First-Class Mail International, USA to England

What the U.S. Postal Service used to call “Air Mail” to foreign countries is now “First-Class Mail International”.

While the USPS does give estimated delivery times for “Global Express Guaranteed” (1-3 days), “Express Mail International” (5 days), and “Priority Mail International” (6-10 days), for First-Class Mail International the USPS website says only “Varies”.

Hmmph. Well, folks, in your experience how long will it take to send a package from the Midwestern U.S. to England, via the USPS “First-Class Mail International”?

You didn’t ask about the south, but I’ll answer anyway. I have received letters from France and the UK in less than a week.

But you’re asking about a package. That will have to go thru Customs. In my experience, expect 3-4 weeks.

I’ve received packages from America. It usually takes between one and two weeks. It’s very important that you mark the package properly, in particular declaring the value. And if you’re exporting something, you should consider the import duty. IIRC, import duty starts to be payable if the value of the item is greater than UK£15 (US$30). It may depend upon the item - I’m not a customs officer. Otherwise what happens is the package sits at a U.K. postal depot and the intended recipient gets a notice through the letterbox saying that the package is held at the depot pending payment of the import duty. If you’re sending something as a present or promotional goods and it’s not too expensive, clearly mark it so and it should escape import duty.

Exactly what Quartz says. Postcards have arrived in under 48 hours. Packages which are at the whim of customs can take any time. For clearly-labelled and packaged eBay purchases (probably the best measure) from American civilisation (you decide if the mid-west counts :stuck_out_tongue: ), I’ve not encountered anything beyond a couple of weeks.

I have just sent a bunch of packages FCMI to the UK and France and all arrived in five days.

These were bulky lumpy envelopes, not boxes.

EDIT: these were envelopes with an object(s) inside, but not anything that I declared or marked special. Nobody has mentioned having any issues with Customs.

Thanks, all. The package I am sending is a gift, the value of is under UK£15 (US$30), and it will be in a large, lumpy padded envelope.

Good. Padded envelopes are standard, and Standard = Good as far as the customs goons are concerned. And if you can use a printed label for the address, all the better. The guy who sends something in brown paper and string, with a scrawled address in ballpoint pen is more likely to find his package delayed.

And make sure the customs slip is very detailed:

  1. “Gift” (bad)
  2. “CD” (better)
  3. “Compact Disc containing family photos” (best)

I got a package from the UK 5 days after it was mailed, and that was over a weekend.

Just to warn you about two 48-hour strikes by UK postal-workers starting today. It’s expected that deliveries won’t get back to normal till the middle of next week. That will inevitably delay your package if you send it in the next day or so.