I have a company in the UK which sells a product that is "Legal" here in the UK.

But its considered a medical device in the USA and do my understanding it cannot be sold "Within" the USA...

To my understanding I can ship the product to the USA, I have done so for years and my partner has done so for over a decade I believe this to be because the "sale" of the item is illegal in the USA unless you're a licensed doctor, however it's not illegal to own or posses the item.

The customer is buying from my UK Company, they money is being received by a UK Bank/Merchant Processor etc...

Currently the website is hosted, on a UK Server, but I'd like to switch to a USA Server since %95 of my customers are in the USA, so I want to speed it all up...

I'm trying to understand if I could be breaking some laws, if the website is "Hosted" in the USA, does this mean the "Sale" is taking place within the USA?

  • You could be. Being completely isolated from the USA may be keeping you out of trouble. Contact a lawyer who specializes in Internet issues. Do not contact a general practitioner! I could comment rather intelligently on some legal issues, however, we are techies and not lawyers and so anything we would say could potentially get you into trouble. Talk to an expert. Really.
    – closetnoc
    Dec 4, 2014 at 19:34
  • Thank you, before I take any actions I certainly will. I was hoping to get some feedback however just to see what kind of information might be cited for future reference. It's too bad cause I really want to move the server to the USA, site loads already in 1.5 seconds from UK to USA, I'd be ecstatic to make it even less lol :) Thanks for the feedback!
    – Michael
    Dec 4, 2014 at 19:41
  • The last thing you need is a Bobby bopping you on the head and carting you off in a paddy-wagon!
    – closetnoc
    Dec 4, 2014 at 19:52

1 Answer 1


A Good source to review would be here: import/export internet purchases @ U.S. Customs and Border website, Generally, the duty to comply lies on the the "purchaser" to be certain the item can in fact make it into/past customs with whatever duties or regulations may apply to it. Although the "hosted site" may be within the U.S. the question will primarily be where are the funds/payments being delivered to (over seas or within the U.S.) and where is the product shipped from.

If the payment is made into a U.S. bank, and/or the product is shipped from a domestic U.S. location (Warehouse, retail, personal home etc. etc.) Then you are likely considered a U.S. seller. If the payments goto an overseas bank and/or the product is IMPORTED from outside the U.S. then obligation falls primarily on the buyer. Having said that, You need to also keep in mind that there are hundreds of laws between countries that regulate, criminalize or guide how purchases made between countries or its citizens is governed. You should seek the advise of an attorney under the trade practice of "international trade attorney" which you should be able to readily find using a Google.com search.

  • Very nice answer! Also, having had to ship technical products over-seas in a prior life, I know that some products are illegal to export/ship to certain other countries. It may be that the OP may need to check into this as well.
    – closetnoc
    Dec 4, 2014 at 20:13

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