Sending and receiving packages abroad – Hints & Tips!

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For 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 abroad. 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

checklist packages

One 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 at discount.
  • 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

shipping packages abroad

For 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!


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!


In 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

Leah has been living in and exploring Madrid since 2013 when she moved to the city for a simple summer abroad. She started the Citylife Blog in 2014 with the goal to share everything there is to know about her favourite place on earth!

114 Comments. Leave new

  • Wendy McIntosh
    29/09/2023 21:49

    My daughter sent a parcel from madrid to sydney australia. Tracking history says it is cleared and awaiting international departure that was on the 19/9/23 and it is still showing the same thing. She also thinks she put her address in australia as sender not the address in spain that she was staying at. Is there anything we can do to fix this

  • I have a Question
    Does Correos Hold money for customer to Confirm the Parcel and After confirmation money will be sent to Seller???

    • Hi Kalash,

      Not quite. It Correos charges a fee to the sender/reciever it’s to a tax fee that has been put in place by the government or to cover a service fee if the package required special care or if the delivery company requires a fee (usually this is communicate in advance). The fees do not get returned as they are meant to cover a cost.

  • Hi, I just got back to the US from Madrid and realized I left a (beloved) sweater at the hotel (located kind of between the Royal Palace and the Temple of Debod). Any advice as to how best to get the sweater picked up at the hotel and mailed to me would be very much appreciated!!

  • Wondering if anyone has any experience trying to ship foodstuffs to Spain recently. My shipment containing coffee beans, tea bags was recently rejected by Spain customs. There was no issue with a previous shipment containing coffee beans. It seems that foodstuffs are now prohibited.

    • Yes, to my knowledge, Spain has the strictest rules for this. You need to be registered to import any foodstuffs with a health code…

  • I’m a US citizen living in Spain have a package coming from the States. The tracking via USPS says “Your item departed a transfer airport in BARAJAS, MADRID, SPAIN on January 12, 2022 at 12:06 pm. The item is currently in transit to the destination.” Of course, today is January 25th and no sign of the package and no further updates so I don’t know what’s going on. Is there anything I can do in this situation? What should I expect?

    • John Davies
      21/03/2022 19:03

      I have given up on receiving products from outside of Spain and that includes Amazon. The telephone number for Madrid customs rings and rings and no one answers. Their E mail address does not work either.

      01/02/2023 18:52

      Good luck! I sent a package to my son in Spain from the US on 11/30/22 and just received it back 1/28/23. Aot of money to ship it to myself. They supposedly attempted delivery once then held it a the local post office in madrid until USPS contacted them multiple times and suddenly without any tracking info it was returned to me rather than being available for my son to pick up.

    • Amelia Rynkowska
      02/10/2023 20:17

      Same happened to me…. did you ever get your package? mine has said, “departed a transfer airport in BARAJAS, MADRID, SPAIN on August 20, 2023 at 10:04 am. The item is currently in transit to the destination”. I still have not received anything…. shall I expect it to be a lost cause? over a month and no update.

      Any help would be greatly appreciated as USPS can’t help me and I don’t know who to contact in Madrid?


  • Richard Wood
    08/01/2022 19:26

    Hi you seem to be one of the few English speaking sites on the web that are giving some help to old Brits like me who are trying to find a translated form from which states that the Spanish paper I have that “This document is available in English” but for 2 days now I have searched but the Correos website only has limited English and as soon as a form or question asking what you want comes up it is ONLY IN SPANISH. i wish to fill in a form on my computer to send it back quickly. A parcel is stuck in Madrid with a €25.0 value which is crazy as it is a personalised calender of my grandchildren +2 Christmas cards .

  • Melanie Rice
    12/11/2021 16:33

    Hello! I received notification that my package has arrived and is being held by customs. I went to the ADT Correos website as instructed and everything went smoothly until they wanted me to upload my identification. I put in my NIE and name and it says it is not registered with the AEAT. I am not sure what to do now. Should I pick up my package through the AEAT instead of the Correos?

    • Hi I’m having the same problem did you resolve the issue some feed back would be great .
      I’ve made an account uploaded nie and filled in the forms but there not excepting them.

  • My son sent a parcel from australia to my local correos post office as we cannot get deliveries where we live will correos accept the parcel and can we collect.

    • Hi Jane, firstly the package will go through customs and wait to be released for delivery within Spain. Normally they send a claimant form to the recipient (aka you). You would need to fill out the claimant form and indicate where correos should deliver the package. If they are unable to deliver to your home address then they should bring it to the nearest post office to the delivery address and then inform you via sms or via letter that it is there. That is how it is supposed to work, however it’s often a big mess and a headache and the papers go missing. Try to keep track of the package the best you can to make sure you dont miss it.

      • Hi Leah I’ve come across your comments hope you done mind.
        I’m having the same problem with documentation.
        I’m tourist and I’ve sent parcel from the uk to be sent to corroes postal office but there not realising package until forms are filled out .
        I’ve only a passport so my friend has put there nie t help it go more smoothly but still saying my documentations not been accepted. There’s 2 forms I’ve filled out there’s no one to say if it’s been done correctly or no advise just wondering if you could give some tips to we’re I’m going wrong .

  • Deborah Cobourne
    09/04/2020 18:03

    HELP! I was studying abroad in Barcelona for three months from Jan 5th to March 28th of 2020. My dad sent me my credit card, a bottle of hair oil, and two jars of hair dye to my host family in Barcelona. It arrived in Customs Jan 14th and it has been in customs ever since. I’ve now returned to New York and I read online that if they don’t send it back to the sender they will destroy the package. Do you know how I can get in contact with them?

    • T. Judy Heiss
      26/10/2020 16:44

      I got on Facebook for Correos and sent them a message re: the package and the tracking number. They sent me the dept. of Correos I had to contact. Don;t expect speediness. It took a year and 3 months for the package to get back to me.

  • Aja bintou jarju
    02/01/2020 11:12

    my brother send me telephone from USA being held in madrid custom I dont know why is being held down for 3months now. How can you get my package to Lleida
    Reply please

    • Rochelle ann allen
      17/07/2021 14:08

      Hey can I ask also my frnd send me stuff from Cyprus then they said its arrive but the problem here in saudi have costume so I need to pay them 1300 dollars is this true guys pls send a advice

      • Hi Rochelle, sorry but can you clarify for me if the package is in customs in Madrid? I see the package is coming from Cyrups and you are in Saudi Arabia.

    06/11/2019 23:30

    I brought some fancy dress costumes which didn’t fit on a New Zealand website and i sent back as RETURNS DOCKET SAID TO SPAIN AND THEY’RE BEEN HELD IN CUSTOMS FOR CLEARANCE…ITS BEEN THERE A MONTH WHAT HAPPENS NEXT.

  • Hi there,
    This article was very helpful. I recently sent back a pair of shoes I bought from a Spanish Company (Paloma Wool) and according to my tracking it has been in Madrid customs for about 25 days!!!
    I marked it as a return on the package and it was shipped from Australian (where I live). I’ve contacted the company and they said they have sent the necessary paper work to Spanish company but it’s basically out of their hands. Any advice on what to do next? Do you think they will ever get there? They were expensive shoes so I really want a refund.

  • Your tips are really very helpful, thanks a lot.

  • thanks for the information

  • I am doing ivf in Gran Canaria and my sister in law is in Spain sending me hormone pills prescribed by my doctor for me. I am in USA but I will be physically in Spain in one month for embryo transfer. I am supposed to take this medication starting in two weeks. She picked it up from the pharmacy it is in a small box. She is in Lanzarote sending it to Miami. What do you think? Will I receive my medication if she sends it by mail?

  • Thanks for sharing Nice Information. Great article and very well explained this post. this post helpful for me and many others.

  • Is there a maximum amount that the package can be valued? my friend wanted me to send 50 juul pods for him, should be valued in 500$, is that ok?

  • Ann Marie Deignan
    10/05/2019 16:41

    I live in Madrid, and was due to receive two important pieces of mail about three weeks ago. Neither have arrived. Both were sent in standard, letter-size envelopes; one from the United States, and one from Alicante (in Spain). I have made several attempts at finding out what happened, but Correos has been incredibly unhelpful. I have asked specific questions, and they refuse to answer, and have asked what my options are, and they say I have none but to wait. Any advice on what I could do to trace these items?

  • Ann Marie Deignan
    10/05/2019 16:39

    I have a question about receiving regular mail in Spain. I live in Madrid, and was due to receive two important pieces of mail about three weeks ago. Neither have arrived. Both were sent in standard, letter-size envelopes; one from the United States, and one from Alicante (in Spain). I have made several attempts at finding out what happened, but Correos has been incredibly unhelpful. I have asked specific questions, and they refuse to answer, and have asked what my options are, and they say I have none but to wait. Any advice on what I could do to trace these items?

  • Odia Divine Eires
    10/04/2019 13:31

    my friend send me telephone from USA being held in madrid custom I dont know why is being held down

  • Elizabeth
    09/02/2019 17:10

    My daughter’s cell phone was stolen and we are sending her a replacement. Any advice on how to send it? It’s a refurbished phone from
    Insurance company. Should we in pack it and send it or send in original shipping box. I’m concerned she will be charged a lot of taxes.
    Also is UPS best way to send it?

  • Kelly Michele Gage
    12/01/2019 02:09

    Hello, thanks for the tips! I’m sending a care package to my niece in Barcelona (her fav snacks) so it sounds like UPS is the best way to go? To mark it as a gift, and make the value as $40 and that they are toiletries… correct?

  • Thanks for helping me understand that putting labels that are vague can help reduce the tax. I will follow your advice since I am on a limited budget right now. This is because I have bought a lot of items to send to my relatives. These are late Christmas presents for them since I was too busy with parties and other commitments to manage this.

    • Hi my duaghter had her phone stolen in madrid..i need ti send her a new phone fron New york. Anyvsuggestions who I should use.

  • Hello! I paid the tax for my package last week and I still have not heard anything else about receiving it. How long should it take to get to me? What is the next step?

  • Being waiting 12 days for my parcel from Spain no updates on on any parcel tracking app called up correos no help telling me about waiting 15 days any help

  • Calin Petrescu
    18/09/2018 21:51


    I am dealing with a new situation for me. Last week on 12 October I send from Austria to Madrid in one of those bubble prof envelopes a letter, a CD and a very small necklace in a small bag from some textile and the textile bag in a paper bag. I put the my address and the receivers correct address on the side of the envelope and sent it with priority post. It has been now five days and it did not got to the receiver.

    I want to ask you if I did something wrong and if so is it possible to get it back in case it cannot reach the receiver because of other issues?

    Thank you!

    Best regards,

  • Riccardo
    10/09/2018 13:03

    Hi there,
    is there any site that offers packaging and shipping services?
    All the services I came across are shipping only, and do not offer to get the parcel ready on my behalf.

  • Yes very nice post and great commenters.. very informative for me and others thanks for the shared with us..

  • Thank you for pointing out how helpful to use the words “gift,” “used,” and “old personal belongings” in order to avoid paying taxes when having something delivered. I will mention this to my sister since she is the one who will be sending something over to our mom. Knowing her, I am sure she would want to avoid taxes as much as possible, so I will suggest she try this out.

  • Thank you so much for your information.

  • Delamare
    29/07/2018 13:35

    I have a pkg. in Barajas Aduanas _ one of the most frustrating experiences!
    Her are the steps I followed to date:
    1:Their web site: does not accept US passport as id
    2:Phone: Am told the pkg with the proper number, cannot be found!
    3:Mail: Filling out the form and sending appropriate photocopies, with the help of my local post office. Result: SILENCE! followed by a new notice that the pkg. would soon be returned to sender
    4:E-mail to their Customer Help: Here is the answer I just received:
    Estimado clienteInformamos que puede el DNI o NIE de una tercera persona, puede realizar la importación a nombre de una tercera persona, ya que el importador no tiene que ser necesariamente el destinatario. Para ello ,tiene que indicarnos los datos de esta persona en el aviso de llegada, indicar que firme el aviso de llegada y adjuntar una fotocopia de su DNI.Reciba un cordial saludo.

    Needless to say, this policy is nothing less than idiotic. Note: these “tramites have taken me approximately one month so far to reach this point.

    My only advice to anyone in this situation: proceed directly to step 4, which can be done on their web site. Only needs you to find a friendly Spaniard to lend a hand (and their NIF).
    Hope this helps someone!

    • hi, thank you for advice. But what is the email address?

      I have a package return to a company in spain, which i cant fit the suit that i ordered, so i return it. the thing is, package is held in custom and my refund will not be gotten until the company receive my package, problem is company tell me that the package will return back to me.

      which is a waste of postage money since shipping from my country is very expensive to spain…

      how do i clear it because, this is a return item and not a sale…

  • Hi guys, thanks for all the info. I’ve sent my wedding’s guests gifts over to Ibiza where I’m getting married from Sydney and I got the letter to send more details before releasing them. Quick question: do I need to validate my Australian ID or is this fine? I just noticed there’s some fine print at the bottom of the document that talks about AEAT and it’s confused me entirely!
    Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

  • Tina Sibley
    03/05/2018 18:17

    I’m having all sorts of problems and really wish I hadn’t bothered.

    I left Spain in November to embark on 6 months of travel in Canada and the US. I foolishly took too much stuff, so sent a box of stuff back to a friend’s address for me to collect on my return.

    I’ve given them my friend’s NIE, my passport and to the best of my knowledge filled out the form regarding the contents (I can’t even remember everything I put in the box). I’ve explained that these are old personal effects of mine and the reason I posted them.

    Now they want proof that the belongings are mine and are older than 6 months. However, I don’t keep receipts for stuff that’s old – does anyone?

    They also wanted my flight details proving that I travelled from Spain – which I’ve sent them.

    This is all getting beyond a joke! And I sent a second box with my winter gear too.

    I so wish I’d put up with the inconvenience of travelling with my stuff and paid any excess baggage – it would have been so much easier!

    Any ideas on how I get my stuff released?

  • Our friends in the US sent some clothes, for our twins last December. I received the form to fill in about the contents and value and requesting the receipts. Our friends were on holiday in Brazil and were unable to forward the receipts in time and eventually the package was returned. This I don’t understand as the original receipts were attached to the package and the customs could have looked for themselves. They posted the package again on their return to the US in January. Since then, we still haven’t received the package!! I have been through a continuous correspondence to get them released I have paid some duty and as I have now heard it is in the process of being forwarded to us. If you are receiving items outside of the EU make sure you have all the receipts etc mailed to you and be very careful as to how you fill in the online declaration form. Fortunately we have a friend who is fluent in Spanish and has been on the phone to them several times to help this along. It has been very time consuming for a few items of clothing for children! If you can, avoid any imports to Spain from outside the EU, get them sent to the UK or somewhere or order online within the EU. Spain is a total loss…

  • I have to ship a phone to my daughter…what should I label it??? Should I value it low?

  • I would like to send a gift from Switzerland to my mother in law in spain. Contents under 40euros. As switzerland in a non eu country will she have to pay custom taxes to receive this?

  • Hi, I want to send a package to our exchange student and his family for Christmas — want to send him local honey, syrup and candy all produced in our home state. If I understand your post correctly… I should state the box is a gift and contains food instead of specific items, correct? Thanks!

  • Really great tips!Thanks for your great information.

  • 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?

    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

  • 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.

  • 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?

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

  • Michelle
    14/07/2017 12:59

    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…

  • 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.

  • 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 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!

  • 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?

  • 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?

  • Courtney
    12/06/2017 17:37

    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 🙂

  • 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?

  • 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 🙂

  • 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!

  • 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 or to just wait until I come home to visit!!

  • 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.

  • 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 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 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.

  • 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 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.

  • caroline
    30/11/2016 13:18

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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

  • Thanks for great hints.

  • 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

      • Linda Clark
        02/03/2018 16:10

        I am wanting for a package and it is in Germany and they are holding it on till l pay 12,500 us dollars and say if l don’t they will confiscate it it came from a friend in Baghdad and he is in the war done what can l do

  • really nice post.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • Howard Reed
    19/03/2016 04:59

    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.

  • 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?

  • 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, 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.

    • Do you ever receive your package? I’m waiting for one now, from Spain to Canada, but the store I bought this from says the shipping company is Now asking for my personal id?!

  • 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.

    • Antonija Sanader
      26/09/2018 02:09

      Hi K,
      Dont forget tnat duty tax if calculated is not only based on value sender indicated but they add shiping fee to that amount as well! So if you payed shipping 30$ cca + 40$ value= 70$ which exceedes 50 euros which, if parcel marked gift, id not subject to duty tax, but in your case it is more than 50! Further more when they do calculate import tax on a parcel, fixed price of cca 20-25€ is payed to start with, and that covers cost of their “service” and in your case 15-20 euros left is import tax charged to an amount of cca 60€….maybe i am not correct with amounts but proceduree is def the one used in EU. Hope it helped

    • How do I receive some face creams and lotions from United States ? The customs will clear small packages? First time they refused that’s why

      • Typically thing coming from outside the EU will take a long time to go through customs. There is no real standard rule behind their methods, but the process to get something through customs can be difficult. I recommend you try ordering the product through european sales site like or -uk or .de for example.

  • 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.

      • Hi there, I’m wanting to purchase a dress from Spain online however they only send items locally.
        Do you have any idea how to get my item sent to Australia?

        • Antonija Sanader
          26/09/2018 02:01

          Hi Andrea,
          I am willing to give you my adress i live in EU and i will forward it yo you as a gift if i can use you fot the same thing! I would biy something in aus and they dont ship internationally so i need volunteer to receive it there and forward it to me to EU


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