DHL Express is a reliable courier company to use if you’re looking to send your items to over 220 countries around the globe.
But before you take advantage of DHL’s expansive global network, it’s important to be familiar with their conditions for carriage, specifically, their restricted and prohibited items.
By being mindful of DHL’s shipping restrictions, you can ensure that your account remains in good standing and most importantly, that your packages are able to be shipped to your overseas customers.
DHL Shipping Restrictions
If an item is restricted, it means that it is allowed to be shipped – but you must have pre-approval with DHL, and certain conditions and circumstances must be met.
DHL Restricted Items
The following items are restricted within the United States:
- Alcoholic Beverages
- Live Animals (Non-venomous, frogs, insects, lizards, tortoises, sea life, and worms)
- Dangerous Goods (Hazardous or combustible materials including asbestos and ammunition)
- Firearms (Includes parts of paintball guns, pellet guns, and air rifles)
- Industrial diamonds / carbons (Valued over US$10,000)
- Jewelry (Valued over US$100, including watches)
- Negotiable Instruments
- Precious Metals and Stones
- Tobacco Products
To find DHL restricted items for all other countries, please visit DHL’s local website for the country you’re shipping from.
DHL International Shipping Restrictions
As every country has their own import laws and agreements, certain DHL international shipping restrictions may apply.
DHL’s Global Import Guidelines are a great tool to help you discover specific restricted items you may encounter when shipping cross-border.
By clicking on the country you want to ship to, you’ll be able to see a list of import restrictions under the section titled “Shipping Commodities – What You Need to Know”.
Are there any DHL restricted countries?
DHL has the right to delay shipments that are flagged during its screening process because the sender / receiver may be a denied party (individual or entity that has been denied shipping privileges by government agencies), or if its content or destination breaches country-based sanctions.
DHL may alert you of changes to these countries through their service bulletins. You can also contact your DHL account manager should you have any questions about shipping to destinations with sensitive conditions.
Additionally, check out our article about OFAC sanctions to understand sanctions better and how it can affect your eCommerce business.
DHL Size Restrictions
The weight and dimension limits for DHL services vary.
|DHL Service||Maximum Weight||Maximum Dimensions|
|Express Worldwide||70 kg||120 cm x 80 cm x 80 cm|
|Express 12:00||70 kg||120 cm x 80 cm x 80 cm|
|Express 9:00 (10:30)||30 kg||120 cm x 80 cm x 80 cm|
|Express Easy||25 kg||DHL Box 1-8|
|Express Envelope||0.3 kg||DHL Express Envelope|
|Economy Select||70 kg||120 cm x 80 cm x 80 cm|
|GlobalMail||2 kg||90 cm x 90 cm x 90 cm|
Visit DHL.com for more details and the most updated information for the specific services offered in your origin country.
DHL List of Prohibited Items
If an item is prohibited, it means it is strictly not allowed to be shipped by DHL. Service will automatically be declined if your shipment’s contents are prohibited. If you weren’t honest about the contents of your shipment and DHL finds out, they can either suspend or close your account.
The following items are currently prohibited for all global shipments through DHL:
- Live animals (Please see the above “DHL Restricted Items” section for animals that have an exception)
- Hunting (Animal) trophies, animal parts such as ivory and sharks fin, animal remains, or Animal-by-Products and derived products not intended for human consumption, prohibited for movement by the CITES Convention and/or local law.
- Bullion (of any precious metal)
- Cash (current legal tender)
- Loose precious and semi-precious stones
- Complete firearms, ammunition, explosives / explosive devices
- Illegal goods, such as counterfeit goods and narcotics
For the complete and most up-to-date list, visit DHL’s Shipping Advice page > Express Import Guidelines > Prohibited Commodities.
DHL Express Prohibited Items – International
As every country has their own import laws and agreements with other countries, certain items may be prohibited for international shipping with DHL.
DHL’s Global Import Guidelines are a great tool to help you discover specific prohibited items you may encounter when shipping cross-border.
By clicking on the country you want to ship to, you’ll be able to see the list of prohibited items under the section titled “Prohibited Commodities”.
Avoid DHL Shipping Problems by Understanding DHL Shipping Restrictions
Hopefully your eCommerce inventory are DHL allowed items!
But if they happen to be on the restricted list, you must make sure you have pre-approval with DHL, and that all conditions and circumstances for carriage are met before you start shipping cross-border.
Also, we highly recommend against being dishonest about your shipment contents on your DHL waybill and paperwork. Not only can this put your account at risk for suspension or closure, but your business will be at risk of getting heavily fined by the countries you are importing to.
By paying attention and following DHL’s shipping restrictions, you can ensure your shipment will be allowed to ship and be delivered safely to your customer – beyond borders.