Things you should know before shipping
to Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore
Besides China Mainland, Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore are the top three Asian destinations for Thais to ship to. To ensure that your shipment will arrive at the destination quickly and smoothly, you need to know what you can’t ship (prohibited goods) or what you can ship with conditions (restricted goods) to that destination country. This will help save your valuable time as well as avoid shipping delays during to unexpected events. And if you are cross-border seller, this informational is essential because each country has a different set of rules and regulations that senders/ exporters must follow.
The following information is updated on October 29, 2021, and can be changed by the Customs or related government agencies. To get the most updated and correct information, DHL Express recommends you to contact our Customer Service to check if the import rules and regulations in the destination countries are changed.
Now, let’s take a look at what you cannot ship or may need to apply for a permit before shipping to these three countries.
• Animal skins/ finished leather goods/ Animal products: Shipper must state clearly specific kind of leather & commodity (made with what kind of animals with its scientific names; e.g. Sea cucumber/Raccoon/Coyote/Deer/Mink). Inspection by HK Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department is required. Expected delay: up to 6 days.
• If it is under protection of endangered species as per Washington Convention; CITES certificate, Import licence or Certificate of Origin is required. Expected delay: up to 2 days for valid license. For shipments with CITES cert, require to send advance pre-alert to
• Import of Medicine, Vaccine, Chinese Herbal Medicines and Proprietary Chinese Medicines. Consignee must be a licence holder and must have import license from HK Department of Health. Delay: 1-2 days for valid permit application.
• For Medicine, Vaccine, Chinese Herbal Medicines and Proprietary Chinese Medicines. Generic commodity type “Vaccine”/”Medicine” must be observed in the goods description besides of specific brands and/or product names. Import license is still required for personal effect, as there is no personal consumption allowed for importing medicine shipment personally.
Top 10 Shopping Categories
The top 10 shopping categories Hong Kongers plan to buy in the next two years are 1. fashion 2. lifestyle 3. home appliances/ digital 4. food and beverage 5. travel 6. entertainment 7. beauty and wellness 8. sporting goods 9. books and 10. premium products (hi-end watches, for example).
Singles’ Day 11 November
11:11 is the not-so-secret code and the biggest date on the Asian shopping calendar. It is the biggest annual sale that shops and sellers selling product at unbelievably cheapest price. Amazon Prime Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday are also major shopping dates.
• Meat, egg, fish and related products such as frozen meat, beef jerky, ham, sausage are prohibited. Vegetables and fresh/frozen fruits, all kind of beans are prohibited and cannot be shipped via DHL Express air network.
• Green coffee and Unroasted coffee are prohibited. Only Roasted/ Processed coffee are acceptable but Food licence required from consignee if for resale or for distributing to unspecified number of the general public
• Toy guns: Prohibited. Food inspection required for infant toys, delays: 2-3 days.
• Eye glasses and contact lenses: 1 pair of eye glasses and contact lenses up to 2 month supply for personal-use can be imported without license. However, if the shipment contains the items exceeding the permitted quantities and consignee is unable to obtain a medical certificate, the WHOLE shipment will be returned to the consignor immediately without prior approval for import customs process.
There are many other rules and regulations when it comes to shipping to Japan. Click here to get more information.
• Prohibited items: Import of products containing cannabidiol (CDB), CBD oil and hemp oil is not allowed in Singapore.
• Prohibited items: Electronic-Cigarette (including parts and accessories), Smokeless Tobacco/Snuff tobacco (incl. Smokeless Cigar and Smokeless Cigarette), Chewing Tobacco, Chewing gum, Firecrackers, Endangered animals/plants, Cigarette lighters - pistol/revolver shaped. Rough diamonds from Cote D' Ivoire & rough diamonds and rhinoceros horn. Scanning Receivers/Transmitters & Voice Scramblers.
• Books (non-commercial use), magazines, periodicals, journals: Title list required. Possible inspection by Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA). Delay: 1 day.
• Drugs (in pharmacy without prescription) and cosmetics: Subject to approval from HSA. Consignee must provide product licence. Otherwise expect delays for processing licence. Invoice must state name of medicine/drug, brand name, reason for import, product composition, quantity per bottle & weight of each capsule
• Drugs: prescription: Consignee to obtain import license from the Health Science Authority for importation of medicinal or oral dental chewing gums. If private individual contents must have Doctor's prescription. Invoice must have medicine name, brand, quantity per bottle, weight of each capsule, reason for import, product composition. Subject to inspection and approval. Delay: 1-2 days.
• Toy guns/ pistols/ revolvers: Import of toy guns/pistols/revolvers is controlled by State Police, Arms & Explosives Licensing Division. Content to be indicated on HAWB & Commercial Invoice as `Toy Guns'. Document by manufacturers must be provided e.g. Safety Certificate confirming product is toy & not replica of any real firearm. Otherwise, shipment is subject to delay & investigation by authorities.
Standard DHL Prohibited Commodities
The following commodities are not accepted by DHL under any circumstances.
• Live animals (including but not limited to mammals, reptiles, fish, invertebrates, amphibians, birds, insects, larvae and pupae)
• Hunting (animal) trophies, animal parts such as ivory and sharks fin, animal remains or ashes, animal by-products, prohibited goods as specified in CITES certificate, treaties and/or local laws
• Human remains or ashes
• Bullion (of any precious metal)
• Loose precious and semi-precious stones (cut or uncut, polished or unpolished)
Complete original and imitation firearms and firearm parts, ammunition, explosives/explosive devices
• Illegal goods, such as counterfeit goods and narcotics
Restricted Goods are goods of which the import and export are restricted by law and therefore require a permit from the related government agencies. Some examples of restricted goods in Thailand are:
• Safety face-masks
• Antiques or objects of art with shipping value of over €500,000
• Marijuana for medical use is acceptable only with possession license and can be shipped in the forms of tablet or liquid with shipping value not over €10,000
• Cigarette, cigar, tobacco, and electronic-cigarette with shipping value of over €500,000
There are more items that require a permit when shipping out of Thailand territory. The Customs rules and regulations may sound complicated to most people, but with help from DHL Express, which has over 50-year experience in the international express logistics, shipping to all destination in more than 220 countries will become easy.
Shipping from Thailand to Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore usually takes only 1 day (excluding Customs Clearance process). If the required documents are fully prepared, there is no reason why your shipment would be delivered to the receiver slower.
However, shipping cross-border is controlled by the Customs in each country. There are rules and regulations that senders need to know and follow. To guarantee a trouble-free delivery to the destination countries around the world, choose DHL Express to be your No.1 express delivery assistant. Get advice on delivering documents/ items to another country through Live Chat or call 02-345-5000, or contact our Sales Team if you already have DHL account!
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DHL Express is the world leader in express courier delivery services. We provide convenient door-to-door pickup and delivery services to over 220 countries and territories. With team staff onsite to provide professional assistance around the globe, you can be confident that every single of your shipment will arrive at your destination quickly, smoothly, and safely.