Like many other AUP students, you might find that you miss particular foods or products from back home during your stay in Paris. If you’re lucky, maybe Mom or Dad sends you a care package. But watch out! You need to know that if you are sending or receiving goods from outside the European Union, you may have to pay a hefty customs tax!


Here is what you need to know about receiving packages:

  • Any package valued over €45 is subject to French import tax.
  • Import taxes are payable by the receiver.
  • You can be taxed on the value of the package and the shipping costs.
  • To avoid paying import taxes on most items, the sender must clearly mark the package as a “gift” (or cadeaux) upon sending and ensure all paperwork is correctly filled.
  • The customs charge must be paid before you can receive your package.
  • Depending on the carrier, you might have to go to a delivery center, possibly far from campus, to retrieve your package and pay customs.
  • Make sure the sender includes your full name as well as “chez AUP” on all of your packages.
  • If you are receiving used electronics – for instance, if you left your phone at home –you should declare them at their true value. You will be expected to provide evidence that the phone is not new. Inquire with your shipping company to see if they can help.


Here are a few tips for sending packages:

  • Packages sent from France that include only books or other written material are eligible for special book rate.
  • Certain states in the US prohibit French products from being imported and/or apply a heavy tax. Check with the State to see if what you’re sending is prohibited or liable for customs charges.
  • If you don’t mark “cadeaux” or “gift” on the packages, the receiver will likely have to pay a large customs tax on receipt.


Here are a few things to watch out for:

  • Keep in mind that items containing alcohol and tobacco will incur excessive taxes.
  • Items containing food may need to have additional documentation and be subject to further checks which could result with additional charges.
  • When declaring your goods always be honest. Don’t declare €44 to avoid paying taxes when the package is worth a lot more!
  • If you get caught cheating by the French customs, they will require the value to be changed and will assess a tax on the item.


To avoid paying hefty customs fees, we suggest buying products locally in France. If you need a new phone or a new laptop, have the money wired or transferred to your account. For food, there are numerous shops with “international” sections and even entire stores dedicated to American food!