Prohibited and restricted items in international shipping

Most logistics companies have a list of items considered restricted or prohibited to ship. While restricted products can still be shipped under certain conditions, prohibited items will simply be refused for shipping by courier companies. At the same time, different restrictions may apply to individuals and companies when shipping internationally. Get advice from our experts and be informed of the current international restrictions when shipping goods domestically and abroad.


Are you wondering which items are allowed and which are restricted?

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WHAT IS PROHIBITED?

Types of shipping restrictions and prohibitions

Individuals: Shipping alcohol between individuals isn’t allowed in most countries; therefore, when opting to send alcohol through the post or by courier, individuals do it at their own risk.

Companies: Light alcoholic beverages are allowed to be shipped as freight or by online authorised shops whilst heavy alcoholic drinks should only be shipped through authorised logistics providers.

Tobacco, cigarettes and cigars

Individuals: It is forbidden to ship any type of tobacco between individuals in most countries. By deciding to post cigarettes, individuals are doing it at their own risk.

Companies: Businesses producing or distributing tobacco products can ship them via authorised logistics providers.

Liquids

Individuals: Shipping small quantities of liquids may be allowed in some countries and by some couriers. For others, mailing liquids may be considered strictly forbidden.

Companies: Businesses producing or selling liquids are allowed to ship them by post or courier under special agreements or through authorised entities.

Lithium batteries

Both individuals and companies are allowed to send items containing batteries by post or courier. It is advised to keep the batteries inside the devices without being fully charged.

Single-cell batteries:

No more than 2 cells, ≤20Wh

Multi-cell batteries:

No more than 4 cells, ≤100Wh

Perishable goods

Individuals: Fresh food and other perishable goods are forbidden to be shipped by individuals due to the high possibility of getting damaged and damaging other surrounding packages. When choosing to ship perishable goods, individuals do it at their own risk.

Companies: Businesses producing and selling perishable goods are allowed to ship them under certain conditions and fulfilling the necessary requirements. Temperature-controlled shipping services are typically used to transport perishable goods.

Individuals: Fragile items can easily get damaged during transport and, therefore, shouldn’t be shipped by individuals. By deciding to ship fragile items, individuals are doing it at their own risk.

Companies: Businesses shipping fragile items usually have pre-agreed terms with courier companies and are therefore allowed to ship them.

Toxic, flammable or hazardous products

Individuals: Products containing toxic, flammable or hazardous substances are forbidden to ship. By choosing to send these types of products, individuals do it at their own risk.

Companies: Businesses producing or distributing products containing toxic, flammable or hazardous components can ship them through authorised logistics providers.

Arms & ammunition

The shipment of arms and ammunition is strictly regulated. Therefore only authorised businesses are allowed to ship arms and ammunition through licensed and specialised logistics providers.


List of restricted and prohibited items in courier services

Restricted items in courier services

  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Electronic cigarettes
  • Watches
  • Cigarettes and tobacco products
  • Medical cannabis
  • Perfumes
  • Food
  • Fragile items
  • Articles of high/unusual value
  • Biological substances, Category B and exempt human or animal specimens
  • Dangerous goods
  • Firearms and weapons (including inert and replica explosive weapons)
  • Objects with sentimental value
  • Flowers or other plants
  • Seeds
  • Items that can damage other parcels during the transport
  • Prescription drugs

Prohibited items in courier services

  • Ammunition
  • Fireworks
  • Hazardous waste
  • Bank bills, notes or currency (other than coins)
  • Bullion
  • Loose precious and semi-precious stones
  • Human remains
  • Live animals
  • Animal parts and trophies
  • Narcotics
  • Illegal objects
  • Pornography
  • Gold
  • Fur

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Shipping restricted or prohibited items by mail or courier

Even if an item is forbidden or restricted to ship, can I still decide to mail it as an individual?

Many people still decide to post restricted and prohibited items on a daily basis. However, they do it at their own risk. These items are usually sent together with other personal belongings or gifts. To ensure safe transit when shipping these types of goods, you should pay special attention to how you pack and protect them.

Will the courier company check the content of my package?

Drivers usually check, upon collection, the content of shipments to be sent outside of the European Union.

Packages that are sent within the EU or domestically in any country abroad are usually not checked during pickup. However, couriers can still randomly select parcels to be scanned and checked at their hubs.

Besides courier companies, customs authorities can also check parcels whenever a shipment is sent between countries not belonging to a free-trade zone.

What happens if someone discovers prohibited or restricted items in my parcel?

During collection, if the driver notices that your package contains prohibited or restricted items, they will most probably refuse to proceed with the pickup.

If prohibited or restricted items are found inside your package during scanning at the logistics provider’s hub or during customs procedures, one of three things may happen:

  • The restricted or prohibited items may be removed from the package and the remaining goods delivered normally;
  • The package may be ceased or destroyed;
  • The package may be returned.

WANT MORE INFORMATION?

Can I, as a company, export restricted items with any logistics provider?

It depends on the restricted items to be exported. Some items require specialised transportation that can be offered by a wide variety of couriers, while other types of restricted goods can only be shipped with authorised logistics providers.

Is there any insurance covering restricted and forbidden items?

There is no insurance (base or additional) covering shipments by individuals that contain restricted or prohibited items.

As for businesses, the insurance coverage will depend on multiple factors such as:

  • the type of items
  • the chosen shipping service
  • previous agreements between the shipper and the courier provider
  • incoterms

Can I ship refrigerated goods through Eurosender?

At the moment, Eurosender does not offer the option to book refrigerated shipping. However, we are continuously expanding our network of logistics partners and our service range.

Can I specify the content of my parcel in the “comments” field?

Please have in mind that the “comments” field is many times overlooked by the courier companies. We strongly recommend not including any important information in this field. Neither Eurosender nor the courier company can be held responsible if you ship prohibited items and decide to write the content of your package in the comments field, as this information is not checked before the order is processed.


Disclaimer: We have presented a summarised description of prohibited and restricted items when shipping internationally with a courier company. Rules vary from one logistics provider to another, as well as country regulations. Bear in mind that it is the shipper’s responsibility to get informed about further regulations. By shipping such items, you accept the extra costs and obligations that may incur.