Help and advice

General Prohibitions and Restrictions

The below sets out the requirements that apply to Retail customers only.  For full details of the requirements that apply to Account customers, please see our Account Prohibitions and Restrictions

Restricted goods

Aerosols*

Aerosol type

UK destinations

International destinations

Aerosols for personal grooming* or medical purposes(Including deodorants, body sprays, hair sprays, shaving and hair removal creams, asthma inhalers, 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. Asthma inhalers are exempt under ICAO TI Special Provision A98. Where the volume per inhaler is 50ml or less no quantity restrictions apply. The senders name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging. Must be presented at the counter.

Yes

No

All other aerosols (Including spray paints, lacquers, solvents, air fresheners, oven cleaners, etc.)

No

No

Alcoholic beverages*

Alcoholic beverage type

UK destinations

International destinations

Alcoholic beverages and liquids (24% ABV or less), e.g. beer; ale; lager; cider; wine; fortified wine and champagne

Volume must not exceed 1 litre for any one item. 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. Mark as 'FRAGILE' when sending glass bottles

Yes

Yes

Alcoholic beverages and liquids* (greater than 24% ABV but not greater than 70% ABV), e.g. gin; rum; vodka; whiskey; vodka and most other spirits and liqueurs

Volume must not exceed 1 litre for any one item. 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. Mark as 'FRAGILE' when sending glass bottles

Yes

No

Alcoholic beverages and liquids (70% ABV and above) e.g. high strength spirits

No

No

Arms and Ammunition

Low-powered air weapons (air rifles, air guns and air pistols), together with lead pellets and other airgun and airsoft projectiles, can be sent but are subject to the following conditions:

These items must be sent on an express48 service only
These items must be sent via the Post Office® only (not via any other channel e.g.www.parcelforce.com, call-centre, reseller or Parcelforce Worldwide depot).
Enhanced compensation cover is not available (low-powered air rifles, air guns or air pistols and lead pellets and other airgun and airsoft projectiles will only be covered up to the maximum amount of inclusive cover for express48).
Note: Low powered air weapons are defined as air rifles, air guns or air pistols capable of discharging a missile so that the missile has, on being discharged from the muzzle of the weapon, kinetic energy not in excess, in the case of an air pistol, of 6ft lb. or, in the case of an air weapon other than air pistol, of 12 ft. lb. Any air rifle, air gun or air pistol which uses or is designed or adapted for use with, a self-contained gas cartridge system is a prohibited weapon and cannot be sent.

Batteries*
The table below outlines what type of battery can or cannot be sent:

Battery type

UK destinations

International destinations

Alkaline metal, nickel metal hydride (NiMH) or nickel cadmium (NiCd) batteries, 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.g bubble wrap. The sender's name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.

Yes

Yes

New and used lithium ion and lithium polymer batteries sent with equipment (e.g. rechargeable batteries sent with equipment but not installed in the equipment)

Yes

No

New and used Lithium ion and polymer batteries contained in equipment (e.g. rechargeable batteries found in electronic devices)

Yes

Yes

New and used Lithium ion and polymer batteries sent on their own (e.g. lithium batteries sent as replacements)

No

No

New and used Lithium metal and alloy batteries sent with equipment (e.g. non-rechargeable batteries found with electronic devices)

Yes

No

New and used Lithium metal and alloy batteries contained in equipment (e.g. non-rechargeable batteries found in electronic devices)

Yes

Yes

New and used Lithium metal and alloy batteries sent on their own (e.g. lithium batteries sent as replacements)

No

No

New wet, non-spillable batteries (e.g. sealed lead acid batteries, absorbed glass mat and gel cell batteries)

Yes

No

Batteries classified as dangerous goods and certain used batteries that are classified as dangerous goods by the latest edition of the Technical Instructions for Safe Transport of
Dangerous Goods by Air published by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) including wet spill able lead acid/lead alkaline batteries (including car batteries), lithium batteries when not sent with or in equipment, damaged batteries of any type, together with used alkaline metal, nickel metal hydride (NiMH) and nickel metal cadmium (NiCd) and zinc-air batteries

No

No

The following details requirements for each battery type that can be sent:

Alkaline metal, nickel metal hydride (NiMH),  nickel cadmium (NiCd) and zinc-air 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.

Lithium ion/polymer batteries contained in equipment - Each package must contain no more than four cells or two batteries installed in equipment. The maximum net quantity of cells or batteries is5kg 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 program as specified in the ICAO 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 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. Must be presented at the counter.

Lithium ion/polymer batteries with equipment - 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 5kh per package. Watt-hour rating must not exceed20Wh 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 program as specified in the ICAO 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 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. Lithium battery handling label must be applied. The sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging. Must be presented at the counter.

Lithium metal/alloy batteries contained in equipment - Each package must contain no more than four cells or two batteries installed in equipment. The maximum net quantity of cells or batteries is5kg 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 program as specified in the ICAO 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 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. Must be presented at the counter.

Lithium metal/alloy batteries sent with equipment - 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 program as specified in the ICAO 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 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. Lithium battery handling label must be applied.The sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging. Must be presented at the counter.

Biological Substance

Diagnostic specimens including blood and urine. 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 Organisation (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 exceed50ml/50g. All biological substances must be posted in packaging that complies with Packaging Instruction 650, such as the Safebox product. The sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.
Infectious Substances assigned to Category B are only permitted for destinations within the United Kingdom.

Financial documents

None of the following can be sent on any Parcelforce Worldwide export service. They can be sent on a Parcelforce Worldwide UK service, however these items are excluded from compensation.
Money: bankers drafts, current bank notes, currency notes or coins, postal orders, cheques or dividend warrants, bearer securities including share warrants, scrips, or subscription certificates, bonds or relative coupons, unfranked postage or revenue stamps, (except a revenue stamp embossed or impressed on an instrument which has been executed); coupons, vouchers, tokens, lottery tickets, scratch cards or similar items which can be exchanged themselves or with any other item for money, goods or services; national insurance stamps; all tickets, including travel and events. Out of circulation coins (not made of Silver or Gold) are classed as Collectibles.

International export licenses and international packaging

Items requiring Parcelforce Worldwide to obtain any special license or permit for transportation, importation or exportation; or consignments with a declared value for customs in excess of that permitted for the particular destination should not be sent on any international service. Please note: Any items that are wet, leaking or emit an odour of any kind cannot be sent on any of ourglobalexpress services. Any items packaged in Kraft paper cannot be sent via our globalexpressservice.

Living creatures

Certain living creatures are accepted only if enclosed in packs constructed so as to prevent injury to Parcelforce Worldwide staff, its agents or damage to other packages.
The following are accepted: bees, destroyers of noxious pests and other insects sent to or from officially recognised institutions, leeches and certain parasites, silkworms.
In addition the following may be sent to destinations in Zones 1 to 3: caterpillars, earthworms, fish fry and eggs, lugworms, maggots, mealworms, pupae and chrysalides and ragworms. To send any of the above, express9, express10, expressAM or express24 services must be used for Zones 1 to 3. No other living creatures are acceptable. No living creatures can be sent through the globalexpress service and to certain destinations on the globalpriority and globalvalue services.

Nail Varnish, Polish & Gel*

Nail varnish, polish or gel type

UK destinations

International destinations

Flammable and non-flammable

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. Must be presented at the counter.

Yes

No

Perfumes and Aftershaves*

Perfume and aftershave type

UK destinations

International destinations

Including eau de parfum and eau de toilette but excluding non-flammable perfumed creams, gels, oils or lotions)

Volume per item must not exceed 150ml. No more than four bottles of perfume 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 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. Must be presented at the counter.

Yes

No

Perishables

Fresh fruit, meat, fish and other perishable articles should be able to withstand transit times of at least 48 hours and must be sent by guaranteed next day service as a minimum requirement within the UK . Packages must be clearly labelled "PERISHABLE". Packages of fish should be smoked or chilled, and sealed in vacuum packs before consignment. In all cases they must be enclosed in adequate polystyrene containment to prevent contamination. It is the responsibility of the shipper to package all perishable articles in such a manner that during transport within the system the contents are kept at an appropriate temperature that is unlikely to give rise to a risk to health.

Certain international destinations prohibit the import of perishable articles, including perishable and non-perishable foodstuffs. Please check individual country restrictions before sending consignments containing perishable foodstuffs or articles (including plants, flowers, medicines, seeds and other vegetable products intended for further processing) using our globalpriority service. Perishable articles cannot be sent using our globalexpress, globalvalue orglobaleconomy services. For more information about service availability, or for country-specific prohibitions, exclusions or licence requirements, please refer to our worldwide directory or ask at a Post Office® branch.

Plants

Live plants may only be sent in accordance with the terms and conditions set out in the heading 'Perishable articles and foodstuffs' above.

Prescription medicines and drugs sent for scientific purposes

Prescription medicine type

UK destinations

International destinations

Non-toxic and non-flammable

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 medicines 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.

Yes

Yes

Toxic, flammable, or toxic and flammable

No

No

Prescription drugs sent for medical or scientific purposes, for example from a medical practitioner to a hospital, must contain the address and telephone number of the sender in case of non-delivery, so that they may be returned without delay. The properties of these drugs, when classified by the sender, should not meet any of the criteria of the 9 classes of dangerous goods. Drugs in prescription quantities may be sent by private individuals in the case of emergencies. In all cases, the sender's name, address and telephone number must be included on the inside of the package.

Radioactive materials

Radioactive materials 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 Organisation (ICAO), such as samples of granite rock, can be sent to UK and International destinations. 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 and instruments (including scissors and kitchen knives or utensils)

These items may only be posted if they are packaged appropriately so that they do not present a risk to employees, other packages or recipients.

Works of art

Works of art cannot be exported to certain destinations on the globalpriority and globalvalueservices and are excluded from compensation for loss and damage with globalexpress although they can be sent using this service.

Note - For aerosols (personal grooming), nail-varnish, perfume, alcohol greater than 24% (alcohol by volume) and items containing (or with) lithium batteries, the following conditions apply:

Items must be taken into the Post Office or sent via Parcelforce depot (these items can't be sent via www.parcelforce.com).

For parcels to Northern Ireland, Isle of Man or Scilly Isles, parcels must be sent on express48only.

globalexpress Specific Prohibitions

In addition to the prohibitions and restrictions set out and/or referred to above, the following items must not be sent through the globalexpress service:

Foodstuffs and perishable food articles and beverages requiring refrigeration or other environmental control;

Plants and plant material, including seeds and cut flowers (cut flowers are acceptable to certain destinations, information available upon request);

Perishables;

Wet ice (frozen water);

Items requiring Parcelforce Worldwide to obtain any special licence or permit for transportation, importation or exportation;

Consignments with a declared value for customs in excess of that permitted;

Parcels that are wet, leaking or emit an odour of any kind;

Parcels that are wrapped in kraft paper;

Live animals and insects.

In addition to the prohibitions set out above, the following items are excluded from our liability for compensation for globalexpress:

Artwork, including any work created or developed by the application of skill, taste or creative talent for sale, display or collection. This includes without limitation, items such as paintings, drawings, vases, tapestries, limited-edition prints, fine art, statues, sculptures, collector's items, customised or personalised musical instruments or similar items.

Film, photographic images, including photographic negatives, photographic chromes and photographic slides.

Any commodity that by its inherent nature is particularly susceptible to damage, or the market value of which is particularly variable or difficult to ascertain.

Prohibited goods

In the event of Parcelforce Worldwide returning an item to the sender due to contravention of customs regulations for Prohibited Goods, the charges will not be refunded and a return charge may apply.

Arms and Ammunition

All firearms, other than low-powered air weapons (air rifles, air guns and air pistols), including imitations and antiques; paint-ball or toy guns; taser guns; components of firearms and all other items similar to, or resembling, the foregoing are prohibited. All ammunition other than lead pellets and other air gun and airsoft projectiles are also prohibited.

Christmas Crackers

Christmas crackers are prohibited.

Counterfeit currency

Counterfeit currency and counterfeit stamps are prohibited.

Dangerous Goods

To comply with strict transport regulations and in line with other parcel delivery companies, Parcelforce Worldwide does not carry the majority of goods classified as dangerous in the latest edition of the International Civil Aviation Organisations' Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air. Prohibited dangerous goods include (for example):

Explosives such as fireworks, flares and blasting caps

Gases including cylinders for camping stoves, gas cartridges, fire extinguishers and scuba tanks

Flammable liquids including acetone, benzene, petroleum, lighter fluid, solvent-based paint thinners and removers and many paints, enamels and adhesives

Flammable solids including magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, sodium hydride, zinc powder, fire lighters and matches

Oxidising materials or organic peroxides, (including many disinfectants, nitrates and hair dyes or colourants containing peroxide)

Toxic or infectious substances

Radioactive material

Corrosives including acids, corrosive paint and rust removers, caustic soda, some dyes, mercury and gallium metal

Miscellaneous, e.g. car airbag inflators, dry ice

Unless specifically identified within the Restricted Goods section above, we do not carry dangerous goods and such items are not covered by our compensation. Sending prohibited goods or failing to comply with the conditions which apply to those that are permitted is a criminal offence which may result in prosecution. In such circumstances, Parcelforce Worldwide may deal with the goods as it sees fit, including destroying or disposing of the relevant items.

Damaged batteries

Damaged batteries of any sort and those identified by the manufacturer as being defective for safety reasons are strictly prohibited and must not be sent.

Drugs and certain substances

Controlled drugs and drugs detailed in the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (as amended) may not be sent by any Parcelforce Worldwide service. Those discovered in transit will be stopped, and handed to Customs or the Police, who may take legal action against the sender and/or recipient. Examples: cocaine, cannabis resin, LSD,  heroin,  amyl nitrate, leaves from the Catha Edulia plant, narcotics, morphine, opium, psychotropic substances etc.
Controlled drugs and drugs detailed in the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 (as amended) may not be sent by any Parcelforce Worldwide service. Those discovered in transit will be stopped and handed to HM Revenue & Customs or the police, who may take legal action against the sender and/or recipient.

Certain other substances which may be prohibited or are illegal to import or export to and from certain countries, or which Parcelforce Worldwide considers to have as having an effect similar to a Controlled Drug may be deemed as prohibited by Parcelforce Worldwide.

Frozen foods

For all international services, foodstuffs and perishable food articles and beverages requiring refrigeration or other environmental control are prohibited.

Foreign and illegal lottery tickets

Foreign and illegal lottery tickets and related advertisements for illegal lotteries are prohibited.

Goods made in foreign prisons

Goods made in foreign prisons (except those imported for a non-commercial purpose) of a kind not manufactured in the UK or those in transit.

Human and animal remains

Human remains (including ashes) and dead animals (including preserved animal parts and skins) are prohibited.

Indecent, obscene or offensive articles

Including pornography as detailed in Part 5 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 and indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of a child as detailed in section 160 and 161 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988. Indecent, obscene or offensive communications, prints, photographs, books or other articles, and packets bearing grossly offensive, indecent or obscene words, marks or designs are prohibited. Those discovered in transit will be stopped, and handed to Customs or the Police, who may take legal action against the sender and/or recipient.

Infectious substances

Infectious substances assigned to Category A (UN2814 or UN2900) as classified in the latest edition of the ICAO Technical Instructions for Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air are prohibited. Clinical and medical waste, including contaminated dressings, bandages and needles, is prohibited.

Live animals or insects

For all international services live animals (including snakes, mice and reptiles) are prohibited.

Misleading endorsements

Parcels must not bear words, marks or designs which are unauthorised and which may reasonably lead the recipient to believe that the package has been sent On Her Majesty's Service.

Waste, dirt, filth or refuse

Foul or disgusting material (including household waste) is prohibited.

Wet ice (frozen water)

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