Can I ship alcohol and/or cheese from Canada to Bulgaria without hassle?
January 26, 2016 5:27 PM   Subscribe

A friend would like to send me some things from Canada, and I want to check up on the legality and potential hassles of doing so. Any input would be appreciated.

I'm in Sofia, Bulgaria. My friend is in Toronto. I'd love for my friend to send me some Canadian Whisky for a drink afficionado here (40% alcohol <= 1L), some aged Canadian cheddar cheese (for argument's sake let's say <500mg), and some maple syrup.

There are some important documents that my friend would be sending at the same time. I've done a bit of digging and can't find any specific rules about sending this kind of stuff from Canada to Bulgaria, and I'd really prefer that the whole package not get held up at either of our borders (or anywhere in between, really). If there's any risk to sending the booze/cheese then I'll send them as separate packages, unless that's a big no-no.

Any ideas?
posted by jpziller to Law & Government (8 answers total)
Here are the rules for shipping alcohol from Canada. Bulgaria will have its own rules on importing.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 5:34 PM on January 26, 2016

Prohibited Items

In addition to items considered non-mailable matter by the Canada Post Corporation Act & Regulations (refer to the Canada Postal Guide under "Non-mailable Matter"), the following are prohibited:

- anesthetics
- arms, ammunition or explosives
- bio products
- clothing, linen or footwear, used
- coins, banknotes, currency or securities of any kind, traveller's cheques, platinum, gold, silver, precious stones and other valuable articles
- flammable or otherwise hazardous or toxic materials
- ice, in any form
- immoral or obscene material
- jewellery and Costume Jewellery
- liquids
- narcotics and psychotropic substances
- printed matter, publications, photographs, films, tapes, etc prejudicial to the political or economic institutions of Bulgaria
- religious materials connected with prohibited or unregistered sects or organizations.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:40 PM on January 26, 2016

(It would probably be a lot easier -- and much, much cheaper -- to just buy Canadian whisky in Bulgaria. It's not exactly a rarity.)
posted by Sys Rq at 5:59 PM on January 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

I know there's Canadian whisky here but I'm not sure I can get exactly what he wants -- I'll do some digging :)

As for Canada Post's guidelines -- these are specific to them as shipper. I guess I should look at UPS/FedEx/whomever and see what their rules are, and also at the import restrictions here. On the positive side, at first blush it looks like the cheese is alright!
posted by jpziller at 6:13 PM on January 26, 2016

Beware UPS or Fedex for shipping anything across borders as an individual. If you aren't careful, you can saddle the receiver with ridiculous brokerage charges. Throw alcohol into the mix and I think ridiculous brokerage charges would be a near certainty.
posted by ssg at 7:27 PM on January 26, 2016 [1 favorite]

Check the Bulgarian laws wrt hard cheese. Here in the US it's OK to bring it in.
posted by brujita at 9:56 PM on January 26, 2016

And I went through hell at fedex when I shipped stuff I'd packed myself from the UK to my home in the US. The woman at fedex was very reluctant to give me all the info I needed to receive it before the deadline.
posted by brujita at 10:01 PM on January 26, 2016

I send packages to Bulgaria often via regular post. Bulgarian customs will not open your package as long as it weighs under 4 lbs (they are strict on the weight limit) and the declared value is less than $40. Just go with "collectibles" or "souvenirs" or in the customs declaration, both of which would be true, sort of. The worst that could happen is that someone other than you ends up drinking the whisky. You might need to make sure the whiskey doesn't slosh around too obviously.

Definitely ask for separate packages if the hard copies of your documents are important.
posted by halogen at 12:11 AM on January 27, 2016

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