How to Send Mail to Australia

by Grant Madden

Plan on sending mail to Australia? The United States Postal Service can help you out getting the mail out of the country; but what about at the other end? Did you know that most Australian zip codes are only four numbers; an coincide with zip codes on the east coast of the USA? Want to know how to get your mail to the right person "down under"?

Forget about doing this from home--the best place to start your transport is at the Post Office. You will need their documentation so take the item to the Post Office or Postal Annex with plenty of time to spare.

Ensure your mail is addressed appropriately for delivery. That means the return address is on the back. It also means that the format for the delivery address is aligned as follows. NAME ADDRESS CITY STATE ZIP CODE AUSTRALIA More items go astray before leaving the USA because the zip code is thought to be a domestic mail service.

Sign and date a customs declaration. No declaration--no delivery. The US Postal Service will advise based on dimensions of the letter or package if a declaration is needed. Declarations are not needed for Christmas Card Only mail but may be required for letters above 4 oz.

Insure all items of value. On larger parcels, break up into smaller units for ease of shipping. At a certain point the Postal Service will be unable to ship your consignment, and you'll have to resort to another carrier such as UPS or Fedex.

If possible, advice the addressee of when you shipped. Email or a telephone call works best. Remember that Australia is generally a day ahead of the USA.

Items you will need

  • An item to mail
  • A customs Declaration
  • A Quarantine Declaration
  • Money

Tips

  • Ensure adequate delivery time. For major cities estimate seven days delivery for letters, twelve days for parcels. For provincial towns: 14 to 20 days. Outback towns: 18 to 20 days. Outlying stations and remote areas: 20 to 40 days.
  • There are no deliveries on Saturday in Australia although some post offices may be open for collection.

Warnings

  • There are certain items you cannot mail to Australia. Refer to Australian Customs website for exact details. Milk with the following items will be destroyed before being delivered: wood, milk products, animal hides, feathers, flora.
  • Not all areas of Australia has regular mail service. Mail is often housed at a Post Office for up to a month between visits from residents.

About the Author

An ex-pat Australian now residing in Southern California, Grant is the Writer/Producer of the forthcoming PC game release "Deep Six". His writing has been seen in international publications such as "Cat Sailor" and "Sailing". He recently won a contest sponsored by "Chicken Soup for the Soul" due for release October 2008. A former eight time sailing champion, he now spends his days geocaching and trying to order drive-through in a dialect that can be understood.