hr. Help please, I was hoping I could get the tools to them before Christmas.

    Post a Reply
    • I’m afraid we’ve never heard of an exemption on taxes if the package is being sent to a religious entity — however, that doesn’t mean one doesn’t exist. If the tools you are sending are brand new and sent to your son’s private residence there is no doubt in my mind that he will be charged a rather hefty fee. I think your best bet would be to enquire with a shipping company such as UPS or FedEx and see what they charge and what they know about possible fees on arrival in Spain if the tools are addressed to a church.

      Post a Reply
  24. I’m visiting Barcelona later this month, and i want to have a package sent from Malaga to Barcelona so I can pick it up when I’m there. I want the package sent before I go there to make sure it arrives on time, but I don’t know how to get a PO-box in a post office in Barcelona without being there. Do you know how I can rent a PO-box from abroad?

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Alex,
      Try calling Mail Boxes etc. in Spain – http://www.mbe.es – they offer the service you are looking for. However, an even cheaper option would be to mail your package to a trusted friend or even a hotel and skip the P.O. box fees.

      Post a Reply
  25. This site is very informative for anyone packaging to Spain. I came to this site after I sent my camera, yes very expensive DSLR to my sister. Later, the customs asked for the bill or receipt of purchase which they don’t have as I bought it a year ago and I couldn’t find it either. I forgot to mention ‘GIFT’ in the package too. I wish I have came to this site earlier.
    Anyway, I wonder if they will send my parcel back to me or not but it was sent as priority international(USPS) with insurance and return to sender if not delivered quoted. I am afraid if anything breaks in the way I would be so upset.
    Would you suggest any other means to send items like DSLR cameras or simply not to send at all?

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Dav,
      Thanks for the kind words. We’re very sorry your camera never got to its destination! Unfortunately, we would never recommend mailing such a high ticket item to Spain. In our opinion there are two options – buying online from within the EU to avoid taxes on arrival or waiting until a trip to home and bring back expensive purchases in a personal suitcase.

      Post a Reply
  26. Hi, just mailed a parcel (Dec.9)to friends/family in Lleida,Bellcaire Spain by UPS.costs for mailing was $110.00 & it was clearly marked Christmas Gifts for 4 people,Mens jocks,a touqe for the father & a blouse for the Mother. It is now tied up at Customs & they want the family to pay 95E OR if they ship it back it will cost another 110. why did this happen & what can I do.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Sharon,
      Unfortunately the only thing you can do is pay the fee or refuse and have the box shipped back to you. Customs is cracking down on all packages mailed to Spain and assessing fees on most. Perhaps you quoted the actual price of the items in the box? Next time consider ordering something from Amazon.es or a Spanish store and have that sent to your friends / family to avoid taxes on arrival.

      Post a Reply
  27. Do you know if a friend can pick up post for me from Correos if I send him a copy of my passport?
    I’m currently out of the country but have mail to pick up.
    thanks

    Post a Reply
    • Hi, Pete. Usually posts that carry insurance must be picked up within 15 days or risk being sent back, and the Correos office will ask for your passport or NIE card, plus your signature, along with the slip left in your post box. You’re best to send a letter stating your name, NIE or passport number, and that your friend has the right to pick it up. Sign the letter, as well.

      Post a Reply
  28. Hi there,
    This is such a helpful site, wish I’d known while my daughter was abroad this semester….
    But my current problem is, I just left Spain with her and accidentally left a small soft travel bag of jewelry in my hotel room. They will send it to me here in the USA, but the question is, how? If it were here in the States, they could just stick it in a USPS priority envelope or box, it’s that small (9x4x4″). A quote from FedEx was $126, not incl. taxes, & fees, so might you know what it would cost to mail it, from Barcelona to Philadelphia? Should I ask the hotel to low-ball the value of 45 euros and say it is a gift, or would that be wrong? Thank you so much for your help, if you can give me any insight. (It’s jewelry I brought with me from the USA, and it’s value is only about $250, but is meaningful to me.) Thanks again.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Maralin,
      I’m so sorry that your daughter left her belongings at the hotel, but thankfully they were found! I think your best bet would be to ask FedEx how much tax they might assess on arrival in the US. We don’t have too much experience mailing to the US as it’s very costly and we mostly avoid it. Let us know what happens.

      Post a Reply
  29. Finally, my parcel(DSLR camera), sent from USA, has been proceed through customs and the USPS tracking says, “Arrival Pick-up-point”. I wonder if the parcel went to the local post office in Eibar or still in Madrid? I emailed them about the package but didn’t get any answer in December and now got the tracking message which is confusing to me. Any information to this situation would be highly appreciated.
    I also want to know if there are any third party services to pick up the parcel in case if its too far to pick up the package?

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Dav,
      I’m sorry but we don’t know much about picking up packages, but maybe one of our readers will see this and comment! Let us know what you figure out!

      Post a Reply
  30. Great Info!
    I’m planning on sending my niece, who is staying in Salamanca, pair of winter gloves from REI, couple candy bars, a spanish vocab book, & some family photos. The items will definitely not be more than 45 euro.

    Question:
    We were told by her school to mark “used personal items” on any package we send. Would you recommend we mark GIFT with descriptions of the items OR mark “used personal items” like the school recommends?

    Post a Reply
    • I’d give the “used personal items” a try. Make sure and remove all tags from any items that might look new or recently purchased so that when opened (and they will check out the package) all items will look used and personal! Let us know if it works!

      Post a Reply
  31. We’re living in Granada and I’ve just finished some illustrations that need to be shipped back to the states. We’re well versed in the difficulties of receiving packages here in Spain, but have yet to tackle shipping out. It’s important to me to be able to do overnight shipping, but it’s unclear to me how companies like DHL, UPS, and FedEx operate in Spain. Obviously, it’d be easier if we were in Madrid. Perhaps Malaga would be a better bet for finding a regional office? Any advice would be greatly appreciated; looks like most of the messages on this forum deal with receiving not sending – so thanks in advance!
    Aaron Becker recently posted…Slide01My Profile

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Aaron,
      We hope to tackle issues with mailing from Spain rather than to, but haven’t had the time. Personally, I (Hayley) have always just used shipping options from the local Correos office and have had no problems. It can get very pricey, but I’ve never had a package lost or stolen. You might also try calling places like UPS or FedEx, as I’m sure they have offices in Granada but just might not be under those more recognizable names.

      Post a Reply
  32. Hi. I have a question. My mom sent me a gift on Friday, from the US. Its final destination is Granada. She marked it as a gift, and the value is $50 dollars. The box is about 14 pounds. The tracking says it arrived in Madrid on the 24th, and currently is in “customs clearance.” With the info I told you, do you think I’ll have to pay something on this end? Also, it’s only been 2 days, but how long does it typically take to leave customs clearance? My mom had some issues sending it, and I’d really love the package to come without incident, so any information would be greatly appreciated. THANKS!!

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Brie,
      I wish we would tell you there was a hard and fast rule for what to expect to pay and how long you might be waiting, but this (like so many other things in Spain) is a question of patience and rolling with the punches. Sounds like your mom did everything she could to get the package to you as quickly as possible and to avoid any possible fees on arrival. Fingers crossed!

      Post a Reply
  33. can a parcel correos parcel that is on transit be cancelled. if yes how do i cancel the shipment.

    Post a Reply
  34. I wish I would have read this before spending $110 to ship my daughter a package mix of used clothes, razor refills, food, listed as $65 value.
    They sent her a note stating documentation needed.
    On the ADTpostales website I responded with a pdf upload of the receipt of payment for shipping and the declerations. They responded again with the following:
    To process your shipment need to provide us completed notice of arrival (name / 2apellidos / DNI- NIE ) and signed.
    “We also need to provide us copy DNI or NIE discharged from the Inland Revenue, you can file a third person with a photocopy of it as indicated in the notice and authorization that you consent to import up to its name .”
    I don’t know what this means? Can you help?
    Thank you- April

    Post a Reply
    • Hi April
      That sounds pretty frustrating. You’ll want to get a copy of your daughter’s NIE card, front and back, and also any documents you have from when you went to ship the package (receipts, carbon copies of the list of items). We have never heard of Inland Revenue or the notice of arrival… but send whatever documentation you have and hope for the best!

      Post a Reply
    • Hi, the same thing has happened to me April. I have sent a copy of my sisters NIE and her end of tax year paper as proof that she is fiscal and still they say they need me to provide them with and NIE or DNI that has been discharged by the inland revenue. They say I can file a 3rd person with a photocopy adn authorisation that I consent to import in their name. I am just passing thru spain and know no one but my sister.I wondered if you managed to submit the documents and get your parcel, if you have any pointers I’d be grateful. PS if I get a tax bill and decide it’s too high to pay against the contents of the box will I be fined for not paying or can I just “give up” the parcel?

      Post a Reply
  35. I just got some easter candy. Estimated value at $27, I think it was actually $30. I’m being charged 45€. Can I protest somehow since the value is under $60?

    Running out of time …

    Thanks!

    Post a Reply
  36. Hello,
    I have sent a box to my friend with personal items including her glasses that I got from her house because she forgot to pack them, now the box is still in customs and they will not give it to her unless she fills out forms and pays a fee, she told them the contents of the box and they are asking if the glasses are sunglasses or eyeglasses, which one would not have her be charged a fee if she tells customs, would they charge her if she said eyeglasses? (everything in the box are personal items, nothing that can be sold or newly purchased)

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Bunny, sorry to hear you’re having a rough time. Customs seem to be holding packages more than ever before!

      Yes, definitely say that they are prescription glasses, as there will be less ambiguity than if you say sunglasses. Sunglasses can be re-sold in Spain, which the government and border control customs try and crack down on. Good luck!!

      Post a Reply
  37. I just sent two packages to Barcelona from the US using USPS Priority Mail Express Guaranteed. It seems that the new policy at the US Post Office if you send a package using that service is that they have to fill out the customs form for you. Also I should have made the value of one of the packages less than 50 USD, because this month (and specifically around May 4-5, the value of the euro topped off at 0.90292 so that 50 USD = 45.146 euros!

    Post a Reply
      • the lower valued package got thru customs in one day but the larger $50 package is still stuck :: I am very worried about it getting to my friend in Barcelona : I spent 4 months making him a wearable art piece – it has no real monetary value but is valuable to me and to him! I hope it doesn’t get discarded or lost by customs!

        Post a Reply
      • my friend went to the post office in barcelona to pick up the package but they are going to charge him – unfortunately he didn’t have enough cash on him so he will have to go back. I asked him to let me know how much they are charging him and if it’s over the value of the tutu to please ask why they are charging more since it is a gift – if he lets me know, I will post here in case it’s useful to anyone else – thanks for all the help on this webpage – it’s good to know what everyone else has had to contend with so I can realize, ok this is “normal” (but still I’m worried of course)

        Post a Reply
      • FYI : My friend picked up the package – his local postman said he could argue with customs but he decided it was too much aggravation so he paid 26 euros in duty tax – not as bad as I thought! – customs did not open the package (packaging was completely intact).

        Post a Reply
  38. I am going to be studying in Barcelona this summer, but will be traveling to several cities around Europe before I actually arrive. I am looking into shipping most of my clothing to Barcelona, so that I don’t have to lug it through Europe before then. What is your best advice for this? I would send everything in a shipping box, although it would probably be a bit larger than normal sized because it would be holding a decent amount of clothing. I am trying to save as much money as possible, so I’m exploring all my options! None of the clothing is new, so I’m not sure how to value it or what to expect from customs. If you could offer some advice that would be great!

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Nikki,
      Our honest advice would be to make Barcelona your first stop and to leave your suitcase there rather than shipping it over. There are long-term bag checks at airports and train stations that will be a lot cheaper than shipping a bag over. Just take a look at all of the comments above! – lots of problems, lots of money, lots of hassle – out best advice has and always will be: don’t ship anything to Spain if there’s another option!

      Post a Reply
  39. I have had a package sent to me from china. When i check the tracking it says that the item is being held by customs in Madrid. The courier firms website directs me to the spanish postal service as their partner in spain. Does anybody know who i need to call to arrange for delivery or pay taxes. I have had no notification from customs. It has been 12 days now.

    Many Thanks.

    Post a Reply
  40. Hi,

    I am in Europe for ten weeks and on my very first day in Madrid I dropped my phone and broke it. Insurance replaced it and my husband is sending me the new one. I know I’ll have to pay a lot of duty on it and that’s ok, but I’m in Santiago de Compostela until the 20th of June and I’m worried that it’ll be held at customs in Madrid (where it is now, according to Correos and USPS). I’m not going back to Madrid – is there any chance they’ll forward it to the local post office here in town and have me pay there? And I realize that Spain is Spain, but is there any chance I’ll get it before the 20th, which is when I move on to Barcelona?

    Thanks for any response!

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Teresa, thanks for reading. We think your best bet is to cross your fingers and hope your phone gets to Santiago on time. If that is the mailing address that was provided on shipment then that is where it will *eventually* get sent. Worst case scenario, you could ask someone in Santiago to retrieve and forward the package to you on arrival. If it comes to that, make sure you leave them written conscent with your signature and a copy of an official form of ID (a passport for example). Good luck!

      Post a Reply
  41. HI,
    My daughter is in Sevilla for 6 weeks. 2 weeks ago, she broke her iphone. We got a replacement phone from at&t because it was insured. We sent it through FedEx and the woman her at FedEx said just to write the replacement cost, which was $25. The value of the phone would be about $600. The phone is being held in customs in Madrid. I have had Fedex helping me with a trace on the package but customs in Madrid wants an invoice and documentation on the phone. When I told the woman at Fedex that I just want the phone sent back to me, she said that it needs to go through customs no matter what and that I will probably still need to provide all of that information. I just don’t know what to do because we are traveling to see our daughter June 17 and could now just bring her the phone. Any advice would be appreciated.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Stacy,
      So sorry to hear about your problems. Unfortunately, you’ll just need to wait it out. As we state in the article, we do not advise sending expensive electronics via post to Spain, no matter the carrier and no matter the price you put on the customs form – a brand new iPhone is valued at top dollar and customs will want their cut. If you refuse to pay the taxes assessed on the phone it will eventually be returned to you, but probably not in time for your visit.

      Post a Reply
  42. This is such an informative site,thank you. I only wish I’d seen it before I posted my parcel to Spain. I am in the process of sending documents that customs have asked for but would really like to talk to them.There is a tel. number (916602454) on the form they sent saying they are available between 9am to 2pm Monday to Friday but when i ring it’s just a digital response saying go to the adtpostales website. The website lists the same number. Has anyone managed to talk to customs in Madrid? if so can you pass me the number you used please.

    Post a Reply
  43. Thank you for your information. My daughter is pregnant and moving to Spain and we have a HUGE box of baby items to ship to her, including a carseat and stroller, which is quite heavy. She had a Baby Shower in the US and we have many gifts to ship to her. Now, we don’t know what to do? Would it be less expensive to pay for extra bags/suitcases and have them take these on the plane or ship via USPS or UPS? I am so confused and she is getting very stressed out!Help, if possible. Thanks.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Mary, congratulations to your daughter, first and foremost! What an exciting time for your family.

      I’m dealing with a similar issue in that I’ll be getting married shortly, and my family would like to give gifts. If you’re not interested in potentially returning items and going through a registry in Europe (Amazon has very reasonable shipping options), the cheapest option is usually by extra suitcases. If she’s got her plane ticket, strollers and car seats could probably be tacked on for free and go in the aircraft cabin with her, stowed by flight attendants. Unfortunately, it will be costly, but she will have a big amount of necessities for her little one!

      Post a Reply
  44. I bought my wife a diamond ring years ago and we offered it as a gfit to my daughter in Barcelona who is getting engaged. Sounds like it sending would incur duty and taxes. Is that correct?

    Post a Reply
    • We definitely wouldn’t suggest mailing such a priceless item! Any chance of bringing it in person and then sharing in the celebration?

      Post a Reply
  45. Hello!

    So I’ve found someone’s issue similar to mine: wanting to send a package after pre study abroad traveling.

    This research has sufficiently convinced me to look for other options.

    My best friend is going to Prague. Do you know of the custom from. EU to EU countries?

    Post a Reply
    • Wyat/Como–any advice on shipping from within EU to Spain? A friend is taking a camera lens to London and mailing it to Spain from there. We’d love to know more about the process. Many thanks.

      Post a Reply
      • Hi Eliz,

        Usually within the EU you shouldn’t have much a problem, though sending through a messenger service is probably better given the value of the lens. Good luck!

        Post a Reply
  46. My son will soon be leaving for Spain. He will do 800 km of the Camino De Santiago and then temporarily live in Granada. Will probably fly into Malaga Spain. Our plan was to ship his after-hiking clothes to him, but after reading the information on this website we’re thinking it would be better for him to take them on his flight.

    The problem is that he’ll need to leave his after-hiking clothes someplace safe for 5-6 weeks. Any advice? Do airports allow for storage? I’m thinking one large duffel bag with clothes and shoes.

    Post a Reply
  47. Hello all. Just wanted to post an experience in case it’s helpful. On 21 July I ordered some pants on amazon.es and the seller was in the UK. The price was about 25 euros including shipping. At the time of ordering Amazon estimated delivery between 30 July and 20 August! But I went ahead…glad I did. It did take about 2 weeks but that was tolerable. No difficulties with delivery at all and no duty (as expected). I happened to be at the apt on the day delivery was attempted and was just asked for my passport number. Btw, I was renting the apt so I wasn’t the “official” resident and there was no difficulty with that at all. Good luck everytone! And thanks so much for your website!

    Post a Reply
  48. What about the other way around – shipping books from Spain back to US. I hear that book rate is realy affordable, debating whether to ship or sell the books I have.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Vanessa. The few things we’ve shipped from Spain to the US have cost us a pretty penny as the package fee was levied based on weight. Sometimes it’s cheaper to pay for an extra suitcase than shipping. Let us know what you decide!

      Post a Reply
  49. Hello, So i’ve sent some gifts together to my girlfriend in Spain. I made a mistake of declaring the total values of the gifts as being about $400.00 which they were and i wanted to be safe and have insurance on it. And as of right now Spanish customs have them and the amount of the dues/fees we would have to pay are currently out of our budget. Is there a way to have Spanish customs return the gifts back to me? Thanks

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Alex,
      If the receiver does not pay the taxes then the package should be returned to the sender, but it will take a while!

      Post a Reply
    • Just wondering how long it took to get your package back?! I sent a package to Spain and the tax was ridiculous and we are having it sent back but have no idea how long it will take!

      Post a Reply
  50. My daughter is studying abroad in Spain. She has some allergies and the like so I need to send her a box with some clothes, toiletries, hair products and supplies. If I declare a value of $50.00, indicate they are personal effects and an unsolicited gift would you think the box would make it to its destination. It is being shipped to the study abroad office and not a private residence. Do I still have to provide the invoice, airway bill and other documents that seem commercial in nature? Thank you.

    Post a Reply
    • What should I do to increase the likelihood of the box arriving without any difficulties?

      Post a Reply
    • Hi Keri,
      Sounds like you’ve done all you can on your end to keep any taxes to a minimum. We’re not sure what you mean by invoice and airway bill.

      Post a Reply
  51. We mailed our son a package as he is studying in Barcelona for a year. It has been in customs for a week. He has not received any paperwork to pay the taxes and have it released. What should we do? His dad did not list an email on the customs form, and the phone number he listed was my son’s cell number but it obviously doesn’t work in Spain. They have only have his address in Spain and my address in the US on the package.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Donna,
      At this point is sounds like the only thing your son can do would be to go to his nearest post office and inquire about where his package might be and what he can do so that it will be released to him.

      Post a Reply
  52. My mother sent me a surprised gift from China. It’s a box of clothes and books. In our family we don’t have the habit of buying birthday cards, so it’s just a package with things. Now the package has arrived at Madrid Aduana, and they asked me to provide “justificante de pago” and “factura” which has to match the items in the box, which I clearly don’t have.
    I asked my mother what exactly she sent, she only told me a few old books, and some clothes she bought for me over the past year. So there’s no way of getting any invoice or receipt… I don’t know what to do now. Please help.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Kel, sorry to hear you’re having these problems, and sadly cusoms is getting tighter. Perhaps you could ask your mother for the receipt from China of how much she paid for the shipping and exactly what contents were reported? Or else you could go directly and ask to have the box. Good luck!

      Post a Reply
  53. I need to send prescription eyeglasses to my daughter who is studying abroad in Madrid. Would I be better off stating so or wrapping them as a gift and state so?

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Blythe, since it’s a sensitive item, we’d recommend sending it via courier service and stating the contents, plus putting in proof of prescription. Your daughter should be able to pick it up if she has a copy without problems.

      Post a Reply
  54. I ordered a pace from the US about 10 days ago and it is going through USPS… not that it is the most reliable service but I didn’t have a choice. the parcel is worth 227.81$ including delivery and includes only makeup. Now that I am reading this article I am getting concerned… Is makeup chargeable for duties and taxes? I am getting the parcel delivered at the agency that is managing my flat. How do I know when I am going to have to pay customs? Am I going to receive a letter? Thank you for your help…

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Constance, the customs duty is about as close as you can get to parcel roulette, unfortunately. If you have a tracking number, start there – delivery from the US usually takes 1-2 weeks. If you haven’t received it or it’s stuck in customs, you will receive a letter to your residence. Fingers crossed it gets to you soon (and free!).

      Post a Reply
      • Hi, I just wanted to give an update on my parcel for future reference! I ended up receiving it 3.5 weeks after it was shipped and considering it got stuck 2.5 weeks before the sort facility (so I’m assuming in customs). I ended up receiving it through normal mail as it was sent out with USPS in the first place. I did not have to pay anything for some unknown reason… the label was a little faded but I thought they would take the opportunity of my parcel to make a few extra bucks! I’m happy not to have paid anything! Thank you for your advice.

        Post a Reply
  55. Dear ComoConsultingSpain
    I have sent a parcel to a friend in Spain as a birthday gift (a handmade gift). The parcel was held in custom and the custom has required my friend to pay some tax and provide some sort of “certificate”; or they will return the parcel. We both agreed that it’s best to have the parcel returned to me.
    However, it’s been a month now and I havent heard from EMS or the post office. How long will it normally take for them to return the parcel? Is there a number i could call?
    Im leaving the country in a couple of months time and I want to make sure that I get the parcel before i leave.
    Please advise. Thank you very much.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Jo,

      COMO are not experts in Shipping but we wrote this article to give people an idea on how to cut on costs. As with all things in Spain patience tends to sort most things out. We hope your parcel arrives soon!

      Post a Reply
      • Thanks for the response. I’ll just keep my fingers crossed 🙂

        Post a Reply
  56. OK, so I wish I had found this before I already just mailed a package to my son in Valencia that I now know isn’t going to get there. So what exactly happens? They will mail him a notice from Madrid of the VAT due? Or will they hold it at a post office in Valencia for him to pick up? How does he pay to get the package? At this point, I would rather just get it sent back than make him pay a bunch to get what I sent. I also know he doesn’t have time to go to the post office day after day to check. So if he doesn’t respond to the VAT request, eventually they will return the package to me since I did mark that option on the customs form. But will I have to pay Spanish customs something to get it returned?

    I sent the package International Express through the USPS. Like an honest fool, I put value at $250 when all but one thing in the box are personal belongings of my son and only one thing was a new gift.

    Thanks so much for providing all of this information! I only wish I had read it before I canceled the order on Amazon.es for the same thing that will not arrive on time now because I opted to send it from home. 🙁

    Post a Reply
  57. I just sent some crochet clothing and a baby blanket that I valued at $100 total. I paid $55 to ship it to my brother and his family and he said he had to pay the equivalent of $45 dollars in customs fees!!! I wish I would have known this because it was a gift and handmade so I could’ve priced it at $50. I think it’s awful how they would charge for packages received and already paid for!

    Post a Reply
  58. HI, my son is in Barcelona on a gap year from the USA. I mailed him a box of used clothes, food items and some other incidentals. It is stuck in Madrid customs and he received a note in the mail asking for a “bill of the contents”. The box weighed 12lbs and i wrote a vague description of the items and said ‘gifts’ and a $25 value on the customs form as I know from experience (mailing to UK) if you list a high amount, the recipient can get slammed with a tax bill.

    Any advice as to how I should proceed? Thanks!

    Post a Reply
  59. Hi there Hayley! I encountered a surprise from Fedex this morning regarding this matter and I found your post very helpful and assumed you can help me. So here’s what happened, my boyfriend who lives in the US bought me some lipsticks from NYX since I can’t find the brand here in BCN. There were 8 lipsticks and a letter in the small box, and the declared value of the door-to-door package is 40$. My bf said everything was already paid including the tax as it was a gift. But then to my surprise, the delivery man charged me 58€ for the Aduana. And since I know nothing about this, I paid him in cash and he left without giving me any receipt.
    I’ve been reading various posts about this and each says that packages of less than 45€ in value are not subjected to tax, especially if it is a gift.
    I wasn’t deceived, right?
    Thank you in advance.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Kim,
      You weren’t deceived but there’s also, sadly, nothing you can do about it. The measures we take to avoid paying aduana fees and the limit the government says it will not levy taxes on a package for are entirely subjective. Fact of the matter is, if you want that package, you’ll have to bite the bullet and pay up. But hey, new lipstick!

      Post a Reply
      • Hi again! Thank you for your reply. I emailed FedEx’s customer service about this and they told me that the maximum declared value of an international shipping is 22€ so that it won’t generate duties taxes. It’s just sad that the tax costs more than the lipsticks 🙁 But yea, at least I got new lippies 😀 Thank you again!

        Post a Reply
  60. Hi! I am in Spain and looking to send a small package back to the US for christmas. It wouldn’t have anything more than 45 euro, maybe just a scarf, some spices and prints. Is there a cheap way to send a small package back, or do you know how much it would cost? Thanks.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Annie, the cheapest way to send anything, apart from having a messenger carry it in their suitcase to the US, would be to send it via Correos. We can’t say for sure how much it would cost because we don’t know the weight, so best to stop by the office closest to you.

      Post a Reply
  61. First of all, thanks for this very helpful site! Here’s my question. I recently purchased an item from Spain on eBay. I live in the US. The seller is now telling me that he needs my passport number (“or ID number”) for the customs form. I’ve given him, instead, my government-issued EIN (employer identification number). Will this work? If not, what should I tell him?

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Jen,
      Our article focuses on mailing to Spain from outside of Spain, not the opposite. That being said, if this person seems like a trusted seller on eBay and asks for your passport number, maybe that’s what you should give him.

      Post a Reply
  62. A friend of mine came to visit me in Barcelona last weekend. He lost his wallet, but it has since been found and he would like it shipped back to him. It contains only identification cards that are of no fixed monetary value. All of them have been received for free, with the exception of an American Driver’s License.

    We are both studying abroad and will be in Europe for the next month, but no longer than that. I am in Barcelona, and he is in Copenhagen, Denmark. Where can I get a package that is small enough for the wallet and not much bigger? What service should I use (DHL, Correos, or other) to ship this package? Would it arrive and pass through Danish customs in time, or does it not make sense to send it along? How should I describe the contents as well as the value of the wallet and identification cards?

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Chris, glad to hear your friend’s wallet has been found. Too abd you’re not in Seville – Cat is going to Copenhagen in a few weeks for leisure! You can send everything via Correos with one of their mailing envelopes, which will likely be the fastest and cheapest, though if you’re both going back to the US next month, it may be more feasible to wait. He can use his passport in Denmark and reunite with the rest of his things back home – Correos is usually swamped this time of year.

      Post a Reply
      • What about a service like DHL? Some people I’ve spoken to recommend that, although it may be a bit more costly, they are confident that it’d arrive on time.

        Post a Reply
        • DHL is perfectly fine if you’re willing to pay. They usually provide the envelopes, as well. You also have more options as far as shipping times, overnighting, etc. We’re both a little wary of the Spanish postal system, so we tend not to use it!

          Post a Reply
  63. Hi,
    I live in Madrid and parents sent me 4 packages.
    I recieved a letter which says I need to go to their website and upload some papers.
    The thing is that I donot understand where to pay! I want to upload the payment proof but don’t know where or how to do so.Each time I go ti the post office they tell me I need to pay through the website http://www.adtpostales.com, but where??
    Please help me, I have 2 days to do so…

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Naama, the same happened to me yesterday! I would call the office and have them walk you through the document uploads: 916 60 24 54. Good luck!

      Post a Reply
  64. My daughter lost her phone and I shipped her another one. Of course I wasn’t aware of the issues with getting things past customs. We became frustrated with the process as others have. Now my daughter is set to return back to the US but the phone had not cleared customs. Will it be returned to sender if not picked up at Spanish customs

    Post a Reply
  65. On behalf of a Spanish resident who has a home in US, I sent a package to her address in Spain using my USPS account. The package was sent in the middle of October, but has not been delivered. USPS contends the package arrived in Spain and the item departed a transfer airport in Barajas, Madrid, SPAIN on October 19, 2015 at 11:37 am. The item is currently in transit to the destination. Correos in Spain has no information.

    According to USPS, Spain has 21 from business days from my first inquiry in November 2, 2015 (Today). I have made several attempts to get further information from USPS, but all I am told, is to wait. The recipient has since gone back to Spain, contacted Correos, using the same USPS tracking number, but all they have said, no record exists.

    FYI: I have sent other similar packages without any problem. This one, as well as the others were sent as gifts or personal effects.

    Tracking info below,

    DATE & TIME
    STATUS OF ITEM
    LOCATION
    October 19, 2015 , 11:37 am
    Departed
    Madrid, SPAIN
    Your item departed a transfer airport in Barajas, Madrid, SPAIN on October 19, 2015 at 11:37 am. The item is currently in transit to the destination.
    October 18, 2015 , 7:55 pm
    Departed
    New York, UNITED STATES
    October 18, 2015 , 1:37 pm
    Arrived
    New York, UNITED STATES
    October 18, 2015 , 9:49 am
    Processed Through Sort Facility
    ISC NEW YORK NY(USPS)
    October 18, 2015 , 9:48 am
    Arrived at Sort Facility
    ISC NEW YORK NY(USPS)
    October 18, 2015 , 4:38 am
    Departed USPS Facility
    EASTERN NASSAU, NY
    October 17, 2015 , 10:27 pm
    Arrived at USPS Facility
    EASTERN NASSAU, NY
    October 17, 2015 , 2:48 pm
    Arrived at USPS Facility
    NEW YORK, NY 10022
    October 17, 2015 , 1:33 pm
    Accepted at USPS Origin Sort Facility
    NEW YORK, NY 10065
    October 17, 2015
    Pre-Shipment Info Sent to USPS

    Spain inquiry: Translated to english

    Dear Customer, So far and as stated in our computer systems tracking, shipping terms in your inquiry has not been entered in the Spanish postal network. Therefore, we advise you to contact the sender to indicate the advisability of an international claim in the country of origin of the shipment.

    Yours faithfully, Customer Care Team Post (Sepi Group)

    I really don’t want to have to make a claim, it never works out. All I want is package even if it’s sent back to me.

    Thank you,

    David
    David recently posted…What to Expect at the Spanish Vehicle InspectionMy Profile

    Post a Reply
    • This happened to me. Whatever you sent, the person receiving has to pay tax on. It’s a ridiculous amount of $ (usually), but if the package is unclaimed for 21 days they will send it back to you. I have no idea how long it takes to get it back because I am still waiting to get mine back.

      Post a Reply
      • Hi,

        Thank you for your comment.

        As of the other day, USPS has received information from Spain. USPS said, they sent me a status letter at the beginning of December, but I have yet to receive it. Evidently, the Spain Customs says the package contains prohibited or restricted items (Probably doctor prescribed vitamins), they are free to confiscate or send back. I asked USPS to help get the package sent back. Each time Spain is contacted, they have 21 days to respond, now it’s a waiting game. Besides the so called prohibited items, the package contains other items; clothing, toiletries, boots etc. Using the proper commercial invoice all articles were sent as used personal property, itemized to a minimal extent, but not for resale and with low values, which in most cases should not be taxed. I’m not at all confident if the these personal items will be delivered separately or “if” they will send the entire package back.

        ______________________________________

        Below is a translated letter my client received from Spain Postal Service, Correros

        Dear Ms xxxxxxx. We answer your complaint 25t11t2015 today, in which we requested information on the shipping status of cjxxxxxxus tracking. We inform you that sending has not been entered in our postal network. Therefore, given the time elapsed, we suggest you contact the sender, to formulate an official complaint to the postal operator of the country of origin. Yours faithfully.

        __________________________________________________________

        In other words Spain, still contends they know nothing, while USPS says, they do. Doesn’t the postal service coordinate shipments with Customs?

        No idea, what will happen.

        Again thank you for your information, much appreciated.

        Post a Reply
  66. What will be the tax or any other fee if I ship a laptop?

    Post a Reply
  67. Hi,
    My mom has sent me a package from outside the EU, and I’ve recieved a letter from la aduana to submit some papers so that they can process my package. The package is personal items (used clothes, a hand-made knit toy, etc. it’s a gift). The total value is low, it’s all things i’ve used at home, although my mom included a tonometer (a medical device) in the package. I didn’t know she would, otherwise I would advice her not to do it, since I’ve already had to pay a pretty high income tax on a cell phone my family’d mailed me before. So, anyway. I went on to get my ID registeres in the Spain Tax Agency, uploaded a declaration of description and use as they’ve asked, but they still are requesting a declaration of value or a purchase reciept. I have no purchase reciept for the used items, nor do they accept a list of items with values I put on the contents of the package, saying I need to provide “una declaración jurada de valor” and I have no idea how do I get that, since I provide declare the value of my used stuff, and provide it handwritten. Do you guys have any idea, what that might be they are asking of me? I’ve described everything, put the cuantity and value, and it’s no good apparently.
    Thanks,
    Lena K.

    Post a Reply
  68. How nice.

    Christmas gifts to kids in Spain get hit by a VAT TAX. How nice.

    Nothing electric just clothes and candies. Of course it got held up in customs for 3 weeks and didn’t make it for Christmas. After buying them stateside, paying an enormous Postal fee in the US, and then Spain wanting their cut, we have decided we will no longer send items to Spain. Send cash Paypal!!

    Christmas gifts and Birthday gifts should be exempt.

    Post a Reply
    • Hey Dan,
      We totally agree. In fact, we’ve been thinking of editing this article to simply state – don’t mail anything to Spain! Sorry your presentes didn’t arrive in time!

      Post a Reply
      • I have gone through all these things. my question is this, i have to pay the VAT which is fine but since then I have moved to a new place. is it possible to have them send the package to the new place once I pay the vat or would they be able to hold it at the post office for me to collect it? please help.

        Post a Reply
        • Hi Elise, the VAT is a huuuge pain for sure. You could try calling ADT and having them edit the package’s destination, though I tried with no luck before and had to wait for the delivery, retrieve the acuso de recibo (yellow and blue correos paper) and then take that, along with my NIE, to the post office. You have 15 days before it gets sent back.

          Good luck!

          Post a Reply
  69. We shipped about 5,000 dollars worth of computer and camera equipment to Spain and it did not pass customs. They said, because they don’t know if the products will be staying here in Spain or not…huh? My husband travels the world for work and will need his equipment. Please explain. We’re livid as our carrier (UPS) made calls confirming all was good, not to mention the 900$ it cost to send it. They are not for resale, they are primarily for work. Now, the package, which has been sitting in a warehouse in Barcelona is stuck and will have to be shipped back to the original UPS office. How is this even right?! Makes no sense to us. Thank you

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Roxanne, unfortunately we don’t have any answers for you. Our calls to ADT and customs here have turned up little more than “it’s for security purposes.” Our fingers are crossed you can get everything as soon as possible with a minimal cost.

      Post a Reply
  70. I live in Galicia.
    My wife sent personal papers without value from the USA and Spanish customs wanted me to pay them some duties over that content despite what I indicated and refused to open the package to check. It is a gangster operation where one is forced to effectively bribe customs to get one’s stuff. The alternative they give to prove one’s content is personal is so laborious and costly that no one ever does that (I believe one needs to get a tax office declaration plus notarize it pus some other paper work, which is especially burdensome living in a rural area far away from most things). I figured now that it is more practical to get a mail box forwarding service in another more rational EU country. So now I pay the online forwarding service BPM a small 5 euro fee every month for their service of forwarding y mail, plus any extra postage (usually I have them consolidate mail). For that fee they give me a mail box in 6 countries! At worst may end up paying the low duties and VAT of Luxembourg if I have something really expensive sent, but with most items there is no tax to be paid. After that the Spanish customs guys are out of the loop since the mail is traveling within the EU.

    Post a Reply
  71. 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. Can someone help??

    Post a Reply
  72. Hi. My mom just sent a package from US to Valencia Spain. It has my retainer (which I forgot) and a letter from my boyfriend. The retainer was put in a Tiffany box wrapped in bubble wrap. It was labeled a used personal item and even tho retainers are expensive to replace (200$) we marked it as 45€ to avoid fees. Now seeing all these posts I’m extremely worried it’ll get held up because of the box it’s in. Thanks for the help.

    Post a Reply
    • Just having common mail sent to Spain is Russian roulette. Lost a credit card that never arrived and an urgent mail sent in Spain by registered mail and express was not delivered but after 14 days and only due to me filing complaints left and right. It would have affected my possibility to marry abroad if it had not bee delivered at all and got lost entirely. From then on I do not send anything through Spanish mail (Correos) anymore, but all through a courier service.

      Post a Reply
  73. Good day, I hope you can help! I bought an item from the Ukraine that was shipped on the 22nd of December 2015, on the 4th of January I got an email saying the package has arrived at the international exchange office in Madrid. I haven’t heard anything since and there is also no updates on any tracking websites. I contacted Correos and they have no record of the parcel in their records.. What can I Do?!

    Post a Reply
  74. Hi, very informative service. Thank you.

    I need to send a used book to a friend (as a gift) from the US to Barcelona. Which service do you suggest (Fedex, US Mail, etc.) Do I need to fill the form? Who provides it?

    Regards and thank you again.
    Jjaime

    Post a Reply
  75. Hi! So I sent a gift package on February 4th, and it has been in Madrid for customs clearance since the 10th, and it’s supposed to be delivered to Zaragoza. It was marked as gifts on the customs form I filled out, but I had no idea the person I had sent the gift to had to pay? I was not made aware of this.. I’m now starting to worry he won’t receive the package, I wanted him to get it for Valentine’s Day. I am confused though because I put his address on it, so I assumed it would be delivered to his residence. Am I missing information or am I just not understanding? Is there any where I can call to ask about the status of the package? Thank you so much in advance.

    Post a Reply
    • The addressee is the one who could clear the package, not yiy,. No use calling. At Corros (Spanish USPS) all is done online only. The Correos basically functions as a clearance agent and will leave a note with addresse to provide documentation and pay money to clear the package. As soon as it is being held on Madrid airport it will cost money, so if ypu expect to see a happy addressee with that, it is unlikely. If he or she does not take care of the clearing soon it will be sent back (or stolen). It is a racket. So I advise anyone to not send any packages here from outside the EU by regular mail, only via a mail box inside teh EU or by courier services like DHL, UPS or Fedex. The latter will cost more of course but it is more likely to arrive as those companies care more about delivering to the addressee. Correos does not.

      Post a Reply
  76. Can anyone help me..

    Im studying in spain and iv purchased a number of things online. I get the costs but what happens if i am not in for a delivery? Do i get a call, is it shipped back? etc..

    Post a Reply
    • If you purchased within the EU, you shouldn’t have any issues. If Correos tries to deliver your package and you’re not in, they will try once more at a different time of day. After that, you are left a notice. The backside tells you where you can pick it up and from which day the item will be available. You need a photo ID.

      Post a Reply
    • In theory the Correos (if that is how you had it sent) will try a second delivery if you are not at home and may leave a note if you are not, but in reality they often fail to do either.
      Then they are obliged to keep the package waiting in their post office for a few weeks, before either returning it or hijacking it.
      MY experience is that several time sthey did not leave any note and only came once to deliver in the beginning and saved the second time for in a few weeks, but not always.
      Just try avoid dealing with Correos altogether. It is worth the money having a mail forwarder in another country and (or) use a courier service for the final leg.
      Correos loses (=steals) a lot.
      Same goes for sending things, both locally and abroad.

      Post a Reply
  77. Thank you for this post- it has been very informative! I cannot figure out what to do! My new iphone that I got when I was in the states at Christmas was stolen recently. Luckily, the insurance with my provider covers a replacement. But now, my family has to send it to me. I don´t know what I should do. I really want/need the phone, but can’t decide what to tell them to put on the shipping form. It’s an expensive new version phone. Will customs be able to tell if we put a lowball figure? I feel like it needs to be insured, and I don’t mind paying a 20/30 euro fee to get it out of customs, but I don’t want it to get stuck there forever or lost or stolen. What would you suggest?

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Lizzie, sending anything electronic is very risky, and theft is not uncommon while it’s in transit. If possible, buy a replacement and wait until you’re back home, or have a visiting friend bring it over for you. The other alternative would be paying for an international shipping company plus insurance, though we can’t speak to whether or not that’s the be-all, end-all way to get things over here safely and quickly.

      Post a Reply
    • Lizzie, as said before, sending teh iPhoen by regular mail service, so via SPS and Spanish Correos is almost a guaranteed loss.
      Better use a carrier like DHL, UPS or Fedex.
      However, that also guarantees you exorbitant VAT (21%) PLUS high import duties and delays in delivery. Lying on the form is of no use. They will figure it out in seconds.
      better idea is to open a cheap online forwarding account in Europe (not in Spain but Luxembourg like BPM), have it sent there by one of mention carriers, pay much lower taxes or sometimes even none if you are lucky, have near certainty it does not get stolen there, have a much quicker delivery than usually the months it takes here, forward it with another reliable European courier service to Spain (there are many but DPD is one of best and cooperates with SEUR here in Spain) so it does not get touched by Spanish customs.customs.

      Post a Reply
  78. Thanks for all the great insights. i have just bought a yacht in the canary islands, spain, which i will live on and sail the med for a year. i am a new zealander and wanted to ship some items from my old NZ boat to use on my new boat in spain. These items would be the dinghy, fishing and diving equipment, clothes and tools. they are all used items. Would i need to pay duty on these types of things or are they tax free as my personal belongings in transit ? any help would be greatly appreciated. including an agents contact details or recommended freight company. kind regards. chris

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Chris,

      If possible, we’d use private moving companies as opposed to sending anything from outside the EU, as they will be subject to heavy taxation. Additionally, you could try buying within the EU.

      Your plan sounds amazing, though – do you have any need for a few likeable first mates?

      Post a Reply
    • My wife and I are sailors and live with a view of the coast of Galicia. My wife has 20 years of sea sailing under her belt.
      Have you got your Spanish papers for you boat already? Lots of them are needed here. Plus paying taxes.
      Having parts sent to the Canaries direct may be tricky. The tax regimes of the Canaries and the mainland vary. Get well informed. Too often they hold back things here on the mainland. A trusted broker is a worthwhile expense here. Always keep someone between you and government here if you can.

      Post a Reply
  79. Did I miss anything that talked about Customs Clearance times? I shipped something to a customer of mine and has been sitting in ‘Customs Clearance’ status on the USPS website since April 9th. Today being April 16th… 7 days seems rather long to be held up in customs, or is that typical?

    It wasn’t anything prohibited, that I know of, since they were a set of Vintage Foo Dog Porcelain Bookends.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Matt, unfortunately there is no way to tell how long things might be in customs. Spain works differently and two weeks is more the norm. What will likely happen is the recipient will receive a notice of how to request the items, though an additional fee may need to be paid by him or her. Good luck!

      Post a Reply
    • Matt, if you sent it with USPS you will often not see it arrive at the final destination. It will remain at the border crossing registration so customs, unless you have a special courier service paid for like EMS. And even then it can take weeks to clear, if at all. IT may also come back to you if teh customer does not want to go through the hassle of the customs process here, which is slow , lots of papers and too often very costly. Usually after 2 weeks it gets sent back to sender of it is not cleared by a person in Spain and that will go by slow mail so can sometimes take a month or two. That is at least my experience from shipping over 40,000 packages all over the world through USPS from the USA and on receiving packages in Spain personally.

      Post a Reply
  80. I recently shipped a package to Spain, and it’s being held in customs. I sent a message to Correos, and received the reply, “In order to make customs procedures, you must bring to the web the ID of a person registered at the Tax Agency. You can order this identification to another person, with the authorization showing their conformity to import data is done with it.”

    So, if I understand correctly, I need someone in Spain to authorize the shipment on my behalf? And, do you have any recommendations for how I should go about doing that?

    Post a Reply
  81. Thanks for all the great info! I read about the first half of the comments and didn’t see the answer to my question so I just scrolled to the end, so if you’ve answered this question already I apologize.

    I’d like to ship a box of goods from the U.S. as a thank you for a family that hosted me earlier this year. I’d like to buy gifts for all of the kids in the family, but I don’t want them to end up having to pay insane taxes to receive a gift, as that would sort of defeat the purpose sending a gift. Do you know if it’s possible to get the Spanish customs office to charge me directly for whatever taxes might be charged for receiving the package I sent? I realize this is sort of a long-shot question, but I appreciate any help you can give!

    Post a Reply
  82. Hi! My question I suppose would be similar to Johns except its a gift for my Father. Its his birthday, Fathers Day, Xmas gift lol as its kind of a lot for one load. The thing is, I scored a deal and got the I love Dad coffee mugs, beerglasses and wine glasses almost for Nothing as I got super lucky and got them extremely extremely cheap.(I got that bargain gift hunter talent from my Mom lol) Anyways, as it is a GIFT and will probably be heavy, is there anyway I can gift wrap and secure them in bubblewrap and throw in gift tissue paper and glitter a card and perhaps the reciept for proof they are dirt cheap. Super sad to say as who wants to disclose a gifts amount or its reciept since they cant even return it …but I suppose to use as tangible proof that the value is Low? Also, how much would you say these somewhat heavy glasses and beer mugs would Cost me to ship?

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Nicole, happy cumple to your dad! You won’t have any problems sending from Spain to the US (it’s only when it’s procedente from outside the EU), thought we’d low ball the figure and get insurance if the gifts are breakable. Couldn’t say how much it costs, unfortunately, because we don’t know how far it’s going! Suerte!

      Post a Reply
  83. Hello

    My fiance and I are moving to Mallorca from Hong Kong. We don’t have enough goods for a container, but will be sending about 10 – 12 boxes of used personal items through the post (clothes, glassware, ornaments, hairdryer, small guitar amplifier and small DJ mixer). One box will also contain some Scuba Diving gear (BCD, regulators, masks and snorkels). We have owned everything for over a year, in most cases over 3 – 4 years.

    Can you advise how I should approach sending these? If I am in Mallorca, will they all be held up in customs in Madrid or in the Baleares Islands? Will I need to prove they “Used Personal Items”? If so, how (I don’t have receipts for everything!)? We really have no other options as other forms of shipment would cost around 3000 Euros, whereas post is only costing us 500 Euros and we are not well off.

    Thanks in advance

    Post a Reply
  84. The FedEx office here in where I live refused to ship a box with 3 jars of peanut butter and 3 packages of Reese’s Pieces, stating that their book for international shipping rules says sending food of any kind whatsoever to Spain is prohibited. (?)

    Post a Reply
    • All those products you mentioned can be had here in Spain. Why bother sending them? There are plenty of US product carrying stores in Europe and in Spain specifically.
      As to mailing food, nowadays you will have problems mailing food and food supplements internationally from and to any country. It is asking for trouble. Given that Spanish customs consider any international courier service a red flag for checking I would never send anything through those anyway. Bet is to use the postal service then, although even with those it si getting troublesome because USPS is outsourcing more and more to Fedex.
      Safest is to order here locally. Much less expensive shipping cost too.

      Post a Reply
      • Hi! My sister sent me a package 4 weeks ago with some body creams, whitennig stripes and socks. USPS told her that it would’ve take 10 days to get to valencia (were i live)…but until now i haven’t received the box. Apparentely she lost the receipt so i don’t now what to do…she wrote that the cost of the goods were 60$ and that it was a gift. Is the any chance that the box might have been held in customs? Usually how long does a package from the States takes to get to Spain?
        Leah recently posted…How to Apply for Spanish Nationality through ResidencyMy Profile

        Post a Reply
        • Hi Leah, packages from the US, in our experience, typically take 7-10 days. Sounds like it’s stuck in customs, and you’ll have to wait for a notice to come to your house. Without the receipt, however, you may have problems claiming it! Perhaps your sister could call USPS and see if they have a record?

          Post a Reply
        • Your sister just paid for her first lesson of not sending goods to Spain. They will often just be stolen, or they will end up in customs and one will have to pay a fortune to get then released (called ransom money). Best is that your family buys goods online at stores in Europe and has them shipped from there, even US goods which can be had from American goods stores here. Not that buying US goods is often necessary as one can get many better quality ones from local vendors. It is not worth shipping anything via USPS nowadays anyway, since it outsources international shipments to regular carriers like Fedxe and then you got guaranteed customs issues. That is, if the local Fedex does not have a gang operating that steals customer packages, which has happened.

          Post a Reply
  85. Question about aduanas – I left my dress (used) in Australia and asked a friend to post it to me in Madrid. Silly enough, he put value of it at $100AUD for insurance though the dress only cost $20aud (even more silly was paying $52aud to post it). Now correo wants to charge 33euro customs fee/tax to release it to me.
    I was told that if I am a student with NIE I can get the fees waived. Which I am not a student, but I have my NIE as a resident here.
    I can not prove the value of the dress as it was brought 3-4 years ago and no receipts? I have pictures of me wearing it if they need proof it is “used”.
    Anyone has any idea how I can avoid the 32eur fee and get my package before it gets sent back? Thanks.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Mary, customs works with no rhyme or reason, so short of actually going yourself to Barajas, or asking a friend with a NIE to sign for it, you may have to cough up and pay. It’s a huge pain, we know. Good luck!

      Post a Reply
  86. Have sent a electrical item from US to spain via USPS, fees have been paid to Spanish customs yet they are still asking for a purchase invoice proof of receipt etc, any familiar ?

    Post a Reply
    • It is well known that shipping a package to any country requires that the seller join the invoice papers on the outside (in duplicate). So if you paid customs in advance that paper work should be on the outside. If not, then the company taking care of your prepaid customs has no clue what they are doing.

      Post a Reply
  87. Hi! I own a head lice removal clinic in Minnesota, and a store owner in Spain emailed me about obtaining several bottles of lice removal shampoo and conditioner (80 bottles in total). She is willing to pay all shipping, taxes, and fees. Is this something I should even attempt?? I really don’t even know where to begin.

    Post a Reply
  88. Hi, great information here thanks you, my question is the other way round as my parents live in spain and they have a picture (quite large) that I want in my house back in England. Do you think we will be charged tax if we wrap and send it through a courier service?
    Many thanks in advance – Nik

    Post a Reply
  89. Dear Sir/Madam,
    My parcel tracking number is cp14121617in It was received in on 20/08/2016. The status of parcel was awaiting custom officer presentation. Can you please guide me what needs to be done at my end to claim the parcel? To my surprise i now see the tracking status as madrid city in the tracking system. Can you please help me with the exact status and steps required at my end to claim the parcel. It has been 40 days since the parcel reached 25 days Please help.

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  90. it appears como consulting is super helpful so I’ll write hoping to get a response ASAP 🙂

    my mother sent me my medication in the mail. it is a significant medication for my narcolepsy that helps me function normally. it appears to be held up in customs in Madrid. I live in Seville. I just got here a couple weeks ago, living for the year studying flamenco and have a year long student visa, but need to go to the police station to get some formal something – maybe the DNI number? which I don’t have. moving into the main place I’ll be renting October 1st. I needed the medication yesterday.

    thanks for your consideration!

    Post a Reply
  91. Hey I was supposed to receive a normal post thru normal delivery from the States.. They said its been delivered on the 31st august but I didn’t receive anything and its end of September. I went to the post they said they cant do anything . how can I solve this ? Can they say delivered on paper but it was just not delivered ?? Since its normal post ?

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  92. Hey, great article but I still have a question:
    I am looking to buy a Nikon film SLR camera from an eBay seller based in Japan, I read on one website that cameras aren’t taxed, but I was wondering if that’s incorrect?
    Can I expect the camera (bought used for $275 USD) will be help up at customs and I charged a hefty tax?

    Thanks so much,
    Emily

    Post a Reply
  93. Hi, Thanks for the article. I am going to send two baby pairs of shoes to my niece in Spain. Should I say that the cost of them is 40$ or just say it is a gift?

    Thank you

    Post a Reply
    • I’m from the USA. Either way your recipient here in Spain will be charged 21% VAT plus import duties.
      It is simply not a good idea to send anything from the USA.
      Such purchases should instead be done online at a European store site and then shipped to Spain. That way there is no problem.
      Alternately you can go through a concierge shopping website (or direct major store site) in the USA where they pre-invoice such taxes.

      Post a Reply
  94. I strongly suggest against shipping products to Spain. Spanish customs, like their government, is very crooked. My sister tried to send a simple package to my mother as a present and customs placed it on hold for two months. Then they said that if we wanted to receive it, that we had to pay 57 euros. We paid them the money and after being on hold for one more month they said that they were going to ship it back to the sender. WOW

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  95. I have this problem that I want to send my guitar and my skateboard back to Denmark as a package from Barcelona, since I’m moving there soon. But which company should I use? So far it seems like Correos can’t really take anything larger than 40-50 cm, so I don’t even know where I can find a large box around 110x50x50, and neither where to send the box from here in Barcelona.
    I hope you can help me out.

    Post a Reply
  96. Hi there,
    Thanks for the article!
    So I have an issue, I bought some cereal bars online (classic Clif cereal bars) from a US website, and got them sent to Barcelona via Fedex.
    The package was supposed to be received this morning, but it never happened and when I checked the Fedex tracking website: shipped back to sender!! They didn’t even contact me!

    The Fedex lady told me it was because of the content: food.
    I had written: “Samples & Cereal Bars (Gift – Non Perishable)” on the form and I guess it was too precise? What should I have written?

    The package was bought, it’s too late now to regret that part, so I definitely have to get it to reach me in Barcelona: what do you advise?

    Many thanks in advance

    Post a Reply
  97. Thank you very much for your informative site. I sent a packate through USPS to a friend in Valencia, Spain on 22 Dec. 2016. As my friend did not receive it by 15 Jan, 2017, I tracked the package to find out it was “detained” in Madrid’s customs. The USPS office where I posted the package did not help much. As I found information to the Customs office in Barajas airport and was prepared to call them, my friend e-mailed me to inform he had received the “Aviso de Llegada” (Arrival Notice), asking him to provide several documentation in TWO days and told him that to retrieve the package he would have to pay VAT or they would return the package to me. I had declared $35 as the value of the contents and marked it clearly as a “GIFT”. The contents were food prepared commercially and a calendar. I don’t understand why the Madrid Customs detained the package and they are asking for tax payment. Can you please suggest what to do, please? Thank you again.

    Post a Reply
  98. Just find someone who is travelling to Spain and who can bring these to you!
    Namely, after reading all the numerous posts and comments on the internet and after my personal experience it seems that there is no way someone from abroad can send the parcel to Spain and expect it to be delivered! Three months ago Ive sent the parcel with some local foods and some clothes from Belgrade, Serbia to my daughter who is studying in Barcelona. The parcel was sitting at the customs for two months and was finally sent back to me after official inquiry done by Serbian Post (all praise for them!). The parcel was returned after three months intact, meaning that Spanish customs has no intention to inspect the parcel for the content etc. Their only goal is NOT TO DELIVER THE PARCELS ARRIVING FROM ABROAD! and that’s it. So just money on the bank card for your loved ones, family and friends living in Spain!

    Post a Reply
  99. Hello:
    Before registering
    I need to know if I can buy
    Cigarettes in the United States
    And that you send them to Spain
    Thank you

    Post a Reply
  100. My 16 year old son is in Spain for a month on a tour. He forgot his EPI PEN (medication for allergies). It is prescription so he can’t just walk in and buy one at his local drug store. No company (DHL, FEDEX, Post Office, or UPS) will ship it. How can I get one Epi Pen to one boy in Spain? Any help would be appreciated.

    Post a Reply
    • Hi Christine, eep! Even if a company were to send it, it would likely not clear customs. Get in touch with the tour company and see if they have any answers, or else consider having him go to a doctor (you’l pay out of pocket) to see if he can get one prescribed. The company should have people who can accompany nim and translate. Good luck!

      Post a Reply
  101. Hello and thank you for this helpful article as well as all the comments and answers. My partner is from Barcelona and we are on holiday together in South East Asia. He realized he didn’t need all the cloths he brought with him from Spain and shipped some back to his parents. Customs sent his parents a notice that they would have to pay €60 to receive the package due to the fee for inspection. He had declared that the items inside were used, personal property form Spain and not for resale when he sent the package but customs said they needed to inspect. How can this be avoided?

    Many Thanks!

    Post a Reply
    • Sorry to give the bad news, but it is too late now to change anything and it is unlikely you have receipts of these clothes but even then they may want their pound of flesh. It is likely you will have to pay those EUR 60 to get his clothes released and better be quick or they will either send it back or it will disappear, taken by who knows there. There is also a lot of theft at customs. It is learning money. never send anything to Spain from outside the EU. If needed from such countries, send it VIA a forwarder in a third European country. It is worth the little bit of extra money and is also far quicker.

      Post a Reply

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