I ship things regularly to Italy and have never had any problems or delays. I have however heard of many others who have had shipments delayed. When you ask around it becomes quite clear that Italian customs have begun to check everything very closely and collect the VAT and duties due on almost everything (they need the revenue). While the Italian postal service is now very good, the Italian customs service is very very very bad! So anything that makes their work more difficult or complex will cause delays upon the normal delays.
Speaking with my friends, we have determined that when you ship items by priority mail filling out the customs documents online from the USPS website, and declare the items as merchandise and claim a realistic value, the items speed through customs. If you however try low-ball the value or write \u201cgift\u201d on the declaration, chances are that you will be alerting the officials to check into the item more carefully. I have also seen that items boxed in USPS boxes also seem to pass more quickly than those in plain brown boxes. Another hint that I can give is that USPS now allows you to use the fixed rate priority envelope for Italy too (which until last year was not possible). Even a 3 lb package can be sent for little more than $11 if it can fit in a 9\u201d x 11\u201d envelope.
Moorestown, NJ, USA
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