How to buy from web in Egypt

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Buying web items in Egypt is becoming easier now with many affordable shipment options. This article discusses (and as usual allows updates) the shipment methods and costs of Customs, Sales Tax and the possible review by authorities for medicine, food, and publications.

How does it work?

In most cases you find something you like to buy on a trusted website (eg, Amazon.com) and think of ordering with your Credit Card.

The problem in ordering to Egypt is when it's shipped to Egypt and enters the Customs (الجمارك). Customs have 3 problems: difficult to deal with (تحتاج مشهلاتية), charges inconsistent rates if left on its own, and may delay your item considerably.

So when you order from website in USA, this is usually what you pay for:

  1. price tag for the item itself
  2. shipping in USA
  3. shipping from USA to Egypt
  4. Customs and Sales Tax in Egypt
  5. fees of shipping company to finish #4 

If you order international shipping from website (not offered on all USA website) your item ends up in Egyptian customs and you're asked to hire an Agency (مشهلاتى) to get it out (You cannot do it on your own because entry to some points requires licensed agencies). Such agencies usually asks you to come to Customs in person to receive shipments and handle signatures and stand long hours in the Customs. This is good for companies but not for Consumers like us.

That's why Shipping Companies in Egypt are offering a better solution for Consumers such as Aramex, Fedex, etc.

How Shipping Companies Handle It?

Companies like FedEx, Aramex, DHL or Edfa3ly have set special web-purchasing programs in Egypt to help individuals (consumers) import their own goods in Egypt with special attention to customer care and complaints, and door-to-door delivery.

That's the way you need to do it:

  1. You set up an account in the shipping company of your choice
  2. They give you an address in USA (now in UK and China as well) to ship your bought items to
  3. Use the new USA address when you buy from website. For example when in Amazon.com, place your address as the USA address you were given
  4. receive in your home/work with COD (Cash On Delivery) which includes the shipping cost as well as Customs Duties and Taxes.

Who Provide Those Services in Egypt?

Agency Custom and Taxes Shipping Costs Easy & Friendly Contacts Value- added Services Overall Remarks
Aramex Good in reducing it. Few mistakes. Have skipped smaller items from customs sometimes EGP 68 per kilo or smaller Customer Service on phone was helpful and very responsive http://www.aramex.com/ None so far except website tracking Perhaps the best because of their handling of Customs costs
DHL            
FedEx            
edfa3ly.com.eg            

 

What's NOT good about Shipping Companies So Far (Apr 2012)?

What those companies are lacking so far for Consumers are:

  • They don't group your items to be shipped together and therefore save shipping costs (some items are too small and still you pay one kilo shipping costs). This perhaps could be handled on their website with additional money
  • They don't inform you before they pay money the Customs so mistakes are not easy to fix (eg, Camera Bag was taxed as Camera and not a Bag)
  • High Value consumers don't have special treatments (High Value like paying more than EGP 2000 shipping and duties per year) like special offering some of the above.

 

List (Updated Feb 2012):

Item Name

Custom Duty % (bill value)

Sales Tax % (bill value)

Inspection Authority

Notes

Beauty supplies 30% 25%  Pharmaceutical ( عرض صيدليات  )  

Books

5%

0%

Publications (matbo3at مطبوعات)

 

Brochures 10% 10% Publications (matbo3at مطبوعات)  
Bag 30% 10% None   
Calculator 0% 10% Publications (matbo3at مطبوعات)  
Car accessories & Spare parts 10% 10% None   

DVDs

0%

10%

Media (mosanafat مصنفات)

 

CDs Computer Data

0%

10%

Media (mosanafat مصنفات)

 

CDs Games 0% 10% Media (mosanafat مصنفات)  

CDs Movie, Songs

0%

10%

Media (mosanafat مصنفات)

 

CDs Programs

0%

10%

Media (mosanafat مصنفات)

 

VHS tapes

0%

25%

Media (mosanafat مصنفات)

 

Digital Camera

5%

25%

None

 

Digital Cartridge (for printers)

0%

10%

None

 

Electronics

10%

10%

None

 

Laptop

0%

10%

None

 

Web Camera

5%

10%

None

 

Food Supplement

5%

10%

Pharmaceutical (saydaliat صيدليات)

 

Clothes

30%

10%

None

 

Shoes

30%

10%

None

 

Computer Equipment

0%

10%

None

 

Catalogs

10%

10%

Publications (matbo3at مطبوعات)

 

Magazines

5%

0%

Publications (matbo3at مطبوعات)

 

Sports Equipment

5%

10%

None

 

Makeup

30%

25%

Pharmaceutical (saydaliat صيدليات)

 

DVD Player

30%

25%    

Media (mosanafat مصنفات)

 

Chocolate

20%

10%

Nutrition (aghzeya أغذية)

 

Poster

10%

10%

None

 

Mobile Charger

5%

10%

None

 

Mobile Battery

5%

10%

None

 

DVD Program

0%

10%

None     

 

Frame (?)

30%

10%

??? (عرض زرعة)

 

Stationery

30%

10%

None

 

Toys

10%

10%

None

 

Soap

30%

5%

Pharmaceutical (saydaliat صيدليات)

 

Cables

10%

10%

None

 

Cassette Tapes

0%

10%

Media (mosanafat مصنفات)

 

Watch10

%

10%

None

 

Electrical Equipment

10%

10%

Security (أمن عام)     

 

Guitar (Musician) 30% 10% None  
iPad 0% 10% Communication (عرض اتصالات)  
Archos Internet Tablet 0% 10% Communication (عرض اتصالات)  
iPhone 0% 10% Communication (عرض اتصالات)   
iPod 20% 25% None   
LCD Screen Computer 0% 10% None   
LCD Screen TV  30% 25% None   
Mobile 0% 10% Communication (عرض اتصالات)   
Game Sony Playstation 10% 10% None   
Radio 30% 10% None   
Video Camera 5% 25% None   
Wallet 30% 10% None   
Wii 10% 10% None   
Sun glasses 30% 0% None   
Printer 0% 10% Security (أمن عام)  
Game Sony PSP Console 30% 10% None  
Game X Box 10% 10% None   
Kindle 0% 10% None  
GPS 5% 10% Communication (عرض اتصالات)   
Headphones 5% 10% None   
Camera Accessories 0% 25% None  
Electric Machine 30% 10% None   
Hair Removal Device 30% 10% None