International Shipping - Problem Countries


In setting up shipping templates for bmvd, I have been checking individual countries at random. Recently, I ran across a postal notice about Guatamala - []

So I can’t ship to Guatamala unless someone is will to pay $135 dollars.

I started checking a bit more carefully and found a few more places to edit. Ascension Island, for example, has only First Class International available. I’m about to check out Bolivia, the Falkland Islands, and North Korea (can’t imagine shipping anything to North Korea).

I thought it would be helpful to start an unofficial list of countries that are problem countries to ship to. If you are aware of any, please add them to the list.

ETA - Looks like I can’t send priority to Bolivia - only First Class International or Express. Falkland Islands is another country with only First Class International available and, lo and behold, you can ship to North Korea - another country with only First Class International available.

Edited by: combinola on May 6, 2017 11:20 AM

Edited by: combinola on May 6, 2017 11:22 AM


Mex and Brazil are notorious for late delivery but we never had any problems with Italy (five packages sent last year, all confirmed on time).


Problems based not on USPS regulations, but upon order history (mine and other sellers whose anecdotes I trust): Mexico, Brazil, Italy

Edited to add:
For Germany be sure to put a copy of the invoice on the outside of the package.

Edited by: bookwormapril on May 6, 2017 11:19 AM


Also be aware In EU countries especially Germany when items are valued over 16 Euro the customer will be requested to pay Vat tax. Adding an invoice for large amounts will create issues for customers when customs demands money for the package. Big headache this as alot of Buyers assume they always buy from sellers in EU countries who have Vat exemptions.

My worst places for shipping are:

Any where in South America


For me
CHINA and Eastern European countries(Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania …) always are the problems of shipping


Excellent list.


Upic (a shipping Insurance Company) has a great list:

This list of excluded countries is specifically for those who hold volume policies with U-PIC or any of its vendors. Packages sent to these countries can not be insured.

*Bosnia and Herzegovina*
*Cote d'ivoire (Ivory Coast)*
*Democratic Republic of the Congo*
*Myanmar (Burma)*
*North Korea*
*Republic of the Congo*
*Sierra Leone*
*Sri Lanka*

Also, due to notoriously slow Customs clearances, you cannot file for a lost package until 60 days have passed for:


I have had real problems with 2 countries:

Nigeria: Customer refused the package which was shipped Express Mail International. The receiving post office required the recipient to pay more than that cost of the book and Express Mail shipping combined. She asked why so much and they said because it was an express package. She refused to pay it. The item was returned to me eventually, several months later. Looking at the local postmark on the package applied when the package was returned the return must have been by rowboat despite the package being Express

Philippines: I have had minor problems with delivery in the Greater Manila area. Usually the post authorities do not let the customer know that the package is waiting for them at their local post office. In more rural areas I have never had anyone complain about delivery issues.

Uganda: The package can disappear after it clears customs and leaves the central processing post office in Kampala. Tracking will show that the item has been routed to the receiver’s PO but in reality it may not arrive there.

I have shipped to over 30 countries and these three are the only ones I have ever had any issues with.


Thank you for the input. I especially appreciate the upic list. I wonder how often they update the list. I have been using the -

Summary of Changes
Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service,
International Mail Manual
Issued April 3, 2017

Cuba’s status has changed so that shipping is pretty normal - revised to reflect that Priority Mail International parcel service is available to Cuba. And - revised to reflect that Priority Mail Express International service is available to Cuba.

Have all of you changed your shipping templates to reflect your problem countries?


I did ship one to North Korea 3 years ago.

It had to go through a special address in South Korea.

It took my friend the postal clerk and I almost an hour to get it done. It cost around $28. It was a 1960 veterinarian book on horses. I feel sorry for the horses in North Korea if their vets are still using 1960 technology.


I think it’s fascinating that someone was able to place an order from North Korea. I hope the book was received. I imagine all sorts of consequences to someone getting caught placing such an order.


It’s hard to do on Amazon---- easier other platforms— but I have suggested to the buyer that it goes to a business address … and required a phone number… that’s always works great with places like Japan and Singapore… with postage prices the way they have escalated costs-gone up-- if they would like to have it shipped to some odd place they need to contact me & I will have to adjust the price of the item to compensate for the lost postage-…


There are customs fees over a certain amount of money… I can’t remember exactly but it’s quite low… you can look it up Customs charges a $10 fee to process the item – so then you end up with someone declining delivery because they don’t want to deal with it. This does not happen with gifts but the last thing you want to try to do is be fudging with a government agency. … most people that live on the edge of Canada regulate receive packages in the US and bring them home to avoid the customs fees. The only things I’ve ever sent to Canada were very small and inexpensive and Weighed less than 13 ounces so they could go first class mail. Anything else just didn’t make sense cost-wise and that was on another platform easier to deal with idiosyncrasies and more flexibility.


Why is Canada a problem for shipping? Just curious…


There’s also a time factor for Canada (probably because of customs). I used to send videos to Canada (personal, not Amazon). I could send a package to the Philippines faster than to Canada.


I won’t send to Italy, Spain, or Mexico (any South American countries) any more.

For sure you don’t want to send packages to Congo either, this from missionaries that worked there. They could only safely get packages when someone came from the states to visit or new missionaries came. I’m not even sure I letters get through.

The thing that has surprised me the most over the years is I have never had a problem with any of the former communist countries of eastern Europe and the former USSR.

For the most part I will only sell to so-called first world countries except for ones that have proved to me they aren’t safe. One package went to Italy and went sightseeing. About 5-6 months later it showed up in my mailbox. It had been opened as everything was out of place with a note saying I had used the wrong custom form even though it was the same one that I used for every other European country, nor could I figure out from their form what form to use. U-PIC covered the lost packages in Italy and Spain.


I have listed Canada as I’m located outside of North America and shipping delays to Canada are ridiculous . For example A package that takes 14 business days to Kansas City will take 8 to 10 weeks to be delivered in Canada. The main issue with Canada is customs processing. For sellers shipping from the United States to Canada don’t encounter the time delays ive mentioned.


Any problems I have had shipping internationally have been customer related not country related. Yes some countries like Brazil take longer but for the most part people in Brazil and other countries seem to expect that. Customers are a very different matter. Unreasonable expectations and scammers know no international boundaries.


Has anyone got knowledge and experiences shipping to Colombia?

I have just received an order and my main concern is around the time it will take to be delivered as it’s being sent from Japan.

Worried if I fulfil the order and don’t make the delivery estimates I will be needing to provide a refund and loose the item.


I think you will be fine as long as you ship promptly.

One of the things we used to do to help our personal packages to be safer to South America was to put religious stickers on the outside - Christian for South America. Just be sure you know the country before your do it.