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Royal Mail

Sending and receiving mail outside the European Union (EU) - Help with customs

When sending goods outside the European Union (EU), make sure they are presented with the right forms. Under international postal agreements the sender must complete a customs declaration (form CN22 or CN23) which should be fixed to the package. The declaration includes a description of the goods, the value and whether they are gifts or commercial items. Under customs law, the sender is legally responsible for the information on the declaration; therefore it is in your own interest to ensure that the declaration is completed accurately and in full.

This makes it easier for the destination country’s customs service to process and far less likely they will be returned to you. We recommend you add your name and address to the top left hand corner of your package. This will enable us to return your package should overseas customs authorities refuse it entry into their country. Goods may be subject to customs charges and fees, dependent on the contents and value, which the recipient will be required to pay prior to the parcel being released. The customs authorities in the country of destination determine whether charges are due on imported goods and the thresholds applicable will vary in each country. Royal Mail cannot advise as to what these charges may be, however the relevant foreign embassy or the customs administration of the overseas country should be able to assist on any customs related queries you may have.

Customs declaration forms

All items with contents up to the value of £270 must have a signed and dated customs declaration form CN22 attached to the front. The current CN22 forms are white – an older green version expired in 2003.

Any item sent with a value in excess of £270 must have a fully completed  CN23 customs declaration form. This should be attached using the plastic wallet available from any Post Office® branch.
Both declaration forms are also available at your local Post Office® branch.

How to complete declaration forms for commercial mail

When sending commercial mail, include the World Customs Organisation Opens in new window Harmonised System Tariff Code and country of origin fields in the same order as individual items are listed in the 'quantity’ and ‘detailed description of contents' fields.

To help you classify your goods, information is available on the Gov UK website Opens in new window .

You are strongly advised to attach a copy of the commercial invoice to the outside of the package, using a plastic envelope (such as an SP126, available at Post Office® branches), as this will help Customs clear your item.

More useful information can be found on the HM Revenue & Customs Opens in new window website and you can also contact the National Advice Service (NAS) on: 0300 200 3701 for assistance and copies of their publications, including Customs Notice 143 – a guide for international postal users.
Leaving details off customs declarations can lead to delays, or can in some instances lead to your item being returned to sender or even seized by customs.

It is essential that the name and address of the sender appear on either the customs declaration or the item being sent overseas.

Countries in the EU

Any destination not listed here is considered ‘outside the EU’.

  • Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, ,Lithuania, Luxembourg,  Malta, Netherlands, Poland, , Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom

You will also need to complete a customs declaration for the following EU destinations:

  • Channel Islands – Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Herm and Sark
  • Andorra
  • Canary Islands
  • Gibraltar
  • San Marino
  • Vatican City State

Exporting overseas

If you are a VAT-registered business and intend to zero rate items being sent overseas, you will be required to present customs with proof of export. A Certificate of Posting (COP) can be obtained at the Post Office® branch when you post your item.

For more information regarding the export of goods from the UK, please see HM Revenue & Customs notice 703 Opens in new window .

Export licences

Some goods (such as military goods, animal products, medicines, antiques or works of art) can only be exported under the authority of an export licence. For an overview of export licences, see guidance on the Gov UK website Opens in new window . For a short overview of export controls administered by the Export Control Organisation (ECO – part of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), watch the Responsible Exports  Opens in new window film Opens in new window .

The ECO is responsible for regulation and licensing of so-called dual-use goods and military goods. It issues various types of licences, the terms and conditions of which must be adhered to by exporters and individuals at all times.

For more information, contact the ECO by email at eco.help@bis.gsi.gov.uk or telephone on 020 7215 4594. You can also visit the ECO Opens in new window website.

You can apply for an export control licence on the SPIRE Opens in new window website.

BFPO destinations

HM Revenue & Customs pays particular attention to all HM Forces Mail arriving in or leaving the UK. For all BFPO destinations where mail contains gifts or goods (regardless of value), a completed and signed customs declaration form (CN22 or CN23) must be attached to the outside of the item.

Download an illustration of a Customs Declaration form CN22 Opens in new window  PDF(52 KB) or a completed Customs Declaration Form CN23 Opens in new window PDF (148 KB)

Jersey Goods and Services Tax (GST)

Gifts and goods sent to Jersey may be liable for GST, currently 3%. A completed and signed customs declaration (CN22 or CN23) must be attached to the outside of the item.

For more information see the Jersey Website Opens in new window .

 

Receiving mail from abroad

All mail that enters the United Kingdom may be examined by customs, but normally letters, postcards and packets containing only documents or similar forms of correspondence are excluded.

If you are receiving a package from overseas (unless it’s from another EU Country), please be aware that it may incur customs charges. Any package assessed as being liable for customs charges will also incur a Royal Mail handling fee of £8.

Any goods imported into the UK over the value of £15 are liable to import VAT. Gifts between private individuals over the value of £36 are also liable for VAT. Goods and gifts over these values may also be liable for customs duty. You no longer have to pay customs duty for goods up to the value of £135, however you will still be required to pay import VAT and excise duty where applicable.

Please note that these limits do not apply to alcohol and tobacco goods where both excise duty and import VAT may be charged. It is not permitted to send alcohol and tobacco products into the UK from another EU country unless prior arrangements have been made to account for the excise duty.

For more details please check the HM Revenue & Customs guide to Shopping Opens in new window  on the Internet.

International sanctions

Our customers send mail around the world every day. However, a number of countries and international organisations, including the United Kingdom and the European Union, impose certain restrictions, also known as sanctions, on what you can send to certain individuals, organisations or countries.

Sanctions can take many forms but are generally aimed at preventing certain goods, services, finance and knowledge being supplied to particular recipients.

It is your responsibility to check whether the item you wish to post breaks any sanctions rules. If you break the sanctions rules, we can deal with your postal items in a number of ways including disposing of them. You may also face investigation by the relevant authorities.

Where can I find out more information?

If you are sending mail from the United Kingdom, the UK Government’s dedicated sanctions website https://www.gov.uk/sanctions-embargoes-and-restrictions Opens in new window provides useful information, including links to relevant information, published by the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU).

The Government’s website includes information on:

Countries that are subject to sanctions.

Over recent years these countries have included those listed below. However, the list changes and you should check a country’s status before posting an item.

Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Burma (Myanmar), China, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Republic of Guinea (Conakry), Guinea- Bissau, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Ivory Coast, North Korea, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Ukraine (Crimea/Sebastopol) and Zimbabwe.

For countries subject to sanctions, there are specific restrictions in place on sending certain types of goods. These are often goods that can be used for military or dual use purposes. If you are posting items to any sanctioned country you must make sure you are allowed to send the item.

Individuals and organisations that are subject to sanctions.

The UK Government maintains a list of individuals and organisations (for example, banks or utility companies or terrorist organisations) that are subject to sanctions, recognised by the UK (which includes sanctions originating from the EU and the UN).

It is generally prohibited to have dealings with these “designated” individuals and organisations, for example, sending money or goods to them. They are often individuals and organisations linked to, or based in, the countries mentioned above. However, they may be based anywhere in the world, including the UK. You should seek specialist advice if you wish to post items to a designated individual or organisation.

The list of designated individuals and organisations can be found at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/financial-sanctions-consolida... Opens in new window

Please note that none of the above is intended as legal advice and is not be seen as an exhaustive description of the sanctions rules that may apply to you, or the items you are posting.
 

Prohibited goods -Items you cannot send in the post 

There are some items which Royal Mail is unable to carry in the UK for legal or health and safety reasons. This comprehensive A-Z list gives you detailed information about the things you cannot post with us, as well as highlighting the areas where there may be exceptions.

The table below covers all our UK mail services including 1st Class, 2nd Class and Special Delivery™. Personal customers posting items overseas should note that the rules may be different for international post. Please visit our international pages for more details.

You are responsible for checking whether or not an item is prohibited or restricted. If you send prohibited goods or restricted goods (and you do not comply with the relevant terms and conditions), we may deal with your items as we see fit, including but not limited to, disposing of the parcels concerned (in whole or in part).

In addition, a number of countries and international organisations, including the United Kingdom and the European Union, impose certain restrictions, also known as sanctions, on what you can send to certain individuals, organisations or countries.

Aerosols for personal grooming or medicinal purposes

Including deodorants, body sprays, hair sprays, shaving and hair removal creams, medicinal aerosols for prevention or cure such as flea sprays, etc.)

Valves must be protected by a cap or other suitable means to prevent inadvertent release of the contents during transport. Aerosols must be tightly packed in strong outer packaging and must be secured or cushioned to prevent any damage. Volume per item must not exceed 500ml. No more than two aerosols can be sent in any one package. An ID8000 label must be applied . The sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.

These items must be presented at a Post Office® counter.

All other aerosols, including those containing spray paints, lacquers, solvents, air fresheners and oven cleaners are prohibited. Please see www.royalmail.com/prohibitedgoods

Alcoholic beverages and liquids (24% ABV or less)

Including beer, lager, wine and champagne.

Wrap in polythene and seal with tape. Surround with absorbent material such as newspaper and sufficient cushioning material to protect each item from breakage. Volume should not exceed 1 litre per item. Mark as ‘FRAGILE’ when sending glass bottles. The sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.

Alcoholic beverages and liquids (more than 24% ABV but not more than 70% ABV)

Including whisky, vodka and most spirits and liqueurs.

The items must be securely closed and placed in a leak-proof liner, such as a sealed polythene bag. Surround with absorbent material and sufficient cushioning material to protect each item from breakage. Volume must not exceed 1 litre per item. No more than two items can be sent in any one package. Mark as ‘FRAGILE’ when sending glass bottles. The sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.

These items must be presented at a Post Office® counter.

Alcoholic beverages and liquids with alcohol content greater than 70% ABV are prohibited. Please see www.royalmail.com/prohibitedgoods

Balloons

Balloons filled with non-flammable gases are permitted but these must be clearly marked on the outer packaging with the words’ BALLOONS FILLED WITH NON-FLAMMABLE GAS’.

Batteries - new alkaline metal, nickel metal hydride (NiMH) or nickel cadmium (NiCd)

Including D, C, 9V, AA, AAA and AAAA alkaline batteries. Must be new and sent unopened in their original retail packaging. Surround with cushioning material e.g. bubble wrap. The sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.

Batteries - lithium ion/polymer batteries contained in/connected to an electronic device

Each package must contain no more than four cells or two batteries installed in equipment. The maximum net quantity of cells or batteries is 5kg per package. Watt-hour rating must not exceed 20Wh per cell or 100Wh per battery. Each cell and battery must be of a type proven to meet the requirements of each test in the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria, Part III, section 38.3. Batteries are subject to these tests irrespective of whether the cells of which they are composed have been so tested.

Cells and batteries must be manufactured under a quality management programme as specified in the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air. Cells or batteries that are defective for safety reasons, or that have been damaged, are forbidden. Any person preparing or offering cells or batteries with or in equipment for transport must receive adequate instruction on the requirements commensurate with their responsibilities. Cells and batteries must be protected against short circuit.

The equipment containing cells or batteries must be packed in strong rigid packaging and must be secured against movement within the outer packaging and packed to prevent accidental activation. The sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.

These items must be presented at a Post Office® counter.

Lithium ion/polymer batteries sent in isolation are prohibited. Please see www.royalmail.com/prohibitedgoods

Batteries - lithium ion/polymer batteries sent with, but not connected to, an electronic device

The maximum number of batteries allowed in each package is the number that may be connected to the equipment plus two spares. The maximum net quantity of cells or batteries is 5kg per package. Watt-hour rating must not exceed 20Wh per cell or 100Wh per battery. Each cell and battery must be of a type proven to meet the requirements of each test in the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria, Part III, section 38.3. Batteries are subject to these tests irrespective of whether the cells of which they are composed have been so tested.

Cells and batteries must be manufactured under a quality management programme as specified in the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air. Cells or batteries that are defective for safety reasons, or that have been damaged, are forbidden. Any person preparing or offering cells or batteries with or in equipment for transport must receive adequate instruction on the requirements commensurate with their responsibilities. The consignment must be accompanied with a document with an indication that the package contains lithium ion cells or batteries; that the package must be handled with care and that a flammability hazard exists if the package is damaged; that special procedures must be followed in the event the package is damaged, to include inspection and repacking if necessary; and also a telephone number for additional information.

Cells and batteries must be packed in inner packaging’s that completely enclose the cell or battery. Cells and batteries must be protected against short circuit, including protection against contact with conductive materials within the same packaging that could lead to a short circuit. The equipment sent with cells or batteries must be packed in strong rigid packaging and must be secured against movement within the outer packaging and packed to prevent accidental activation.

Lithium battery handling label to be applied . The sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.

These items must be presented at a Post Office® counter.

Lithium ion/polymer batteries sent in isolation are prohibited. Please see www.royalmail.com/prohibitedgoods

Batteries - lithium metal/alloy batteries contained in/connected to an electronic device

Each package must contain no more than four cells or two batteries installed in equipment. The maximum net quantity of cells or batteries is 5kg per package. The lithium content must not be more than 1g per cell or 2g per battery. Each cell and battery must be of a type proven to meet the requirements of each test in the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria, Part III, section 38.3. Batteries are subject to these tests irrespective of whether the cells of which they are composed have been so tested.

Cells and batteries must be manufactured under a quality management programme as specified in the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air. Cells or batteries that are defective for safety reasons, or that have been damaged, are forbidden. Any person preparing or offering cells or batteries with or in equipment for transport must receive adequate instruction on the requirements commensurate with their responsibilities. Cells and batteries must be protected against short circuit.

The equipment containing cells or batteries must be packed in strong rigid packaging and must be secured against movement within the outer packaging and packed to prevent accidental activation. The sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.

These items must be presented at a Post Office® counter.

Lithium metal/alloy batteries sent in isolation are prohibited. Please see www.royalmail.com/prohibitedgoods

Batteries - lithium metal/alloy batteries sent with, but not connected to, an electronic device

The maximum number of batteries allowed in each package is the minimum number required to power the equipment plus two spares. The maximum net quantity of cells or batteries is 5kg per package. The lithium content must not be more than 1g per cell or 2g per battery. Each cell and battery must be of a type proven to meet the requirements of each test in the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria, Part III, section 38.3. Batteries are subject to these tests irrespective of whether the cells of which they are composed have been so tested.

Cells and batteries must be manufactured under a quality management programme as specified in the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air. Cells or batteries that are defective for safety reasons, or that have been damaged, are forbidden. Any person preparing or offering cells or batteries with or in equipment for transport must receive adequate instruction on the requirements commensurate with their responsibilities.

The consignment must be accompanied with a document with an indication that the package contains lithium metal cells or batteries; that the package must be handled with care and that a flammability hazard exists if the package is damaged; that special procedures must be followed in the event the package is damaged, to include inspection and repacking if necessary; and also a telephone number for additional information. Cells and batteries must be packed in inner packaging’s that completely enclose the cell or battery. Cells and batteries must be protected against short circuit, including protection against contact with conductive materials within the same packaging that could lead to a short circuit. The equipment sent with cells or batteries must be packed in strong rigid packaging and must be secured against movement within the outer packaging and packed to prevent accidental activation.

Lithium battery handling label to be. The sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.

These items must be presented at a Post Office® counter.

Lithium metal/alloy batteries sent in isolation are prohibited. Please see www.royalmail.com/prohibitedgoods

Batteries - wet non-spillable

Sealed lead acid batteries, absorbed glass mat and gel cell batteries.

Batteries must comply with Special Provision 238 of the UN Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, Model Regulations (please check with the manufacturer or distributor).

No more than one battery in any one package. Maximum weight 1.5kg. Item must be protected against short circuit (by the effective insulation of exposed terminals) and securely packaged.

Package must be marked “NOT RESTRICTED” and “SPA67 / SP238”. The sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.

Wet spillable lead acid/lead alkaline batteries (such as car batteries) are prohibited. Please seewww.royalmail.com/prohibitedgoods

Biological Substances (Category B)

Diagnostic specimens including blood, urine, faeces and animal remains. Category B (UN3373) as classified in the latest edition of the Technical Instructions for Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air published by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).


May only be sent by, or at the specific request of, a qualified medical practitioner, registered dental practitioner, veterinary surgeon, registered nurse or a recognised laboratory or institution. The total sample volume/mass in any parcel must not exceed 50ml/50g. All biological substances must be posted in packaging that complies with Packaging Instruction 650, such as our Safebox product. The sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.

Frozen water and dry ice are prohibited. Please see www.royalmail.com/prohibitedgoods

Christmas crackers

Crackers can only be sent in their complete made-up form and in their original retail packaging.

Counterfeit currency and stamps

Restricted to copies of old denominations or pre decimalisation postage stamps which are now obsolete and worthless except for collectable value and cannot be passed as tender.

Any false instrument or copy of a false instrument (within the meaning of section 5 of the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981) is prohibited. Please see www.royalmail.com/prohibitedgoods

Electronic items sent with new alkaline metal, nickel metal hydride (NiMH) or nickel cadmium (NiCd) batteries

Must be new and sent unopened in their original retail packaging. Surround with sufficient cushioning material to protect each item from damage. Wrap each item, including plugs, individually. Place item in a rigid container and cushion to avoid movement. Any equipment sent with batteries or cells must be secured against movement within the outer packaging and must be packed to prevent accidental activation. The sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.

Electronic items - sent with lithium ion/polymer batteries contained in/connected to the device

Each package must contain no more than four cells or two batteries installed in equipment. The maximum net quantity of cells or batteries is 5kg per package. Watt-hour rating must not exceed 20Wh per cell or 100Wh per battery. Each cell and battery must be of a type proven to meet the requirements of each test in the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria, Part III, section 38.3. Batteries are subject to these tests irrespective of whether the cells of which they are composed have been so tested.

Cells and batteries must be manufactured under a quality management programme as specified in the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air. Cells or batteries that are defective for safety reasons, or that have been damaged, are forbidden. Any person preparing or offering cells or batteries with or in equipment for transport must receive adequate instruction on the requirements commensurate with their responsibilities. Cells and batteries must be protected against short circuit.

The equipment containing cells or batteries must be packed in strong rigid packaging and must be secured against movement within the outer packaging and packed to prevent accidental activation. The sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.

These items must be presented at a Post Office® counter.

Lithium ion/polymer batteries sent in isolation are prohibited. Please see www.royalmail.com/prohibitedgoods/business

Electronic items - sent with lithium ion/polymer batteries where the battery is not connected to/contained in the device

The maximum number of batteries allowed in each package is the number that may be connected to the equipment plus two spares. The maximum net quantity of cells or batteries is 5kg per package. Watt-hour rating must not exceed 20Wh per cell or 100Wh per battery. Each cell and battery must be of a type proven to meet the requirements of each test in the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria, Part III, section 38.3. Batteries are subject to these tests irrespective of whether the cells of which they are composed have been so tested.

Cells and batteries must be manufactured under a quality management programme as specified in the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air. Cells or batteries that are defective for safety reasons, or that have been damaged, are forbidden. Any person preparing or offering cells or batteries with or in equipment for transport must receive adequate instruction on the requirements commensurate with their responsibilities. The consignment must be accompanied with a document with an indication that the package contains lithium ion cells or batteries; that the package must be handled with care and that a flammability hazard exists if the package is damaged; that special procedures must be followed in the event the package is damaged, to include inspection and repacking if necessary; and also a telephone number for additional information.

Cells and batteries must be packed in inner packaging’s that completely enclose the cell or battery. Cells and batteries must be protected against short circuit, including protection against contact with conductive materials within the same packaging that could lead to a short circuit. The equipment sent with cells or batteries must be packed in strong rigid packaging and must be secured against movement within the outer packaging and packed to prevent accidental activation.

Lithium battery handling label to be applied. The sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.

These items must be presented at the counter.

Lithium ion/polymer batteries sent in isolation are prohibited. Please see www.royalmail.com/prohibitedgoods

Electronic items – sent with lithium metal/alloy batteries contained in/connected to the device

Each package must contain no more than four cells or two batteries installed in equipment. The maximum net quantity of cells or batteries is 5kg per package. The lithium content must not be more than 1g per cell or 2g per battery. Each cell and battery must be of a type proven to meet the requirements of each test in the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria, Part III, section 38.3. Batteries are subject to these tests irrespective of whether the cells of which they are composed have been so tested.

Cells and batteries must be manufactured under a quality management programme as specified in the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air. Cells or batteries that are defective for safety reasons, or that have been damaged, are forbidden. Any person preparing or offering cells or batteries with or in equipment for transport must receive adequate instruction on the requirements commensurate with their responsibilities. Cells and batteries must be protected against short circuit.

The equipment containing cells or batteries must be packed in strong rigid packaging and must be secured against movement within the outer packaging and packed to prevent accidental activation. The sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.

These items must be presented at a Post Office® counter.

Lithium metal/alloy batteries sent in isolation are prohibited. Please see www.royalmail.com/prohibitedgoods

Electronic items – sent with lithium metal/alloy batteries where the battery is not connected to/contained in the device

The maximum number of batteries allowed in each package is the minimum number required to power the equipment plus two spares. The maximum net quantity of cells or batteries is 5kg per package. The lithium content must not be more than 1g per cell or 2g per battery. Each cell and battery must be of a type proven to meet the requirements of each test in the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria,

Part III, section 38.3. Batteries are subject to these tests irrespective of whether the cells of which they are composed have been so tested. Cells and batteries must be manufactured under a quality management programme as specified in the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air. Cells or batteries that are defective for safety reasons, or that have been damaged, are forbidden. Any person preparing or offering cells or batteries with or in equipment for transport must receive adequate instruction on the requirements commensurate with their responsibilities.

The consignment must be accompanied with a document with an indication that the package contains lithium metal cells or batteries; that the package must be handled with care and that a flammability hazard exists if the package is damaged; that special procedures must be followed in the event the package is damaged, to include inspection and repacking if necessary; and also a telephone number for additional information. Cells and batteries must be packed in inner packaging’s that completely enclose the cell or battery. Cells and batteries must be protected against short circuit, including protection against contact with conductive materials within the same packaging that could lead to a short circuit. The equipment sent with cells or batteries must be packed in strong rigid packaging and must be secured against movement within the outer packaging and packed to prevent accidental activation.

Lithium battery handling label to be. The sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.

These items must be presented at a Post Office® counter.

Lithium metal/alloy batteries sent in isolation are prohibited. Please see www.royalmail.com/prohibitedgoods

Guns for sporting use

Guns intended for sporting purposes - including Section 1 (e.g. hunting rifles) and Section 2 (e.g. shotguns) firearms, low-powered air weapons and their component parts - may be sent in compliance with UK law and subject to domestic controls on the possession of firearms. Antiques, deactivated and imitation firearms are also permitted. When sending deactivated firearms include proof of deactivation.

Items that appear to be prohibited weapons may be subject to additional checks and delays. Please see www.royalmail.com/prohibitedgoods

Use 1st Class as the minimum service. The sender’s name and address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.

Human or animal samples

May only be sent by, or at the specific request of, a qualified medical practitioner, registered dental practitioner, veterinary surgeon, registered nurse or a recognised laboratory or institution.

The total sample volume/mass in any parcel must not exceed 1 kg. Solids only can be sent 5.7.34.3 All human or animal samples must be posted in packaging that complies with Packaging Instruction 650, such as our Safe box product.
The sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.
 

Lighters

New and unused empty lighters may be sent unopened in their original retail packaging.

Lighters and refills containing flammable liquid or gas (including used butane, petrol cigar and cigarette lighters) are prohibited. Please see www.royalmail.com/prohibitedgoods

Living creatures, insects and invertebrates

Including bees, caterpillars, cockroaches, crickets, destroyers of noxious pests, earthworms, fish fry and eggs, leeches and other parasites, lugworms, maggots, mealworms, pupae and chrysalides, rag worms, silkworms, spiders and stick insects.

Must be boxed and packaged to protect the creatures, our staff and our customers from harm. Use 1st Class as the minimum service. Items must be clearly marked ‘URGENT – LIVING CREATURES - HANDLE WITH CARE’. The sender’s name and address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.

Dead insects, sent as collectables, are also allowed.

Live animals and reptiles are prohibited, as are any creatures or insects classified as dangerous within the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 (including certain venomous spiders). Please see www.royalmail.com/prohibitedgoods

Magnetised materials

Should be wrapped in soft packaging at least 2cm thick around each item. The sender’s name and address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.

Magnetised material with a magnetic field strength of 0.418A/m or more at a distance of 4.6m from the outside of the package are prohibited. Please see www.royalmail.com/prohibitedgoods

Nail varnish, polish and gel (solvent and water-based)

Volume per item must not exceed 30ml. No more than four bottles of nail varnish can be sent in any one package. Bottles of nail varnish must be placed in strong outer packaging and be so packed, secured or cushioned in such a way that they cannot break, be punctured or leak their contents into the outer packaging.

An ID8000 label must be applied. The sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.

These items must be presented at a Post Office® counter.

Perfumes and aftershaves

Including eau de parfum, eau de toilette and alcohol-free perfumes, but excluding non-flammable perfumed creams, gels, oils or lotions.

Volume per item must not exceed 150ml. No more than four perfumes or aftershaves can be sent in any one package. The perfume or aftershave must be within its original retail packaging and then placed in strong outer packaging. The inner packaging’s must be packed, secured or cushioned to prevent breakage or leakage of their contents into the outer packaging.

An ID8000 label must be applied. The sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.

These items must be presented at a Post Office® counter.

Perishable items

Including flowers, fresh fruit, vegetables and frozen or chilled foodstuffs.

Should be able to withstand a journey of up to 48 hours. Use 1st Class as the minimum service. Must be suitably sealed to prevent leakage or tainting of other items such as in sealed vacuum packs. Must be packed in a strong corrugated board box or purpose designed polystyrene pack. The sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.

Frozen water and dry ice are prohibited. Please see www.royalmail.com/prohibitedgoods

Prescription medicines and drugs sent for scientific purposes

May only be sent by, or at the specific request of, a qualified medical practitioner, registered dental practitioner, veterinary surgeon, registered nurse or a recognised laboratory or institution.

Medicines classified as non-flammable or non-toxic must be securely closed and placed in a leak-proof container such as a sealed polythene bag (for liquids) or a sift proof container (for solids). Must be tightly packed in strong outer packaging and must be secured or cushioned to prevent any damage. The sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.

Medicines classified as flammable, toxic or flammable and toxic are prohibited. Please see www.royalmail.com/prohibitedgoods

Radioactive material and samples that are not classified as dangerous goods in the latest edition of the Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air published by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) such as samples of granite rock.

Surround with cushioning material e.g. bubble wrap. The sender's name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.

Sharp objects

Sharp objects like knives, kitchen utensils and gardening tools may only be posted if they are packaged appropriately so that they are no risk to employees, other postal items or recipients.

Wrap heavy cardboard around sharp edges and points, strong enough to ensure that the contents do not pierce the outer packaging. Wrap each item with cushioning material. Place in a suitable outer container such as a padded envelope. The sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.

Vaccines

May only be sent by, or at the specific request of, a qualified medical practitioner, registered dental practitioner, veterinary surgeon, registered nurse or a recognised laboratory or institution.

The vaccines must be securely closed and placed in a leak-proof liner such as a sealed polythene bag (for liquids) or a sift-proof container (for solids). Must be tightly packed in strong outer packaging and must be secured or cushioned to prevent any damage. The sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.

Water-based paints, wood varnishes and enamels

The items must be securely closed and placed in a leak-proof liner, such as a sealed polythene bag, so that any inadvertent leakage is contained within the outer packaging. Surround with absorbent material such as newspaper and sufficient cushioning material to protect each item from damage. Volume per item should not exceed 150ml. There is no restriction on the number of items than can be sent in each package. The sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.

Prohibited products are not permitted in the mail under any circumstances.

  • Items subject to veterinary or phytosanitary inspection by border control agents, including bees, leeches, silkworms, parasites, destroyers of noxious insects intended for the control of those insects, and flies of the family Drosophilidae for biomedical research.
  • Also living plants (also tissue cultures, pollen for pollination, scions, cuttings, etc.), seeds, fruits and vegetables.
  • Live animals
  • Live poultry
  • Live insects, spiders and filiform worms
  • Meat and edible meat offal
  • Meat and edible offal of poultry, fresh, chilled or frozen.
  • Fish and crustaceans, molluscs and other aquatic invertebrates
  • Dairy produce; birds' eggs; natural honey; edible products of animal origin, not elsewhere specified or included
  • Milk and dairy produce; bird's eggs; natural honey; edible products of animal origin, not elsewhere specified or included.
  • Birds' eggs, in shell, fresh, preserved or cooked.
  • Birds' eggs, not in shell, and egg yolks, fresh, dried, cooked by steaming or by boiling in water, moulded, frozen or otherwise preserved, whether or not containing added sugar or other sweetening matter.
  • Products of animal origin, not elsewhere specified or included
  • Pigs', hogs' or boars' bristles and hair and waste thereof.
  • Badger hair and other brush making hair, untreated. Horsehair and horsehair waste, untreated.
  • Guts, bladders and stomachs of animals (other than fish), whole and pieces thereof, fresh, chilled, frozen, salted, in brine, dried or smoked.
  • Skins and other parts of birds, with their feathers or down, feathers and parts of feathers and down, unworked; powder and waste of feathers or parts of feathers.
  • Bones and horn-cores, unworked, defatted, simply prepared (but not cut to shape), treated with acid or degelatinized; powder and waste of these products.
  • Horns, antlers, hooves, nails, claws and beaks, unworked or simply prepared but not cut to shape; powder and waste of these products.
  • Glands and other animal products for use in organotherapy; bile, whether or not dried.
  • Animal products not elsewhere specified or included; dead animals or Fish crustaceans molluscs and other aquatic invertebrates, unfit for human consumption.
  • Live trees and other plants; bulbs, roots and the like; cut flowers and ornamental foliage
  • Bulbs, tubers, tuberous roots, corms, crowns and rhizomes, either dormant, in growth, or in flower; chicory stalks, leaves and roots.
  • Seedlings; unrooted cuttings; slips; mycelia.
  • Fresh cut flowers and flower buds for florists or other decorative uses.
  • Foliage, branches and other parts of plants without flowers or flower buds, and fresh cut herbaceous plants for florists or other decorative uses.
  • Edible vegetables and certain roots and tubers
  • Potatoes, natural or frozen.
  • Tomatoes, natural or frozen.
  • Onions, shallots, garlic, leeks and other alliaceous vegetables, natural or frozen.
  • Cabbages, cauliflower, kohlrabi, swedes, Savoy cabbages and other edible brassicas, natural or frozen.
  • All varieties of lettuce (Lactuca sativa) and chicory (French endive), fresh or chilled.
  • Cucumbers, except for dwarf varieties for preservation in vinegar, fresh or chilled.
  • Peas and beans (Vigna and Phaseolus varieties, natural or refrigerated).
  • Globe artichokes, asparagus. aubergines, celery, peppers, spinach, courgettes, fresh or chilled.
  • Sweetcorn seed.
  • Seeds of peas, beans, lentils, horse beans, field beans.
  • Carrots (all varieties), fresh or chilled.
  • Edible fruit and nuts; peel of citrus fruit or melons
  • Avocados, guavas, mangoes and mangosteens.
  • Fresh citrus fruit.
  • Fresh grapes, fresh apples, fresh pears and quinces, fresh Apricots, fresh Cherries, fresh Peaches (including nectarines),fresh Plums, Other fresh fruits.
  • Coffee, tea, maté and spices
  • Seeds of cumin, fennel.
  • Cereals
  • Seeds of wheat and mixed cereals.
  • Seeds of rye, barley, oats, maize (corn), rice in the husk, sorghum, buckwheat, millet (except sorghum) and canary seed.
  • Other seeds of cereals.
  • Oil seeds and oleaginous fruits; miscellaneous grains, seeds and fruit; industrial or medicinal plants; straw and fodder
  • Soya beans, Linseed, seeds of Rape or colza, Sunflower, Cotton, Mustard, Poppy,
  • Seeds of Lucerne, Clover, Fescue, Kentucky blue grass, Rye grass, Timothy grass,
  • Seeds of various graminae.
  • Seeds of herbaceous plants cultivated principally for their flowers.
  • Vegetable seeds.
  • Seeds of ligneous plants from silviculture.
  • Coca leaves.
  • Hemp leaves (cannabis).
  • Seaweeds and other algae.
  • Sugar beet (fodder products or for industrial use).
  • Mangolds, beetroots, hay.
  • Cereal straw and husks, unprepared, chopped, ground or pressed, except in the form of pellets
  • Lac; gums, resins and other vegetable saps and extracts
  • Hemp resin (cannabis).
  • Extracts and tinctures of hemp (cannabis); concentrates of poppy straw; opium and raw opium.
  • Vegetable plaiting materials; vegetable products not elsewhere specified or included
  • Loose bark. Poppy straws (capsules).
  • Animal or vegetable fats and oils and their cleavage products; prepared edible fats; animal or vegetable waxes
  • Pig fat (including lard) and poultry fat.
  • Fats of bovine animals, sheep or goats
  • Lard stearine, lard oil, oleostearin, oleomargarine and tallow oil, not emulsified or otherwise prepared.
  • Fats and oils and their fractions, of fish or marine mammals, whether or not refined, mixed or otherwise prepared.
  • Wool grease and fatty substances derived therefrom (including lanolin).
  • Other animal fats and oils and their fractions, whether or not refined, but not chemically modified.
  • Animal fats and oils and their fractions.
  • Other edible mixtures or preparations of animal or vegetable fats or oils.
  • Raw beeswax for use in apiculture.
  • Preparations of cereals, flour, starch or milk; pastrycooks' products
  • Preparations containing more than 20% of dairy products; examples: milk-based flans and desserts, soft white cheese cream.
  • Preparations containing more than 1% of meat or other edible by-products of butchery and/or more than 20% of dairy products
  • Preparations of vegetables, fruits, nuts or other parts of plants
  • Preparations containing more than 1% of meat or other edible by-products of butchery and/or more than 20% of dairy products
  • Grape juice (including grape must).
  • Miscellaneous edible preparations
  • Other single-cell micro-organisms, dead, for phytosanitary use
  • Preparations containing more than 1% of meat or other edible by-products of butchery and/or more than 20% of dairy products
  • Ice cream and other edible ice, whether or not containing cocoa, containing 3% by weight or more, but less than 7% by weight, of milk fat.
  • Other food preparations.
  • Cheese fondue.
  • Beverages, spirits and vinegar
  • Mineral waters and aerated waters.
  • Waters from the corresponding heading.
  • Wine of fresh grapes, including fortified wines; grape must
  • Piquette.
  • Preparations with alcohol content in excess of 1.2% by volume.
  • Wine vinegar.
  • Residues and waste from the food industries; prepared animal fodder
  • Flour and pellets of meat or meat offal, of fish or of crustaceans, molluscs or other aquatic invertebrates, unfit for human consumption; greaves.
  • Castor oil seeds, groats.
  • Wine lees. Grape marc.
  • Preparations of a kind used in animal feeding containing raw materials or meat of animal origin.
  • Tobacco and manufactured tobacco substitutes
  • Cigars, cheroots, cigarillos and cigarettes, of tobacco or of tobacco substitutes.
  • Smoking tobacco, whether or not containing tobacco substitutes in any proportion.
  • Chewing tobacco; snuff.
  • Salt; sulphur; earths and stone; plastering materials; lime and cement
  • Salt and pure sodium chloride, whether or not in aqueous solution; sea water.
  • Natural calcium phosphates, natural aluminium calcium phosphates and phosphatic chalk.
  • Dolomite.
  • Concentrated magnesium fertiliser.
  • Lime, bitter spar, dolomite.
  • Quicklime.
  • Borate-based fertilisers (whether or not water-soluble).
  • Kieserite, epsomite (natural magnesium sulphates).
  • Lime (seaweed), granite, lava extracted from the Eifel; montmorillonite.
  • Mineral fuels, mineral oils and products of their distillation; bituminous substances; mineral waxes
  • Peat (including peat litter), whether or not agglomerated.
  • Flaming oil (for flame throwers), ie a product containing 90 to 95% of petrol and thickened with 5 to 10% of sodium palmitate.
  • Inorganic chemicals; organic or inorganic compounds of precious metals, of rare-earth metals, of radioactive elements or of isotopes
  • Hydrogen chloride (hydrochloric acid).
  • Sulphuric acid.
  • Copper fertilisers, water soluble.
  • Zinc fertilisers. Manganese fertilisers.
  • Calcium nitrate.
  • Potassium permanganate.
  • Molybdenum fertilisers.
  • Organic chemicals
  • Toluene, Trinitrotoluene, Picric acid, ammonium picrate, lead picrate, lead trinitro-resorcin, lead trinitro-phloroglucinate, Diethyl ether, Acetone, Butanone (methyl ethyl ketone), Phenylacetone (phenylpropan-2-one), Acetic anhydride,
  • Tear gas (ethyl and methyl esters of bromoacetic acid), in phials, aerosols or other receptacles enabling gases or liquids to be ejected or sprayed without using cartridges, Phenylacetic acid.
  • Nitroglycerine, nitroglycol, diglycol-dinitrate, pentaerythritol tetranitrate, mannitol hexanitrate, Amine-function compounds,Water-soluble copper-based fertilisers; manganese or zinc-based fertilisers; isobutylidendinic urea, Amines with oxygenated functions, Anthranilic acid, cetamidobenzoic acid, Diampromide, Nitroguanidine, guanyl nitrosamino-guanyltetrazene (tetrazene), Intermediate product of methadone, 1Cyanoguanidine (dicyandiamide),6-dinitrobenzol-2-diazo-1-oxide (diazo-nitrophenol), Heterocyclic compounds with oxygen hetero-atom(s) only, Isosafrole (cis + trans), (1,3-Benzodioxol-5-yl)propan