mailing package to Viet Nam

My daughter is currently teaching in Hai Phong. I sent her a rather large package from the states via USPS. I was told it would arrive in approx. 5 days, but it's been 10 days and today I got a text which read "Held in customs HANOI EMS VIET NAM."
Does anybody know what this means or if/when the package will be sent to Hai Phong?
Thanks for any help!

annmac331 :

My daughter is currently teaching in Hai Phong. I sent her a rather large package from the states via USPS. I was told it would arrive in approx. 5 days, but it's been 10 days and today I got a text which read "Held in customs HANOI EMS VIET NAM."
Does anybody know what this means or if/when the package will be sent to Hai Phong?
Thanks for any help!

First, it means you know where the package is.

Hanoi is the international gateway for packages being sent to Hai Phong, according to a Vietnamese friend of mine.

Also, it's totally normal for incoming packages to be routed through customs.

Question is, what did you send and how much of it?

If it's items of no value, no customs duty will be imposed and she will eventually get the package, probably, because you are getting confirmation of its tracking.

But the determination of no value is tricky in Vietnam.

For instance, did you insure the contents?

It's been reported here on the Forum, that customs may use the insured value in order to charge customs duty.

Isn't your daughter assisting you?

I mean, she would probably be a more reliable source of information for you regarding Vietnam laws and customs than people on this forum.

She and one of her Vietnamese friends or her employer can likely get better case-specific information by contacting local authorities.

On a side note, I realised today that I forgot the adapter for my laptop from work  (in Canada) and I start working next week. I had to have it shipped today with UPS, from Canada to Saigon. About USD$120, just for a freakin' adapter!

Hopefully it won't be stuck in customs too long, it's always the unknown part.

Are you crazy? There are many stoess that will sell you a laptop adapter.

As for sending parcels to VN, using UPS TNT or DHL will require an invoice for the value.

This often attracts attention from customs especially if it is valued over 50usd

A better way to send them and cheaper is registered post and declare a value lower than 50usd to avoid duties. Also be aware many items are forbidden to import into VN

Jlgarbutt :

Are you crazy? There are many stoess that will sell you a laptop adapter.

In Rach Gia? No way I'll find it, it's very specific. In Saigon maybe, but just to go there and shop for it will be more expensive than shipping that adapter. Have to be there in person to make sure the plug fits in the outlet, it could be compatible power but wrong plug size.

As for your question, of course I'm crazy!  :lol:

It probably had something value and now taxes are needed to be paid, she needs to go there or call them.


And about that laptop charger... get one in Vietnam. No way I would have it shipped 😆 customs fees would make it crazy alone ;)

In the last 2 years, I've received 6 packages via couriers (UPS, DHL, and FedEx).  All of them passed through custom in Incheon, South Korea, then directly to Saigon without stopping for custom in Vietnam.  Five of the 6 packages were personal items from the States, worth less than $50, stopped in Incheon for a few hours before being released.  The one from France showed an invoice of €165, was held in Incheon for a day until I paid custom duty.  It was commercial (skin care products) and the duty was 10%, the same amount of GTGT (VAT) in VN.

Why Incheon?  I don't know, but I imagine it's a collective custom office for SEA.

The one test package (zero value) from the States via USPS never arrived and the tracking number disappeared.

annmac331 :

today I got a text which read "Held in customs HANOI EMS VIET NAM."
Does anybody know what this means or if/when the package will be sent to Hai Phong? "

Your daughter needs to contact the EMS (Express Mail Service) of VNPost in Hanoi to inquire about the package.  It could be duty fee or something as simple as signature with ID.  Either way, it's easy to find out, just go to any post office if it's difficult for her to explain over the phone.

The package will not be sent to Hai Phong until the requirement is met.

I send parcels from the US to Vietnam (Tuyen Quang and Binh Thuan) fairly routinely. Everything goes through clearance with customs agency. It's easiest when using USPS to create your customs forms online declaring contents and value. Print and take to your local PO for shipping. Creating your customs forms online puts all the detail / info directly into the USPS system all stored via barcode on your printed customs labels. Some packages are thoroughly inspected by customs...some not so much. It's random but whether your parcel is, or not may be influenced by your declared contents and value. Customs will often investigate and determine if your declared value is fair and accurate. They may dispute the value. They basically may assign their own determined value and assign duties / fees per what they believe the contents value is contrary to your declaration. The time spent in clearance can vary significantly. Some clear quickly...some don't. The shipping service selected can impact the speed of clearance. Be advised they also include the cost of shipping in valuation / determination of duties. That isn't really right but it is what it is. Their objective is revenue...like any nations import policies. Some are worse than other regarding various countries. Also be advised items will be stolen by customs agents from time to time. That's also universal internationally but I can say from experience, Vietnam customs are quite a bit less honest and trustworthy than many, most other nations. A mobile phone I sent recently arrived in Hanoi customs...and has subsequently disappeared, for example. It isn't the first thing I've sent that I know arrived at customs...then just vanished.

Thanks for your answer to my question about my daughter's package. She still has not received it but is trying to enlist help from the school where she is teaching. Btw, We paid almost $200 to send it via USPS and insured it for about the same amount. It didn't have anything of particular value in it - mostly her clothes. Do you think she would need to pay tariff on it? The obvious question is, Why don't they make that clear?

Here in Dallas, we have a half-dozen businesses that will ship boxes of goodies to the kids and grandkids in Saigon for about $3 a pound. We have to itemize the contents of the boxes but the descriptors don't have to be elaborate, i.e. 3 books, 4 shirts, 4 pairs of shoes, etc. They don't ask for a dollar equivalent. When the box hits Saigon the shipping company calls a contact number to get delivery instructions. Last year they called while we were at a coffee shop & they delivered it there. They make it pretty painless. They are reliable and fairly fast, like 2-3 weeks.
The shipping companies advertise in the local Vietnamese magazines, of which there are several. We do have a huge Viet community here which, no doubt, helps.

annmac331 :

We paid almost $200 to send it via USPS and insured it for about the same amount. It didn't have anything of particular value in it - mostly her clothes. Do you think she would need to pay tariff on it?

If you insured for $200, then you're saying that in your estimation, the content's value is $200.  You can't insured something of "no particular value" for $200. 

She'll probably have to pay some duty for $200 merchandises.

annmac331 :

The obvious question is, Why don't they make that clear?

Who?

UPS?

It's not their job.

When shipping to a foreign country, it's the responsibility of the two parties involved to know the import duty requirements.

As I suggested earlier, your daughter could have been a more active participant in this process, and investigated your options and requirements ahead of time.

Hopefully she's learning the life lesson now.

As Jim has posted, there are businesses who will do this for you as an agent, but you need to pay them a fee.

I'm not trying to be offensive here.

The main point I'm making is that the effort you are expending now in deciphering the mystery could have been invested prior to the shipment of the goods.

I'm posting this here so the casual reader of this thread in the future will do their homework before getting themselves into a similar situation.

Thank you all for taking the time to answer my inquiry. I appreciate the suggestions given.- in particular, Ciambella. To those of you who felt it was necessary to lecture me.... I looked to this forum for help. Not lectures. I mailed the package from the local post office - filled out the customs forms and complied with all regulations. I've never done this before.(Btw, When I said the contents were of "no particular value" I was referring to her clothes and some personal items, as compared to electronics, etc.. My daughter just arrived in Vietnam in August and is not in a position where she can travel, so she isnt able to go there to see for herself.)
Again, i do appreciate all your help.
-

annmac331 :

Thanks for your answer to my question about my daughter's package. She still has not received it but is trying to enlist help from the school where she is teaching. Btw, We paid almost $200 to send it via USPS and insured it for about the same amount. It didn't have anything of particular value in it - mostly her clothes. Do you think she would need to pay tariff on it? The obvious question is, Why don't they make that clear?

You should ask your daughter to contact EMS (with Vietnamese speaking) then she knew what to do. Without knowing the proper information, none of them can help you the correct answer.

I mailed a package to Vietnam via the USPS. It disappeared down a rat hole.

New topic