updated 02:15 am EDT, Fri May 11, 2012
Domestic shipments, UPS, Fedex unaffected
Effective May 16, the United States Postal Service (USPS) regulation prohibits shipping any electronic device with a lithium battery from being mailed to a destination outside the United States. The ban does not apply to private carriers such as DHL, FedEx, and UPS. The ban is in response to improperly packed lithium batteries being involved in two plane crashes since 2006, including a UPS jet in Dubai that caught fire and crashed moments after takeoff.
In accordance with Postal Bulletin 22336, the USPS is falling in line with guidance from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and Universal Postal Union (UPU) in regards to international shipment of lithium batteries. It is expected that starting in January of 2013 that there will be a revision of guidance specifically when the batteries are properly installed in the electronic devices they are intended to power. It is important to note that the January 2013 date is an estimate, and dependent on on the ICA and UPU and not USPS regulators.
There is no restriction on Lithium batteries and mailing within the United States. Only the Australia Post has a similar regulation in regards to mailing Lithium batteries. Other countries have less stringent rules allowing cellphone, iPod, and Kindle batteries to be shipped to other countries, yet prohibiting laptop batteries with their larger weight and higher amp-hour ratings.