Items Restricted and Prohibited from Shipping to France

Learn about the items you can’t ship to France from the USA and those that require special permissions. Ensure compliance with French shipping regulations.

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Home » Worldwide Destinations » Shipping to France » Items Restricted and Prohibited from Shipping to France

When it comes to international shipping, every country has its own set of rules and regulations regarding what can and cannot be imported. France, with its rich cultural heritage and stringent customs laws, is no exception. This article outlines the items that are restricted or prohibited from being shipped to France from the USA, providing valuable information for individuals and businesses involved in transatlantic trade.

Meaning of Items Restricted and Prohibited from Shipping to France

When discussing items that are restricted and prohibited from shipping to France, we are referring to specific goods that cannot be sent into the country either under any circumstances or without adhering to strict guidelines. Prohibited items are those completely banned from entry into France due to various reasons such as safety concerns, health regulations, protection of local industries, or environmental considerations. These include items like ammunition, certain chemicals, and undeclared antique firearms.

On the other hand, restricted items can be shipped to France but require specific permissions, certifications, or compliance with regulations so that they do not pose a threat to public safety, health, or the environment. This category includes items such as medicines, which need an import license, or plants, which require a phytosanitary certificate to ensure they do not introduce pests or diseases.

Understanding the distinction between these categories is important for anyone looking to ship goods to France. It helps compliance with French customs laws and avoids potential fines, delays, or confiscation of goods, thus facilitating a smoother and more efficient shipping process.

Here’s a table outlining the differences between items that are restricted and those that are prohibited from shipping to France:

ProhibitedItems completely banned from entry into France. These cannot be shipped under any circumstances due to safety, health, environmental, or legal concerns.Ammunition, Butane Gas Cigarette Lighters, Human Remains
RestrictedItems that can be shipped to France but require specific authorizations, certifications, or compliance with regulations to ensure they do not pose a risk.Medicines (require import license), Plants (require phytosanitary certificate), Gold (requires permit from the Bank of France)

Prohibited Items from Shipping to France from the USA

Certain items are completely prohibited from entry into France, meaning they cannot be shipped under any circumstances:

  • Ammunition and Arms: All types of ammunition and arms are prohibited, except for antique firearms. Antique firearms must be clearly declared on the Customs Declaration and are controlled and cleared through the customs office.
  • Banknotes and Precious Metals: Current and legal tender banknotes, coins, and precious metals cannot be shipped to France. This includes gold, silver, and other valuable metals that are often targeted by regulations due to their high value and potential for misuse.
  • Butane Gas Cigarette Lighters: Due to safety concerns, cigarette lighters that utilize butane gas are not allowed in shipments.
  • Feeding Bottles: The prohibition of feeding bottles might be linked to safety standards and health regulations in France.
  • Funeral Urns: Due to the sensitive nature of their contents, funeral urns have restrictions on their transport.
  • Goods with False Marks: Any goods that falsely claim French manufacture or origin are strictly prohibited, as they can mislead consumers and infringe on intellectual property rights.
  • Human and Cremated Remains: The shipment of human and cremated remains is tightly controlled, requiring specific processes and documentation.
  • Lead Salt Imitation Pearls and Jewelry: Due to health and safety concerns, pearls containing lead salts and any jewelry made from such pearls are prohibited.
  • Live Plants and Animals: To protect the local ecosystem, live plants and animals face strict regulations and are generally prohibited.
  • Non-Compliant Measuring Instruments: Instruments marked in units that do not comply with French law are not allowed entry.
  • Biological Substances: Both perishable infectious and noninfectious biological substances are typically prohibited unless specific exceptions are noted.
  • Radioactive Materials: Due to the obvious risks associated with their nature, radioactive materials are strictly prohibited.
  • Saccharine: The artificial sweetener in tablet or packet form is not allowed due to health regulation concerns.

Restricted Items from Shipping to France from the USA

Some items may be shipped to France, but they come with specific restrictions or require additional documentation:

  • Bees, Honey, and Beeswax: These can be shipped if accompanied by a certificate of origin and a certificate of non-infection, issued by a qualified official approved by the French Government. Shipments of honey not exceeding 2 kilograms do not require the certificate.
  • French-Language Books Printed Abroad: These must include the names of the publisher and printer as prescribed by French copyright laws to ensure compliance with intellectual property regulations.
  • Canned Food Items: Canned vegetables, fish, plums, and nuts must have the country of origin clearly indicated by stamping on the packaging, meeting specific size and placement requirements.
  • Gold Articles: Shipping gold coins or articles requires the recipient to have a permit issued by the Bank of France. This is not necessary for gold-plated items or ornaments containing only small amounts of gold and weighing less than 500 grams.
  • Medicines and Medicinal Products: An import license from the Central Pharmaceutical Service of the Ministry of Health is necessary.
  • Perishable Biological Substances: These are admitted when addressed to specified laboratories.
  • Plants, Seeds, Bulbs: A plant health certificate must accompany these items to ensure they do not harm the French ecosystem.
  • Tobacco Products: The importation is generally reserved for the State Monopoly, but individuals may import up to 10 kilograms per year for personal use with special customs authorization.

Understanding the Regulations

The restrictions and prohibitions are largely governed by safety, economic protection, public health, and environmental considerations. For businesses and individuals looking to ship goods from the USA to France, understanding these regulations is important to avoid legal issues and ensure smooth transit of goods across borders.

It’s also recommended to consult with our shipping experts who can provide up-to-date advice and guidance on navigating these regulations effectively. By complying with French customs laws, shippers can avoid delays, fines, and the confiscation of goods, ensuring a successful and hassle-free import process.


Over-the-counter medications can be shipped to France but may require an import license, depending on their classification and quantity.

Yes, electronic devices with lithium batteries can be shipped to France but must adhere to specific packaging and labeling requirements to ensure safety.

Shipping alcohol to France is allowed but requires appropriate documentation, including a license and adherence to alcohol tax regulations.

Cosmetics can be shipped to France; however, they must comply with EU cosmetic regulations, including labeling and ingredient safety standards.

Artwork and antiques can be shipped but may require a cultural heritage certificate or an export license, depending on their value and age.

Food products can be sent to France but must meet labeling and health standards, and perishable items should comply with food safety regulations.

Jewelry can be shipped to France, but high-value items might need additional insurance and proper declaration for customs, particularly if they contain precious metals or stones.

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