Problems shipping to individuals in Russia

 

Novodichy Convent Moscow
Shipment of dutiable goods to private individuals in Russia are presently heavily restricted by Russian Customs.  Parcels can be sent to registered business addresses, but must be for commercial purposes only.  Shipments to individuals at a business address is presently prohibited.

Any package sent to an individual in Russia which is subject to tax and duties will be held and examined by Russian Customs.  In particular Russian Customs are concerned about export documentation accompanying the goods not declaring information accurately.  Since every package sent by courier or airfreight is heavily scrutinised, the package can be stuck in Customs for a number of weeks.

Sometimes, even if the documentation passes scrutiny, the goods may inadvertently been sent without the realisation that the goods are on a prohibited listing.  Prohibitions and restrictions vary country to country and sometimes apply to goods that are perceived as ordinary in other countries.  If goods are perceived to be on the prohibition listing they will be returned to sender at the sender’s cost, regardless of the sales term or agreement with the buyer.

If shipments are sent to individuals in Russia, the following factors must be followed:

  1. All items must be clearly described and accompanied by the correct Commodity Code (also known as the Tariff Heading or Harmonised Code) on the commercial invoice.
  2. The value of the goods should be less than USD 100.
  3. The goods MUST be checked to ensure that they are not on the prohibition listing for Russia. The listing is quite extensive and, for example, includes printed matter.  Details of prohibited items can be found on the Royal Mail website.

If shipments are sent to businesses, points 1 and 3 from the listing above applies, but in addition the documentation must:-

  1. Not include any discrepancies between the goods and documents provided, nor should there be any discrepancies between various documents, which can include a packing list as well as the commercial invoice, and in some instances, a Certificate of Origin.
  2. NEVER be undervalued.
  3. Include proof of value.
  4. Include any necessary licences and permits.

In some cases it is believed that sending parcels via the Postal Service may be a better option since not all packages are examined.  However, the Russian Postal Service is very slow and due to the size of the country and transport difficulties in bad weather, it can take several weeks for the packages to arrive.

This delay is exacerbated by international packages all being sorted through the Moscow Post Office.  As in most countries, theft is a problem and even if there are no deliberate actions, quite a few packages are reported as going missing due to mistakes.  There are limits on the value of the goods that can be sent in the post (which is presently about 10,000 Russian Roubles) and any goods which exceed this value can be liable to an additional tax of 30%.  The type of goods that can be sent are subject to the same prohibition listing as goods sent by other methods of shipment.

Maria Narancic from Point to Point Export Services is an independent international trade adviser who assists organisations world wide with their international trade projects, documentation, Documentary Credits and import/export training. She is based in the United Kingdom. If you require any further assistance with the matters mentioned above, please do contact us by e-mail on info@point-point.com or to access other articles on International Trade matters please do check out our website at www.point-point.com.

 

 

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