United States Import Restrictions

In order to enter United States, certain goods are subject to specific controls and, regardless of their value and quantity, they require the consent of United States government, preferably, license must be obtained prior to passage through the customs, preventing the goods from being retained. On this page, you will see what kinds of items are prohibited from entering the United States, and which items need special documentation before exporting to United States.

United States Import Regulations

Import restrictions

Senders should determine import restrictions from United States of America authorities before posting:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Animals and animal products
  • Firearms
  • Foodstuffs
  • Goods originating from Cuba, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria
  • Hides
  • Knives
  • Pharmaceutical products
  • Registered articles
  • Skins
  • Tobacco and tobacco products
  • Vegetable and other plant products
  • Weapons
  • Wool.

USA admits duty-free genuine personal gifts not exceeding $US 25 value (excluding tobacco products and perfume).

Special documentation

Senders should provide a Certificate of Origin, whenever possible.

As a result of new regulations issued by the Food and Drug Administration under the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002, all shipments of articles of food to the United States must be preceded by a prior notice of shipment. This applies to articles shipped for commercial purposes or as gifts.

Articles of food include (but are not limited to): food for humans or animals, dietary supplements, nutritional supplements, vitamins, food and colour additives.

Articles of food which are non-commercially prepared by an individual in his own residence and sent to another individual as a (non-commercial) gift are exempt from submission of this prior notice. This prior notice may be submitted and a prior notice conformation number obtained via access.fda.gov/index.html#prior.

Mail shipments containing food articles for which a prior notice conformation number has not been entered on the customs declaration may be returned to the sender or (if no return address is included) destroyed.

Should you require information on what must be submitted with a prior notice, consult the Food and Drug Administration.


In addition to items prohibited by Dangerous and Prohibited Goods & Packaging Post Guide and ECI and EPI – Parcels Regulations, United States of America prohibits:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Animals and animal products
  • Animal or vegetable fats/oils
  • Arms and ammunition
  • Cereals
  • Coffee and tea
  • Chain letters
  • Cork and articles of cork
  • Dairy produce, birds’ eggs; natural honey
  • Fruit, nuts and citrus peel
  • Fertilizers
  • Furs
  • Inorganic and organic chemicals
  • Lottery tickets or related advertising
  • Lac, gums and resins
  • Mineral fuels and oils
  • Measuring, medical or surgical instruments
  • Meat and fish products
  • Optical, photographic, cinematographic products
  • Printed books, newspapers, pictures- offensive by nature
  • Pharmaceutical products
  • Preparations of meat, fish or crustaceans
  • Tobacco and tobacco products
  • Vegetables and vegetable products
  • Wool, animal hair
  • Wood and articles of wood
  • Wine
  • Wheat products.

Transporting food of any kind is prohibited under ECI Platinum.

Mail Security

The United States Postal Service has advised that, owing to heightened security, longer delivery times are likely for articles addressed to US government agencies. This applies in particular to Washington DC five-digit zip codes ranging from 202xx – 205xx.

Mail may be subject to irradiation treatment prior to delivery. The irradiation process is safe, but the US Postal Service is advising mail users that particular commodities may be affected:

  • Any biological sample e.g. blood samples, could be rendered useless
  • Diagnostic kits e.g. to monitor blood sugar levels, may be adversely affected
  • Photographic film will be fully exposed
  • Food will be adversely affected
  • Drugs and medicines could have their efficacy affected
  • Eyeglasses and contact lenses could be adversely affected
  • Electronic devices would probably be rendered inoperable

The US Postal Service advises that each irradiated mail article will bear an official notification to the addressee that the item was subjected to an irradiation process.