Strange customs laws from around the world
Thanks to ipostparcels' fantastic delivery services, you can send things pretty much anywhere in the world these days. You can post products to people in Poland
, or get gifts to your grandma in Greenland
. If you've read a few of the international delivery guides on our site, though, you'll know already that all countries have their own customs laws - lists of things they don't allow across their borders.
Most of these documents are pretty similar. They include the obvious offenders like guns, drugs, radioactive materials and other dangerous items. Then you have the odd difference, like alcohol not being allowed into Saudi Arabia
, and cameras being banned from Ukraine
Dig a little deeper still, and you'll find some truly strange restrictions. Below are some of the most bizarre.
Algeria - Dental products
Toothpaste is a product widely used across the world - after all, healthy smiles transcend borders and languages! What you might not know, however, is that not everyone uses the same stuff we do. Some countries' governments are wary of fluoride, which is a staple of European brands like Colgate and Aquafresh, and so keep tight control over the stuff being used by their citizens. This is thought to be the main reason for Algeria's ban on foreign dental products.
It extends beyond toothpaste to include all other types of dental equipment too, though, so think again if you were planning to send any dentures or retainers!
Nigeria - Plastic flowers and wheelbarrows
Do you run a business selling plastic flowers and wheelbarrows? You might want to take Nigeria off your 'ships to' list, as the West African country has been known to turn both away in the past. Other questionable prohibitions have included chocolate, ballpoint pens and toothpicks.
There is some logic behind the seemingly odd decisions, though. They were made in the hope of boosting Nigeria's own manufacturing industry. It was thought that if people could access goods from overseas, often at a lower price, they'd be less likely to buy locally.
Mexico - Matching shoes
For similar reasons, you're technically not permitted to send matching pairs of shoes to Mexico. Again, it was hoped that by stopping casual imports from other parts of the world, Mexico could boost its own shoe-making sector. It wasn't alone in thinking this either - the same rules apply for South Africa and India.
The prohibition only really applies to particularly large and commercial packages, so if you're sending for personal use, you should be fine. That said, some senders have had theirs confiscated, so don't be shocked if it takes a little longer than normal.
The United States - Kinder Eggs
Of all the chocolates and sweets we enjoyed as kids, Kinder Eggs tend to stand out for most people. The mix of milk and white chocolate, and the build-your-own toy inside - it was enough to get anyone excited. Unfortunately, millions of kids (and adults) across the US have never had the opportunity to enjoy the Kinder goodness, as the products are banned for being a 'choking hazard'.
American customs officials have been known to hand out hefty fines to those caught trying to smuggle them in, so don't risk it!
These are just some of the items that customs officials have banned in the past - if you're about to send something abroad, be sure to check our handy guides
for more information on the other things that could cause problems.
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