Can I send vitamins from the U.S. to someone in the U.K. ?
November 20, 2005 10:53 PM   Subscribe

Can I send vitamins from the U.S. to someone in the U.K. ? We want to send a package of vitamins to my wife's father in London from New York. I am worried its not permitted by H.M. Customs and they will trash it. I couldnt find a list of things that arent permitted anywhere on the Royal Mail or HM Customs website. I know what youre thinking.. its probably cheaper to have them buy it England but we're sending it because we know they would never actually do it.
posted by postergeist to Law & Government (9 answers total)
As a practical matter, it has a high chance of getting through, assuming small package & no flagrant indicators on it.

Maybe you could buy it from a English retailer and have it sent as a gift.
posted by daksya at 11:15 PM on November 20, 2005

Assuming it's just a multi-vitamin and not a quesitonable herbal supplement: Even if customs nabs the package, they will send your friend a letter giving him the option to claim it. I don't believe sending multi-vitamins is against customs policy, so you should be fine. As the above poster said, chances are really very slim that it will arouse suspicion.
posted by frankie_stubbs at 11:30 PM on November 20, 2005

Why don't you just shop online at Boots or another UK chemist? They deliver for #3.50. Boots has tons of vitamins and supplements. My aunt worked at one in London as a vitamin expert or something similar until recently.
posted by acoutu at 12:24 AM on November 21, 2005

My parents send me Motrin IB all the time because we haven't found a place to buy it in the UK. (we probably haven't looked hard enough). They usually send it with other items however and it's always in a ziploc bag, never in the original bottle. Customs don't seem to pay much bother to packages as long as they have no commercial value declared on them.

...and they don't tick.
posted by medium format at 1:30 AM on November 21, 2005

chances are it'll be held up only because excess duty needs to be paid. it would be quicker (and cheaper) for you to place an online order at somewhere like holland and barrett (which is the most prevailant health food store in the UK).
posted by tnai at 2:47 AM on November 21, 2005

As somebody married to an American and living in the UK we have occasionally been sent vitamins and other medications with no problems at all. There are quite a number that are more easily available in the states or cheaper in tyhe US (for example I don't think it is possible to get hold of Melatonin over in the UK).

Customs are looking for anything high value or illegal - and they open relatively few parcels. If yours is marked as a gift with a relatively low stated value then you should be OK.
posted by rongorongo at 3:28 AM on November 21, 2005

Do you think they are not getting enough vitamins in their diet? British food has improved to the point it is possible to consume enough to have a well rounded diet ;-)

In any case, if somebody sent me vitamins in the mail, especially internationally, I would think they were nuts. I'm sure if your father-in-law feels a need to supplement his diet he will sort out his own solution. Will you be taking any any sedatives he sends you because he is afraid you are getting to tense?
(tongue in cheek, not snarkey).
For the record, I would not recommend sending unsealed pills as described above, in my opinion that would be more likely to draw unwelcome attention.
posted by bystander at 3:31 AM on November 21, 2005

I've received vitamins sent from England to the USA without any problems. The package was labelled and no one seemed to care.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:45 AM on November 21, 2005

American, been living in London for almost nine years, with quarterly care packages from home containing only vitamins.

No problems at all to date, but they have opened then resealed several, no more than five or so. FWIW, I usually get just Melatonin, but also sometimes Choline and a couple other supplements that are hard to come by here.

Someone else said it: small packages, low declared value and you'll be fine.
posted by Mutant at 1:20 PM on November 21, 2005

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