DHL Shipping Restrictions: List of Prohibited Items 2023

Shipping with DHL: Check the list of restricted & prohibited items

DHL is a renowned courier company that offers shipping solutions all around the world. Before booking their logistics services, it is important to get familiar with DHL’s list of restricted and prohibited items to ensure your shipment is fully compliant with the carrier’s rules. Read on to find out what can you send with DHL and organise your delivery stress-free.


DHL Express Restricted items

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Antiques and works of art with a shipment value above the threshold
  • Banderols / Tax stickers with a shipment value above the threshold
  • Commemorative coins and medals
  • Dry ice
  • Jewellery and watches and with individual values in excess of EUR 5,000
  • Perfumes


DHL Express Prohibited items

  • Bullion of any precious metal
  • Clinical testing kits, including COVID-19 tests
  • Firearms, ammunition and explosive devices
  • Flowers and plants
  • Biological substances
  • Cigarettes, cigars, tobacco products and electronic cigarettes
  • Dangerous, hazardous goods & flammable compounds
  • Financial and monetary commodities – examples include activated SIM cards for mobile phones, blank or activated credit or cash dispenser cards, blank cheques, event tickets, lottery tickets, money or postal orders, pre-paid phone cards, tickets (blank stock), traveller’s cheques, vouchers/tokens, unused stamps etc.
  • Medicinal cannabis
  • Aftershaves, aerosols
  • Toy guns, firearm parts, tasers and replica ammunition
  • Hunting animal trophies
  • Human remains or ashes
  • Illegal goods, such as counterfeit goods and narcotics
  • Live animals
  • Loose precious and semi-precious stones
  • Money – banknotes, coins, travellers’ cheques
  • More than 2 mobile phones, laptops and other small electronic items
  • Pornography in film, print or digital format

Understand the difference between DHL Restricted & Prohibited items

DHL classifies as restricted items those goods that are not allowed to be transported unless the shipper has a specific contract with DHL. To obtain such permission, the shipper must provide the necessary documents and certifications proving that they are allowed to ship such items and establishing the conditions for the transport service.

Articles that are not allowed to be shipped in any condition, either by individuals or business users, are considered by DHL as prohibited items.

Consequences of shipping prohibited items with DHL

Shipments that contain any item included on the list of prohibited shipping by DHL are not covered by any insurance or liability. If the DHL courier discovers the restricted or prohibited item upon collection, he may refuse to pick up the parcel without the possibility of a refund. If the item is discovered during regular or customs scans/check-ups during transit, it may be destroyed or returned to the sender. In most cases, DHL will contact you when this happens to inform you of the next steps.

In any situation, we strongly advise against inserting wrong information on the content field when placing your order or purposely lowering the value of your goods to avoid taxation. Once discovered, your shipment will be held, and you will be at risk of being fined for releasing or retrieving your items.

DHL Shipping restrictions based on countries

Besides the DHL shipping regulations for restricted and prohibited items, every shipment is also subject to the laws and regulations of the countries involved in your delivery. This means that, even if an item is allowed by DHL, you should still check if it falls under any specific regulation on the countries of origin and delivery. While going through customs procedures, any additional documents required or fees incurred will be forwarded to the customer.

Shipping with DHL via Eurosender

At Eurosender, we work with a wide network of logistics providers, including DHL and several other international couriers. To ensure your delivery goes as planned, we strongly advise making sure your shipment is fully compliant with the DHL list of prohibited and restricted items and any other shipping restrictions. Once everything is checked, use our booking tool below to instantly check the price of shipping provided by multiple courier providers and schedule your delivery right away!


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FAQs – DHL Shipping restrictions

Does DHL inspect the parcel upon collection?
Most of the time, the courier driver will check the parcel's content when collecting it, especially for international deliveries. If any item prohibited or restricted by DHL is discovered, the courier will most probably refuse to take the package.
How to get approval to ship restricted items with DHL?
Companies that wish to ship items considered restricted by DHL must contact the courier company directly and follow the applicable procedures. By doing this, the company will be carrying out a contract with DHL establishing the conditions of transport containing all the necessary authorisations for doing so.
Please be aware that this is not instantly available for every company. Shippers must be pre-approved by DHL to be allowed to ship restricted items internationally.
Is there a difference between the items prohibited by DHL Parcel or DHL Express?
You may encounter slight differences when looking at different DHL branches depending on their country of operation and the type of service provided. DHL Express offers worldwide deliveries by air, which means that their Terms and Conditions follow the regulations for air freight transport. DHL Parcel is a road courier service, so their regulations may be slightly different since they are applicable for truck delivery, where other conditions may apply. If you want to know exactly what you can send with DHL Express, check their dedicated page.
Is DHL’s list of prohibited items international, or does it vary between countries?
Each national branch of DHL may have slightly different regulations because they need to be in accordance with both the courier’s rules and the country’s laws. This means that there are items that may be included on the DHL list of prohibited items in Saudi Arabia but not in Germany or the USA, and vice-versa. To make sure you are following the applicable shipping regulations, we always recommend checking the information of the countries of origin and delivery of your shipment.
What are the prohibited items when shipping with DHL Freight?
DHL Freight, the division responsible for transporting pallets and cargo, has its own list of restricted and prohibited items, which may differ from those presented above. For example, when shipping via DHL Freight, companies can organise the transport of ADR items given that they provide the authorisations and certificates for doing so. For specific information about your shipment, please contact us so our specialists can advise you on the best shipping alternative for your load.
Can I ship restricted or prohibited items through Eurosender?
To ensure your shipment will go through without any issues, we strongly advise against including any restricted or prohibited items inside the package. Please have in mind that any shipment that contains prohibited or restricted articles is automatically excluded from insurance, which means that you will be sending it at your own risk.
Disclaimer: The information above is the result of online research conducted in July 2021. For more information about DHL shipping restrictions for prohibited and restricted items, we strongly recommend checking the courier company’s official website.