Sending parcels to Venezuela
Situated on the north coast of South America, this Spanish speaking country is known officially as the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Made up from 23 states, the country covers a vast area which ranges from mountains and rainforests to dry plains. Venezuela also has the world's largest oil reserves, so is a large exporter. This is alongside its other big export industries; coffee and cocoa. Despite these substantial fruits, the economy is tough.
Venezuela has the highest inflation rate in the world and an incredibly high crime rate. The country reeled in 2013 after the death of iconic and controversial leader Hugo Chávez and has struggled to recover both economically and politically, entering a recession in 2014.
Strict currency controls are in force with the country's currency, the bolivar, falling to all-time lows. Everyday items such as medicine, nappies and even toilet paper are in short supply in the current climate.
Due to the financial instability, doing business with Venezuela may be slightly tricky, although not impossible. For businesses with any concerns, the UK government offers some guidance covering everything it's worth bearing in mind.
What can't you send?
There are some items that are prohibited for import that you should be aware of when sending parcels to Venezuela, in addition to the usual list of items forbidden in the mail.
Used clothing will not be accepted into the country without a specific permit, neither will playing cards. When sending toys or games, be aware that any deemed to replicate guns or violence in any way are likely to be confiscated. Pornographic materials, Viagra and the US medicine Tylenol are also forbidden.
If you are sending medication, which is likely to be in high demand, it is critical that the packaging is clearly labelled with all of the ingredients.
Changes to customs rules
Following changes to customs regulations in January 2015, shipments over £2,000 now require a little extra paperwork. Shipments under that value should have no issue but may still be subject to a customs levy. This new regulation has also caused some delivery delays as items spend longer being processed.
In addition, it's worth being aware that several airlines have reduced their availability of international flights to Venezuela over the past few years, which has lengthened the potential travel time for mail shipments to the country even further.
Packing your parcel
Be sure to fill out the customs declaration carefully, and ensure contents are clearly labelled if they fall under the food, medicine, cosmetic or medical device categories.
Pack your item carefully; use a sturdy cardboard box and pad around the contents with bubble wrap or packing peanuts. Write the address clearly on the front with VENEZUELA in capital letters at the end of the address.
Following these guidelines will help your parcel on its way to South America without a hitch.
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Sending parcels to Venezuela