Posting parcels to Egypt - what you need to know
A country with one of the longest and richest histories on Earth - Egypt is a popular tourist destination steeped in myths, intrigue and culture. With over 86 million inhabitants, Egypt has significant cultural, political and military power in North Africa and, despite recent civil unrest, its economy is one of the largest and most diversified in the Middle East.
The Egypt Post was established in 1865 and is one of the oldest institutions in Egypt, but the sending of letters and important documents dates back to the times of the Pharaohs, when even then the country had an established service for sending mail!
Depending on the items you are sending, it is likely there will be duty needed to be paid, regardless of whether you are a business or individual - and there is no minimum threshold. The valuation is calculated using the complete shipping value (CIF value), which includes shipping costs and insurance. On top of this, imports are also subject to Sales Tax, Inspection Fee and Service Fee.
Sales Tax is levied on imports at a standard rate of 10% (according to dutycalculator.com), although some goods are subject to a higher rate. Customs duties are highest on alcohol. Your parcel may also be subject to an inspection fee and service fee.
Predominantly an Islamic country, Egypt's custom laws reflect many of the traditions of the religion, so you should be wary when sending items which may be deemed offensive to the Muslim culture. Printed material, DVDs and CDs are subject to censorship and may be confiscated. Under anti-forgery laws, many types of office equipment may be subject to review and a permit must be obtained for telephony and satellite equipment.
In addition to this, forbidden items include live animals or animal products, meat and edible offal.
There are lots of items which are restricted, so it is advised to double check with the relevant authorities before you send. Aside from the obvious usual restrictions relating to fresh produce and chemicals, be aware that the following are just some of the items which also carry restrictions...
Raw hides and skins including leather handbags
Wool, fine or course animal hair
It's advisable not to send jewellery to Egypt, even if it counts as fashion jewellery. Certain permits can be acquired for products which would otherwise be prohibited.
Your parcel could take as few as 3-4 days to arrive at its destination in Egypt, depending on service. It's always advisable to wrap and properly pad any delicate items, and always ensure your packet or parcel is securely closed with parcel tape. Be aware that if you individually wrap items, e.g. gifts in wrapping paper, that they could be opened during inspection.
Following these guidelines should help your letter or parcel arrive safely to its intended destination in Egypt and a lot quicker than in the ancient Ptolemaic times when Express Mail was sent by horses!