The following letter was received from President Waddoups, my mission president. It outlines shipping restrictions for letters and packages sent to Italy. If you want to send a letter or package, please be sure to read these guidelines first. Failure to adhere to them can mean the letter or package can be lost, or that receiving it may cost me a great deal of money!
Dear Missionary Families,
We know that missionaries love to receive emails, letters and packages from home. We realize how important it is for missionaries to feel loved and remembered. To help avoid problems in this regard, we have the following recommendations for your consideration:
1. Place "Gift Money" on your missionary's personal credit or debit card. This is the easiest and safest way to give your missionary a gift for Christmas, his or her birthday or any other occasion. There are no postage charges, no customs fee, and no risk of a package being lost or arriving late. Many missionaries have told us how much they enjoy being given money to buy a gift for themselves here in Italy. We strongly urge you to consider this safe, inexpensive and convenient option instead of mailing a package to your missionary.
2. Purchase from Amazon.co.UK. This is the European site for Amazon and items purchased include taxes and custom fees. Address your purchase to the mission office physical address. Goodies? No problem. Look in the grocery section under American candy, etc. It’s a convenient way to send a gift. However, the delivery issues discussed in paragraph 4 below still apply, especially if your missionary is on one of the islands.
3. Letters and Small Padded Envelopes. If you send letters, cards or small padded envelopes directly to your missionary, you can try sending to the apartment address where your missionary is currently living. You mightfirst try sending a letter to your missionary's apartment address. If it arrives in a timely manner, you could then try sending a small padded envelope if desired. Because missionaries are often transferred, it is best to send mail early in the transfer cycle. (See transfer dates below). It is best to send letters, cards or small padded envelopes two or three weeks before the next transfer date if possible.
4. Large Padded Envelopes and Packages. Please keep in mind that you are required to make an honest declaration of the actual value of the contents of the package. “Used” has less value than “new”. If you take the tags off clothing, it becomes “used” (little value). Once your package arrives in Italy, it is inspected and an import tax of 22% of the value is charged. Sometimes additional customs charges are applied which can be very high. Your missionary is required to personally pay all import fees charged upon delivery of the package here in Italy. We have seen fees in excess of $100. One of the reasons we encourage you to consider putting money on your missionary's personal credit or debit card is that it avoids any potential problems with customs fees. Also, missionaries typically do not have room in suitcases for additional stuff. It usually is left in apartments and thrown away after transfers. If, in spite of these challenges, you decide to send your missionary a package it is usually best to send it to the mission office since postal workers often do not leave such large items at the missionary apartment and missionaries are not usually home when mail is delivered. Be careful not to send perishable items. Packages sent to the mission office will be delivered to your missionary as soon as reasonably possible, but delivery might take several weeks because our mission is very large and includes three islands. Packages or mail sent to the mission office should be addressed to the physical address. Do not send to the PO box, (C.P. 11-282):
MISSIONE ITALIANA DI ROMA
PIAZZO CARNARO, 20
00141 ROMA, ITALIA
Thank you so much for considering these guidelines. Please share these guidelines with family and friends who might be sending letters or packages to your missionary. We love your missionaries and are so grateful for the privilege of working with them.
Best personal regards,
President and Sister Waddoups, Italy Rome Mission