Prohibited Items at UMAC Cargo and Why They’re Banned

UMAC prohibits the shipment of commercial goods that exceed a dozen of any kind due to various reasons such as safety, legal, or ethical concerns. Along with this, the company also strictly prohibits the shipment of several items, including currency, firearms, ammunition, explosives, precious metals, money orders, traveler’s checks, and precious stones. This is because these items can pose a significant risk to both the cargo and the people handling it during transit. Furthermore, any federal, state, or local government of any country through which the shipment may pass may prohibit the transportation of these items by law, regulation, or statute.

  1. Currency
  2. Firearms/Ammunitions
  3. Explosives/ Guns
  4. Drugs
  5. Perishables
  6. Precious Metals
  7. Precious Stones
  8. Money Orders
  9. Traveler’s Checks
  10. Negotiable Instruments in bearer from:  Electrical Appliances; Lewd, obscene, or pornographic materials; Gambling Paraphernalia; Industrial carbons and diamonds; Communication Equipment and computers; Combustible materials; Motor vehicle parts; Microwave ovens; Property the carriage of which is prohibited by law, regulation or statute of any federal, state or local government of any country from, to or through which the shipment may be carried

The List of Prohibited Items You Can’t Ship:

These are the items that are illegal to shipped via Balikbayan Box both for import and export.

(Source:  US CBP website United States Government, Import and Export 12/17/2010 and Philippine Bureau of Customs)

  • Absinthe (alcohol)
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Dismantled Auto Parts (Chop chop)
  • Cultural artifacts and pottery
  • Dog and cat fur
  • Firearms, Explosives & Guns, including parts of
  • Food products such as cheese, meat
  • Hazardous Materials
  • Trophies, gold, Haitian
  • Meats, Livestock and poultry
  • Merchandise from embargoed countries
  • Textiles (roll)
  • Trademarked and copyrighted articles
  • Fluids and Perishable food items
  • Automobiles (any parts)
  • Biological
  • Ceramic tableware
  • Defense articles or items with military or proliferation applications
  • Drug paraphernalia
  • Fish and wildlife
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Game and hunting
  • Animal hide drums
  • Medication
  • Pets, plants and seed, soils
  • Used clothing or shoes of commercial quantity (Ukayukay in bales / boxes)
  • Pornographic Materials

In the event that any restricted items are discovered, they will be confiscated and subsequently destroyed. It’s important to note that both the shipper and consignee may face legal action in such cases.

Below are additional regulations that apply to the import and export of certain products listed above:

Defense articles or items with military or proliferation applications

Certain items that have dual-use applications or are categorized as defense articles must adhere to additional regulations before being exported. This can include technology, blueprints, design plans, software packages, and other technical information. A license must be obtained before these items can be exported abroad.

Dog and cat fur are prohibited items

In accordance with the Dog and Cat Protection Act of 2000, the United States has strict regulations regarding the import, export, distribution, transportation, manufacture, or sale of products containing dog or cat fur. Any item containing such fur will be subject to seizure and forfeiture. Violations of the Act may result in civil penalties of up to $10,000.00 for each separate knowing and intentional violation, $5,000.00 for each separate gross negligent violation, or $3,000.00 for each separate negligent violation.

Drug Paraphernalia

Bringing drug paraphernalia into the United States is strictly prohibited, unless prescribed for legitimate medical reasons such as diabetes. Any illegal drug paraphernalia found by customs authorities will be seized and may result in fines and imprisonment. The law also prohibits the importation, exportation, manufacture, sale, or transportation of drug paraphernalia. Violation of any of these offenses can result in severe consequences, including fines and imprisonment.


The import and export of firearms and ammunition are strictly regulated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). All import transactions involving these items must be approved by the ATF. To carry out such transactions, it is mandatory to work through a licensed importer, dealer or manufacturer. However, some firearms and ammunition are prohibited under the National Firearms Act and cannot be imported into the country without written authorization from the ATF. Additionally, firearms that are classified as US Munitions List articles may require a Department of State license if they are temporarily imported or exported from the United States.

Fish and Wildlife

When it comes to importing and exporting certain fish and wildlife, there are a number of restrictions, prohibitions, permits, and certificates in place. It’s important to be aware of these requirements and contact the US Fish and Wildlife Service prior to your departure if you plan on transporting any of the following items: wild birds, land or marine mammals, reptiles, fish, shellfish, mollusks, or invertebrates, as well as any parts or products made from these animals, such as skins, tusks, bones, feathers, or eggs. Additionally, products or articles that are manufactured from wildlife or fish are also subject to these regulations. The CBP recommends staying informed and taking appropriate action to avoid any issues with import or export of these items.

Food Products (Prepared)

You are allowed to bring bakery items and certain cheeses into the United States, but there are restrictions on other food products. The APHIS website has useful information about what items are allowed and what items are prohibited. Many prepared foods are permitted, but products containing meat or bush meat from African wildlife are not allowed. Generally, condiments, vinegars, oils, packaged spices, honey, coffee and tea are allowed, but rice is not recommended due to the possibility of insect infestation. In addition, some imported foods may be subject to regulations of the US Food and Drug Administration.


While gold coins, medals, and bullion are no longer prohibited from entering the United States, it’s important to note that certain restrictions apply. The Office of Foreign Assets Control regulates these items, and any coins or bullion originating from or brought from Cuba, Iran, Burma (Myanmar), or most of Sudan are prohibited. Additionally, it’s essential that any copies of gold coins are properly marked with their country of issuance, as unmarked copies are also prohibited.

Meats, Livestock and Poultry

Importing meat and meat products into the United States is highly regulated, and strict rules apply. Fresh, dried, or canned meat products from most foreign countries are prohibited from being imported into the United States. Additionally, food products that have been prepared with meat are also prohibited from being imported. These regulations are in place to protect public health and prevent the spread of animal diseases. If you are unsure whether a meat or meat product can be imported into the United States, it is best to contact the appropriate government agency for guidance.


The regulations governing medicines and drugs are strict, especially for narcotics and other drugs with a high potential for abuse such as Rohypnol, GHB, and Fen-Phen. Those who attempt to bring these drugs into the United States will face severe penalties as they are prohibited. When traveling with medicines containing potentially addictive drugs or narcotics, it is important to declare all drugs, medicinal, and similar products to the appropriate CBP official, to carry such substances in their original containers, to carry only the quantity of such substances that a person with that condition would normally carry for personal use, and to carry a prescription or written statement from a physician that states that the substances are being used under a doctor’s supervision and are necessary for the traveler’s physical wellbeing.

US residents entering the United States at international land borders and carrying a validly obtained controlled substance (other than narcotics such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, or LSD) are subject to certain additional requirements. A US resident who wants to bring in a controlled substance (other than narcotics such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, or LSD) without a prescription from a US-licensed practitioner registered with and authorized by the Drug Enforcement Administration to prescribe the medication, cannot import more than 50 dosage units of the medication into the United States. That person who has a prescription for the controlled substance issued by a DEA registrant may import more than 50 dosage units, provided they meet all other legal requirements.

Textiles and Clothing

You can generally bring back as much clothing and fabric as you want for personal use or as gifts without limits. But if you exceed your personal exemption, you may need to pay duty. There may be limitations on unaccompanied personal shipments.

Trademarked and Copyrighted Articles

Customs enforces laws to protect trademarks and copyrights. Infringing articles, which include those that use a protected right without authorization or copy/simulate a protected right, may be detained or seized. This applies to federally registered trademarks and copyrights protected by the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works.

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