The below content is just a guide to help you familiarise with some of the goods that might get you in trouble. If you are planning to provide goods and/or services national and international please be aware that the rules for prohibited and restricted goods and services may vary. All vendors are advised to evaluate their territories that they are looking to sell their goods and/or services thoroughly before conducting any business.

EA Customs Management Act

The Second Schedule of the EA Customs Management Act describes the Prohibited and Restricted Imports.

Prohibited imports include: counterfeit currency notes or coins, indecent or obscene materials, articles marked with the Kenyan Coat of Arms or Armorial Ensigns without proper authority, narcotic drugs under international control, hazardous wastes, all soaps and cosmetic products containing mercury, used tires for light commercial vehicles and passenger cars, and counterfeit goods of all kinds.

Importation of restricted goods is prohibited unless approvals are obtained from the designated officials. These include postal franking machines, traps capable of killing or capturing game animals, unwrought precious metals and precious stones, arms and ammunition, ozone depleting substances, genetically modified products, bones, horns, ivory, non- indigenous species of fish or egg of progeny and psychotropic drugs importing into Kenya.

Restricted Ecommerce Products

Just because a vendor has a permit to sale in their physical it doesn’t mean that the goods and/or services can be sold online especially when dealing with international markets. If unsure, ensure that to do your research well before posting any ads. Some products might seem innocent and logically you might think that there shouldn’t be any obstacles posting the ads or even selling the product or service, but it’s mostly the little things that gets you into trouble. The law varies from country to county, so keep that in mind and comply to every country’s law that you are offering your goods or services.

Here is a list of goods that you might not have the permission to sell:


If weapons were not the first thing that pop-up into your mind, then it should have. In most countries it’s illegal to sale weapons offline and it’s no different online. If you are unsure of the definition of weapons as it may vary from county to county make sure you do your research as in some countries selling a kitchen nigh online might be preserved illegal. 


The tax and regulations for selling alcohol is harshly controlled in most countries. And mostly it’s the substance itself, it’s mostly about the country’s believes and ethnics and it’s up to you to understand their believes, ethnics and law before conducting any online business. 


Most of us rely on medicine to improve our health and as innocent as it might seem to sell medicine online even when in possession of a permit it is illegal to sell medicine online. We often don’t think about it but next to weapons and alcohol, if not utilize well medicine can be extremely dangerous. In some countries, simple tablets like vitamins are considered illegal if obtained online. If you are planning to sell any form of medicine make sure to not leave any stone unturned when conducting you research before offering the product(s) online.


As much as you think food shouldn’t been restricted, in some countries they do not permit buying and selling food online due to their health regulations. When considering selling food online make sure you comply with country’s law for example packaging and so on especially with dealing with fresh and/or cooked food.

Below is a list of some of goods that might be restricted in some countries:

  • Adult products
  • Candles
  • Coral
  • Currency
  • Damaged batteries
  • Dietary supplements
  • Explosives
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Fireworks
  • Fuels
  • Fur
  • Gambling devices
  • Gas masks
  • Handcuffs
  • Helmets
  • Human growth hormone (HGH)
  • Jumpsuits
  • Lab reagents
  • Lighters
  • Live plants
  • Lock picking devices
  • Matches
  • Medical devices
  • Medical specimens
  • Military uniforms
  • Night vision devices
  • Pesticides
  • Poisonous substances
  • Police shields
  • Radioactive products
  • Rough diamonds
  • Seeds
  • Sharp objects
  • Skin of certain reptiles
  • Sky lanterns
  • Steroids
  • Tear gas
  • Tobacco
  • Waste

All it takes sometimes is that one sale that you didn’t take the time to do you research before accepting the transaction to get you onto the wrong side of law. Be thorough and careful and know your territory. Leave nothing to chance.