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Author Topic: Sending Items by Mail to Russia, Ukraine and Belarus (FSU)  (Read 76745 times)

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Offline P356

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Sending Items by Mail to Russia, Ukraine and Belarus (FSU)
« on: February 04, 2008, 08:09:06 PM »
I just sent a package to my lady through US Post Office, I put insurance on the package. Has anyone had any experience sending packages FSU using regular mail and not UPS or DHL?

Offline Ferret

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Re: Sending Items by Mail to Russia, Ukraine and Belarus (FSU)
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2008, 11:41:01 PM »
My experience with the USPS was forget insurance, once it leaves the USA, it won't matter.
And on food items I marked it to abandon if not delivered. I once spent around $40 sending $30 worth of food and stuff to my wife's Mother in Ukraine, it wasn't allowed in, half was removed along the way, and it cost me around $30 when it was returned to me.
Ferret

Offline Olga_Mouse

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Re: Sending Items by Mail to Russia, Ukraine and Belarus (FSU)
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2008, 02:12:40 AM »

I just sent a package to my lady through US Post Office, I put insurance on the package.

Has anyone had any experience sending packages FSU using regular mail and not UPS or DHL?


I'm still waiting for a package from Chicago, dispatched on December 28.

According to USPS website, it left US on December 29.

Appeared in Moscow (according to Russian Post website) on January 12, 14:30.

Was waiting in a row till February 1!!!!

Presented to customs inspection on February 1, at 18:13.

Successfully left customs on February 2, 09:09 (are they working overnight?  ??? ).

Still not there... and I live in Moscow!!!

Websites to do the tracking:

http://www.usps.com/shipping/trackandconfirm.htm?from=home&page=0035trackandconfirm

then (if the package has been sent to Russia...)

http://www.russianpost.ru/portal/en/home/postal/trackingpo

I'd recommend you to e-mail your lady the tracking number, so that she could trace the final part of package's itinerary herself.

Good luck! (You'll need it...)
Leaving Russia is not an emigration, rather an evacuation.


Offline Manny

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Re: Sending Items by Mail to Russia, Ukraine and Belarus (FSU)
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2008, 04:57:47 AM »
We always use good old Royal Mail bog standard air mail.

Make the package look not at all valuable. Do not use expensive looking mailing boxes with USPS tape all over them and dixie flags on, it is like saying "gift from America - steal me!" - I use recycled Jiffy bags, old wine boxes etc, anything to make the parcel look as "cheap" as possible and not interesting to steal.

Address it all in Cyrillic, with the exception of "Russia" in English. (Thats all the Post Office need to know) Write the customs CN22 in Russian also with low values in Rubles. Be reasonably honest about it but not descriptive enough that it looks appealing to steal. Value $2 of course and tick "gift." - eg; Versace sweater translates as "used clothing", expensive DVD's translate as "Data CD's" and Belgian hand made chocolates translates as "Candy" - total value $200 er $2.

If it is addressed in Cyrillic only, I think they will assume it is a Russian abroad sending a few items home, who knowing the Postal system is corrupt, would not send anything of value, thus it's not worth stealing.

We have 100% success rate this way sending parcels often. Typical delivery time is 4-5 weeks.
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Offline P356

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Re: Sending Items by Mail to Russia, Ukraine and Belarus (FSU)
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2008, 11:18:46 AM »
The funny thing was that the post office did not issue a tracking number for my package,
I noticed this as I was leaving and asked about it and they told me, that they do not assign tracking numbers to this type of shipments? I am going to the post office near my work to ask about this. I think this was the reason why I used UPS before, but it was very very expensive.

Offline Olga_Mouse

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Re: Sending Items by Mail to Russia, Ukraine and Belarus (FSU)
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2008, 12:10:06 PM »

The funny thing was that the post office did not issue a tracking number for my package, I noticed this as I was leaving and asked about it and they told me, that they do not assign tracking numbers to this type of shipments?


So what type of shipment that was? According to USPS website, from USA to Russia there can be:

Global Express Guaranteed (1-3 days;  20 lbs package 25 x 15 x 10 inches would cost 372 USD!)

Express Mail International (website says 8 days... Posting my package which was 20 lbs heavy costed 98 USD, so I presume this is how it was shipped... Well, I'm waiting for my package since December 28!).

Priority Mail International (website says 6-10 days... 83.25 US for 20 lbs).

Priority Mail Flat Rate box (website says 6-10 days... 37.00 US for 20 lbs).

As far as I know, for all of the above types of mail there MUST BE the tracking number...

What does your receipt says? Or, probably, you remember which type of shipment you've chosen?
Leaving Russia is not an emigration, rather an evacuation.

Offline P356

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Re: Sending Items by Mail to Russia, Ukraine and Belarus (FSU)
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2008, 12:48:46 PM »
I just got back from the post office and here's what they told me, "If the value of the contents in the package is less than $67.37 and you insure the package they do not issue a tracking number. They will only track the package of you report it missing". The shoes in the package are worth over 90 dollars, but put down a value of 40 dollars, because of what happened to me when shipped an item to her last year using UPS.
The customs department will impose a tax on items valued at over $100 and they will impose a 100% tax on item worth $200 or more, I found out about this the hard way.
No one at UPS could tell me the amount of tax that would be imposed on the package.

Offline Olga_Mouse

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Re: Sending Items by Mail to Russia, Ukraine and Belarus (FSU)
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2008, 02:24:27 PM »

... put down a value of 40 dollars, because of what happened to me when shipped an item to her last year using UPS.

The customs department will impose a tax on items valued over $100 and they will impose a 100% tax on item worth $200 or more.

No one at UPS could tell me the amount of tax that would be imposed on the package.

P356, you never mentionned where exactly you've shipped your packages - to Russia, or Ukraine, or Belarus, or...?

Actually things have changed to the better in Russia since October 1 2007 (last year, actually).

Now a Russian citizen does not pay taxes if he\she received "gifts" from abroad which have the declared value of 10.000 roubles (approx. 400 USD) no more often than once a week.

For the more expensive gifts the custom tax shall be 30% from the difference of the gift declared price and 10.000 roubles.

By the way, UPS screwed up your lady last year (if she is a Russian citizen! in other countries custom regulations can be different): if the item was more expensive than 100 USD, she should have paid 30% from the difference between the declared price and 100 USD.

Before October 1, 2007 100 USD was a monthly "allowance"...

100% tax doesn't exist, and never existed officially, as well as I know!
Leaving Russia is not an emigration, rather an evacuation.

Offline P356

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Re: Sending Items by Mail to Russia, Ukraine and Belarus (FSU)
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2008, 05:01:46 PM »
I shipped the package to the Ukraine. The items that I shipped via UPS last year was worth in total about $240, so the Ukrainian government charged a tax of $240. My lady wanted to tell UPS to ship the package back to me, but after many phones calls, I was told by UPS that they could not guarantee that the package to arrive back to the US. I think that they charged what ever they wanted. Customs also made her fill out lots of paper work to receive the package. I told her that there was no quarantee that the package would arrive back to me, so I paid this crazy tax.

I have been told a story about a person who shipped a walkman worth over $150.00 dollars and Customs imposed a tax of $150.00.

Offline Manny

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Re: Sending Items by Mail to Russia, Ukraine and Belarus (FSU)
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2008, 05:15:55 PM »
Quote from: P356
The shoes in the package are worth over 90 dollars

Regular air mail, declared value $5, tagged "gift" - no insurance. Send two packages a week apart, one shoe in each. Nobody will steal one shoe.

Forget tracking and insurance for low value items like this. With tracking numbers you may as well write "steal me" on the package, or at best "I am valuable - tax me."
Read a trip report from North Korea >>here<<

"He wants to build a wall to keep the Mexicans out. He reckons that's a great idea. The Chinese built a wall centuries ago - there ain't many Mexicans over there." ~ Kevin Bloody Wilson

Offline freebird

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Re: Sending Items by Mail to Russia, Ukraine and Belarus (FSU)
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2008, 08:17:58 PM »
I'm with Manny's school of thought.

Address: Written in cyrillic with a big "Russia" +zip code added to the bottom of the address. put the telephone number of the recipient on the label too.  Write it smaller than the address.  I print the mailing info on 4"X6" adhesive labels and place the same label on both sides of the parcel.  Customs forms usually get put on the backside over the redundant label but that's OK.

Customs forms: Fill out in English but put Russian address in Cyrillic.  Put a value on all of the items.  List miscellaneous items as toys or souvenirs and place a $10 value.  Be sure to list any food items and give them a $ value too.

Packaging: Use a box that can survive a big trip.  If using a used shipping box, remove all the other stickers;  No need to confuse any of the sorting machines or people in the process.  My test for a parcel: You should be able to stand on it without damaging the contents.  Use lots of tape to make it waterproof.

Don't send stuff worth over $100.  Don't send stuff that will raise red flags with customs.

I send tea\coffee\chocolate\cigarettes on a regular basis and declare everything. 

I've been using good ol' USPS for three years and have no complaint.




Offline Chris

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Re: Sending Items by Mail to Russia, Ukraine and Belarus (FSU)
« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2008, 03:12:40 AM »
I shipped the package to the Ukraine. The items that I shipped via UPS last year was worth in total about $240, so the Ukrainian government charged a tax of $240. My lady wanted to tell UPS to ship the package back to me, but after many phones calls, I was told by UPS that they could not guarantee that the package to arrive back to the US. I think that they charged what ever they wanted. Customs also made her fill out lots of paper work to receive the package. I told her that there was no quarantee that the package would arrive back to me, so I paid this crazy tax.

I have been told a story about a person who shipped a walkman worth over $150.00 dollars and Customs imposed a tax of $150.00.

I have sent loads of parcels to Ukraine and Russia and never yet been charged any tax, you need to be a bit more inventive, do as Manny and Freebird have stated. Its the only way.  ;)

Offline lindochka

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Re: Sending Items by Mail to Russia, Ukraine and Belarus (FSU)
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2008, 02:22:47 PM »
Okay, who's sent packages to Belarus? I've used Meest for years but lately there have been some concerns with customs that have me biting my nails every time I go to ship something.

I need to ship over a couple of our wedding gifts -- two relatively small 220V kitchen appliances with a total weight of twenty pounds, that would be a lot more expensive to buy there than here. I liked Manny's idea of separate packages and was thinking maybe I could do something similar -- take apart the appliances (not the internal workings, just the components) and ship them separately.

Has anyone done this? If so, how did it work? If not, but you have experience sending packages to Belarus, what do you think?
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Offline Manny

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Re: Sending Items by Mail to Russia, Ukraine and Belarus (FSU)
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2008, 07:09:19 PM »
Welcome back Lindochka!  :bow:

As eccentric as it may sound; I bought some shoes in Holland recently. After a few weeks some of the stitching came away where the upper joins the sole. Me being in England and the retailer in Holland, taking them back was not much of an option. So I took them to a local shoe repairer, he gave me tales of 'hard work' and 'special machines' and them having to be 'sent away' and talked his way up to £30.  :o

My wife was having none of this. The offending shoe was sent to Russia - £3-50 with Royal Mail, it was repaired there at a princely sum of £3. We will collect it in April as we are going anyway - total cost £6-50 ($13)

Russian mail service!  :party0031:

Lindochka - I gather Belarus is the same as Russia in most regards? Nobody will steal 'domestic appliance components' with a declared value of $3 surely? Especially if not wrapped in inviting looking USPS boxes.

Read a trip report from North Korea >>here<<

"He wants to build a wall to keep the Mexicans out. He reckons that's a great idea. The Chinese built a wall centuries ago - there ain't many Mexicans over there." ~ Kevin Bloody Wilson

Offline P356

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Re: Sending Items by Mail to Russia, Ukraine and Belarus (FSU)
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2008, 07:16:22 PM »
Well, for one thing I did write the address in Cyrillic  :fighting0025:, I was told that I did not need to go this, but you guys might be right. I hope that my package does not end up on Mars or some other plant. Well, the good thing is that I did buy insurance, I just hope that I don't have to hire F. Lee Bailey to get my money back. Next time, I will follow your directions. But I certainly, hope that my package gets to my lady, because I think that she will like the very nice shoes that I bought for her.  :)


Offline Manny

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Re: Sending Items by Mail to Russia, Ukraine and Belarus (FSU)
« Reply #15 on: February 06, 2008, 07:41:54 PM »
My theory is; a native hand penning the address and customs label (or next best thing - printed by you in the absence of the lady) and not in English bar the country, demonstrates that it is probably a native sending something home. In that event, if it is sent bog standard untracked air mail, and in a crappy old box or recycled Jiffy bag, the postal thieves will look at it and assume the customs label is correct and no native would send anything of value. They will leave it alone and it will reach its destination.

They will much prefer something written in English in a flashy USPS box that effectively says "I am valuable but am trying to fool you" or better yet, something that says "I am tracked, so I am surely valuable - steal me"

Anything of value is potentially a supplement to Hairy Boris's salary, anything boring and local looking is not interesting. We dont even use stamps as they have the Queen on and shout "England" - we use Post Office printed labels - make it look as boring as possible. That way they have a better chance of passing Boris's "I only have 10 seconds - maybe interesting to steal" test.

I used to send stuff in English and Cyrillic full of stamps of a smiling Queen and in sparkly new packaging - success rate 50%

With old ex e-bay recycled packaging, full of used tape, only in Cyrillic, with printed postal labels - success rate 100%

We send stuff probably once every 2 weeks. The 100% success rate this way has been for almost 2 years. Thats maybe 50 packages with no tracking and no English on except the word "Russia."
Read a trip report from North Korea >>here<<

"He wants to build a wall to keep the Mexicans out. He reckons that's a great idea. The Chinese built a wall centuries ago - there ain't many Mexicans over there." ~ Kevin Bloody Wilson

Offline lindochka

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Re: Sending Items by Mail to Russia, Ukraine and Belarus (FSU)
« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2008, 12:12:01 AM »
Thank you for the WB, Manny. :bow: (no curtsey emote  ;) )

"Domestic appliance components" -- I like it! I'm not so much worried about theft as I am about getting the @#$% things through the border without a hefty duty payment. Belarus is much like Russia, only at least twice as Soviet. It would be different if I could carry a third suitcase, because I've never had a problem dealing with customs in the Minsk airport even before they adopted the red and green channels seen elsewhere.

I do address parcels in Russian and usually use recycled heavy-duty boxes and similarly sturdy tape. All parcels get X-rayed by Meest in Ukraine before going on to Belarus, to make sure there's nothing that would make Belarusian customs workers crazy. I think a couple of obviously new kitchen appliances would trigger too much interest, which is why I thought of separating the parts of the appliances (a food processor and a hand mixer) and putting the parts into different parcels, or maybe shipping some parts and packing the rest of the pieces in my luggage. (And now that I've opened both appliances and looked them over, I think I'll make my priority getting the food processor there and plan on getting the mixer there at a later time.)

USPS is out, though. Their best price is at least double the cost of Meest or another Ukrainian-owned private carrier called Dnipro, and USPS is no faster.

Welcome back Lindochka!  :bow:

As eccentric as it may sound; I bought some shoes in Holland recently. After a few weeks some of the stitching came away where the upper joins the sole. Me being in England and the retailer in Holland, taking them back was not much of an option. So I took them to a local shoe repairer, he gave me tales of 'hard work' and 'special machines' and them having to be 'sent away' and talked his way up to £30.  :o

My wife was having none of this. The offending shoe was sent to Russia - £3-50 with Royal Mail, it was repaired there at a princely sum of £3. We will collect it in April as we are going anyway - total cost £6-50 ($13)

Russian mail service!  :party0031:

Lindochka - I gather Belarus is the same as Russia in most regards? Nobody will steal 'domestic appliance components' with a declared value of $3 surely? Especially if not wrapped in inviting looking USPS boxes.


Life is so short we must move very slowly.

Offline Olga_Mouse

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Re: Sending Items by Mail to Russia, Ukraine and Belarus (FSU)
« Reply #17 on: February 07, 2008, 08:31:15 AM »

Got my USPS parcel today!

... Dispatching date, let me remind you, was December 28...
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Offline Manny

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Re: Sending Items by Mail to Russia, Ukraine and Belarus (FSU)
« Reply #18 on: February 07, 2008, 02:47:34 PM »
Quote from: lindochka
(a food processor and a hand mixer)

Just a thought. The US is on 110 volts? Belarus will be on 220 volts as is Russia and Europe I expect.  :duh:

Quote from: Olga Mouse
Got my USPS parcel today! Dispatching date, let me remind you, was December 28...

5 ish weeks is the same time from UK to Russia. Seems reasonable.
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Offline lindochka

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Re: Sending Items by Mail to Russia, Ukraine and Belarus (FSU)
« Reply #19 on: February 07, 2008, 05:54:57 PM »
Manny, don't worry. As noted in my first post in this thread they are

Quote
two relatively small 220V kitchen appliances

Although "relatively small" is a matter of opinion. The food processor is actually quite large and looks like one could pilot a jet with it. Good for making lots of stuff to feed my hungry men, though! Bonus -- with instructions in Russian, DM can try using it if he dares. :o

Quote
You must have a fascinating story. I do not hear very often of many women from the US marrying someone from Belarus and moving there to live. Did I miss the post where you introduced yourself?

Rasputin, my introductory post was some months back. I think I told at least part of DM's and my romantic comedy in that, but you may very well not have seen it. We met for the first time during what was a sort of a personal pilgrimage for me. In late 1999, following an almost year-long search conducted mostly via the internet, I located my mother's paternal relatives in Belarus. They were very excited to be found and immediately invited me to visit, which I did the following summer.

I've visited them annually since. DM was married when we first became acquainted, but then he wasn't married anymore (which I had nothing to do with). We became a couple about three years ago, meeting several times a year in Ukraine. The Ukrainian visa-free regime was a real boon, since it meant we could plan to meet on fairly short notice.

We knew fairly early on that we wanted to marry and our original plan was for him to come here. He was pretty apprehensive about America for many reasons -- he hadn't been looking for a foreign woman when we clicked. (He hadn't been looking at all, and neither had I.) He also has children from before me and contrary to the usual stereotype of FSUM, he not only pays child support without complaint but he is deeply involved in their lives. DM was clear that he would never turn his back on them, not that I would ask him to.

Last summer, I lucked into the opportunity to take very, very early retirement from a job which was crushing my soul, and I jumped at the chance. I left to see the folks less than a week later and within a day or two of my arrival DM told me we should get married already. There's nothing holding me in the US and DM and I agree that "home" is wherever we can be together. So I'm on my way.

(Apologies to all for a seriously long-a$$ed post.)
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Offline Manny

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Re: Sending Items by Mail to Russia, Ukraine and Belarus (FSU)
« Reply #20 on: February 10, 2008, 08:46:26 AM »
My wife brought a huge food processor and blender to England from Russia. My assertion that such things are cheap here did not cut much ice.

We have developed a habit of sending electric tin openers though, nobody seems to have seen them in Russia and they are only about 10 quid at Asda Wal-Mart. The plug adaptor and the postage exceeds the cost of the appliance, but folk like them.
Read a trip report from North Korea >>here<<

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Offline HiTech

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Re: Sending Items by Mail to Russia, Ukraine and Belarus (FSU)
« Reply #21 on: February 13, 2008, 07:15:20 AM »
I just sent a package from Dallas to Kharkov. In postoffice Friday 4:00 arived Tuesday 12:00 Kharkov time.

Offline mbwaring

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Re: Sending Items by Mail to Russia, Ukraine and Belarus (FSU)
« Reply #22 on: March 01, 2008, 04:41:52 AM »
If your from Australia, Australia Posts' Express Post International is best and securest to the FSU.
 
One to three Kg stretchable bags are used, and you fill in forms on bag and they are distributed to particular sections local plane international.
Dont forget to send lady information what is in the package so she can claim it as FSU customs can be rude to lady if she doesnt know what she is recieving

www.auspost.com.au

Mike
Sydney. Oz

Offline Manny

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Re: Sending Items by Mail to Russia, Ukraine and Belarus (FSU)
« Reply #23 on: November 13, 2008, 04:26:00 PM »
Just as an update to this topic, info not mentioned already.

It is claimed you can track international recorded mail inside Russia and Ukraine. I haven't tested it, so I don't know how reliable it is. (And I prefer un-tracked air mail anyway for the reasons already stated.) But if anyone wants it, the sites are here.

Russia: http://www.russianpost.ru/portal/en/home/postal/trackingpo

Ukraine: http://www.ukrposhta.com/
Read a trip report from North Korea >>here<<

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Offline ECR844

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Re: Sending Items by Mail to Russia, Ukraine and Belarus (FSU)
« Reply #24 on: December 14, 2008, 04:44:00 PM »
For those considering trying to send stuff here is my recent experience.

I recently sent something to Moscow Via USPS Express mail. The package was tracked with delivery confirmation to it's ultimate destination. The box was labeled in English only, this was at the end of November. Shipping time was 7-10 days and package arrived undamaged, and unmolested.

YMMV..


 

 

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