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Can Body Armor be Shipped Internationally?

Body armors may protect its wearer from blunt trauma that may come from bullets, knives, or other weapons. Some products can also increase protection from knife attacks.

The United States NIJ classifies body armors and other ballistic items based on specific criteria to measure the amount of protection that it can provide its wearer.

Man pulling a trolley with a pile of boxes at a warehouse while two men are having a discussion

Under the NIJ (National Institute of Justice) level III and IV category, body armors need to observe the guidelines and laws set by theInternational Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR).

Moreover, these items also need to abide by the export control laws of the country.

Any transfer or shipment of body armors going in and out of the U.S. without written approval by the Department of State will be deemed unlawful.


Requirements to Export Items

Items that have lower NIJ rating, including level II, level II-A, and level III, sometimes have an export license exemption in some countries, however, as it is not the case for those following the rules from the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS).

For example, the BIS requires export licenses for specific items, such as ballistic shields, face shields, riot shields, and kevlar helmets.

If you are to ship items from Level III and IV, the ITAR is the regulatory body that manages the restrictions.

Suppose a U.S. person wishes to send a military article internationally to a foreign person. In that case, the U.S. person should submit an authorization request from the U.S. Department of State before facilitating the export. 

The U.S. person, as stated above, might have the standing of:

  • A citizen of the U.S.A.
  • A person holding a permanent resident status but should not work for a foreign government entity or an international company
  • A political asylee
  • A US government officer
  • A representative for an organization, corporation located in the U.S., and abides by the U.S. laws.

On the other hand, a foreign person is anyone who is not in any of the categories above and has an affiliation with agencies or organizations under countries outside the U.S. It means that a foreigner who comes to the U.S. will stay as under a foreigner status for the purpose of exporting body armors or other ballistic items within or outside America. In this situation, an export authorization must be applied for approval before the shipment.

An export authorization has several forms. It may be applied for a:

  • An FMS (Foreign Military Sales), wherein the United States government directly deals with a foreign government to sell military products.
  • An MLA (Manufacturing License Agreement). It allows an American manufacturer to provide information related to military articles to foreign entities.
  • A TAA (Technical Assistance Agreement). It permits a U.S. registered service provider to supply military services to a foreigner. It can be technical support or training involving U.S. technology.
  • A WDA (Warehouse and Distribution Agreement. It is a resolution to put up a distribution system abroad to manage exported articles from the U.S. for future distribution to approved territories.

What Can You Ship Overseas?

A cargo ship in the middle of a port

As a general rule, you can ship aSoft Armor, but not aHard Armor. Why? It is because the ITAR monitors hard armors. Plus, they are very strict about the transport of such items.

To understand why the export of hard armors is prohibited, you should understand the basics of these two kinds of body armor and why ITAR closely oversees its use and transport.

Hard and soft armor are the two common kinds of body armor. Soft gear is worn under outer clothing, usually a shirt or a military uniform.

This type does not repel rounds. Instead, it stops the bullet through its weave to disperse the energy.Thus, it prevents the shot from reaching the body of its wearer. On the other side, hard armor is sturdier, thicker, and heavier. Its design is to break the bullet to dissolve its energy and stop its course. 

For example, as the ITAR has control over the export of level IV or III hard armor, it means the transport of such items to any foreign entity, whether within the country or abroad, without written authorization from the Department of State is strictly not allowed.

Moreover, selling, movement, transportation, or export from the U.S.worldwide of any military articles restricted without seeking authorization from the approving body, may initiate the filing of a federal crime and cause civil penalties. 


How to Ship Bulletproof Items Hassle Free?

Man aiming a rifle

Do not worry. If you are abroad, you can still have your body armor shipped to you. There are even providers that can do shipping without complicated paperwork overseas.

International vendors, such as the Blade Runner, EnGarde, Israel Catalog, PPSS Group, Protection Group Denmark, Safeguard Armor, and many more, can ship their products worldwide with minimal to no issues at all. 

Here are some of our popular brands and their best-selling items that can be shipped internationally without any hassle.

  • Protection Group Denmark is a Danish brand, which was established in 2013 in Randers, Denmark. They specialize in the study and manufacturing of bulletproof helmets, vests, and hard armor plates.
  • EnGarde products are from a company in the Netherlands that started in 2003. They aim to provide body armors with superb engineering design to boost comfort to its wearer.
  • Israel Catalog carries Israeli made body armor, including body armor,Bulletproofjackets, and vests for children and adults.
  • TuffyPacks is a manufacturing company that specializes in producing protective gear for law enforcement officers to everyday users. They have available ballistic shields and bags that you can check.
  • BulletBlocker was founded by a man who wanted to protect his kids after witnessing a crime. The company’s most popular product is the bulletproof backpack dedicated to children’s use in school. They also have ballistic suits, jackets, vests, and other types of bulletproof bags.
  • Blade Runner specializes in anti-slash products against knife-attacks. One of its best-selling products is the Anti-Slash Level II hoodie. 
  • LBX Tactical has products that are homegrown in the U.S. While LBX means London Bridge X after its parent company, their home office is located at Virginia Beach. What’s best is that their products carry a lifetime warranty. Their popular items include plate carriers, gear packs, panels, pouches, and slings.
  • Leatherback Gear offers the best bulletproof backpacks that can be used daily. They also have NIJ level IIIA soft armor panels made for both law enforcement and everyday use.
  • North American Rescue, with the tagline “products with a mission,” has a product line for military use, tactical and outdoor activities, and pre-hospital treatment for bystanders. They believe that innovative lifesaving interventions should be available to save lives, especially during emergencies.
  • PPSS Group offers a collection of anti-slash items. They have various things that can add protection against knife attacks, including a neck guard, long johns, vests, jackets, and gloves.
  • Safeguard Armor has high-quality bulletproof products, from civilian to tactical items to military operative use. It is a brand popular among security agents, media staff, and law enforcement officers. They have several products, such as bulletproof panels, helmets, and ballistic and anti-stab vests.
  • Spear Gear / Warrior Assault Systems focuses on carrier items. Their wide-range collection is of pouches and plate carriers. 
  • Veterans MFGhas their items locally produced at Katy, Texas. They specialize in making armor plates and plate carriers.
  • Wraptie is the expert in tie-down straps. They have specially designed products for work, play, and adventure. It can be one of your go-to tactical items when out in the field.
  • DFNDR Armor offers high-grade bulletproof plates and carriers. They have plates ranging from NIJ level III to IIIA.

Do Your Research

Everyone, a U.S. citizen and a foreigner, is aware of the increasing need to own protective gear, such as body armor. It’s just that some are currently outside the U.S., or some foreigners are interested in shipping such items internationally. 

Keep in mind that international shipments require specific documents, which the government needs to provide an authorization to transport the items.

Moreover, the further and the higher risk the destination country is, the higher the shipping fee may apply. Sometimes, because of tedious inspections and paperwork, the lead time may be longer than the shipment of everyday items.

Bulletproof Zone can undoubtedly assist you in the shipment of your chosen bulletproof or tactical item. The best way to know how to help you is to reach out to our team atsupport@bulletproofzone.com and let us know which product and how many so that we can tell you if we can ship and provide a quote if so. You may also checkour FAQ page for more information on our products

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