USPS Shipping Restrictions

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If you ship with the United States Postal Service, it’s important to be familiar with U.S. regulations as well as USPS guidelines—especially restricted and prohibited items. Restricted items can be shipped only under certain conditions, while prohibited items can’t be shipped under any circumstances. Additionally, all USPS shipments must follow all local, state, and federal laws to ensure that they meet their final destination.

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USPS Domestic Restrictions

Though restricted items have additional requirements to be shipped, some restricted items are commonly shipped. Additional requirements will vary by the type of shipment and it’s up to the sender to fully meet these requirements.

Restricted items include:

  • Nail Polish

    If you ship flammable nail polish as a consumer commodity then you are required to know its flashpoint and toxicity. Depending on the flashpoint, nail polish may require special packaging or may be restricted to ground transport.

  • Lithium Batteries

    Small, consumer-type lithium batteries such as those used in cameras, computers, rechargeable power tools, and cell phones can be shipped domestically. However, under some circumstances, lithium batteries cannot be sent via airmail.

  • Prescription Drugs

    Prescription medicines can only be mailed by Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registered distributors. Additionally, some over-the-counter medications have similar regulations.

  • Perishable Items

    Items that can deteriorate are required to be specially packaged and mailed in a timely manner with their expiration date in mind. Ultimately, perishable items are sent at the mailer’s risk.

USPS International Restrictions

Items shipped internationally must comply with federal laws, USPS standards, and regulations of the country of destination. This means that any item that is prohibited domestically is also prohibited internationally. Each country has its own set of prohibited and restricted items that differs from the U.S. list. It is the responsibility of the sender to familiarize themselves with the destination country’s policies before sending a shipment.

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