International Shipping Restrictions, Prohibitions, & HAZMAT
When you ship something from the United States to another country, you must follow both USPS® international shipping regulations and the regulations of the destination country:
- Some items are prohibited (completely forbidden).
- Some are restricted (allowed under certain conditions).
- Hazardous materials (HAZMAT), also known as Dangerous Goods (DG), may be prohibited or restricted.
If you're shipping within the U.S., see Domestic Shipping Prohibitions & Restrictions.
Reminder: Mercury (a silver metal that's liquid at room temperature) is prohibited and can't be mailed internationally, whether by itself; in devices like antique thermometers, barometers, and switches; or as mercury vapor contained in devices like compact fluorescent lamps. Learn More
- If you're not allowed to ship an item in the U.S., you're not allowed to ship it to any other country.
- Other items are specifically prohibited from being mailed to any other country.
- Finally, each country has its own rules on what it will and won't allow: Find your destination country in the Individual Country Listings.
Shipments to U.S. military bases and embassies (APO/FPO/DPO) in foreign countries are treated like domestic mail, but they are still subject to those countries' laws.
All USPS customers are responsible for:
- Complying with Postal Service™ regulations and U.S. related laws and regulations.
- Review the USPS Publication 52, Hazardous, Restricted, & Perishable Mail and the International Mail Manual to find out if your item is mailable.
- Complying with the laws of your destination country.
- Review the Individual Country Listings to discover if the destination country permits your item.
- Know that a country’s size and weight standards may differ from USPS standards.
- Packing your package securely and marking it as required. You can take your package to a Post Office™ location to make sure it is labeled correctly.
- Accurately filling out customs forms (including more-detailed package descriptions required by countries that follow European Union (EU) customs rules).
Shipping Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) & Dangerous Goods (DG) Internationally
Hazardous materials (also known as dangerous goods) are substances that could injure people or cause damage if not handled properly, like chemicals or flammable items.
HAZMAT also includes lithium batteries (like the ones in cell phones and electronics); they contain a lot of energy and can be a fire risk.
- Some HAZMAT is prohibited—you can't send it through USPS and must use another carrier.
- Other HAZMAT is restricted—you can mail it if you follow all the rules.
- Some HAZMAT can only be sent in ground transportation—it can't go on airplanes.
- If you are mailing packages that contain hazardous materials (HAZMAT), you must separate HAZMAT packages from all other packages and present them in a container marked "HAZMAT."
If you knowingly mail materials that are dangerous or injurious to life, health, or property, for each violation, you face a civil penalty of at least $250 (but not more than $100,000), the costs of any cleanup, and damages. You may also face criminal penalties.
Internationally Prohibited Items
These items may not be sent from the United States to any country:
- Air Bags
- Alcoholic Beverages
- Dry Ice
- Hemp-based products (including cannabidiol [CBD])
- Marijuana (medical or otherwise)
- Mercury, including both liquid mercury (by itself and in older devices, like thermometers, barometers, and switches) and mercury vapor (found in devices like compact fluorescent bulbs)
- Nail Polish
- Perfumes (containing alcohol)
Additionally, each country has its own rules on what it will and won't allow: Find your destination country in the Individual Country Listings.
USPS® is the only shipping company that ships cremated remains (human or pet ashes). You may ship cremated remains internationally (if the destination country permits) but must use Priority Mail Express International® and the appropriate customs form. You are required to use a properly sealed funeral urn as the inner primary container. For the outer shipping package, you must use one of our two Cremated Remains Kits or use your own strong, durable container, properly packaged and labeled with Cremated Remains Label 139 on all four sides of the box, plus top and bottom. Order free cremated remains shipping supplies on The Postal Store®.
Only licensed manufacturers and dealers may mail or receive handguns. Many countries have distinct domestic laws impacting the shipping and receipt of firearms.
Only lithium cells and batteries that are properly installed in the equipment they are intended to operate may be mailed internationally or to APO/FPO/DPO locations if the destination country and APO/FPO/DPO permit their receipt.
Prohibited Lithium Battery Shipments
- Lithium batteries packed with, but not installed in, equipment
- Lithium batteries sent separately from equipment
- Damaged or recalled batteries
- All pre-owned, damaged, or defective electronic devices containing or packaged with lithium batteries
Except in limited circumstances, pets and warm-blooded animals may not go in the mail. Shipments of live animals, including poultry, reptiles, and bees, have very specific packaging requirements. Although you can drop these animals at any Post Office™ location, they are only shipped when the right transportation is available.
Safety matches have treated match heads that will only ignite when struck against a specially prepared surface like a match book, card, or box. Safety matches must be sent via ground transportation and cannot be mailed internationally.
Strike-anywhere matches will light from friction against any surface. Strike-anywhere matches may not be mailed domestically.
When sending medicine or drugs through the mail, mailers and shippers must know the characteristics of the items they are sending and treat them correctly. Medicines are controlled substances and are subject to strict regulations. Prescription medications may only be mailed by Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registered distributors. Similar regulations apply to some over-the-counter medications.
Flammable or combustible paint and paint-related items may not be shipped internationally. Latex Paint or a similar water-based paint product that is not flammable or combustible is not regulated as a hazardous material, and therefore, is not restricted.
Perishable items are materials that can deteriorate in the mail, such as live animals, food, and plants. Permissible perishable items are sent at the mailer’s own risk. These items must be specially packaged and mailed so that they arrive before they begin to deteriorate.