Everything You Need to Know about Sending Gifts Internationally

Sending Gifts Internationally

A number of countries and international organisations, including the United Kingdom and the European Union, impose certain restrictions, also known as sanctions, on what you can send to certain individuals, organisations or countries. This guide will answer all your questions on what you can and can’t send to different countries around the world.


Australia is an isolated island, which likes to take precautions to ensure it isn't exposed to diseases or vermin that aren't native to the country. This means that their list is a little more extensive than other countries, but it's not the longest in the world. Of course, like any country, it’s essential to make sure you don’t try and send anything to Australia that is restricted or prohibited.

Sending Gifts to Australia

Australia’s biosecurity officers and detector dogs assess all mail for risk goods such as food, animal products (including meat and pet food) and plant material (including seeds, cacti, and succulents).

Prohibited Items: 

  • Aerosols 
  • Dairy products
  • Furs
  • Ivory
  • Fresh foods
  • Live animals 
  • Coins and cash 
  • Nail varnish and perfume 
  • Plants
  • Tobacco
  • Seeds.

Which Foods Can be sent to Australia?

  • Food that has an expiry date of more than 6 months from the date of shipping
  • Sufficiently labeled foods which list all ingredients
  • Store-bought food in the manufacturer’s original unopened packaging, including:
    • Canned foods
    • Bread, biscuits and cake
    • Cheese, butter and other dairy products
    • White rice
    • Chocolate and confectionery.    

Which Foods Can’t be sent to Australia?

  • Alcohol
  • Meat
  • Poultry and eggs 
  • Fish and seafood ingredients
  • Homemade or unlabelled food.

Can You Send Alcohol to Australia?

Sending alcohol to Australia from the UK can be expensive. The tax concession for alcoholic drinks sent as a gift was withdrawn on the 1st of October 2008. This means that the duty, taxes and any other customs costs are to be paid by the receiver. This, of course, isn’t ideal if you’re sending alcohol as a gift. Fees on importing alcohol are high and Australian customs won’t release it until the invoice is paid. At hamper.com, we do have a range of hampers you can send to Australia with free delivery.

Preparing the Parcel

Make sure The Contents are Clean!

If you are sending footwear, sporting, fishing or camping equipment ensure it is clean, dry and free from soil, seeds or plant material. Visit BICON for more information. 


You can not pack goods in egg cartons, wooden boxes or cardboard boxes that have been used to hold fruit, vegetables or meat. These packing materials are classed as a biosecurity risk as live insects and bugs can often be found hidden within the packaging. Straw and dried plant materials are also prohibited, although, you can, however, use newspapers, bubble wrap or foam to protect fragile goods instead.   Parcels sent to Australia should be packaged in new, sturdy, double or triple-walled cardboard boxes. 

Declaring Contents 

Make sure you fill out the declaration label clearly and correctly. Include a detailed description and itemise everything inside the parcel, including any packing materials you have used. For example, the list of prohibited items includes:
  • Items made of leather
  • Fruit cartons (used or new)
  • Live trees, plants, and bulbs
  • Soap and washing preparations.

Send a Hamper to Australia for Free!

Gifts are not classed as personal effects, and will, therefore, go through normal customs clearance in Australia. There is no duty or tax concession for sending gifts to Australia; this means that your chosen recipient will have to pay duties and taxes in order to clear the goods through customs. However, most of our Australian delivered hampers and flowers are despatched from within Australia and include free delivery! We can deliver to any address in Australia with a few days, so friends and family down under no longer need to miss out on gifts from home. With hamper.com you can send hampers and flowers to Australia without customs issues as our gifts are distributed directly from our partners in Australia. To find out more about mailing gifts to Australia, take a look at this website: http://www.agriculture.gov.au/import/online-services/bicon 


All parcels must go through customs in order to be cleared, and you’ll need a Customs Invoice for your shipment as this will determine how much tax and duties you’ll need to pay. Ensuring this document is filled out correctly will save you time and money.

Sending Gifts to the USA

You or the receiver won’t need to pay duties or taxes if the total parcel value is below $200. When sending a gift to the US, declare the item as an unsolicited gift on the invoice with a detailed description of the items and include the value too. You’ll also need to send your gift to a residential address as opposed to a business address to avoid paying fees. 

Prohibited Items: 

  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Dog and Cat Fur
  • Fish and Wildlife
  • Some Food Products (Raw and Prepared)
  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Game and Hunting Trophies
  • Photographic Film
  • Plants and Seeds
  • Soil
  • Cigarettes
  • Perfume
  • Lighters
  • Lithium Batteries

Which Foods Can be Sent to the USA? 

  • Bakery items and certain cheeses
  • Most prepared foods such as condiments, vinegars, oils, packaged spices, honey, chocolate, coffee and tea
  • Food with a best before date over 6 months away
  • Items that are unopened and in their original manufacturer's packaging
  • Foods with labels that list all ingredients

Which Foods Can’t be sent to the USA?

  • Meat products
  • Rice 
  • Anything with a shelf life of fewer than 6 months
  • Homemade food
  • Food that is not in its original manufacturer's packaging
  • Food in packaging that has been opened
  • Foods with labels that don’t list all the ingredients

Can you send Alcohol to the USA? 

You can’t mail alcohol through the United States Postal Service without a license. You can, however, ship it via a distributor with a license to do so. 

Preparing the parcel

Send a Hamper to the USA for Free!

Many of our USA delivered hampers can be delivered to the US with free delivery. We have hampers that are available for despatch from mainland USA for local delivery. These are delivered free of charge and usually delivered faster than sending from the UK. Our hampers can be sent from the UK although delivery charges may apply and the contents of the hamper may be restricted due to USA regulations.  For more information on mailing to the USA, visit the CBP website: https://www.cbp.gov/travel/us-citizens/know-before-you-go/prohibited-and-restricted-items


Although Canada is a commonwealth nation, your parcel will still need to go through international customs if it is sent from the UK. Canada has some specific rules relating to packaging, including restrictions on punctuation (unless it’s part of a name) as well as prohibiting the use of underlined text on labels.

Sending Gifts to Canada

You do not have to pay import duties or tax if your parcel falls below $20 CAD.  When you send your parcel, there is often a set value which, if your shipment falls below, you do not have to pay import duties or taxes. However, when sending a gift to a friend or family member in Canada worth $60 CAD or less, it qualifies for exemption from all customs duties and taxes.  There are a few things that don’t count under the gift exemption. These are tobacco, alcoholic beverages, advertising material and also any items sent by a business.  If you do not follow Canadian guidelines and your parcel is not exempt from duties or taxes, the recipient will have to pay any outstanding fees.

Prohibited Items include: 

  • Firearms and weapons without a license
  • Undeclared food, plants, animals and related products
  • Explosives without written authorisation
  • Consumer products that could pose a danger to the public
  • Tobacco and vaping products unless proof of age is provided by shipper
  • Certain plants, seeds, fruits, bark and soil.
  • White phosphorus matches

Which Foods Can be Sent to Canada?

  • Undamaged foods, intact in the original manufacturer’s packaging
  • Securely packaged foods 
  • Foods with a shelflife greater than six months from the date of shipping, including:
    • Up to 20kg of baked goods 
    • Cheese 
    • Dried fruit

Which Foods Can’t be Sent to Canada? 

  • Any foods that have a shelf life of fewer than six months
  • Unlabelled foods/ foods which don’t list ingredients on the packaging
  • Perishable goods, including:
    • Milk, cream and butter
    • Fresh (uncooked), dried and cured meats
    • Fresh fruit   
All food imports are controlled by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), who request additional paperwork. Completed paperwork should be attached to your food parcel and filled out correctly to avoid delays or destruction. 

Can You Send Alcohol to Canada?

Intoxicating beverages can be imported into Canada by mail. However, it must be imported by or mailed to a licensed distiller or body authorised by the board, commission, officer or other governmental agency in the province of destination. The alcohol content must be no greater than 24% alcohol by volume. 

Preparing the Parcel

Send a Hamper to Canada for Free! 

Many of our Canadian delivered hampers can be delivered to Canada with free delivery. You can order and have it sent from the UK or locally and delivered across and to any address in Canada. Local deliveries are often free of charge and usually delivered faster than sending from the UK. Our hampers can be sent from the UK although delivery charges may apply and the contents of the hamper may be restricted due to Canadian regulations.  To find out more on mailing to Canada, visit the Canada Border Services Agency website: https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publications/dm-md/d9-eng.html   

New Zealand

There are a lot of Brits residing in New Zealand, so naturally, there are a lot of people wondering how and what they can send to their loved ones over there. Please remember however batteries and food are both prohibited items, especially if you are shipping personal belongings. 

Sending Gifts to New Zealand

Your chosen recipient in New Zealand won’t have to pay duties as long as the gift is worth $110 or less. The gift will also need to be for personal use and if the parcel has more than one gift for different people, they may be able to claim this concession. But, this is only if they can prove it, so ensure you label it properly or send them separately to avoid this. You can’t combine gift concessions for multiple people on one item. Alcohol may qualify for this concession if you can prove it’s a genuine gift. Proving this would be showing that it’s for a type of celebration or special occasion. Tobacco products don’t qualify under the free gift duties. 

Prohibited Items: 

  • Ammunition and Weapons
  • Bleaches and Poisons
  • Batteries & Corrosives
  • Combustion Engines
  • Compressed Gas
  • Explosives & Fireworks
  • Anything Flammable
  • Matches and Lighters
  • Valuables such as -
    • Bank cards, credit cards and gift cards
    • Bullion, coins, currency, traveller’s cheques, bonds, and shares
    • Collectables, antiques, paintings, sculpture or other works of art
    • Jewellery, precious metals or stones 
    • Watches
    • Keys
    • Legal documents or unused stamps
    • Event tickets.

Which Foods Can be sent to New Zealand? 

  • Unopened, store-bought foods in the original manufacturer’s packaging 
  • Packaging must be securely sealed
  • Food with labels that list all ingredients 
  • Foods with a shelf life of longer than six months from the date of shipping, including: 
    • Butter, cheese and milk
    • Chocolate, sweets and confectionery 
    • Fresh and dried pasta 
    • Ketchup, mayonnaise and salad dressing
    • Tea is allowed if It is dried and does not contain citrus leaves, or citrus peel.

Which Foods Can’t be sent to New Zealand?

  • Fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Fresh meat or fish
  • Eggs
  • Honey and bee products.
All food imports must be declared. If you don't declare all the food you are carrying, you will be fined and the food will be confiscated.   You can use this tool to further investigate if you can or cannot send certain food items: https://www.mpi.govt.nz/bring-send-to-nz/bringing-and-posting-items-to-nz/check-if-you-can-bring-or-send-an-item-to-nz/ 

Can You Send Alcohol to New Zealand? 

You can send wine and beer that is 4.5 litres or below without charged, anything over that the recipient will need to pay tax and duties. Spirits and liquors are allowed as long as it’s 3 bottles or less that contain no more than 1.125 litres of alcohol. Anything with a volume greater than the stated guidelines will be subject to customs duty.

Preparing the Parcel

Send a Hamper to New Zealand for Free! 

A selection of our New Zealand delivered hampers, are despatched from within New Zealand and can be delivered free of charge! Despatching from within your chosen delivery country ensures there are minimal postage delays, customs or tax issues to worry about. This also means that we can send your friends and family flowers and alcohol within the hampers without encountering any problems or extra charges! You can order your hampers, gift baskets or flowers to New Zealand with Hamper.com today!  For further information on mailing food gifts to New Zealand, visit this website: https://www.nzpost.co.nz/personal/sending-within-nz/prohibited-restricted-items   

South Africa

The most important part of sending your parcel to South Africa is the customs documentation. This document must list every item and its individual value. It is a legal requirement and doing the form properly will ensure your parcel is delivered as quickly as possible. Duty and tax can be applied to the parcel depending on the contents.  

Sending Gifts to South Africa

If you’re sending a gift to South Africa, the package may fall under gift exemptions that can reduce the overall amount of charges applied to your parcel. The gift exemption set by South Africa may apply when the gift is worth 400 ZAR (around £20) per shipment, not parcel. South African legislation is set this way to enable individual-to-individual shipments only. It’s also important to know that gift exemption is limited to two shipments per year, so a third shipment would incur charges despite being a gift. The recipient is responsible for paying any duties and charges applied to the shipment the majority of the time. All gift must be accompanied by an invoice which clearly states that the items contained within are a gift. The invoice should list individual items and their value in the senders home currency.

Items that are excluded from the gift exemption:

  • Wines 
  • Spirits 
  • Tobacco (Including cigarettes and cigars) 
  • Perfume

Prohibited Items: 

  • Narcotic and habit-forming drugs in any form
  • Fully automatic, military and unnumbered weapons
  • Explosives and fireworks
  • Poison and other toxic substances
  • Cigarettes with a mass of more than 2kg per 1000
  • Counterfeit goods
  • Unlawful reproductions of any work subject to copyright
  • Penitentiary or prison-made goods
  • Honey, beeswax and bees
  • More than 50ml perfume
  • More than 250ml eau de toilette.

Can Food be Sent to South Africa?

Plants, vegetables, etc are subject to inspection by the Department of Agriculture. The clearance process includes accepting and checking the goods declaration against the documents produced. You must send non-perishable items, which means items such as cheeses and fruits are a no go. Chocolates pose the risk of melting in the hot weather so you may want to avoid sending them. 

Which Foods Can be sent to South Africa?

  • Unopened, non-perishable foods in the original manufacturer’s packaging
  • Foods which have fully intact packaging
  • Foods with packaging that fully lists ingredients, including:
    • Bread 
    • Biscuits
    • Crisps 
    • Cake
    • Canned goods.  

Which Foods Can’t be sent to South Africa?

  • Homemade food
  • Dairy products including cheese, butter and milk
  • Meat 
  • Fresh Fruit 
  • Seafood 
  • Eggs 
  • Tea & Coffee. 

Can you send alcohol to South Africa? 

Packages sent to South African residents as gifts may be eligible for a duty exemption or rebate; however, if those parcels contain alcohol, perfume or tobacco, this exemption will not apply. Therefore, there are no restrictions surrounding sending alcohol to South Africa, the gifts will, however, be subject to customs duty.      

Preparing the Parcel

Send Hampers to South Africa!

Take the stress out of gifting, and order your flowers, gift baskets and hampers to South Africa from Hamper.com. Our range of gift baskets, flowers and Hampers to South Africa are despatched from within the UK and include a number of premium delivery options.     For more information on sending gifts to South Africa, visit: https://www.sars.gov.za/ClientSegments/Customs-Excise/Pages/Sending-and-receiving-goods-in-the-post.aspx


Northern Ireland is actually classed as the UK by the royal mail, but other parcel companies or courier services will add a surcharge because it is technically overseas. However, the Republic of  Ireland is classed as Europe by all postal and parcel firms.

Sending Gifts to Ireland

Postage costs to Ireland can be expensive through the Post Office and even when you use a courier. Luckily for those in the UK, Ireland is a member of the European Union. This means that gifts of low, nominal and negligible value are eligible for customs duty relief, and may also be eligible for value-added tax (VAT) relief. This may change when the UK leaves the EU on 31st January 2020. For more information on Irish customs duty and VAT exemptions, click here.    

Prohibited Items

Generally, you can send anything to Ireland that you could send within the UK; however, it is wise to confirm that what you’re sending is not restricted. You can check this by contacting the Irish Tax and Customs. 

Prohibited items include: 

  • All products containing the biocide dimethyl fumarate (DMF)
  • Cereal Seeds of the second generation (C2 Seed)
  • Coin, counterfeit and imitation
  • Copyrights
  • Food imitations
  • Government Guarantees
  • Indecent or obscene prints
  • Offensive Weapons
  • Oral/smokeless tobacco/products

Which Foods Can be sent to Ireland?

  • Unopened, non-perishable foods in the original manufacturer’s packaging
  • Foods with a shelf life of six months or longer from the date of shipping, including: 
    • Chocolate and sweets
    • Canned foods
    • Tea bags
    • Jams and preserves.
Although Ireland allows the importation of EU-produced meat and dairy products for personal use, all dairy and meat items must carry an official EU health mark. 

Which Foods Can’t be sent to Ireland? 

  • Non-EU produced meat and dairy products 
  • Poultry and birds eggs 
  • Natural honey 
  • Homemade and unpackaged food items.
All imported food must be declared. Failure to declare foods may result in a fine and the confiscation of your parcel.  Visit the Irish Tax and Customs website for information on which foods you can, and cannot send to Ireland: https://www.revenue.ie/en/customs-traders-and-agents/documents/guide-to-importing-goods-through-the-post.pdf

Can You Send Alcohol to Ireland?

Customs restrict the importation of all alcohol into Ireland; however, individuals are permitted to import a small amount of alcohol into Ireland, as long as it can be proved to be for personal use.   Individuals are permitted to import one litre of distilled beverages and spirits over 22% alcohol by volume (AVB), or one litre of fortified or sparkling wine, and some liqueurs of 22% (AVB) or less; and two litres of still wine.   

Preparing the Parcel

Send a Hamper to Ireland for Free! 

Many of our hampers delivered to Ireland include delivery free of charge. You can send hampers, gift baskets or flowers to your loved ones in Ireland with us, without worrying if your gift is prohibited or if your chosen recipient will incur any charges.  For more information on sending gifts to Ireland, visit this website: https://www.revenue.ie/en/customs-traders-and-agents/documents/prohibitions-restrictions.pdf   See our full range of hampers that can be delivered internationally.
This blog was posted 1 year ago
By carl poxon