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USPS is one of the popular shipping carriers in the US. Shipping with USPS is quite affordable and convenient. Yet like any other shipping carriers, there are certain restrictions too when you are shipping with USPS. Here we take a look at all about USPS shipping restrictions and prohibited items to know what packages can be shipped.
All About USPS Shipping restrictions
USPS is the first choice when it comes to shipping in the US. USPS allows most of the businesses to reach out to their customers no matter where they live in the US. However, it is important to understand the USPS shipping restrictions when it comes to shipping effectively.
It is important to know the basic shipping guidelines especially when it comes to shipping restricted and prohibited goods. In one way it helps you to stay in good terms with the shipping carrier while shipping your items to the destined locations. If there are restrictions, it does mean that you can ship your items which fall under their certain classification or it should be adhering to the standards mentioned by the shipping carrier. Here USPS shipping restrictions mean that your shipment must meet the basic USPS shipping requirements as well as adhere to the federal laws, state laws etc., that apply to the restricted item that is being shipped.
Here is the list of USPS restricted items :
- Sharp instruments like knives
- Powder or liquids and any other items which contain odour producing materials.
- Any locksmithing devices or keys of motor vehicles.
- Alcoholic beverages
- Unwanted promotional samples
- Cigarettes and tobacco
- building and construction materials
- Live animals
However, due to the pandemic, there are several other restrictions imposed on shipping by USPS.
Domestic USPS Shipping Restrictions
While shipping domestically with USPS ,there are certain shipping restrictions. Let us take a look at the max weight you can ship using certain USPS shipping carriers.
|Length + Girth||Weight(max)|
|First Class Mail||108″ (274 cm)||13 oz (368 g)|
|Priority||108″ (274 cm)||70 lbs (31 kg)|
|Express||108″ (274 cm)||70 lbs (31 kg)|
|Parcel Select||130″ (330 cm)||70 lbs (31 kg)|
|Library Mail||108″ (274 cm)||70 lbs (31 kg)|
|Media Mail||108″ (274 cm)||70 lbs (31 kg)|
|Standard Post||130″ (330 cm)||70 lbs (31 kg)|
USPS Shipping Restrictions by Size
USPS imposes certain shipping restrictions on the size of the package. Here are a few of them:
Large Envelope /Flat rate envelope
When you are using a large envelope or flat rate ones, USPS has certain shipping restrictions on the same. The maximum dimension of the envelope should be of 15 x 12 x .75 inches.
When you are shipping via USPS, the parcel dimension must be at the minimum of 3 x 6 x 1.4 inches thick.
USPS Media Mail Restrictions
USPS Media Mail is used to send media and educational materials, such as:
- Video and sound recordings
- Printed music and test materials
- Medical loose-leaf pages and binders
- Computer-readable media
- Printed educational charts
The items that do not fit the guidelines as media include:
- Computer drives
- Video games
- and Digital drives.
USPS First-Class Mail-Shipping Restrictions
USPS First Class mail is an affordable way to send lightweight material anywhere. The major restriction in terms of First Class mail is that maximum weight for large envelopes and parcels must be 13 oz.
USPS Flat Rate mail- Shipping Restrictions
Flat rate boxes are mostly used for shipping in an economical way. If you consider flat rate shipping, there are fewer restrictions involved. The maximum weight possible is 70 pounds while using the flat rate boxes for shipping.
USPS Shipping Restrictions on shipping liquids
USPS clearly states that non-hazardous, non-flammable liquids can be shipped when they are sealed inside a waterproof container. Hence it means that you can ship liquid items, until unless they don’t damage the other items shipped alongside them. So packing is the key point to focus. Let’s see how efficiently you can pack liquid items for USPS shipping.
- Use strong sealed outer packing when you are shipping friction-top closure containers.
- Ensure that you use containers for liquids that can be sealed properly using screw caps, or soldering clips.
- If you are sending glass containers, then ensure the fluid ounces is just 4 ounces and for any other containers which are unbreakable, can have a minimum of 32 ounces. Also, they must be cushioned, well-sealed, and must be in a waterproof container with a strong and secure outer packing.
- Yet again plastic and steel pails with a variety of spouts and closures can also be accepted without additional packaging.
USPS does impose restrictions on corrosive items, flammable, explosives, hazardous or toxic items. Either they have restrictions or does prohibit shipping them.
USPS APO/FPO Restrictions
USPS lets shipping to military base locations. To successfully do it you can make use of the Priority Mail APO/FPO flat rate boxes. Again there is a restriction in terms of the weight of the package when you are using APO/FPO large flat rate boxes. It lets you ship items weighing less than 70 pounds.
USPS International Shipping Restrictions
The items with international USPS shipping restrictions include the following :
- Lithium Batteries
- Medicine or Drugs
- Medical Devices
USPS Restricted Countries
While shipping internationally, you must not only comply with USPS International Shipping regulations but also regulations by the destination country too. Remember that you need to comply with every regulation before you send anything internationally. When you ship internationally, there are several restrictions on the weight of the packages which differs with countries. Also as per the OFAC sanctions, USPS cannot ship to those countries that fall under the OFAC sanction list. It is said that selling to sanctioned countries is a violation.
Size Restrictions for USPS International shipping
Here are some of the weight restrictions when you are shipping with USPS Priority Mail:
|USPS Service||Maximum Weight allowed|
|Priority Mail International||70 lbs|
|Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelope||4 lbs|
|Priority Mail International Small Flat Rate Box||4 lbs|
|Priority Mail International Medium Flat Rate Box||20 lbs|
|Priority Mail International Large Flat Rate Box||64 oz|
|First Class Package International Service||20 lbs|
|Express Mail International||70 lbs|
All you need to keep in mind is that whatever you pack, it should rightly fit in the box.
USPS Prohibited Items
When it is said that the item is prohibited, it means, it is not supposed to be shipped by USPS. The service will be denied when the items in your list contain any items which are prohibited. Here are some items that are restricted by USPS.
- Marijuana for medical purposes or otherwise.
And here are some items that are restricted for USPS International Shipping:
- Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
- Marijuana (medical or otherwise)
- Nail Polish
- Air Bags
- Fresh Fruits and Vegetables.
- Perfumes (containing alcohol)
- Air Bags
- Alcoholic Beverages
- Dry Ice
- Nail Polish
- Alcoholic Beverages
Remember you need to adhere to the laws and regulations of the destination countries when it comes to International Shipping.
How to incorporate USPS shipping Restrictions to WooCommerce stores when shipping ?
It is easy to ensure that you follow all the basic rules regarding shipping with restrictions using USPS shipping plugin. You can easily list the restricted items and classify them into certain categories, which are listed in the WooCommerce product settings as shown below.
Once you categorize the same at the product level, when you are shipping with USPS, you can separate them from the rest of the items to be packed. You can also label them individually while shipping using the Package Settings and Label Generation Settings in the plugin without much hassle.
The package settings in the plugin will let you pack the items in individual boxes as per your choice. To do this the store owner can set the packaging settings as shown below:
Using the plugin you can also generate the specific label to be affixed with clear instructions on the box, to make shipping efficient.
Visit the product page to know more about the plugin.
As said above,
When you follow the right rules and regulations as well as packaging guidelines when shipping with USPS, you can extend a hand of a healthy relationship with USPS for shipping for your business purposes. When your eCommerce inventory meets the rules and Federal laws of shipping items domestically and internationally, you can run your business without much hindrances.
If you are planning to incorporate USPS shipping in your WooCommerce store, you can choose any one of the following shipping plugins mentioned below.
- ELEX WooCommerce USPS Shipping Plugin with Shipment Tracking & Print Label
- ELEX Stamps.com Shipping Plugin with USPS Postage for WooCommerce
- ELEX EasyPost (FedEx, UPS, Canada Post & USPS) Shipping & Label Printing Plugin for WooCommerce