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Manage restricted items for imports and exports.

The Restrict API plays a crucial role in managing import and export restrictions by allowing users to check if items being shipped are subject to restrictions or prohibitions based on the ship-from and ship-to countries, country of origin, and HS code. These restrictions, governed by regulations from government agencies, can also include carrier and destination country-specific rules.

Types of restrictions 

Typically, items are restricted or prohibited by the following:

Restricted vs. prohibited

Restricted items differ from prohibited items. Restricted items are not allowed to be exported or imported unless approval has been granted or the required license has been obtained. Prohibited items, on the other hand, are not available for export or import due to regulations set by the export or destination country's government.


  "id": "rstc_1EEzH32eZvKYlo2CdNQsj6Dp",
  "list": [
      "id:": "sku_294395",
      "message": "The item is oversize for this level of service",
      "reason": "oversized",
      "status": "restricted",
      "type": "carrier"
  "country": "BR",
  "country_message": "",
  "country_restrictions_webpage": ""

Import country

Restricted items can only be imported with additional permissions from a shipping carrier, with proper import documentation for the destination country, or with appropriate licenses or approvals obtained the exporter or the receiver or importer.

Export country

The U.S. Export Control System oversees exports to protect the national security interests of the United States, promote foreign policy objectives, and comply with international commitments. With a program such as the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), penalties for violating the U.S. Department of State’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) may include fines and requirements to institute enhanced compliance measures within an organization. The Zonos API can help manage these restrictions.

Shipping carrier

UPS, FedEx, DHL, USPS, and other carriers each have different prohibited and restricted items for shipping internationally. Carriers will classify items as dangerous goods and may restrict these types of items (e.g. batteries). Additionally, country-specific import restrictions may vary by carrier. Size and weight restrictions are also managed by Zonos when needed.

Brand and distributors

Some brands restrict the sale of their products to different countries due to international distributor agreements with exclusive distribution rights, or the brand may impose price protections by country or region. For instance, Leatherman has international distributors and has assigned exclusive distribution rights in certain foreign countries. These rights often include exclusive licensing of trademarks. Brand restrictions are not comprehensive and typically involve obtaining restricted information from the merchant.

Prohibited items

Destination countries may prohibit individual items.


A t-shirt with an HS code of 6109.10 may not be restricted or prohibited into Barbados; however, if the t-shirt is camouflage, it is deemed illegal and will be confiscated by customs upon entry.


Zonos Restrict uses third parties to source information on restricted HS codes and other possible restricted information; however, there are restrictions where an HS code is not sufficient and may require description-level keywords. For example, if a shoe, pants, shirt, or hat is camouflage and going to Barbados, the keyword “camouflage” will be caught and restricted, even though the HS code is not restricted. The Zonos Decoder team also sources information directly from carriers and some country websites. Zonos is continually working on our keyword matches beyond HS code matches to improve our restriction services.

Frequently asked questions 

How does Zonos source information on the various restrictions and prohibited items?

Zonos uses data from a variety of sources to manage the restrictions and prhibited items, including government websites, trade organizations, and more. We also have a Decoder team dedicated to managing global trade and staying up to date on the latest industry information.

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