There is a recent question in the close-votes queue that is asking about how to deal with a customs issue for a package that was shipped to the OP, rather than one the OP attempted to bring through customs while traveling.

On one hand, I'm inclined to agree with the close votes on the grounds that the question isn't related to travel at all. On the other hand, the on-topic page suggests that customs questions are explicitly on-topic:

customs & border crossing, visas and other travel documents such as permits

Additionally, since travelers do frequently have to deal with customs, the argument could be made that the community here would likely be at least somewhat well-suited to answer these questions.

Do we want to allow non-travel customs questions here or only questions regarding dealing with customs while traveling?

  • 2
    Since shipping goods to a destination or home is often a part of the travel experience, I don't think this is too far outside our boundaries to be acceptable. I'm not sure we should get into "which shipping company should I use from Canada to Kazakhstan". Alternatively, if we didn't allow the questions here, would there be a logical SE in which to contain them? Mar 22, 2018 at 16:55
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    @Jim careful - just because there might not be another one for it, doesn't make it on topic here. There's unfortunately not an SE for every single topic yet ;)
    – Mark Mayo
    Mar 22, 2018 at 23:04
  • @MarkMayo So where do you fit on this continuum? :) Mar 22, 2018 at 23:47
  • There's no category for me ;)
    – Mark Mayo
    Mar 22, 2018 at 23:58
  • @JimMacKenzie As Mark Mayo said, sometimes SE just isn't enough, so you may want to make a new proposal over Area 51.
    – EKons
    Mar 23, 2018 at 19:31

3 Answers 3


Sending a parcel is not travelling, so it is off-topic, here.

Although both international travellers and international parcels are subject to customs regulations, the regulations are very different so a traveller's knowledge of customs regulations is of no use to somebody who wants to send a parcel. When returning to one's country of residence, one can typically import a relatively large amount of goods bought abroad, whereas even rather low-value parcels from abroad can attract import duty. For example, a UK resident can bring up to £390 worth of souvenirs and a quantity of alcohol and tobacco back to the UK duty-free, but must pay import VAT on goods worth £15 or more, along with customs duty on anything worth more than £135, and excise duty on any alcohol or tobacco.


Receiving a package at the post office and dealing with customs would probably fit over on Expats, but not on Travel. Personally I would've voted to close that post.

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    It wouldn't fit over at Expats, unless you're shipping stuff to yourself as you emigrate. I ship stuff overseas occasionally, and usually ship a box to myself when I travel a significant distance, but I've never been an expat :) Mar 26, 2018 at 0:27

A major argument to be made against allowing non-travel shipping questions on this site is that it opens the door to having this site become an e-commerce Q&A forum which is a very distinct subject area. One could imagine lot's of questions of the form:

I'm an E-seller in country A who shipped a purchase to a customer in country B through marketplace ZZZ. The mail tracking system appears to indicates package was intercepted by the customs authority and that the customs authority in country B would reach out the customer but that never happened. Now the customer is applying for a refund through marketplace ZZZ. Am I obligated to provide a refund to the customer as per the terms and conditions of marketplace ZZZ?

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