Prohibited items when using international parcel delivery services

Most countries have restrictions placed on parcels and items sent internationally. If you want to send something via international parcel delivery you’ll first need to ensure that the contents aren’t prohibited by the destination country.

Every parcel company has a dangerous goods list that details items that cannot be accepted for transit via their network. This list is usually available on their website and is, for the most part common sense. Items such as explosives, flammables and breakables are on the list, compounds that are toxic or corrosive and can cause harm to people while in transit are all prohibited, but it also includes perishables, financial documents, drugs, and items of high value like works of art. Some of the items on the list may only be transportable through certain services, and the parcel company should be able to verify those should you need confirmation.

On top of the general list, each individual country has another list of prohibited items that it will not allow to be imported. Each country is different in its choice of restricted items, so you will need to check for the destination country specifically to ensure that the contents of your package can legally be sent to the recipient. Some parcel company’s have a worldwide directory that you can use to check which items are restricted, all available on their website for ease of use. If you have items that you want to send internationally, check the website of your parcel service first to see if the information is readily available.

If you have trouble finding confirmation of what you can and can’t send to your destination country, try checking with the parcel company direct. As a general rule, it’s always a good idea to check with the parcel company just to be sure their website information is up to date. When using the internet to search for quotes, make sure to enter as much information about the contents as possible should the option be available, it will allow parcels to warn you of potential issues with the contents of your parcel.

Alternatively, check with the customs department of the destination country. A quick online search using the country name and ‘prohibited imports’ should help you find the relevant official page for that country’s customs and border protection services. Full, up-to-date information should be readily available on most country’s websites, but if you prefer to speak to someone, or a list isn’t available, use the contact page for further details.

It’s up to you to check that the contents of the parcel you wish to send abroad are items you are legally allowed to send. Failure to check prior to sending can mean your parcel is delayed in customs where it may be returned to you, or destroyed, after quarantine. Either way, you will be expected to pay the parcel costs, despite the lack of delivery.

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