DHL Shipping Restrictions: List of Prohibited Items 2024

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

  • Liquids (in any form including alcohol and liquid cosmetics etc)
  • Antiques, works of art and fine art valued above the threshold
  • Banderols/Tax stickers valued above the threshold
  • Cigarettes, cigars, tobacco products and electronic cigarettes or accessories valued above the threshold. Electronic cigarettes and accessories require DHL Express approval.
  • Commemorative coins, medals, or high-value collectables, including but not limited to comics or books (first editions), trading cards, stamps, memorabilia with an individual or total shipment value above the threshold
  • Dangerous/hazardous goods including but not limited to perfumes, aftershaves, aerosols, flammable substances, dry ice, biological substances, UN classified dangerous goods and any goods specified as such under International Air Transport Association regulations (“IATA”), the Agreement on Dangerous Goods by Road (“ADR”) or International Maritime Dangerous Goods (“IMDG”) regulations.
  • Financial and monetary commodities valued above the threshold, including activated SIM cards for mobile telephones, gift cards, event tickets, lottery tickets, money or postal orders, pre-paid phone cards, tickets (blank stock), vouchers/tokens, unused stamps etc.
  • Hunting (animal) trophies and animal’s skins not intended for human consumption contained within Appendix II and Appendix III of CITES Convention (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild fauna and Flora).
  • Jewellery and watches valued above the threshold
  • Toy guns, firearm parts, ammunition parts, tasers or controlled military items. Firearm attachments, such as mountings, sights, night vision, gunstocks, silencers, torches, magazines or clips, flash suppressors and signature reduction devices.

DHL Express restricted items


DHL Express Prohibited items

  • Bullion of any precious metal
  • Counterfeit goods in breach of intellectual property rights (IPR)
  • Complete firearms, ammunition, explosives, explosive devices, including inert explosives or test pieces, air guns, replica or imitation firearms or ammunition
  • Flowers and plants
  • Medicinal cannabis or its derivatives
  • Hunting (animal) trophies, animal parts such as ivory and sharks fin, animal remains, or animal-by-products or derived products not intended for human consumption, prohibited for movement by the CITES Convention or local law
  • Human remains or ashes in any form
  • Illegal goods, such as illicit drugs, included but not limited to narcotics stimulants, depressants or hallucinogens.
  • Knives or other weaponry
  • Live animals (including but not limited to mammals, reptiles, fish, invertebrates, amphibians, insects or birds)
  • Loose precious and semi-precious stones, cut or un-cut, polished or un-polished
  • Cash (legal tender – bank notes, currency notes, coins)
  • More than 2 mobile phones, laptops and other small electronic items
  • Pornography in film, print or digital format
  • Shipment trackers / active loggers

DHL Express prohibited items

Understand the difference between DHL Restricted & Prohibited items

DHL classifies certain goods as restricted items, which means they are not allowed to be transported unless the shipper has a specific contract with DHL. In order to obtain permission, the shipper must provide the necessary documents and certifications to demonstrate that they are authorised to ship such items and establish the conditions for the transport service.

Articles that are not allowed to be shipped under any circumstances, 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 a restricted or prohibited item during collection, they may refuse to pick up the parcel without the possibility of a refund. Similarly, if the item is detected during regular scans or customs check-ups during transit, it may either 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 case, we strongly advise against inserting incorrect information or undervaluing your goods in the content field when placing your order to avoid taxation. If discovered, your shipment will be held, and you may be fined for releasing or retrieving your items.

DHL shipping restrictions based on countries

Aside from 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 in the countries of origin and delivery. During customs procedures, any necessary additional documents or fees will be communicated 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!


Book your door-to-door delivery right away

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FAQ on DHL shipping restrictions

Does DHL inspect the parcel upon collection?
Most of the time, the courier driver will check the content of the parcel when collecting it, particularly for international deliveries.
If any item prohibited or restricted by DHL is discovered, the courier will likely refuse to accept the package.
How to get approval to ship restricted items with DHL?
Companies that intend to ship items classified as restricted by DHL must contact the courier company directly and follow the relevant procedures.
By doing so, the company will enter into a contract with DHL, which establishes the transport conditions and includes all necessary authorisations for shipment.
Please be aware that this is not immediately 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.
Can I send lithium batteries with DHL Express?
You can ship lithium batteries with DHL in specific cases, as long as you follow the carrier's instructions and IATA rules.
For instance, you can ship lithium batteries as long as there are no more than 2 batteries or 4 cells in each package.
Please note that defective or damaged batteries, as well as batteries in larger quantities, are not allowed.
For more information, see DHL's rules for lithium batteries.
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 bear 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 October 2023. For more information about DHL shipping restrictions for prohibited and restricted items, we strongly recommend checking the courier company’s official website.