What You Can and Can’t Ship Internationally

Sep 13, 2018

When it comes to shipping something, it’s important to know that there are restrictions in place that prevent you from sending certain items. This is to ensure the safety of your and other people’s shipments, which preserves your experience. However, have you thought about the items you can and can’t ship, or are you relying on a hit-or-miss scenario? The truth is that you can’t always guess what you can and cannot ship to other countries. Hence, gain some knowledge about the items the regulations allow you to ship.

What You Can’t Ship

When you’re aware of what you can’t ship, it’ll shine some light on what you can ship. Hence, we’ve prepared a list of all the prohibited items that can’t go across borders.

Living Species

For starters, you cannot ship living organisms and species, like animals and plants. This is because of a general threat to the environment of the country where you ship it. Harmful pathogens and bacteria can reside inside plant and animal bodies, eventually escaping and contaminating the new atmosphere.

For this reason, you can’t ship live insects or animals, animal carcasses, living plants and plant-based material, furs, and plant seeds. You may be wondering what harm plants can do but the reason is that the product of the seed can be harmful to the atmosphere or illegal in the country.

Valuable Items

This is a well-known category since logistics and courier companies have the policy to ask you the worth of the items you’re shipping. The nature of transporting items across borders is risky itself. Therefore, the last thing that courier companies want to do is face problems in case they misplace or damage a valuable commodity or antique during transit.

Hence, you’d best refrain from shipping items like jewelry, precious metals, and fragile antiques. While we’re at it, it’s best that you know that you can’t send things of monetary nature, like fiat currency or tickets, either.

Unlabelled Items

For a number of reasons, shipping companies don’t ship unidentifiable items internationally. These can be various products without a manufacturer label like liquids, medication without a prescription, edibles, and supplements.  We are not able to ship anything that comes to us in an unmarked or non-retail grade packaging.

Biological and Hazardous Materials

You can’t ship materials that are either hazardous to human health or are biological in nature. Moreover, you cannot ship certain items until you meet specific conditions, including

  • Batteries
  • Products containing asbestos
  • Waste material and garbage

The same rule applies to

  • Disinterred remains
  • Combustible matter
  • (Human) ashes
  • Preserved embryos

While you can’t ship them as you would anything else, you need to follow a standard procedure that allows you to ship these items safely.

Military-Grade Items and Materials

This should be obvious but we’ll tell you anyway; you can’t ship military-specific items and we’re not only referring to weapons. Things like optics, night vision goggles, thermal imagers, tactical gear, rangefinders, and uniforms (includes ID and badges) whether genuine or imitation, are prohibited from international shipping.

As you already know, only specific personnel can transport such materials and in only the safest condition. It can be very problematic if items like these get misplaced and lost, which makes it necessary that specialized forces do such a task.

Firearms and Weapons

Next up on the list in firearms and weapons; these dangerous items can cause a lot of trouble and it’s necessary that weapons stay within the jurisdiction so authorities can keep track of them. To begin with, ammunition, firearms and their components are prohibited but that’s not all, the list also includes holsters and self-defense weapons like pepper spray, tasers and stun guns. In addition, you can’t ship BB guns, airsoft guns, swords, and knives used for hunting that have a length of over 5 inches.

Addictive Substances

Lastly, we have drugs, alcohols, and other similar substances. There is no umbrella term used for this category because of the diverse nature of all the substances included. To make things clear, you can’t ship illegal narcotics such as amphetamines, opioids, and marijuana, tobacco products like e-cigarettes, cigarettes, and cigars, prescription drugs or alcoholic beverages.

So, What Can You Ship?

You can ship almost anything else, as long as your country laws and regulations do not prohibit it and it does mot require a special license or permit for transportation. Most people use services to ship items like clothes, and other inexpensive items. However, if you feel like there’s some ambiguity regarding what you’re about to send, you can always contact support. We will be more than glad to help you. 

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