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: Will I be able to send and receive parcels to and from the UK for Christmas this year without having them stopped at customs?
afpop answers: UK citizens should consider that once the UK leaves the EU, there may be similar restrictions to those for non-EU countries already in place, for parcels passing between the UK and Portugal, particularly if the UK leaves without an exit deal in place.
It is not possible to know in advance what stance will be taken, either by UK customs for parcels sent from Portugal, or vice versa for those being received from the UK. The following process may well apply, at least in the immediate aftermath, to parcels to and from the UK and you should take this into consideration if planning to send parcels for Christmas.
Post from outside the EU enters Portugal usually by air via the CTT sorting office at Lisbon Airport, where they are inspected and selected considering the instructions of the Tax and Customs Authority. Where there is any doubt or lack of documentation, CTT will notify the intended recipient of the package.
After the separation, the majority is sorted for franchise (franquia) and goes for distribution to the intended recipient. The remaining packages are sent to the Lisbon Production and Logistics Centre (CPL) in Cabo Ruivo, and CTT sends a notice to the intended recipient to request:
■ proof of payment (invoice, or in case of not being issued, another proof of the transaction)
■ ID number and data
■ the site where you made the purchase
■ correct reference of the products so that CTT and customs can evaluate
Make sure you leave plenty of time to allow for any increased customs checks and have the correct information included on the parcel. There is a document called ‘Declaração de Valor’ that can be downloaded from the CTT website and which can be sent to relatives for them to include on the outside of the parcel. Of course, if it’s a surprise gift you won’t know in advance, so it might be worth the time to download this document now and send it to anyone in an email that might conceivably send you a parcel in the future.
The ‘Declaração de Valor’ is in Portuguese and English and is a simple, one sheet document which can be used to identify the contents of a parcel. The ‘Declaração’ can also be requested from the afpop office by quoting “Algarve Resident”.
You can contact CTT via the website www.ctt.pt or call the CTT Line 707 26 26 26, available Monday to Saturday from 8am to 10pm (they speak in English).
For more information about the benefits of Membership of afpop, the largest Association for Foreign Residents in Portugal, you can visit their website www.afpop.com; e-mail them direct on firstname.lastname@example.org or call the afpop office on 282 458 509 (t/m 938 252 100). Please remember to quote ALGARVE RESIDENT when contacting them.