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Mar 6, 2010 10:13 PM

mailing stuff back to the US from spain?

hello, i will be in barcelona in a couple weeks, and am wondering what the deal is w/ mailing food/wine back home. i just dont want to be lugging around heavy things like bottles of wine (plus ill be flying on ryanair, and dont want to incur additional baggage fees). also, i haven't been to europe in over a decade; are you allowed to bring foodstuffs back such as canned and jarred items? and what about flying from spain to the UK w/ say some smoked sausage (i feel like i should have some chorizo w/ me, or mail some home if possible). i have a feeling im gonna want to buy a ton of stuff over there in espana, esp when i hit a supermarket! thanks for any info...

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  1. Customs regulations are very complicated. I would check out the US customs website rather than getting a lot of opinions from this board. As for a stopover in UK, it depends on if you have to clear customs there or if you just connecting. If do have clear customs there, you will have to abide their customs regulation also. Of course you will still have to clear custom within the US. After so many visits to Spain, I only bring back very special items. I have found that just about everything that I am allow to bring back, I can buy through the internet. The little that I save is not enough for me to go through the hassle.

    1 Reply
    1. re: PBSF

      What PBSF said. You can buy lots of Spanish goodies through LaTienda or DonaJuana websites. Don't forget that even metal canned items are not allowed in carry-on USA bound luggage.

    2. There is no problem bringing stuff from Spain to the UK. There are open trading borders between our European Union countries.

      I see you're flying Ryanair - bear in mind the compapny is notoriously strict (to the point of silliness) in all its regulations - and notoriously expensive in its excess baggage charges.

      1. I'm pretty sure canned items and wine are okay not only to mail, but to take through customs. My family has taken numerous cans of white asparagus, boxes of chocolates, and wine back to US from Spain and had customs give them the okay. Unfortunately, the chorizo was promptly thrown into the trash, to my Dad's horror. So "fresh" meat, even if it's air-sealed, is not okay.

        You can order Spanish-style meats from "La Espanola" in California. (Harbor City)

        1. well thanks for the replies everyone; i feel like it's a kind of game, this customs bologna. and yes, harters, ryanair has ridiculous fees; one of my friends joked that they charge you to use the on-board restroom...i wouldnt be surprised. but i'm good w/ bringin some wine, sausage, etc. to scotland then? i just dont see why it'd be a problem bringing canned/tinned stuff back to the states, esp if it's in your checked baggage...

          3 Replies
          1. re: unocal

            Canned is no problem. If you mail wine, you're supposed to declare it when you arrive (even though it will arrive via mail), so that they can charge you duty on it. In my experience, travelling with even a case of wine, they won't bother with duty, because the time it takes them to do the paperwork is hardly worth the $10 or so of duty.

            1. re: Indirect Heat

              There are two things to consider:

              1. Do the items you want to bring in attract duty, if so you need to pay. At customs you are allowed a "personal duty free allowance" so can bring in a certain amount of alcohol, tobacco etc. BUT if mailing/shipping there is no duty free allowance so if it is taxable you will need to pay duty. EU country to EU country there are no taxes or duties but EU to non-EU (i.e. US) you may find there are a range of import duties on many items. I know in Australia we can get 10% customs duty plus 10% GST on top of that for nearly all imports. If sending internationally you will need to stick a customs declaration form (available from the post office) on to the parcel.

              2. The Dept of Agriculture or equivalent will have quarantine rules that ban the import of products that could be dangerous to agriculture. So bans on meat and dairy products from countries with foot and mouth disease or mad cow disease; or bans on all unpateurised cheese under 60 days old; or a ban on any unprocessed seed or cereal (as they may host plant disease); or a ban on citrus products (to avoid fruit fly) are in place and vary from country to country/. These bans apply to both shipped and accompanied goods. I understand the Californian citrus industry has been affected more than once by fruit fly infestation caused by illegally imported food, so it isn't just "big government" it actually makes sense.

            2. re: unocal

              "one of my friends joked that they charge you to use the on-board restroom"

              Not a joke. It was recently reported in the press that the company is giving serious consideration to the idea.