How to Send Packages and Letters

Here are instructions on how to send us a package from the U.S. to Papua New Guinea, adapted from instructions our colleague Joyce Coulter wrote after living here for a dozen years. Hopefully it will answer all your questions, but feel free to contact us if you would like more help.

If you learn any other tricks or if you’re asked to do something that we haven’t listed here, let us know so that we can update these instructions.


Our Address in Papua New Guinea

Our mailing address while in Papua New Guinea is:

Steve & Debbie Miller
SIL Box 1 (282)
Ukarumpa EHP 444
Papua New Guinea

Letters

For small items that can just fit inside a letter-sized parcel, it should be fairly simple to just go to the counter and pay the correct postage to get it here.

Packages

We love getting packages. We do. But realize that sending packages to Papua New Guinea is expensive. It just is.

Please do not send food items, including candy and or seeds, due to import regulations. Packages with these items are likely to be confiscated by customs and we can be fined over $1,000. We also will have to pay customs on packages, which can be very high. It makes us groan to pay it, because we have plenty of food and candy available to buy here.

We also have discovered that we can pay substantial customs on clothing. Please ask us before shipping clothing.

U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Flat Rate Boxes

USPS Flat Rate boxes are probably the easiest and most economical way to send packages to PNG. They are a really good deal, because you can pack as much as you can fit into the box and you don’t pay by the weight. You pay a flat price. Unless you are sending really light stuff, this is a better deal than the regular international postage, which can be quite expensive!

For a list of boxes and prices, visit the USPS Website. You can save a little money by printing your own postage for the flat rate boxes.

Customs Form

You will have to fill out a customs form with the package at the Post Office. Each Post Office seems to require different forms and levels of detail on those forms. The one we have had success with is a white form (Form 2976-A) with carbon copies. You will have to list out the items you are sending, so I would recommend writing out a separate list of what you packed and taking it with you so you aren’t left guessing at the P.O. Here are some tips on how to list things that you are sending:

  • If you send any kind of media (CDs, DVDs, etc..), list it as “media.”
  • Group similar things under one heading (i.e., don’t list all of the medicines individually; just label them “medical supplies” and write a quantity).
  • General descriptions are fine; you don’t have to be extremely specific (although some Post Offices might be more demanding in this regard).
  • Some Post Offices are more strict than others. It’s possible they will ask you to list individual weights next to each item. In that case, you should be able to just put down estimates that add up to the total weight of the box.

Other information for the Customs Form:

  • All overseas mail is now airmail; there is no option of sending by sea (rf. #6 on Form 2976-A)
  • Check the box for “Gift” on the customs form to describe the contents (rf. #5 on Form 2976-A)

Other Tips

  • Regardless of how fast you pay to have it shipped, there is no guarantee it will get to us in that time frame. The package may arrive in Port Moresby within that time, but from there it has to be sorted and delivered up to the Highlands, where we have our Post Office box. How long that may take is unpredictable; on average mail takes 3-6 weeks to get from the U.S. to us in PNG. In any case, speed is rarely important to us. We’re happy to receive mail whenever it arrives! All that to say, please don’t spend extra money trying to get it here super fast!
  • Receiving FedEx packages is really difficult and expensive in PNG, so don’t use FedEx to send anything to us.