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Sending and Receiving Packages in Peru…

 

There is nothing like the joy of receiving a package from family or something like an item from eBay!  This post is dedicated to sending packages TO Peru from the US. To send packages or documents to the US, we usually use Serpost.  I will try make this as pain free as possible.  There is a lot of talk about the best way to have packages sent to Peru.  Most of my family is in the US so I will offer my experience with receiving packages in Peru.  This is based on over five years of experience. I know a lot of people will disagree with me and I welcome feedback and experience from others.

As for sending documents or packages to the US:  It depends on the value, usually we use SERPOST, the Peruvian postal service.  It’s one of  most cost effective and fairly efficient methods.  For more information: http://www.serpost.com.pe/

Documents

It is just that, a document, something of no tangible value though it may be priceless to you.  Convertible instruments are another story, one I will let someone else with experience write about.  You may prefer to send documents to Peru using UPS, FEDEX, DHL, TNT or another global delivery service.  In five plus years of living here in Peru, I have never had an issue with documents being sent to me or sending documents to the States.  This includes things like credit cards, diplomas, correspondence, but nothing of value.  If you live in Lima, the capital of Peru, you are in a lot better position to receive packages in a timely manner.  Usually no more than 24-48 hours.  I live in the provinces and things take about 4 days to get here using next day air service.  I have heard a lot of friends talk about issues they have with these carriers and I can empathize with them.  Issues include; lost packages, additional fees, delays in delivery and more.  While it is unfortunate, the same issues plague other countries.  Peru is a lot better than many in this regard. In all the years I have lived here, I have only had one lost item, a card my father sent me using regular mail.  My guess is it will show up in a few years.

Preferred service:  USPS Global Express service.  The cost is less than any of the other air option and delivery is guaranteed.

Delivery: Lima 24-72 hours.  Provinces: 3-5 days.

Success rate:  100%.

USPS Websitehttps://www.usps.com/ship/gxg.htm

 

Packages

This is a major issue for most expats in Peru.  Shipping things to Peru is expensive but sometimes necessary.  There are some products that you just can’t get here, not a lot of things, but some.  Here is the scoop:  If you use any carrier other than the USPS your package is going to be held in customs 100% of the time.  While there it can incur storage fees and/or duties (taxes) in some cases. The delay can be as short as a few days or as long as several weeks.

Why so many issues?  There are few issues with lost or stolen packages here.  The real problem is a lack of knowledge of laws, processes and the language. Peru is a predominately a Spanish speaking country.  Outside of tourist areas you are going to be hard pressed to find English speakers.  Why is this an issue?  Try dealing with SUNAT or SERPOST in English and get back to me.

Are you crazy?  No, in fact this is the best way to get your package here in a cost effective and timely manner.  In all the years of having things sent to me here I have never had a package go missing.  I have been charged duties on two packages, but that was when I first lived in Peru in the late 90’s.

What do you have sent?  I have DVDs, Video Games, Vitamins and Supplements, replacement parts for things I can’t get here, just to name a few.

Why USPS?  SERPOST, the Peruvian equivalent of the USPS only screens about 10% of incoming packages.  So, right off the bat you have a 90% chance your package is going to be delivered straight to you.  Generally, if the declared value is less than $100 or it is a gift you won’t pay any additional fees.  This is completely discretionary and you never know what will be assessed additional duties.  Cost:  USPS Global Express 5 pounds for around US$70, with 1-3 day delivery or Priority International, up to 20 pounds for about US$60 with 6-10 day delivery.

What if I owe duties on a package? You will receive a notification that you have a package.  With UPS/FEDEX/DHL they will call you or better you can call them.  Give them the tracking information and your email address for timely updates.  With USPS, SERPOST will drop of a notice informing you that you have a package waiting to be picked up.  Go to the branch listed on the notice, wait in line and pay your fee, they will hand you your package and off you go. It’s not quite that simple but that is the essence of the process.

Success rate:  100%.

USPS Websitehttp://postcalc.usps.gov/


Additional Information:

Duties:

What Peruvian Law says:  Basically it translates to you are allowed to send packages with a value of up to US$100, NOT including postage/shipping charges.  With a maximum of US$1,000 per calendar year, are not subject to tax.  This is for personal use only, not commercial purposes.

http://www.sunat.gob.pe/orientacionaduanera/enviospostales/index.html

La norma legal específica para este tipo de envíos, es el Reglamento de los Destinos Aduaneros Especiales del Servicio Postal y del Servicio de Mensajería Internacional D.S. N° 067-2006-EF. De conformidad con lo dispuesto los bienes de uso personal y exclusivo del destinatario transportados por los concesionarios postales (correo o empresas de mensajería courrier) cuyo valor FOB no supere los cien dólares americanos (US $ 100,00) (no incluye el valor del transporte) hasta un límite de mil dólares americanos (US $ 1 000,00) durante un año calendario, no están sujetos al pago de tributos.

Prohibited /Restricted Items:

Please refer to the latest updates from SUNAT/Aduanas:http://www.sunat.gob.pe/orientacionaduanera/mercanciasrestringidas/index.html

Privacy:

My packages that have been sent via UPS or FEDEX for example are always opened and have my resident ID #(now my DNI) added to the bill of lading.  Items sent via USPS, not really sure if they track them or not.  I would assume so given Peru’s love affair with bureaucracy and paperwork but only 1 in 10 is actually inspected.  <– Really!

Hints and Tips:

  • Don’t send prohibited items.  Peru has very few restrictions.
  • Packages over 2kg and over must be picked up and are selected for additional inspection more often.
  • Packages sent USPS/RoyalMail. incur a 50 centimo per day storage fee + S/. 7.00 with SERPOST. If selected for screening.
  • If possible, use the online services offered by the USPS to print the customs form. If not…
  • Make sure the sender writes very clearly what is included in the package.
  • It does not need to be an item by item breakdown, just general contents.
  • If the inspector can’t read what’s in the box, they are going to open it and inspect it.
  • Make sure the document or package is sent with tracking.  Make sure that tracking number is given to the recipient.
  • Peru now has postal codes for the ENTIRE country, not just Lima, USE them. http://www.mtc.gob.pe/portal/CPOSTAL/Listado_codigo_postal.html
  • Make sure the package is clearly addressed.  Here the house number is listed last in the main address line, opposite the US.  In rural areas the addresses here are crazy.
Example:
 John Smith
Av. Centenario 980
Pucallpa, Peru 25000
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Comments (101)

  1. Silvia

    Hi, I sent a package via USPS (First Class Package International Service) from USA to Lima, Peru on December 7th and so far my friend has not received. I tracked it in USPS and it says that is in transit, that it was sorted out in Chicago and left the office. My friend in Peru checked with Serpost providing the tracking number (number in US customs form) and they said that it has not entered Peru.
    Do you have any thoughts on what might have happened? I have been told that this type of service can take around 6 weeks?Thanks!

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