Receiving Mail from Overseas
If you think that the mail service here in Brazil for overseas mail is the same as in your country – think again. Getting mail can be a frustratingly long process and you will have to really follow the progress with a tracking number to stay on top of it, even for normal letters. It will cost you 15 reais for each item for the privilege that it will be delivered to you here in Brazil, wherever you are. That is called a despacho postal.
The mailing process from your home country is pretty much straight forward; they send it, your local postal service sends it to Brazil. And that is where the normality turns into a waiting process.
All international mail will be received, depending on weight, by the Brazilian customs authorities in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo or Curitiba. The products are distributed according to the following criteria: weight, shipping mode and transportation.
Letters and parcels sent by express shipping, like DHL or FedEx, and weigh between 2kg and 30kg, are sent to Brazilian customs in Rio de Janeiro. The Brazilian customs center located in São Paulo, on the other hand, receives non-urgent packages weighing up to 30kg that arrive by sea.
Curitiba receives all small packages, approximately 20 days AFTER they arrive in Brazil, of up to 2kg labeled with codes beginning with “L” or “R.”. It will take another whopping 40 days for processing.
Once the products arrive at Brazil Customs, they are assessed if they are legal and the documentation is correct. After that, Brazil Customs evaluates which products are subject to import duties.
After that, you will be notified by snail mail that the parcel or letter is ready to be forwarded. If they are subject to taxation, you will receive an invoice regarding tax payment – in addition to the despacho postal, the handling fee we mentioned earlier. If the item is released without tax, you only must pay the despacho postal.
Now to the taxes. I hope you sit down to read this. If the declared value of the sent item is over US$50 you will be subject to an import duty. They are calculated as follows:
Declared Value + Postage cost from your country + Insurance cost = Value of import duty.
Now on that value they slap you with a 60% tax. So a US$50 item can cost you easy over US$140.
Slam Dunk Sunk
To follow the adventure of your letter or parcel, you log into the Brazilian Post (Correios) website where you can track your object and, if it is released by Brazilian customs, will give you access where you can pay the import duty and/or despacho postal. For this step website you need either your CPF or passport number.
Unless it is unavoidable, just skip it. If it is important, use DHL as they seem to have an arrangement with the Brazilian customs where the process is a lot quicker.
Please tell your friends and family to abstain sending surprise presents to your family. It will cost you an arm and a leg.