Receiving Mail or a Courier Package?


I am not an expat yet but giving it serious thought. In the interim, I am here for an extended period and am looking to get a few small supplies and extra medication sent to me.

Does anyone have any experience with receiving a courier package via DHL, UPS or FedEx, for example. Regular mail seems to be a non-starter.

Any advice much appreciated.


My first experience with Fedex was when Royal Mail contracted their Global 48 hours service to them. RM was already out of service by the time the time-sensitive documents got to Stanstead airport. Once there, Fedex put my envelope into one of theirs and incorrectly copied the address. A week or so later, l got a mail saying it had been delivered but in fact, it was traced to their hub in Montevideo. The recipient had to pick it up from the depot! Like an idiot, l gave them a second chance and sent a suitcase ahead because it would have been impossible to travel with 3 cases. I got a call from someone saying l had to pay another £200, so, thinking it was a scam, l hung up. When l got to MVD, l traced the suitcase back to the cargo terminal at the airport. Customs were asking for US$280 so l told them to dump it. I pointed out that if l had struggled with 3 suitcases, there would be no duty to pay. Luckily, I was approached by someone who seemed to be in charge and he released it for me saying that Fedex had scrawled something on the AirWay Bill that suggested that there was duty to pay. In Uruguay, you pay something like 63% on personal imports which includes the cost of postage/carriage.

DHL seem to be a bit more clued up and can deliver from the UK to Uruguay in about 3 days. Items then typically take a week to clear customs. DHL in Uruguay request a copy of an invoice as well as evidence that the amount has actually shown a debit on whatever account you used to pay. Every time l use the service, l say never again but needs must.

@ColoniaMan That is incredibly helpful, thank you so much!

I have since discovered that one can sign up with the Correo Uruguayo to receive three fairly low value packages each year with little or no import duty which is good news. When a £5 item on ebay checks out at £100 using their Global Chipping Program it is a clear winner.

Barry, since you mentioned wanting to receive medications, it's worth noting that receiving any medications by mail (or UPS, FedEx, etc.) from outside the country requires the written approval of a Uruguayan physician.  Here, "medications" includes nutritional supplements (even such substances as Vitamin C, for example).  I have not gone through this process myself, but I am told that such approval is harder to obtain if the drug/supplement can be purchased within Uruguay (even if only at a much higher price).

You should certainly check the price and availability in Uruguay.

As an indication, I had to buy a pack of 14 Amoxycillin (875mg) with clavulanic acid (125mg) for 1.105 pesos which is a little less than US$30. They are made in uruguay.

I have had two packages sent to me from the UK by Royal Mail, one in December and the other in January. Neither has arrived and I have given up on ever seeing them. Couriers may be costly but at least they arrive. It just irks me that I have to pay £100 for an item costing £5 because the item is not available here.

Continuing the Royal Mail postal service to Uruguay saga, I returned from vacation this week to find a letter posted from my UK bank last March. There were also two notes delivered by hand from Uruguay customs for items post last January and December. I had already paid the administration fee on one of the items but they wanted me to pay again and a higher rate. I went to the post office and told them I had already paid but they were adamant that I had to pay again. It was the same post office that insisted I had to pay postage on an international postage paid reply envelope. I haven't received the two packages yet. Only time will tell.

They arrived today.

My sister moved to Uruguay 15 years ago. The number of packages large and small that have been seized, turned up missing, or taken so much time to arrive, I assume the UY postal service is delivered via capybara, is astounding. Christmas packages mailed in November, marked ”Christmas  presents  worth under $100” in Spanish  and English,  have been returned to the states 6 months after they were mailed via USPS at great cost ($45). My daughter painted a portrait and shipped via DHL because we no longer trusted the PO. UY customs wanted $300 for the pleasure of receiving it, bc she had valued it at $250, naturally, since it took her 20 hours + to paint. It was likely destroyed or is hanging in a  customs agent's living room now. The shipping cost of that fiasco was 200$. Most recently I mailed a pair of hand-knit wool socks in a 5x7 envelope. It cost me $18 to mail A PAIR OF SOCKS WEIGHING THREE OUNCES. Three weeks have elapsed without sign of them. I'm officially done. F UY.  Thousands of dollars and countless hours wasted. I'll simply send my sister my kindest regards and nothing else. Definitely no interest in moving there.