In 1964, Reg Spiers underwent a harrowing journey from England to Australia. Instead of taking British Airways or Qantas, he shipped himself via air freight. After three days of travel, he got out of the wooden crate he had been cooped up in and walked home.
Of course, Reg’s journey was not strictly legal. The reason he was able to pull it off was that he had been working in the cargo section of the airport so he knew how to get around the regulations. Still, it was an impressive (and outlandish) feat.
There are lots of things you would never think are legal to ship (think illegal drugs, poison, explosives…or yourself). But there are also lots of items you’d be surprised to find out you’re actually not allowed to ship. In fact, you might not find out until your goods are confiscated at the border. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the regulations before you plan your shipments.
While there are some items that are prohibited internationally, each country has its own restrictions to keep in mind as well. Be sure to check the shipping guidelines for both the country you’re shipping from and country you’re shipping to.
Here are some of the surprising items you’re not allowed to ship internationally:
1. Lottery tickets
If your Uncle Ned asks you to pick up a couple of lottery tickets for him and send them to his vacation home in Aruba, don’t do it! Sending lottery tickets in the mail could result in paying a fine or doing time in prison. This is illegal in order to prevent fraud.
Sending your pet to another country is complicated, but it usually can be done…unless your pet happens to be a raccoon or a monkey Of course, there are different regulations for each country depending on the kind of animal. Click here for more information about importing and exporting live animals.
Perhaps you live in Tokyo and you want to send some local sake to your cousin, or you live in Tanzania and you’re thinking of sending some banana wine to your parents. Unfortunately, shipping alcohol is not permitted for individuals without a business license. Find another souvenir that you can send instead.
4. Nail polish
Due to its flammable nature, nail polish is not allowed to be shipped abroad. Neither is nail polish remover. Luckily, most shipping companies will remember to ask you if you have any nail polish in the box you’re sending before they ship it.
Like nail polish, perfume is a flammable liquid and therefore unable to ship. Because it’s such a popular gift, some people might forget that they can’t send perfume overseas. Other flammable liquids that are prohibited from being shipped internationally include kerosene and cigarette lighter fuel.
6. Essential oils
With all of the hype surrounding essential oils these days, you may be tempted to send some in the mail. If you do, make sure you check their flashpoint first to ensure there’s no risk of flammability. Essential oils with a flashpoint of more than 200, such as rose, ylang-ylang, and sandalwood, are good to go.
Because they are often quite valuable, watches are restricted by many courier services. Make sure you check the specific guidelines of the shipping company you’re using and the country you’re sending it to before shipping a watch internationally.
8. Human remains
Losing a loved one in another country is devastating. Many people choose to send their loved one home to be laid to rest. Sadly, this can’t be done on your own. Most airlines require that a funeral director arranges the transport of a body, and it can be quite expensive. Shipping cremated remains is typically much easier, but still involves special regulations.
While most people would think twice before sending large amounts of cash in the mail, there are some who might not have a better option of sending money abroad. Besides the inherent risks of sending cash by mail, there are also limitations that vary by country. Try to find a safer way to send money to your friends and relatives.
Due to their extremely high value, diamonds are restricted from being shipped internationally. This applies to other expensive jewelry as well. If you want to send jewelry overseas, it’s best to use FedEx’s Jewelry Shipping Program, which ships to certain countries.
Are you tired of endlessly researching all the regulations for your shipments? Leave all of the details to us. At BorderBuddy, we’ve got solutions for businesses of all sizes, so give us a call today.