Shipping DNA kits
For some countries shipping of DTC (Direct to Consumer) DNA test kits is not available or is very expensive. This page gives indications and suggested alternative methods.
You can arrange with a friend in the US to have him send you the package. If this is not an option or you prefer a carrier then you can use one of the many package forwarders from US to the world. A subset of them:
- shipito.com: Addresses in California, Oregon and Hong-Kong. Already used by some genetic genealogists. Offers include good shipping rates with a variety of shipping companies and delivery times (FedEx, DHL, TNT, USPS, Airmail). Package Consolidation and virtual mailbox is also available. More Hints: use full US postal address for the kit ordering and use the same payment method for your order to avoid security alarms. DHL is considered overall as one of the most reliable shipping companies.
Returning is generally possible by simply mailing the sample tube/s to the company.
Most countries will require you to fill out a customs form. These forms are generally provided by the local post office. It is recommended that you write "genealogy sample" on the form. The content is genealogical material and not DNA until it is processed by the testing labs.
In some countries (eg, the Philippines) it is necessary to get an FTDNA Customs Release Form. If you don't have such a form then you will need to get an official letter from a doctor to state that the DNA kit is for genealogy testing only. This might incur significant charges. The FTDNA Customs Release Form states the following:
Family Tree DNA
Genealogy by Genetics, Ltd.
From: Patricia Olvera Date: 1/23/2013
Ref: Genealogy Testing
Attn.: "FDA Inspector"
Subject: Kit number
The sample in question is not medical. The sample in question contains non-infectious/non-contagious human saliva sample to obtain DNA for relationship and/or for the National Geographic – Genographic Project anthropology testing.
Our Tax ID is 76-0640295
See the United States Postal Services page for details of import restrictions per country: International Mail Manual > Individual Country Listings
DTC Kit information
23andMe currently ships kits to 56 countries. For a full list see the 23andMe FAQ: Do you take international orders?. The cost of the return courier is included in the shipping costs. You will need to look up the contact details of the local courier service in your country and ring them to arrange for collection. The details of the local courier services are not included in the package.
International (DHL Express) and US Shipping from California (not all countries listed):
- $118.95: Albania, Croatia
- $114.95: Azerbajan, Belarus
- $95.95: Cyprus
- $94.95: Austria, Czech R., Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland
- $90.95: Armenia
- $79.95: Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, UK
- $74.95: Australia
- $59.95: Canada
- $36.95: US Express
- $9.95: US Standard:
Package Size & Weight:
- shipping to recipient DHL envelope: 37x30x5 cm, ~50 g, with all content ~260 g
- return shipping DHL envelope: 31x25x3 cm, ~60 g, including Kit Box and Kit ~210 g
- Kit Box: 17.5x13x3.5 cm, ~100 g, including kit ~150 g
- Kit: 14x7.8x2.8 cm, ~ 50 g
- sample tube: diameter 1.5 cm, length: ~10 cm
Returning international sample information: 23andMe customercare - includes a reply from 23andMe.
New York and Maryland
Note that if you are in the US and you live in New York or Maryland you will not be able to order a 23andMe test. Judy Russell explains the legal situation in her blog post NY and MD limits on 23andMe (The Legal Genealogist, 23 December 2012).
Family Tree DNA
Family Tree DNA ships kits to most countries in the world. Kits cannot be sent to Sudan and Iran because of customs restrictions. There are some countries where there are "potential issues that require special handling". These countries are Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. For further details on shipping FTDNA kits internationally see these FTDNA FAQs.
Canada to UK
- Airmail $9.10
- With tracking $46 or $63
US to UK
- Airmail ?
- 1st class package International service with tracking for $16.50 US. (Another US customer reported paying $23.95 with tracking)
- 23andMe complacent about exorbitant international shipping cost by John Reid, Anglo-Celtic Connections, 21 July 2013.