International Shipping

The Countries With the Toughest Shipping Restrictions

International shipping comes with added restrictions and costs, learn more about the countries with the toughest shipping restrictions here.
The Countries With the Toughest Shipping Restrictions

By Jules


July 20, 2020

International shipping has opened up new markets for eCommerce merchants allowing them to reach customers in countries all over the world. This growth will continue to increase in the coming years as eCommerce continues to transform.

While international shipping has become more efficient through companies like Easyship, there are restrictions that you need to be aware of to avoid unnecessary delays, challenges with customs, or fines for non-compliance.

In this article, we’ll cover some international rules and regulations you need to know, the countries with the most stringent international shipping restrictions, and how Easyship will streamline your shipping experience and help you navigate international shipping for your eCommerce company.

6 Reminders About International Shipping Restrictions

Unlike local shipping, international shipping comes with more complex shipping rules and regulations: there is a lot of customs paperwork to be filled and additional custom regulation that you need to comply with. The shipping times and costs are also different, and you need to plan carefully so that your packages arrive on time without delays.

Here are 6 reminders about international shipping restrictions that you should keep in mind.

  • Restricted/prohibited items: Different countries have a set of international shipping restrictions that regulate what can be sold within their territories. This might be an outright prohibition on some products or laws imposing restrictions on some goods to protect a country’s domestic interests. In particular, you’ll need to pay close attention to the regulations for shipping food products, animals or plants.
  • Customs, duties, and taxes: International shipping restrictions around customs, duties, and taxes can get complex, so you’ll need to make sure you have all the proper country-specific paperwork before exporting or importing products. Take advantage of a duty & tax rate calculator to check out the customs fee and tax rates of different countries, and decide upfront who should pay for these; you or your buyers.
  • Transit time and cost: When shipping internationally, transit time and cost are restrictions that will need to be given consideration, as it takes longer than domestic shipping. The chances of a shipment being delayed due to customers or other reasons are higher, and faster transit times can get expensive, especially for products such as perishable food, so plan accordingly by using a  shipping rate calculator to get international rates.
  • Packaging: Make sure you are aware of the varying international shipping restrictions around labeling and packaging, as they can add additional shipping costs, depending on the destination country. This is particularly relevant for shipping perishable food items or items deemed hazardous goods.
  • Insurance: International shipping increases the risk cargo could get damaged or lost, so you’ll need to consider whether it’s economically sensible to purchase shipping insurance before you proceed. It’s generally affordable, so in most cases, it’s advisable to purchase it for peace of mind.
  • COVID-19 challenges: The COVID-19 pandemic has brought numerous international shipping restrictions around the world. Almost every country has implemented specific measures to combat the virus, such as suspending air and sea freights, which affect international shipping. For more detailed information, check out our COVID 19 resource page.

6 Countries with the Most Stringent Shipping Regulations

Before you scale your online business to a particular country, you should be aware of the international shipping restrictions that govern the cross-border trade in that country.

Here is a rundown of some of the countries with more stringent shipping regulations.


High import duty and the need for more personal documentation on delivery are some of the international shipping restrictions you will have to grapple with when sending products to India.  For most products, the import duty starts at 22%. But for items such as home appliances, beauty and health products, the duty can go as high as 50%.

The need for more personal documentation is another shipping restriction to India that you will have to deal with. The receiver of the product is required to produce or fill more personal documentation to complete the delivery; otherwise, your package risks being returned. India is also a vast country, and delivery times are longer.


Delivery barriers, lack of transparency, strict customs for individual packages, and a highly changeable political climate are some of the international shipping restrictions that make Russia a problematic country to ship to.

Russia has strict compliance customs regulations for the receipt of electronic shipments and commercial goods. Inspection of individual packages can take days to weeks, resulting in a lot of delays in delivery. After much inspection, the goods may either be confiscated or released to the recipient.


Confusing import policies, high levels of corruption, high import duties, and a notoriously slow clearance process are the international shipping restrictions you will have to endure when shipping to Brazil.

The import duty and tax threshold in Brazil are at $0, which means you will have to pay duties and taxes for all shipments regardless of their value except for books, documents and collectibles. A 19% tax is charged to all shipments. Import duties can start at 2% and go as high as 35% depending on the product category.

Delivery times can further be complicated and prolonged by confusing import policies and corruption, which make the clearance process notoriously slow.


A strict and lengthy clearance process, costly delivery, and high import duty are some of the international shipping restrictions to China.

China's import duty and tax threshold start at $0, so you will have to pay duty and taxes for all shipments. A 17% tax applies to all imports with the highest duty at 23% for watches.

Being a vast territory, home delivery is slow and challenging, and you will have to pay more for quick delivery services. You will also face item tracking challenges when sending packages to small towns or remote areas, and it will be a time-consuming task as well.


Mostly, the international shipping restrictions that you will have to deal with when shipping to Libya have to do with import duties and taxes, which have a threshold of $0.

Depending on the value of the product, import duty ranges from 1% to 20% except on documents. A 20% tax is automatically charged on all shipments.


Like Libya, international shipping restrictions to Tanzania have to do with import duty and tax, with both thresholds being at $0.

Except for cameras, documents, and electronics, import duty ranges from 1% to 25%, and an automatic tax of 18% is applied to all shipments regardless of their value.

How Easyship Can Optimize International Shipping

Easyship can help you navigate international shipping restrictions by offering you a suite of shipping tools that make your shipping process to the different countries easy and hassle-free.

Here are some of the ways through which we can help you stay ahead of the international shipping game.

  • Over 250 couriers: Easyship connects you to over 250 fast and cost effective couriers that ship internationally.
  • Rates calculators: using our shipping rates and tax rates calculators, you can estimate international shipping taxes and duties in different countries, and compare shipping costs and surcharges with various courier companies
  • Customs: Easyship takes the hassle out of your customs paperwork with automatically pre-filled customs forms to quicken your customs clearance as much as possible.
  • Packaging: Easyship has the experience and expertise in handling packaging for international shipping. We can help you package and mail even the most delicate items.
  • Insurance: we can provide you with insurance of up to $5,000 and save you the headache of double loss.

Open a free account today with Easyship and get started in international shipping.