sending-packages-coverFor those of you getting ready for your time in Madrid, and for those of you preparing to leave, a big concern is the best way to send and receive packages in Spain. You may have already heard that the Spanish Correos is notorious for being slow, late, mixing up packages, or simply never delivering things. But have no fear! We’ve done the research so you don’t have to stress, and compiled a list of things to consider, as well as the best resources to use depending on your region of the world.

Things to Consider

checkOne problem many people run into while shipping from outside of Spain are the aduanas, or customs, fees that you can incur depending on what you’re sending to a friend or loved one in Spain. The government here will tax anything they deem valuable, and reserve the right to open any package they’re screening before sending it onto its destination. Or, if what you’ve sent is in fact valuable, they will hold it and charge the addressee a fee upon pickup, which can get very pricey. To avoid these taxes consider the following:

 

  • Could you find the product online in Spain, or on a European website like Amazon? If so, it would be much cheaper to purchase online rather than have products sent to you.
  • Packages specifically marked as “gifts” with a value under 45 euros are exempt from customs fees.
  • Always lowball the value of your package (i.e. 10-20 euros to keep your package inconspicuous).
  • If the package is insured, it is assumed valuable, and will be held and taxed at customs.
  • Keep your item descriptions vague. Use “toiletries” as opposed to “makeup” or “food” as opposed to specific brand names. Always use the word(s) “gift,” “used,” or “old personal belongings” to help prevent taxes.
  • Remove all price tags and plastic packaging before sending new items, just in case customs does open your package.
  • Use UPS for express shipments, not FedEx, because UPS operates within Spain whereas FedEx hands off packages to local couriers.
  • Do not send vitamins; they always seem to be stopped and taxed.
  • Mailing several smaller boxes costs more than one big box (read: one heavy box).

Reliable Companies Within the E.U.

  • CangoBox: Very reliable service at very competitive prices
  • Packlink: A way to compare options before picking a courier service
  • FedEx International: Reliable, but could get pricey
  • EcoParcel: Specific to Germany, but could be very useful for other EU countries
  • Eurosender: Door-to-door shipping service within the EU
  • Voovit: Good for UK residents
  • ParcelsPlease: Another good UK option
  • Parcelhero: We recommend this as a platform for comparing different services based on your package specifics!
  • Sendmybag: A good option for sending big bags or suitcases.
  • DHL: Another standard option but tends to be the most expensive

Reliable Companies Between Canada/U.S.A and Spain

shippingFor those of you looking to send and receive things from the United States or Canada, remember that if you are flying it is often cheaper to pay for an extra bag on the plane than to ship things. Bolsas prepagados, or prepaid bags, are available for shipment as an alternative to boxes, and often arrive in North America in much better condition than boxes. If you choose to certify your shipment (certificado) for about 5 euros more, you’re in less danger of things getting lost. Here are some good services to check out before sending your things:

  • CangoBox: Very reliable service at very competitive prices
  • Packlink: A way to compare options before picking a courier service
  • Parcel2go: Another parcel delivery comparison website
  • Pharos Parcel Delivery: These guys will pick up your package for you!
  • Sendmybag: A good option for sending big bags or suitcases
  • UPS: A reliable service
  • Citibox España: These guys are the only FedEx dropcenters in Spain
  • Transglobalexpress: Though it’s a UK based company they deliver all over the world

*If you’re sending or receiving things from Latin America, your options are unfortunately more limited. FedEx and UPS are your best bets, and DHL is always an option if you don’t mind their prices. If you’re sending to or from Mexico, you can use Transglobalexpress too!

Our recommendation for easy, reliable & cheap sending of packages within the EU – CangoBox!

CangoBox_symbol

In case you would like to send a package from Spain to home, check out CangoBox – probably the cheapest, easiest & most reliable way at the moment to send packages at least within the European Union. Read more by clicking here!

To send packages worldwide, check out Packlink!

Packlink500x500-01In case you would like to send packages outside the European Union, we also recommend to check out Packlink which allows you to compare options before picking a courier service. Read more by clicking here!

– Melanie

 

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63 comments. Leave new

I sent my daughter a package for Christmas. I believe it was valued at $40 USD. They contacted her and basically are wanting to charge her. Now she said she will never get the package!! Will I get it back? Any thoughts on how to contact customs in Madrid to at least request my package back for when she comes home to the USA?

Thanks for your help!!

Lori Swearingen

Joachim Wolf
23/12/2015 13:01

Hello Lori!

What was their reasoning behind saying she will never get the package? If it’s because she doesn’t want to pay the charge, I’m afariad there is nothing to be done about it. The fee shouldn’t be that much if the value is only $40 so I suggest she just goes through the process and pay the tax. It would be easier for your daughter to contact them as she is already here – I believe she can call or email via contact information on the Correos website. There isn’t much you can do while you’re still in the states.

Customs has a package that was sent as a give and valued under 40 euro. However now they are saying that I need to pay 46.73 euros to have it released to me! 19.19 for gastos por tramitacion DUA and 10 for gastos posicionamiento inspecciones, among others. This seems like its insanely over priced. Is there anyway to talk them down?

Joachim Wolf
28/01/2016 18:12

They impose taxes on almost all packages that come from abroad, this is probably specified in writing somewhere. I suggest contacting the currier company with this question because we don’t have the expertise to advise on legal matters like this.

I live in Tulsa Oklahoma USA and I am expecting 2 packages from Spain, but it’s been 16 days already. The last message that reads in the tracking says : “origin of post is preparing shipment”..that message was left there on January 15, 2016..today is the 28th..should I be concerned, or how long should I wait for my packages to get to the USA?

Joachim Wolf
28/01/2016 18:09

Hey there, I wouldn’t be concerned. It can literally take months to send packages to and from North America. The likely case is that It truly hasn’t even left Spain yet, thing move slowly here. Keep and eye on the tracking status and all you can really do is wait.

Did you ever receive it? I’m waiting for package to be delivered from a company in Spain and it’s taking forever. They say they are waiting to be cleared by US Customs.

I received a notice that i assume says my package is at customs. What do I need to do to get it? Do i need more then my NIE and passport?

Joachim Wolf
05/02/2016 17:31

Hey Brianne! You shouldn’t need more than that! Does the form look like anything we’ve posted here in the article? Or is it completely different?

Thanks for the list of different companies that are reliable other than the big name services. I will have to look into getting them to ship my products and see if that can help lower my shipping costs. Hopefully it will be an easy transition that can be doe quickly.

My mother sent me my grandmother’s wedding ring, now it’s stuck in customs and they want 140 euros to release it. If I don’t pay it in the next 2 days, they say they will return to sender. I’m actually ok with that since I’m so irritated that they want to charge me so much. My question is, knowing the Correos and how terrible they are, is it too big of a risk that it will get lost on the transit back? Is there a way to find out how they will ship it back?

Hi Candice,
It’s a really tough decision and it’s up to you. It’s frustrating to make you pay. On the other hand, there shoudn’t be any really problem to get the package back, but I have my doubts is will be traceable. So sorry to hear you have to go though that. I hope at the end it turns out well! Let us know how it went out! Regards, Teddy

Shipping sounds pretty complicated once you go international. I’m glad I don’t have to worry about that kind of complexity. Thanks for the tips.

I am waiting on a package being shipped from Madrid to the United States and it has been over 15 days. The issue I have is that the sender address I used was my hotel address when I vacationed in Madrid. They would not need to contact me about anything related to customs and send a letter to the hotel addressed to me..Right? I had to use a local address when shipping my box from Madrid to the States using Correos shipping. I hope I receive the shipment. Getting worried!

Hey Candice!

I can’t tell you very much about receiving packages FROM Madrid. Normally the correspondence would happen between the shipping company and the receiver of the package. In all honesty 15 days sounds about average so it is probably almost at your door! To be sure though, try giving a call to your hotel and ask them if they’ve received any mail for you 🙂

– Leah

Thanks for great hints.

I have had a call from custom that my parcel from Iraq has arrived and I need to pay for clearance and I paid, secondly I was fined because they found foreign currency in the parcel and now they say it should pay for airport endorsement. How does this things work

Hi Dorcas. This is a situation you will have to sort out with the Correos office at the airport. Sending money (cash) in the mail without proper documentation, taxes and permissions can raise problems in many places. By doing this you have avoided several controls which normally take place when sending money via Bank Transfer or any other Wire Transfer. You will have to contact them directly and work it out. Sorry we cannot help!

– Leah

Hi I want to send a few things from the Us to my boyfriend in Spain. Is it true that as long as it’s valued under 40€ he will not have to pay any fees to get it? I plan to send small very invaluble things like pictures and US snacks

Hi Jam!

We like to say that as long as its valued around 25 euros you wont be taxed. Just make sure that you label what is inside like “photos” and “used items” or “used clothing” whatever it is inside. If you don’t mention there is food inside and they probably won’t open it up to take a look, as long as its sealed snacks and not fruit or meat of any kind.

But, also keep in mind there are several shops here in Spain which sell typical American snack products and if your boyfriend has been graving things he should check out shops like “Made in America” and “Corte Ingles” which sells a wide variety of American items!

Shipping is hard, especially internationally. I really like your tip to use generic terms to describe the things that you are shipping. I would imagine that if you were descriptive it could tempt dishonest people to get a little too comfortable with your things. Security is important, especially when you’re across the country or world and can’t protect it yourself.

madison hokinting
08/10/2016 18:52

my grandma is sending a package for me; and she said she would send it on Tuesday and its 6 day later and I have not got it what should I do. My grandma lives in ny and i live in Fl

Hi Madison. If you are dealing with packages from New York -> Florida we can’t help you. This blog is dedicated to picking up parcels from the airport in Madrid, Spain.

My mom sent me a package from NYC to Madrid a little over a month ago… I’ve been to correos, paid the fine, and was told that they would send the package to my address once they were done with the inspection they had to do. I still haven’t gotten the package, so I had my study abroad program director call correos and find out what was up. Apparently the box has been stopped in the pharmacy section of customs because my mom decided to put some cough syrup and other cold medicines and vitamins in the box. (Which otherwise was a purse, some sweaters, and a jacket). Any ideas of what I should do? I’m about to head back to the US (in two weeks)!

Hey Caroline!
Unfortunately you won’t be able to pick up your package until the Correos office has officially “released” it. They won’t give it to you unless you have the official paper from them saying it’s ready to pick up. At this point, if you don’t get it before leaving it will probably eventually be sent back to the sender.

I left a well loved teddy bear in a hotel in cordoba and it was going to be sent to my aunt’s house in madrid. A week or so later, they got a notice in the mail for the package to be delivered but it never came. Can you please tell me what might have happened? Thank you.

Also, they said it was to be sent back to the sender, however he never got it back… What is the most likely thing that might have happened to it? Do you think they just didn’t mail it back to the sender?

Hi Kristin.

I’m really sorry to hear about your teddy bear, however it’s pretty much impossible for me to know what has happened to it. This article is meant to help people who have received notification to retrieve their package from the airport in Madrid, and how to start the process. Double check the notice and see if it was a notice of delivery, or if they expected them to pick it up from a Correos office.

I had no idea that packages marked as “gifts” were exempt from customs fees. I can see why this would be important to be aware of when shipping anything from Spain. My good friend is currently living in Spain while going to school. I’ll have to ask him about how he sends things home.

I had no idea that packages specially marked as “gifts” with a value under 45 euros were exempt from customs fees in Spain. I can see how knowing that information could help you figure out good ways to save money on some of your purchases. I would think that choosing a courier service with anytime delivery would be a very convenient way to make sure that your packages get sent straight to you with no issues as well.

Hey Luke!

From experience we can tell you that no matter what courier you chose, or how much you pay them it is very unlikely a big or highly valued parcel will be sent directly to you. There seems to be a disconnect where big parcels from outside EU always end their journey at customs. And from there usually Correos deals with the package, which means it can come to your door, go to a cores pick up office, or require picking up from customs.

Hello leah, i sent package to me boyfriend in spain with a branded shirt, a silver necklace and some coffee mix, juice mix and other mixes for food.. its been 35 days already i sent it 12/12/16 and as 1/17/17 , its still in transit when we track at the correos site…is it possible it was held at customs? The last update was 12/12/16 stating it has depated to destination country which is spain.. im worried..is this normal?

Hey there Angelli!
Where are you sending from? It is most likely either on it’s way or has arrived to customs waiting to be sent off at its final destination. Keep checking up on the tracking and it should show you when it arrives at customs!

Hey,
I’ve been shipping my packages with Eurosender not only in Germany but in other European countries too. It’s my first choice, very reliable.

Biljana Stojanovic
07/02/2017 15:00

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!

You said it right Biljana!!!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told my parents to just order whatever they need from Amazon.es or to just wait until I come home to visit!!

Comment *they sent me a package but they later release that there was money in the package and dat I should pay panalty fee for that

Hey There,

Yes, the truth is that normally you are not allowed to send money in cash form via postal service, especially large sums. You are avoiding taxes and all the other normal fees that go into a transfer by doing so, so this is why they have given you a penalty fee!

I had never considered to change the wording slightly to prevent from being taxed. I can see why using the word “old” and “used” would give the impression that whatever is inside isn’t that valuable. My mom is always sending packages to her children that live across the country or in other countries. I’ll have to recommend that she do this in the future.

Great article and very well explained. I really appreciate the insight here in this post and confident it’s going to be helpful to me and many others. Thanks for sharing all the information and useful tips. So useful for everyone.

Frank Rudolf
09/04/2017 16:53

Hi Everyone !
As a family that sent few care packages to friends who serve our country abroad, we would like to share with you our experience in sending gifts, flowers , alcohol to places across the world .
Its always easier to send gifts from the same country , most western countries have already the right American trademark we need, and the the tax duties already been paid ,since its ship from inside, the delivery is much easier , cheaper and faster .
So if you need to send alcohol to Japan, use Japanese’s provider, for Korean, use Korean…. HOWEVER, for Europe, it’s even easier, as European Union countries are allowing to ship alcohol from one country member to another .
For example, we found a Gift Basket & Alcohol company in Europe, that cover 26 European countries, so after we placed order with them (Their name is Walwater Gifts, I think) , they contacted the recipient to arrange the delivery to Italy, provided us with a parcel link ( DHL or UPS ) , made sure that the content is safe, and they actually send in the parcel a Jack Daniels 700ml bottle together with all the chocolates we added , by this we skipped the tax restrictions if we would send it from USA.
So since then , if we have any delivery to Europe, either Germany, Italy, Poland , Belgium , we use their service, delivery is cheaper, the time delivery is faster, we get Proof of delivery , personal care for each parcel that goes to US army base , there is no tax fee for the recipient and more.
In the past , the post been our only solution , but even than, it was limited , also inside USA and to Canada. Now times are different, you can place an order with flowers and gifts websites, who usually use the local vendors . As we found one gift baskets producer in Europe , that collaborate with many international website, we pay no middleman fee that other customers may pay if the use the international gift websites .
Delivery to middle east , to Muslim countries it’s a bit harder to send care packages , as together to the hot weather , there are many other restrictions , Alcohol, coffee, chocolates and too many things that you could not believe… but as for Japan, Europe, Korea , Just use local ones who can provide you with known trademarks & fast service .
Good Luck , hope we helped 🙂

Please help …. I left my parents house on 1 May after visiting (I live in Spain) … stupidly I left my mobile phone at my parents house accidentally. I telephoned my Dad and asked him to post it to me in the morning. He did that via Royal Mail and gave me the tracking number. I am still waiting …. it arrived at Barajas Spain on 7th May. What happens now. I am lost without my phone. It is not really valuable in terms of money as it was second hand from my Niece about 2 years ago. My Dad removed the SIM and put that into a separate envelope with the package. Any idea when I will receive my phone?

This is some really good information about receiving packages. I liked that you pointed out that it is best to see if you can fit everything in on the box. It does seem like a good idea to think about if you need to get multiple things. Personally, I hate having multiple boxes for packages in my home as well.

Hi, my company has an office in Madrid. The building won’t let packages be delivered. This is inconvenient for the employees because if they are expecting a package to be delivered they need to take the day off and stay home to wait for the package. Does anyone know if there are any downtown locations where packages can be dropped off and held for these employees and they could walk there during lunch to pick up the package?

Hey Courtney!

You can send your packages to the Citylife Madrid office! If you let us know every time you’re expecting a package then we can let you know once it’s arrived! You’ll find out address on the bottom of every page 🙂

Im in Washington, DC USA and i’ve waiting like 3 weeks for a package to come from Spain. How long is normal to expect a package to arrive?

Hi
I am very worry! I send a small box from Turkey. It was a for PHD greetings for my friend. There are not expensive things and not heavy, almost 0.5 kg. I send it 1 june 2017. And they wrote “Dispatch from the point of origin international Office” in 3 june 2017. And from the that time it is same. today 14 june 2017… I thougth it is waiting in customs. But I am not sure.. How can I learn it? Is this a normal process?

It’s very normal for things to take a long time to get where they’re going! Do not worry yet!

🙂 muchos graciass, I am better!

I sent a package via Royal Mail on the 5th of June from UK to Spain as I had to return some wrong items that Amazon.es sent me. The items have arrived at Barajas Airport on the 8th of June and progress has been made. This is an absolute tragedy, what can take so long for a tiny package fully labeled and secured to get shipped to Amazon which is based 10 kilometres away from Barajas!

mary jane
22/06/2017 06:24

I sent my package last june 2 2017 from manila going to spain,the lady clerk told me that it will arrived at 7 days maximum but until now it was not yet delivered.The parcel contains nothing of valuable its just a green tea and foodsupplent.Please do help me because my friend the recepient will transfer to other state on june 25.i do hope you can help me.

Thanks for posting blog about sending and receiving packages. Its really helps to know more about these how to send and receive packages and also helps to hire them according to their needs.

Hi I want to ship my luggage but they say I should put my soft suitcase in a cardboard box to be able to ship it. Can anyone help me on where I can buy something like that, as it is not a normal square shaped box…

thank you so much for writing a blog post on packages.

I am moving back to the US from Madrid. Just how unreliable is the Correos? I used Packlink and the cheapest price was with Correos Express. Is it worth the risk?

Thanks for the awesome post on packages

This is some really good article about movers. I like that you pointed out everything in this article. It might also be a good idea to hire professional movers. That way you know your stuff will get to your new home safely.

JOSEPHINE NAKAKANDE
22/09/2017 09:44

Please help. I would like to pick some things from Spain to Uganda. The things are in Nueva Travesia Buenavista 10, 5° centro. (15006) A Coruña, Spain.These are things donated by community members from Spain to rural poor community members in Uganda. They include:- Shorts, trousers, dresses, shirts, t-shirts, ball t-shirts jackets, bodies, baby dresses, shocks, toys, sandals, boots, tennis balls, shoes, sport shoes, pencils color, pencils, drawing pencils, notebooks, full scabs, table games, bags, balls, sweaters, jersey. They are packed in more than 30 boxes and make 300 kg.
Please help. The person keeping the items has no space. I would like to transport them immediately
I will be glad if I am helped

Christine
13/10/2017 17:11

My daughter moved from South Korea to Madrid and customs are detaining all boxes containing her clothes. She’s already paid them an extra 35 euros, but they haven’t sent her things. What can she do?

My daughter is shifting to Ontario, please suggest a best option for moving boxes, don’t worry about the money. All I want things should reach its destination in 100% perfect condition.

Really great tips!Thanks for your great information.

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