Restricted Items

Understand how Zonos™ helps you manage your catalog’s restricted items for cross-border orders.

Decoding cross-border restrictions

Restricted or prohibited items typically fall into these categories.

Note: There is a difference between restricted and prohibited items. Restricted items can only be imported with additional permissions from a carrier, with proper import documentation for the destination country, or with appropriate licenses or approvals obtained by you the exporter or the receiver/importer. Prohibited items, on the other hand, are not available for export/import due to restrictions by the US government or the destination countries governments.

Zonos Checkout Experience

Zonos automatically manages item restrictions for your shoppers with the Zonos Checkout or API. Restrictions are only determined at the time of the shipping quote since many items contain carrier restrictions. Customization or additional item restrictions can be managed inside of the Zonos platform. When goods are deemed restricted, the Zonos Checkout will automatically remove the item(s) from the shopping cart, striking out the description of the product. Additional messaging is provided with a toast alert as well as below the item in the cart informing the shopper of the restriction.

Restricted Item Sample


Before the shopper can complete their order, they are presented with a checkbox requirement to acknowledge specific items have been removed from their cart.

Restricted Item Acknowledge


Upon order completion, the Zonos Order API will return all the items that were completed in the order; the restricted items will not be listed as an item for import. The Zonos plugins will correctly handle the creation of the order less the restricted item. However, if you have custom integration, we recommend retrieving items from the Zonos Order API to create the order and not create the order items from the customer’s checkout session. If with your custom installation you do not use the item detail from the Zonos API then contact us to turn off restrictions on your Zonos Checkout.

Zonos may determine an item restriction from a Harmonized Code, country of origin, category of item, item description or all of the above. For example, 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.

Zonos API

The Zonos API supports item restrictions for in your checkout. The Shipping Quote API returns the JSON response for each item with the message to display for your shoppers as well as the reason for the restriction.


"restrictedItems": [
    {
        "cartItemId": 1,
        "message": "We are unable to sell Leatherman products to your country.",
        "reasonCode": "BRAND_COUNTRY"
    }
  ],

Country import restrictions

Zonos supports selling to 220 countries, and each destination may have unforeseen restrictions on items in your catalog. Some countries are completely restricted for export from the US due to embargo or sanctions. This includes the embargoed/prohibited list of countries such as Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria, and Sudan. These countries are not supported or available in the Zonos Checkout or API.

Destination countries may also restrict or prohibit individual items as shown in the example of the camouflage t-shirt going to Barbados.

The US government also restricts the sell to certain parties that appear on the Consolidated Screening Lists or Denied Party List. Restricted party screening is mandatory for companies of all sizes. Each violation is treated equally regardless if the business is small, medium or enterprise. Fines from $250,000 to $1 million as well as prison time could be applied. See how Zonos Checkout manages restricted party screening.

Brand restrictions

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/region. For instance, Leatherman has international distributors and have assigned exclusive distribution rights in certain foreign countries. These rights often include exclusive licensing of trademarks.

US export regulations

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 inside of your company. Zonos Checkout can help manage these restrictions as well as self-imposed restrictions. Please contact us for more details on ITAR or custom restrictions needed for your company.

Shipping carrier restrictions

UPS, FedEx, DHL, USPS and other carriers each have different prohibited and restricted items for shipping internationally. For example, UPS restricts the shipping of mother of pearl or snakeskin. FedEx, on the other hand, restricts shipping watches valued over $1,000 USD. 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 as is described in Billable Weight under the shipping section of the documentation.

Getting setup

No setup is needed on your part to get the central benefits from Zonos restriction management. To get the full benefits of the service we recommend a catalog that is harmonized. Zonos will do its best to dynamically harmonize your items at checkout based on the information in the cart. Also, if you have any custom rules, brand restrictions, or ITAR regulations contact us for additional help with your setup.

Zonos Recommends

When integrating Zonos Order API be sure to create the order from the items returned in the API and not from a session or a token. Creating the order from the API will allow for a safer and more scalable cross-border strategy for your eCommerce business.