What is a GTIN Exemption and How Can You Apply for It?

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GTIN Exemption

Amazon stores millions of products in its warehouses. To keep track of all inventory, the retail giant relies on GTINs.

Every item sold through Amazon requires a GTIN. But what if your article doesn’t have one? Luckily, there is a workaround.  Sellers can apply for a GTIN exemption for specific product categories. This unique privilege allows sellers to list non-barcoded items on Amazon. 

In this post, we’ll discuss what Amazon sellers need to apply for a GTIN exemption. 

Scroll down to learn more!

What Is GTIN?

GTIN is short for Global Trade Item Number. It is a unique product identifier printed underneath an item’s barcode. 

There are 5 main types of GTINs sellers available to: 

  1. Universal Product Code (UPC) – You can find it on most retail products. UPC is a 12-digit product ID, printed beneath a barcode. UPCs are also known as GTIN-12, and are the most common barcodes in the world. 
  2. European Article Number (EAN) – Designated as GTIN-13. This 13-digit product ID is used for products within the European market. It is also located beneath an item’s barcode. 
  3. Japanese Article Number (JAN) – It is like the EAN. This product ID is specific to articles sold in Japan’s marketplace. 
  4. International Standard Book Number (ISBN) – This product ID is exclusive to books. An ISBN can have 10 or 13 digits, depending on the date of publishing.
  5. GTIN-14 – Codes assigned to ship containers. 

Almost every item sold on Amazon uses a GTIN. In fact, sellers need GTINs to create new product listings

But as we mentioned above, some merchants can apply for a GTIN exemption. This will allow them to sell non-barcoded items on Amazon. 


We’ve summarized this information for you! Watch this video to learn more:


When to Apply for a GTIN Exemption

A GTIN exception is an ideal option for resellers and importers. It’s also available for private-label or Amazon handmade products. But how do you know if you can apply?

Brands need a Global Standards 1 (or GS1) registered barcode to sell in the marketplace. This is the only way to get a GTIN approved by Amazon.

Products that do not have an approved GTIN will be removed from Amazon.  You can check all the GITN-required brands here. 

We also recommend that you read the overview of category requirements and UPC exemptions. This document will let you better understand the item categories that don’t need GTINS for listing. 

Keep in mind that GTIN exemption is a short-term strategy. In the end, it’s easier to get GS1 approved barcodes than to get a GTIN exemption. 

That’s why you need to be sure that you need the exemption. Check the Amazon catalog thoroughly to see if your product is listed. 

If you find an item that matches yours, you can add your offer on the detail page of an existing product without a GTIN. 

But if your product does not have a number ID, and is not listed on the previous documents, then you are eligible for a GTIN exemption. 

Requesting a GTIN Exemption

If you’d like to apply for a GTIN exemption, make sure you meet the following requirements: 

  1. Sell products for which the publisher, manufacturer, or brand does not provide a GTIN. 
  2. List items that you make as manufacturer, publisher or brand, which do not have barcodes. 
  3. Sell product parts that don’t have an ID number.
  4. List more than one item at once in bundled packs.  
  5. Sell generic products which don’t have a brand name. 

You must also provide Amazon with the following information:

  • The exact product name, plus 2 to 9 images to showcase the item and its packaging.
  • The brand name you submit must match the brand name featured on the product and packaging. 
  • Images must be real-world pictures. You need to hold the item and package in hand, or place them on a table when you take the photos. 
  • Seller’s branding should be affixed on the packing and product. 
  • The item must not have a GS1 approved barcode.

Note: To list restricted products, you will need category-level approval besides a GTIN exemption. Check out the Overview of Categories for more information. 

Reseller Requirements

As we mentioned earlier in the article, GTIN exemption is great for resellers. However, resellers need to submit a letter from the brand owner to apply for an exemption. 

The letter should contain the following data:  

  1. Name and contact information of the writer.
  2. Reasonable grounds to request a GTIN exemption.
  3. Address, contact number, email or website address.

Apply for GTIN Exemption

Once you have met the requirements listed above, you can apply for a GTIN exemption. 

Here are the steps to follow: 

Apply for a GTIN Exemption

Image Source: Amazon Seller Central

  1. Log in to Seller Central and go to the ‘Apply for a GTIN’ exemption page.
  2. Enter the Product category for your offer.
  3. Click the ‘Select’ button.
  4. Write the specific brand name in the ‘Brand/Publisher’ field.
  5. Type ‘generic’ (case sensitive) when submitting bundles and unbranded items.
  6. You can apply for up to 10 exemptions.
  7. Click on ‘+ Add more brands/publishers’ to include new brands under the same category, and on ‘+ Add more categories’ for new categories.
  8. Select ‘Check for eligibility’ to review your eligibility summary.
  9. If you are eligible for a GTIN exception, click the ‘Continue to submit proof’ button.
  10. Provide the item name, and upload all product images.
  11. Finally, click on ‘Submit request’.

Amazon will send you an approval status email within 2 days. You can also review the status in the case log on Seller Central.

How to Add Products after Getting GTIN Exemption

Wait for 24 hours before uploading products approved for a GTIN exemption. This is a safe measure to ensure the exemption is updated in Amazon’s system.

Then, follow the next steps to upload your listing.

  1. Go to Seller Central. Here, open ‘Manage Inventory’ and click on ‘Add a Product’.
  2. Choose the ‘I’m adding a product not sold on Amazon’ option.

Image Source: Amazon Seller Central

3. Enter all the required product data. For example: product name, manufacturer, and brand name.

Important! Make sure you submit the exact name and category used when you applied for the exemption. Any difference in the wording and the system won’t recognize the GTIN exemption.

4. Once you’re finished, click on ‘Save and finish’. The product will be listed in around 30 minutes.

5. You’ll be directed to the ‘Choose barcode type page’. Here, you’ll have to choose the FNSKU, which is Amazon’s barcode.

FNSKU Code

Amazon requires you to place an Amazon barcode on each product. This is also known as a Fulfillment Network Stock Keeping Unit (FNSKU). It is a code to track inventory for FBA sellers.

To find the barcode, go to ‘Manage Inventory’ on Seller Central. Then, select the product you want to ship. Here, click on the menu next to ‘Edit’ and select ‘Print item labels’.

Note: This step is not necessary for FBM sellers.

Bulk Uploads

Professional Amazon sellers can upload products in bulk.

Here’s the process to do it:

  1. Go to ‘Manage Inventory’ and select ‘Add products Via Upload’.
  2. Now, click on the ‘Download an Inventory File’ tab.
  3. Go to ‘Search tool’ to submit the product type you will list.

Image Source: Amazon Seller Central

  1. Select ‘Request approval’ in case a category approval is needed.

Image Source: Amazon Seller Central

2. Check all the nodes applicable to your product, and the template you want to create.

3. Click on “Generate template’.

The video below has more details about uploading GTIN exempted listings:

Final Thoughts

Getting a GTIN exemption is not that hard. You just need to know the process. Make sure the product is eligible, and meet all Amazon qualifications.

If you follow all the guidelines, you’ll get the GTIN exemption you need to list a non-barcoded item on Amazon.

But remember, GTIN exemption is only a short-term strategy to boost product sales. A successful Amazon business needs the proper barcodes to identify their products.

Brand identification helps Amazon deliver better inventory services to merchants. This translates to short delivery times, more satisfied customers, and increased sales.

Author Bio

Esteban Muñoz is an SEO copywriter at AMZ Advisers, with several years’ experience in digital marketing and e-commerce. Esteban and the AMZ Advisers team have been able to achieve incredible growth on the Amazon platform for their clients by optimizing and managing their accounts and creating in-depth content marketing strategies.

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Esteban Muñoz

Esteban Muñoz

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