Just like most of you, many of my purchases never reached my home address for the past 2 years, except those shipped via premium shipping. Shopping from AliExpress is still nearly unrealistic because of the high shopping costs from China. Definitely not recommended unless you are buying items you do not need immediately (or in next weeks) or never ever…
So, I carefully hand-picked European / American sellers on eBay during the past months. Although few parcels were either lost or lying somewhere in someone’s else house, US and UK shipping are still more reliable during this post-covid online shopping era.
Different shipping carriers
Using Shop & Ship is better than nothing as at the end of the day, you do receive your product delivered at your doorstep at a competitive price. The only downside is the waiting period for them to clear the items out of the Mauritian customs. This can take 1 or more weeks. [Read more on Shop & Ship]
myUs is the best solution if you absolutely need to purchase something from the US. Your item is at your doorstep between 7 to 14 days but as I mentioned in my earlier post, you are paying for this service (monthly fees and shipping). You can also purchase from UK but shipping costs are higher as they are calculated from the shipment volume [Read more on myUs]
Normal postal services are slowly returning back to normal but we are still a long way to go. But good to know that once an item has reached Mauritius through normal post, custom clearance is probably done during the day or next working day, unlike Celero / Aramex / ShopAndShip!
This said, 3 weeks back, I purchased an item from the US with delivery estimated to be done within 2 to 3 weeks for a reasonable price. That same item was just delivered after 27 days. Not bad given that the same parcel went through multiple shipping carriers from the US till Mauritius : USPS, DHL, UPU and finally Mauritius Post.
Grabbing shipping deals
Few weeks back, I also took note of something quite interesting on AliExpress. Although the seller was offering DHL shipping for around Rs1200 from China to Mauritius, I was able to put 16 similar items in the same shipping costs!
So, look out for such items but also keep in mind that in Mauritius, custom officers can classify this import as commercial if the quantities seem unreasonable. For example, it might look acceptable if you are importing 10 switches for your personal house but importing 10 mobile phones is definitely not for personal use.
Custom Clearance procedures
While clearing my item out of the customs yesterday, I grabbed the opportunity to shoot the following questions to the custom officers which I very regularly receive on my blog, mail or social networks.
Do you need a custom broker for personal imports above Rs30,000 ?
No, if the item is for personal usage and under reasonable quantitites, there is only normal VAT (with first Rs 1000 exempted) and duty charges.
Is ICTA clearance necessary for concerned devices?
Yes. [Read more about ICTA clearance here]
A huge relief since importing above Rs30k limit for personal usage meant that you need to add the service fee for a customs broker, which I understood is currently quoted as being above Rs3000 per item. But if you are importing via DHL etc, it seems that you do not need to pay for any additional fees as they take care of everything.
Mauritius Post Tracking
DO NOT rely on the tracking page provided by Mauritius Post!
Forget about the parcel reaching the island, the tracking did not find my parcel even after I cleared the item out of customs and paid the postage services fee.
Even the phone number is not reachable as it is connected to a fax machine. If you want to get tracking information, do call on 208 2851 and politely ask for being redirected to someone who can provide tracking information. They are very helpful and from what I understood, not all parcels can be tracked through the web site.
So, today, days after I took delivery of the parcel, I randomly decided to give the tracking another go… Aaaannnnddd, it was now there :
As you can see, it displays data from the time it reached the Mauritius Post and till final delivery (Although the times are not exact at all!)
My new toy : Google Home Hub (1st generation – GA00516-US)
After watching the product and its reviews for several months, I finally got one at $40 with an additional of $36 as shipping costs. After I paid a total of Rs278 in the parcels office (for VAT and local charges – Read more here), the hub had cost me a total of Rs 3,850. Great purchase in my opinion as the second edition one will cost at least twice this price!
A quick review ;
Although being released in 2018, and replaced by the second generation in 2021, this first version of Google Hub still seem to be a great device for controlling your smart devices in your house, receiving Google Duo calls, playing your netflix or youtube videos on the 7inches screen. With this one placed in the kitchen, it becomes easy to ask Google to switch on / off the Sonoff lights, start cleaning the house with Devika or step by step instructions for cooking. With Voice Match, up to 6 different Google accounts can connect to the same device and provide customized results according to who is asking the question.
With the features described above, which work absolutely as described, time for the few cons I found till now :
- My Google Workspace @awootar email address account isn’t ideal for connecting to the device as you cannot connect to Youtube, so I had to use my secondary gmail account.
- Apple Music is unable to be played on Google Hub directly as this has not been released for Mauritius yet.
- If you are an Apple user, you need to decide how to draw the line in between Google vs Apple products and services.
That’s all for this post!
Questions and comments most welcomed, or you can get in touch with me directly.
Thanks Yash for this very useful blog. I feel sorry for the parcels you’ve lost. I hope it wasn’t a huge amount.
interesting with practical information. I was told by ICTA that any equipment with WIFI needs prior approval for eclearance to import and customs clearance. I usually use DHL they do a good job and facilitate online payments of customs duties.
Yes indeed, you need ICTA clearance with application made online.
DHL does take care of everything, and you somehow pay for this hassle free service.
I somehow notice when buying on AliExpress choosing aliexpress standard shipping is fast and 9 on 10 you will get your product if not refund. However free shipping you may never get the product mark as delivered and even no refund (Cainiao Super Economy global as example). Other dhl or fedex too expensive
Aramex (shopanship) international service great except local service which is quite delay at custom and celero processing but still atleast you get the product.
Thank you for your Review.
I wanted to know if while buying on Aliexpress,it they use single plastic for your goods, how is it dealt at Customs level ?
You mean packaging of the parcel? I do not think it really matters because anyways at the customs, they will tear the parcel open to check the item and scotch it back. This happens in your presence if ever they hold the item.
Now, in case you are talking about buying single plastic items, the customs can fine you and destroy the item as these are not allowed in the territory.
Hello. Thank you for the insightful blog. Really appreciate the details. I wanted to ask your opinion on the below:
A friend of mine just informed me that he has sent me some gifts from Canada. The gifts include electronics like a laptop, camera and some other jewelries as well.
I wanted to know whether will I need to pay any customs on the gifts (some of them second hand) given that the value is above Rs 1,000? Moreover, in the event the gifts are valued more than Rs 30,000, would I need to appoint a customs broker? and how much do they usually charge please?
Also, do I need to have the ICTA clearance?
I have read some comments whereby people are saying they have had to appoint brokers and seek the ICTA clearance even though the items were for personal use.
Thank you for your help in advance.
Well, I will reply point-wise :
1. Yes, you will need an ICTA permit (you can do that yourself via ICTA’s web site)
2. I believe that customs here will require that you get a customs broker as several items are of high value.
3. The customs broker will probably need to get a permit from Ministry of Commerce for you since you have used items in the list.
4. Customs will also probably charge you VAT on all those items, as they do not always believe that people send so many gifts by post. lol
5. It will be 15% vat on the evaluation of items they will make+ duty where applicable (for example, clothes, bags, and perhaps jewelleries).
I unfortunately do not know how much the customs broker will charge. Been probably a decade since I last hired one.
I will be glad to hear any updates from you.
Hello are we allowed to order facial cream from AliExpress to Mauritius
I think yes.
Because it says my parcel is stuck for more than 14 days at the Mauritius customs.
Did you try to call the parcels office to enquire?
This is the list of items : https://www.mra.mu/download/ProhibitedRestricted.pdf
The only prohibited “cosmetic” item is defined as “ Cosmetic products containing Vitamin K1 (Phytonadione)”.
Does your cream contain this?
I did not call the office but they won’t be able to track the parcel since it is not registered . And i don’t know if the cream contain Vitamin K1..