COVID-19 Update: On the 17th of March, Amazon announced that until the 4th of April, they are prioritizing shipping essential items such as medical supplies and household items with their proprietory fulfillment services. If you're a third-party Amazon seller who still needs to get your products out, we'd love to talk to you about using our fulfillment solutions to help you at this time. Our features-packed shipping app is free to use up to 500 shipments per month.
The coronavirus is also causing some delays with fulfillment. You can expect Amazon shipping delays of at least a few days for non-essential items; Amazon Prime delays are also to be expected, though since orders usually include "essential" products, these shipments should be prioritized by the company.
Amazon may promote itself as the “everything store”, but there are limitations when it comes to delivering certain products within the United States and beyond!
Before your customers ask Alexa for your items, find out about Amazon’s shipping restrictions so you can adequately prepare for alternative shipping solutions, should you need them.
What are Amazon’s shipping restrictions?
Amazon has domestic shipping restrictions based on location and perishable items.
Location-based shipping restrictions
When it comes to domestic shipping for non-contiguous states (Alaska and Hawaii) and U.S. territories and protectorates, they will have the following shipping restrictions:
- Package weight and dimensions: Items can’t be heavier than 70 pounds with length or girth longer 108 inches
- Large or oddly shaped items might not be shipped
- Certain hazmat items are ineligible
- Certain address types may take longer than normal
Other location-based shipping restrictions apply to APO addresses and US prisons. Learn more.
Perishable items shipping restrictions
During the summer months in the U.S. (May 1 - October 1), perishable products will need special packaging to avoid spoilage during delivery.
Amazon will require these items to be shipped via their “Expedited Chilled Shipping” method. There will be an additional handling charge of $1.99, and they won’t be eligible for free shipping or Prime shipping.
What are Amazon’s international shipping restrictions?
Amazon boasts that they can ship to over 100 countries and regions outside the United States. You can see their complete list here.
However, they're very hands off when it comes to handling tax and duty for imported items. According to their policy: “Additional charges for customs clearance must be fulfilled by the recipient; Amazon has no control over these charges, nor can Amazon predict what they may be.”
If you’re an Amazon seller looking for an easier solution to customs tax and duty, consider integrating your Amazon store with Easyship! Our platform automatically calculates these values, allowing you to manage tax and duty expectations effectively.
What are Amazon’s restricted items?
There are millions of items you can ship on Amazon, but many categories contain restricted products that may require pre-approval before you can sell and ship.
Common categories include:
- Animals & Animal-Related Products
- Cosmetics & Skin/Hair Care
- Currency, Coins, Cash Equivalents, and Gift Cards
- Drugs & drug paraphernalia
- Explosives, Weapons, and Related Items
- Fine Art
- Food & Beverage
- Chilled and frozen foods
- Hazardous and Dangerous Items
- Human Parts & Burial Artifacts
- Jewelry & Precious Gems
- Organic Products
- Pesticides and Pesticide Devices
- Plants, Plant Products, and Seeds
- Tobacco & Tobacco-Related Products
For a complete list, visit Amazon’s Seller Central article on Restricted Products. Many of these items are not considered essential, so you can expect to face Amazon shipping delays if you're sending these out during the coronavirus pandemic.
Fulfillment by Amazon - Prohibited Items
If you’re interested in using Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), it’s useful to note that there are certain products that they will not ship for you, even though they're eligible to be sold on the Amazon platform.
- Alcoholic beverages
- Loose packaged batteries
- Dangerous goods
Visit Amazon’s article on FBA product restrictions for additional details.
If you do get approval to sell such items, you will need to find a courier that will accept these types of shipments. The following couriers may be able to help, though they also have their own shipping restrictions that you will need to be aware of and adhere to.
Learn about the following courier shipping restrictions from our blog posts:
- DHL Shipping Restrictions
- FedEx Shipping Restrictions
- UPS Shipping Restrictions
- USPS Shipping Restrictions
Which countries does Amazon not ship to?
Amazon will not ship to the following countries. If you are a merchant, you'll need to make sure these are transparent in your Amazon shipping policy.
- North Korea
Understand Amazon shipping restrictions to meet customer expectations
Nothing is worse than receiving a negative review from an overseas customer because of a miscommunication on shipping costs, or learning that an item you want to sell isn’t eligible to be shipped by Fulfillment by Amazon. You should especially pay attention to this amidst the spread of the coronavirus as both Amazon and Amazon Prime delays are rife at the moment due to lower carrier operations and capacity.
Instead, leverage Easyship’s platform to automatically calculate tax and duty costs, and to find a courier that can ship your item.
This post was updated on July 26, 2020 to reflect new information.