UPS, FedEx, DHL, & More

FedEx Shipping Restrictions and Prohibited Items

Michelle Mondonedo

by Michelle Mondonedo

On 2019 M06 21

by Michelle Mondonedo

FedEx is a reliable courier company to use if you’re looking to send your items cross-border safely and within a specific timeframe. However, it’s important to be familiar with their conditions for carriage, specifically their restricted and prohibited items.

By being mindful of FedEx restrictions, you can ensure that your account remains in good standing and most importantly, that your packages are able to be shipped to their final destination.

FedEx Shipping Restrictions

If an item is restricted, it means that it can be shipped – but you must have a contract with regular volume and be able to adhere to all regulations before FedEx decides to accept it.

FedEx Restricted Items

  • Any transaction involving International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) or other commodities subject to import licenses
  • Artwork, archaeological artifacts, and antiquities
  • Biological agents, etiological agents, and hosts and vectors of human disease
  • Class 9 Miscellaneous (e.g., self-inflating life rafts, lithium batteries and dry ice)
  • Flowers
  • Fresh foodstuffs
  • Gems, cut or uncut
  • Hazardous materials/dangerous goods and radioactive materials
  • Lithium ion and lithium metal batteries
  • Medical Devices – must verify that the accepting warehouse complies with state requirements/ licensing/permits for distribution of medical devices
  • Microchips, computer chips, microprocessors, central processing units (CPUs) and mobile telephones
  • One-of-a-kind/irreplaceable articles such as artwork valued between US$250,000 and US$500,000 each and other single items valued at US$250,000 and higher
  • Other perishables
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Precious metals such as gold, silver and platinum in the form of scrap, dust, sulfides, residue, industrial preparations such as silver powder and silver termination paste, and jewelry
  • Project cargo
  • Retail tobacco products
  • Tranquilizing guns and ammunition - Please note: Items that may be flammable, corrosive, or contain gases are also restricted.

For the complete and most up-to-date list, visit FedEx’s Global Prohibited and Restricted Items page.

FedEx Size Restrictions

For most global shipments, FedEx length restrictions are up to 108 inches (274 cm) and 130 inches (330 cm) in length and girth.

FedEx weight restrictions are up to 150 pounds (68 kg) for individual packages.

However, FedEx Express US services have slightly different size restrictions, with weight restrictions up to 150 pounds, package length up to 119 inches, and length and girth up to 165 inches.

Also note that FedEx Freight length restriction is slightly different at 119 inches, height restriction is 70 inches, and width restriction is 80 inches.

FedEx International Shipping Restrictions

As every country has their own import laws and agreements, certain FedEx international shipping restrictions may apply.

FedEx’s Country and Territory Specific Lists 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 and additional context on why items may be restricted.

FedEx Prohibited Items

If an item is prohibited, it means it is strictly not allowed to be shipped by FedEx. Service will automatically be declined if your shipment’s contents are prohibited. If you weren’t honest about the contents of your shipment and FedEx finds out, they can either suspend or close your account.

The following items are currently prohibited for all global shipments through FedEx:

  • All commodities valued over US$20,000 without approval
  • One-of-a-kind/irreplaceable articles such as artwork valued over US$500,000 each
  • Flammables with a flash point of 140 degrees Fahrenheit or less
  • Auto parts with fluids in them
  • Fine art
  • Fine jewelry
  • Furs
  • Pornography/obscene material
  • Precious metals such as gold, silver and platinum in the form of bullion, coins or ingots
  • Watches valued over US$1000
  • Weapons and weapons accessories
  • Bullion and money of every description such as cash, bank notes, coins, currency notes, or currency of any kind
  • Stamps (postage or revenue); vouchers; tokens; tickets of any kind; and credit, debit or cash cards
  • Time-sensitive or critical written materials or documents including, but not limited to, bids and contract proposals
  • Contraband including, but not limited to, illicit drugs and counterfeit goods
  • Livestock, bloodstock and living animals

For the complete and most up-to-date list, visit FedEx’s Global Prohibited and Restricted Items page.

FedEx Prohibited Items – Domestic

When shipping domestically, FedEx prohibited items may vary depending on the country you are shipping in.

Below is a list of some prohibited items that FedEx will not ship within the United States:

  • Cash and currency.
  • Live animals*. (Edible seafood, such as live lobsters, crabs or other types of fish and shellfish for human consumption, is acceptable, provided the shipper is in compliance with all local, state and federal laws.)
  • Animal carcasses*. (This restriction does not apply to properly packaged meat or poultry products intended for human consumption.)
  • Shipments that require FedEx to obtain a local, state or federal license for their transportation.
  • Shipments that may cause damage or delay to equipment, personnel or other shipments.
  • Items resembling a bomb, hand grenade or other explosive device*. This includes, but is not limited to, inert products such as novelty items, training aids and works of art.
  • Bump fire stocks and other rapid-fire trigger activators.
  • Ghost guns and other firearms not containing a serial number.
  • Any firearm or other weapon manufactured using a 3-D printing machine.
  • 3-D printing machines designed, or that function exclusively, to manufacture firearms.
  • Lottery tickets and gambling devices where prohibited by law.
  • Hazardous waste. This includes, but is not limited to, used hypodermic needles or syringes transported for sterilization, recycling, disposal or for any other purpose, or other medical waste.
  • Packages that are wet, leaking or emit an odor of any kind.
  • Live insects.
  • Shipments or commodities that are prohibited by applicable local, state or federal law.
  • Counterfeit goods, including, but not limited to, goods under a trademark that is identical to or substantially indistinguishable from a registered trademark, without the approval or oversight of the registered trademark owner (also commonly referred to as “fake goods” or “knock-offs”).
  • Tobacco and tobacco products, including but not limited to cigarettes, cigars, loose tobacco, smokeless tobacco, hookah or shisha.
  • Marijuana, as defined by U.S. federal law, 21 U.S.C. 802(16), including marijuana intended for recreational or medicinal use and cannabidiol (“CBD”); any product that contains any amount of tetrahydrocannabinols (“THC”), except as set out in 21 CFR 1308.35; and synthetic cannabinoids.
  • Hemp plants, hemp leaves, hemp oil, hemp seed oil and CBD derived from hemp.
  • Any substance that has not been approved for a medical use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and also has been listed as a Drug or Chemical of Concern by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, including, but not limited to, Kratom and Salvia Divinorum.
  • Waste or garbage for disposal.

For the complete and most up-to-date list, visit FedEx’s 2019 Terms and Conditions for US Shipments.

FedEx 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 FedEx.

FedEx’s Country and Territory Specific Lists 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 a full list of specific import prohibitions.

Prevent FedEx Shipping Issues by Understanding FedEx Shipping Restrictions

Hopefully your eCommerce inventory isn’t on the FedEx prohibited items list! But if they are on the restricted list, be sure to speak to your account manager about getting permission to ship such items.

Also, we highly recommend against being dishonest about your shipment contents on your FedEx label 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 FedEx’s restrictions, you can ensure your shipment will be allowed to ship and be delivered safely to your customer.