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The deadlines for sending Christmas gifts to and from France

Royal Mail strikes mean you should send gifts between France and the UK well in advance this year. We also explain how long it takes to send packages to and from the US

We look at the key dates for posting Christmas gift to and from France ahead of Royal Mail strike Pic: Ground Picture / Shutterstock

People sending Christmas gifts to and from the UK have been warned to post them well in advance, with Royal Mail strikes set to cause complications over the festive period. 

Members of the Communication Workers Union announced their intention to strike on November 30 and December 1, 9, 11, 14 , 15, 23 and 24 in a dispute over pay and conditions. 

It follows strikes on November 24 and 25 to coincide with Black Friday. 

Meanwhile, French postal service La Poste has launched a large-scale recruitment campaign, and is hoping to hire 3,000 seasonal workers to ensure presents arrive under the tree in time for Christmas. 

Colissimo parcels generally take three to five days to arrive in the UK, and five to eight days for the US. 

You can estimate arrival times for other destinations here

Parcels can also be sent via Chronopost, which usually offers faster delivery: two days for the US with Chrono Express. 

Suggested delivery times might be less reliable during the Christmas rush, particularly if industrial action continues in the UK. 

Here are the recommended deadlines for sending cards or gifts to France for them to arrive before December 25: 

UK to France 

November 28: Royal Mail International Economy 

December 12: Parcelforce Global Value 

December 14: Royal Mail International Standard and International Tracking and Signature services, and Parcelforce Global Priority 

December 20: Parcelforce Global Express US to France (USPS) 

December 6: First Class Package and Priority Mail International Services 

December 13: Priority Mail Express International Service 

December 21: Global Express Guaranteed Service 

Receiving gifts in France 

If family or friends from outside the EU send you a parcel, you might be asked to pay. 

If the delivery worker does not provide a receipt, you can obtain a breakdown of the charges online here

You only need to enter the tracking number and your name, postcode and email address. 

No VAT should be due on packages worth less than €45, clearly marked as gifts. Customs duty is due only on orders worth more than €150. 

Read more: €30 customs VAT fee for US gift sent to me in France: what can I do

Read more: How I got €37 postage fee refunded for €3.50 book delivery to France

If VAT or customs duty are owed, the transporter may also charge a handling fee. 

If you believe you have been incorrectly charged, it is possible to request a refund either by calling La Poste’s customer service on 3631, or contacting it via email here.

Related articles

High tax and customs fees on gifts sent to France from outside EU

Post-Brexit tax rules recap: How to send gifts between UK and France

La Poste claims improvement to custom charge issue for foreign parcels

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