Restricted goods - UK

Things we can carry in UK post but with restrictions

When you need practical guidance on posting restricted goods use this comprehensive A-Z list, which gives full details of restrictions which apply to certain items posted with us in the UK as well as highlighting any areas where there may be exceptions.

The table below covers all our UK mail services.

Rules may be different for international post.
See Restricted goods - international

You are responsible for checking

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).

If you are not sure about the item you wish to post, please call Customer Services on 08457 950 950. Textphone users should call 0345 600 0606.

Restricted item* Detailed information
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 - see 
Example ID8000 Label
The sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging. All other aerosols, including those containing spray paints, lacquers, solvents, air fresheners and oven cleaners are prohibited. Please see www.royalmail.com/business/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. Alcoholic beverages and liquids with an alcohol content greater than 70% ABV are prohibited. Please see www.royalmail.com/business/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. Lithium ion/polymer batteries sent in isolation are prohibited. Please see www.royalmail.com/business/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 packagings 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 see
Example of a Lithium Battery Handling Label
The sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging. Lithium ion/polymer batteries sent in isolation are prohibited. Please see www.royalmail.com/business/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. Lithium metal/alloy batteries sent in isolation are prohibited. Please see www.royalmail.com/business/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 packagings 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 see
Example of a Lithium Battery Handling Label
The sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging. Lithium metal/alloy batteries sent in isolation are prohibited. Please see www.royalmail.com/business/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 see www.royalmail.com/business/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/business/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/business/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. Lithium ion/polymer batteries sent in isolation are prohibited. Please see www.royalmail.com/business/prohibitedgoods
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 packagings 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 see
Example of a Lithium Battery Handling Label
The sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging. Lithium ion/polymer batteries sent in isolation are prohibited. Please see www.royalmail.com/business/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. Lithium metal/alloy batteries sent in isolation are prohibited. Please see www.royalmail.com/business/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 packagings 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 see
Example of a Lithium Battery Handling Label
The sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging. Lithium metal/alloy batteries sent in isolation are prohibited. Please see www.royalmail.com/business/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/business/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 Safebox 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/business/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/business/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/business/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 see
Example ID8000 Label
The sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.
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 packagings must be packed, secured or cushioned to prevent breakage or leakage of their contents into the outer packaging.
An ID8000 label must be applied ( see example ID8000 label Opens in new window ). The sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.
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/business/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 siftproof 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 toxic, flammable, or toxic and flammable 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. ID8000 label must be applied. Volume/mass per item must not exceed 50ml/50g. No more than eight items can be sent in any one parcel. The sender’s name and return address must be clearly visible on the outer packaging.
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.