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UPS Shipping Restrictions and Prohibited Items

By Last updated on: November 1, 2023

UPS is one of the carrier companies to use if you want to send items cross-border. However, being familiar with some of their carriage conditions, especially restricted and prohibited items, is crucial. Be mindful of UPS shipping restrictions. That way, you can guarantee that your account remains in excellent standing. In particular, your packages can land at their final destination on time.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

UPS Restricted Items

Sometimes, an item can still be shipped, even if restricted. It helps to have a contract with regular volume and adhere to all regulations before UPS decides to accept it. Here are some UPS restrictions, no matter the destination: 

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Non-domesticated animal products
  • Articles of high or unusual value
  • Dangerous goods
  • Electronic cigarettes
  • Furs, gold, or precious metals
  • Live animals, plants, or seeds
  • Perishables or tobacco
  • Personal effects
  • Firearms and weapons (this includes inert and replica explosives)
  • Biological substances, category B and exempt human/animal specimens
UPS Shipping Restrictions

UPS Prohibited Items

Prohibited items mean that it is strictly not allowed to be shipped by UPS. It will automatically decline the contents of your shipment. You will need to be honest about the contents of your shipments. If UPS finds out you are not, they can suspend or cancel the account. Here is a list of articles prohibited from shipment to all countries shipped via UPS: 

  • Ammunition (unless stated otherwise in the UPS Tariff/Terms and Conditions of Service).
  • Watches exceeding the value of $500.
  • Shipments prohibited by law, plants, or seeds.
  • Hazardous waste or fireworks.
  • Bank bills, notes, and currency (other than coins).
  • Corpses, cremated, or disinterred remains.
  • Marijuana, including medicinal marijuana.
  • Postage stamps.
  • Lastly, shark fins or ivory.

It’s the shippers’ responsibility to comply with the government’s current regulations or laws applicable in each country. Shipments may be subject to inspection and delays by customs or representatives of government authorities. 

Additionally, UPS reserves the right to refuse or suspend transportation of any package that does not set out contact details for the shipper and receiver. 

UPS Prohibited Items that can be shipped on a contractual basis: 

Certain items UPS will list as prohibited can be accepted but only on a contractual basis for shippers. The shipper must have the ability to comply with applicable regulations. UPS will ship these items under specific criteria: 

  • Alcoholic beverages and tobacco.
  • Non-domesticated animal products.
  • Seeds and plants.
  • Perishables or live animals.
  • Personal effects.
  • Dangerous goods and electronic cigarettes.
  • Gold or other precious metals.
  • Furs or articles of high and unusual value.
  • Firearms and weapons (including inert and replica explosives).
  • Finally, biological substances, Category B, exempt human or animal specimens.

UPS Shipping Size Restrictions 

There are package size restrictions for individual packages to most destinations. Those shipments that exceed the size restrictions would have to be shipped by UPS Freight or UPS Worldwide Express Freight services. 

  • The maximum weight per package is 150 lbs.
  • The maximum length per package is 107.9 inches.
  • Also, the maximum dimensions per package are 165 inches, both length and girth combined.

So then, what if your package exceeds the UPS shipping size restrictions? In 20243, the UPS over maximum limits charge is $1,150 per package. Therefore, read more about our UPS over maximum limits charge blog here.

UPS over maximum limits


In conclusion, reviewing these restrictions and prohibitions is a good idea if you are a UPS large volume shipper with various inventory. In short, review regularly. Or, you can have Refund Retriever audit your packages and accessorial fees. We can find restricted items or additional fees. Finally, our contract negotiation experts can help lower shipping costs with a complete analysis and benchmark.

FedEx Shipping Restrictions and Prohibited Items: What You Can and Can’t Ship
Brian Gibbs

Author Brian Gibbs

More posts by Brian Gibbs

Brian Gibbs | President of Refund Retriever

Brian Gibbs founded Refund Retriever in 2006 while running his first eBay-based business and seeing the shortcomings of other shipment auditing companies. Refund Retriever's primary focus is FedEx and UPS parcel invoice auditing. After graduating from Texas A&M University in 2001, he graduated from the University of Houston in 2004 with a JD and MBA. Gibbs has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, and other publications discussing parcel auditing, shipping, e-commerce, and more. Learn more at or call (800) 441-8085 for more information.

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