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Sending and Receiving Packages in Peru…

11.03.2014 – Deliveries have resumed as normal. I received a package from the US. Came straight to my home, on Nov. 5th. Not inspected.

13.10.2014 – As of September 16, SERPOST has been on a nationwide strike. Packages are severely delayed. There is no end date for the strike. Hopefully they will be back to work soon and the impact will be minimized.

 

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 (120)

  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!

  2. ROY

    As of May 2014 much has changed with Serpost package service Now all packages are held in Lima for inspection. All over the counter type of medicines, vitamins, all lotions and creams will need a hospital or doctor to supply documents to prove you need these items to treat a disease. All other items will be assed for taxation. They tell me they will send notification to my post office box in Cusco for the amount to be paid for the import duties. For 10 weeks now i have received no information about the status of my parcels shipped from United States and Canada. Almost all of the Serpost employees in Cusco have been fired from their jobs. The package and taxation office now has only one very depressed employee. Many people at the office looking for their packages, but all the in formation you get is that it might be in Lima waiting to be processed. It use to be a very efficient postal and taxation office, with very polite employees. I have received hundreds of parcels there over the past 10 years without any problems. They checked the package contents, told me the taxes due, walk up the AV Del SOL to the bank to pay the taxes due, usually about 20%, return to the post office to receive the packages. Not any more.

    As for shipping packages by FED EX or similar services, it is not much better. When the package arrives in Lima, the courier service loses control of the package at the customs office. Then you will experience some infighting between government departments on who’s jurisdiction the package contents comes under. After several visits to their office trying to supply the required paperwork, you find it much faster to slip a $100 or so the expedite to process. Always let a Peruvian friend do the $100 handshake, they know how to politely do it, as not to offend anyone. You can hire a company which has employees who know the system, to help take some of the heart ache out of dealing with the antiquated customs rules.

    As of June of 2014, i would not send any packages of any kind to Peru, unless you do not care if you ever hear tell of them again. I still receive official looking letters from American government agencies, but nothing else.

    I hope who ever wrecked the Peruvian postal system decides to change it back to the previous system soon.

  3. I don’t know if that is correct or not. If you could please cite some links or sources, that would help a lot.
    This is the most up to date info I could find. Nothing has changed int the last two years. I was hassled with my last shipment of vitamins, some time back. But paid my tax and that was it. No forms or certificates.

    Here is a link with the latest info I could find, thanks to another reader for the heads-up. $200 only applies to legal residents, citizens and companies. Hope that helps.

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

  4. Richard Alcedo

    Hello, a package was sent to me from Joel Saez, on 7/24 and to this day I have not receved the package, please look into this.
    Thanks
    Ricardo Alcedo

  5. Crisz

    Hello dear: im really looking for help. My american friend has rentist visa and as far as i know that kind of visa allows to bring all the things you want without paying taxes. So what if i tell you that he is planning to ask a frie.d to send him a package value in 1500 $. What can he do.now? In some serpost they allow him to get his packages value on $250 But in others sunat make him paid taxes. Please help we both feel lost

  6. Rentista nor any visa class except diplomatic would be responsible for taxes on an individual package valued at $100 or more. Sometimes they don’t screen the packages, and are sometimes nice and don’t charge you. It seems to be quite discretionary. Your friend will be responsible for whatever taxes SUNAT values the package, regardless of the declared value. So don’t undervalue the package or if it is lost, you are only able to recover the declared value. You are allowed an exemption of up to $3000 per year as long as the items are for personal use and not to be resold, but only $100 a package). You need to file paperwork with SUNAT to recover the taxes (IGV) paid. I’ve always just paid my taxes and not complained. I have never tried to get my taxes back. I don’t think we have been taxed more than a few hundred dollars in a year. Nothing in 2014.

  7. Michelle

    Hi Scoot, thank you for your post!
    So if I want to send something to Peru (it is a business), is this how I would address it? How do I know the postal code? Should I add anything else?

    Thanks!

    Manuel Olaechea 134
    Miraflores District
    Lima

  8. We are in Lima right now, sorry for the delay in replying.You should use a postal code as well. You can find a link in my article, it has all the current postal codes.

  9. Sorry, you would need to do that with SERPOST.

  10. James

    I ordered a package from Peru and serpost is shipping it. It came with a tracking number it was brought in late Saturday afternoon. It’s Tuesday now and it still says package not found when I type the tracking number in… Is that usual? Do they sometimes not scan a package through the prosses or do they only tell you when it’s deliverd? Does it take a few days for the post office to actually start shipping it???

  11. It is common for the tracking to stop updating when the item reaches Peru. It has taken as long as a month and as few as 4 days to receive packages from the States and UK. Usually it only takes a few days once it reches Peru, depending on where you live.

  12. Kathryn

    I shipped a Gucci purse valued at US$711 from the US to Peru on September 12 via USPS Priority Mail International. I completed the required customs form using the USPS website (PS Form 2976-A).

    Just today I read on the USPS website that items valued at over $200 shipped to Peru require a consular invoice. What is this and what will happen to my package since I did not supply one?

  13. They will charge the recipient tax on whatever they feel the value is. They consult online resources at their disposal and will charge 14-19% tax on the value, as they determine. The recipient will have to go pickup the package and pay at that time.

  14. James

    So I guess the reason for no tracking is the strike going on. I can hardly find info on it. Does anyone know how that’s going? Is it almost done?? Is there a way for me to find out? How long does it usually last??

  15. Michelle

    Hi Scoot,
    Thank you and sorry to ask. How do I determine the postal code for the address I gave? I can google map it, but don’t understand the code.
    Can you help? Sorry..

  16. luz

    Each city (we call it districts in spanish) inside the capital Lima has their own postal codes for Miraflores the code is 18, and should be write as follows:
    Manuel Olaechea 134
    Miraflores
    Lima 18

    And for other districts is the same, first the name of the district follow by the name of the capital: Lima and the postal code of the district

  17. Kathryn

    I shipped a 2-pound package via USPS Priority Mail International that was processed through the Chicago sort facility on September 14 and just showed up at the Peru sort facility on October 23. Is that normal? I had assumed the package was lost or stolen.

    How much longer should it be before my recipient in Lima gets a notice to go to the post office to pay import charges and pick up their package?

  18. Usually 5-7 days. With the backlog from the strike, it may take a few days longer. I just had a package enter Lima on the 3rd and it was delivered on the 5th. I wouldn’t worry too much.

  19. Anonymous

    I shipped a large letter from USPS in Chicago on October 31st and the recipient in Lima has still not received (11 days later). Do you think it will be delivered soon?

  20. Hi there!
    A friend of mine in California has a package for me and I’m from Peru. Do I can pay from here and expect that USPS pickup the package at her home and Delivered to Peru? then how could I get Serpost service? I hope get some help
    greetings :)

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