Tips for Gaining Approval in Restricted Amazon Categories

Tips for Gaining Approval in Restricted Amazon Categories

So you decided to start an Amazon business because you were told you could sell literally anything on the platform? Whoever told you that was either lying or unaware of Amazon's strict policies. The truth is there's a long list of product categories you CANNOT SELL without approval.


It's easy to understand why Amazon restricts certain product categories— 


  • Some products, particularly supplements, food, and drugs, require certifications and prescriptions.
  • Some products are regulated differently in other countries.
  • Some countries, entities, and individuals may be under US sanctions.
  • Amazon doesn't want to aid illegal trades of weapons, narcotics, and other dangerous products.


In other words, Amazon wants to keep its space safe and trustworthy for everyone. And you can tell it's earnest from its comprehensive policies and highly reliable safeguards. In this article, we'll dive into Amazon's restricted categories and discover how to ungate them.   


Here's a list of the restricted Amazon product categories:


  • Video, DVD, & Blu-ray
  • Collectible Coins
  • Streaming Media Players
  • Personal Safety and Household products
  • Grocery & Gourmet Foods
  • Music Category
  • Lighting Category
  • Beauty Topical
  • Sports & Nutrition
  • Watches
  • Gardening & Watering
  • Automotive
  • OTC Medication
  • Haircare & Beauty Appliances
  • Baby Topicals
  • Toys
  • Pet supplies
  • Medical supplies & Equipment
  • Pet Care
  • Pet Food
  • Candles & Aroma Therapy
  • Power Tools
  • Home Environment Electronics
  • Wireless Accessories
  • Baby Feeding
  • Feminine Hygiene
  • Baby Activity Gear
  • Baby Strollers and Carriers
  • Audio Visual
  • Personal Safety & Household 


Some restrictions come with conditions. For instance, you can only sell brand-new products in certain restricted categories. If you want to sell used products, you need special permission, and the products must be from select categories. Here are the restricted Amazon product categories that come with conditions:


  • Baby Products
  • Beauty, Clothing, Accessories & Luggage
  • Grocery & Gourmet Food
  • Health & Personal Care
  • Jewelry Shoes, Handbags & Sunglasses
  • Watches


This next list contains specific items that are either restricted or forbidden. You can find more information about Amazon's restrictions on them here


  • Alcohol
  • Animals & Animal-Related Products
  • Art – Fine Art
  • Art – Home Decor
  • Automotive and Powersports
  • Composite Wood Products
  • Cosmetics & Skin/Hair Care
  • COVID-19 Supplies
  • Currency, Coins, Cash Equivalents, and Gift Cards
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Drugs & drug paraphernalia
  • Electronics
  • Explosives, Weapons, and Related Items
  • Export Controls
  • Food & Beverage
  • Gambling & Lottery
  • Hazardous and Dangerous Items
  • Human Parts & Burial Artifacts
  • Jewelry & Precious Gems
  • Laser products
  • Lighting
  • Lock Picking & Theft Devices
  • Medical devices and accessories
  • Offensive and Controversial Materials
  • Pesticides and Pesticide Devices
  • Plant and Seed Products
  • Postage Meters & Stamps
  • Recalled Products
  • Recycling electronics
  • Subscriptions and Periodicals
  • Surveillance Equipment
  • Tobacco & Tobacco-Related Products
  • Warranties, Service Plans, Contracts, and Guarantees
  • Other Restricted Products
  • Refrigerants: Ozone-Depleting Substances and Substitutes
  • Upholstered Furniture, Bedding, & Other Quilted Products
  • CPAP Cleaning and Disinfecting Devices


Are These Restricted Categories Worth It?


If selling these products is too much of a hassle, why do many people still want to sell them? Well, if you scan the lists again, you'll notice that many of these product categories are everyday supplies. They're only restricted because further examination and certification are needed to ensure they're safe to utilize or consume. 


Some of these product categories are among the bestsellers on the platform. They require little investment and offer substantial profit margins. Examples are groceries, baby products, and electronics. Ungating these restricted categories opens doors of opportunities for greater reach and profitability.


How to Prepare for Your Application


Applying for ungating is a lengthy process that starts with bolstering your account. Just as you should improve your credit score to be pre-approved for a loan, you must also improve your account's performance and reputation to qualify for ungating. 


The first thing you should do is to improve your track record. If you're a new seller and plan to start in a non-restricted category, consider it an opportunity to build a positive selling history. This will make your future application to sell in restricted categories much easier. Amazon tends to favor sellers with a good reputation.


Do your homework before jumping into the application process. Amazon is interested in applicants who are in it for the long term. One indicator is your choice of products and brands. Amazon can easily tell if you've done your research and plan to stick around just by the product and brand you choose. 


How to Gain Approval in Restricted Amazon Categories


The additional steps required to sell in restricted Amazon categories will ultimately be advantageous. They provide valuable education on legalities and enhance credibility with customers who prefer certified suppliers. Begin by meeting the following requirements.


  • Professional Seller Account: Only sellers with professional accounts are allowed to sell in Amazon's restricted categories. If you have an individual account, you must upgrade to a professional account to qualify to apply. The professional account is one where you pay $39.99 per month.


  • High Seller Rating: Amazon rates sellers on a scale of 0 to 100, with 100 being the best performance. This score culminates your ratings in all essential aspects of your business, including shipping, feedback, returns, cashback, and cancellations.   


  • Seller Experience: You are more likely to be approved for ungating if you've been a seller with a consistent track record for a long time. But this isn't to say you can't apply if your account is new.


  • Return Address: Whether selling on Amazon USA or other Amazon markets, you must provide a valid and traceable return address. This guarantees Amazon that someone will take responsibility for returns and cancellations.


  • Customer Support: You may not need this if you enroll in Amazon FBA. However, if you are selling in a non-English-speaking country, it would be best to have customer support that speaks their language. 


  • Documentation: Regardless of the product categories you're requesting to ungate, Amazon will ask you to submit certain documents. This may include UPCs, product images, invoices, certifications of authenticity, and safety data sheets. You can prepare these documents before you send your application, although the invoice must come after you're given the green light to order the products.


So here's the procedure:


Log in to your Amazon Seller Account. Go to your settings and upgrade your account to Professional if you haven't already. If you already have a professional account, click the hamburger icon at the top left corner of your home page and hover above 'Category.' Then, click 'Add Products.'


Search for the items you want to sell and click 'Show limitations.' Click 'Apply to sell' to kick off the application process and view Amazon's requirements. The approval page may or may not open, depending on the product or category you are requesting to ungate. If you get a pop-up message that says, 'We are not accepting applications to sell that product,' you must search for another one.


Amazon saves applications as drafts so you can continue yours in the future. This is because they anticipate the procurement of documents to take some time. You can go back to your draft once you're ready to carry on with your application.


Can I apply for ungating as a new seller?


YES, you can, but considering that reputation as an Amazon seller is among the factors Amazon considers, your chances of being approved are pretty slim. However, there have been cases where new sellers were approved for ungating, which is rare but possible, so why not give it a shot? 


What If Amazon rejects my application?


Amazon may reject an application for reasons other than the applicant's disqualification. Sometimes, you'll receive a rejection notice because Amazon couldn't review your documents. In that case, you can apply again and resend those documents. The good news is you can re-apply as much as you want, but make sure you've fixed the issues Amazon has identified during reapplication. 


What If I'm suddenly prohibited from selling in a restricted category I've ungated?


This means Amazon has updated its restrictions on that category, and you probably lack the requirements they added. All you have to do is to prepare those requirements and apply for ungating again. This can also happen if you violate a specific rule or receive a performance notification, which you can fix by updating your products. 


Sell in Restricted Amazon Categories Today!


Position your business for success this year and the next by venturing into Amazon's restricted categories. You don't need to abandon your current inventory. You just have to add more. But this time, you'll take some risk and leverage the reputation you've built over the years. Follow this guide to increase your chance of approval and land the perfect niche and category.

Back to blog