Zonos logo

Item restrictions



Learn how Zonos helps you manage restricted items for imports and exports. 


Typically, items are restricted or prohibited by the following:

  • Import country
  • Export country
  • Shipping carrier
  • Brands or distributors
  • Internal decisions

Restricted vs. prohibited

Restricted items don’t necessarily mean you can’t export the good. You may just need to obtain the proper license or permission to export.

Prohibited items, on the other hand, are not available for export/import due to restrictions by the export country/government or the destination country’s governments.\


    "id": "rstc_1EEzH32eZvKYlo2CdNQsj6Dp",
    "list": [
            "id:": "sku_294395",
            "message": "The item is oversize for this level of service",
            "reason": "oversized",
            "status": "restricted",
            "type": "carrier"
    "country": "BR",
    "country_message": "",
    "country_restrictions_webpage": "https://www.abf.gov.au/importing-exporting-and-manufacturing/prohibited-goods/list-of-items"

Import country

Restricted items can only be imported with additional permissions from a shipping carrier, with proper import documentation for the destination country, or with appropriate licenses or approvals obtained by you, the exporter, or the receiver/importer.

Export country

The US Export Control System oversees exports to protect the national security interests of the United States, promote foreign policy objectives, and comply with international commitments. With a program such as ITAR, penalties for violating the US Department of State’s Director of Defense Trade Controls may include fines and requirements to institute enhanced compliance measures within an organization. The Zonos API can help manage these restrictions.

Shipping carrier

UPS, FedEx, DHL, USPS, and other carriers each have different prohibited and restricted items for shipping internationally. For example, UPS restricts the shipping of snakeskin or mother of pearl. USPS restricts lithium batteries. Carriers will classify other items as dangerous goods and may restrict these types of items (e.g. batteries). Additionally, country-specific import restrictions may vary by carrier. Size and weight restrictions are also managed by Zonos when needed.

Brand and distributors

Some brands restrict the sale of their products to different countries due to international distributor agreements with exclusive distribution rights, or the brand may impose price protections by country or region. For instance, Leatherman has international distributors and has assigned exclusive distribution rights in certain foreign countries. These rights often include exclusive licensing of trademarks. Brand restrictions are not comprehensive and typically involve obtaining restricted information from the merchant.

Prohibited items

Destination countries may prohibit individual items.\


A t-shirt with an HS code of 6109.10 may not be restricted or prohibited into Barbados; however, if the t-shirt is camouflage, it is deemed illegal and will be confiscated by customs upon entry.


The Prohibitions and Restrictions service uses third parties to source information on restricted HS codes and other possible restricted information; however, there are restrictions where an HS code is not sufficient and may require description-level keywords. The Zonos Decoder team also sources information directly from the carriers and some country websites. Zonos is continually working on our keyword matches beyond HS code matches. For example, if a shoe, pants, shirt, or hat is camouflage and going to Barbados, the keyword “camouflage” will be caught and restricted, even though the HS code is not restricted.

Next steps

Related Decoder Guides


How does Zonos source information on the various restrictions and prohibited items?

Zonos uses data from a variety of sources, including government websites, trade organizations, and more. We also have a Decoder team dedicated to managing global trade and staying up-to-date on the latest industry information.