Ask Afpop – Packages arriving from non-EU countries – customs clearance

In this new monthly column, afpop, Portugal’s largest foreign residents’ association, aims to answer some of the most frequently-asked questions by members.

Question: I received a letter from the CTT about a parcel sent from the UK that has been stopped at the Portuguese customs. What should I do about it?
afpop answers: If you have received a package from a non-EU country (UK included since January 1, 2021) which has been stopped in the Portuguese customs, you will need to complete an official customs clearance (Desalfandegamento) procedure online. When a package is stopped at customs, they will send a letter to the recipient to ask for the necessary documents in order to release the package. The process needs to be completed on the CTT website

You can begin by changing the language to English on the right-hand corner (Idioma) if you wish. You will need to have a personal login to the CTT website and, if you do not have this, choose “registe-se aqui”. You will then receive an email from CTT where you must confirm the activation of your login – choose the link “clique aqui para ativação”. Once you have logged in, go to “iniciar processo/start process” and then you will be asked for the package numbers (número de origem/número local), which you can find in your letter.

One of the first things to do is to select whether the package comes from a company (comercial) or a private person (não/non comercial).

Usually if the package comes from a company, the customs will ask for an invoice which you can attach during the online process. However, if it is from a private person, they may ask for a value declaration (declaração de valor), which can be entered directly on that website.

If during the process, you have any doubts, go to the top menu and choose “ajuda/help” and you will find very detailed information and help to finish the process.
You can also contact the CTT information line where they can answer questions about the process and give further information (also to confirm if a package has been returned to sender for instance): 210 471 616 (press 1 for English).

For more information about the benefits of membership of afpop, the largest association for foreign residents in Portugal, you can visit their website; email them direct on [email protected] or call the afpop office on 282 458 509 (t/m 938 252 100). Please remember to quote THE ALGARVE RESIDENT when contacting them.