DMM TOC > 600 Basic Standards for All Mailing Services|
Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) contains the basic standards of the United States Postal Service (USPS) governing its domestic mail services; descriptions of the mail classes and extra services and conditions governing their use; and standards for rate eligibility and mail preparation. Domestic mail is classified by size, weight, content, service, and other factors.
The DMM is distributed to all post offices and is available online on Postal Explorer (pe.usps.com). Copies of the DMM may be inspected during normal business hours at USPS Headquarters; area and district offices; and all domestic post offices, stations, and branches. A copy is also filed at the Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration. The public may buy copies by subscription from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office (see 8.1 for address).
Terms in the DMM referring to the singular also apply to the plural, unless the context indicates otherwise. The term postmaster also applies to an officer-in-charge if the postmaster position is vacant and, in district host cities, to the district manager.
Domestic mail is mail transmitted within, among, and between the United States of America, its territories and possessions, Army post offices (APOs), fleet post offices (FPOs), and the United Nations, NY. For this standard, the term territories and possessions comprises the following:
[1-8-06] Mail originating in the United States of America, its territories and possessions, APOs, FPOs, and the United Nations, NY, for delivery in the Freely Associated States, and mail originating in the Freely Associated States for delivery within, among, and between the Freely Associated States and the United States of America, its territories and possessions, APOs, FPOs, and the United Nations, NY, is treated as if it were domestic mail. The term Freely Associated States comprises the following:
International mail is mail addressed to or received from foreign countries, except under 2.2. Provisions for international mail are published in the International Mail Manual.
Under 39 U.S. Code (USC) 404(b), any decision to close or consolidate a post office must be based on certain criteria. These include the effect on the community served; the effect on employees of the post office; compliance with government policy established by law that the USPS must provide a maximum degree of effective and regular postal services to rural areas, communities, and small towns where post offices are not self-sustaining; the economic savings to the USPS; and other factors that the USPS determines necessary. In addition, certain mandatory procedures apply.
The Postal Operations Manual contains USPS rules for discontinuing, consolidating, or suspending service at an existing post office or other postal facility; changing a post office or other postal facility name; setting public business hours of postal facilities; and using bulletin boards and handling lost articles found in public areas of postal facilities.
Military post offices (MPOs) are branches of a U.S. civil post office, operated by the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps to serve military personnel overseas or aboard ships. The term includes Army post offices (APOs) for the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force and fleet post offices (FPOs) for the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps. MPOs provide postal service for military personnel where the U.S. civil postal service does not operate and a military situation requires the service. MPOs are established or discontinued by the USPS only on request of the military department that operates them. Notice of these actions is published in the Postal Bulletin. Military post offices do not verify and accept bulk or discounted-rate mail; such mailings must be deposited at (nonmilitary) U.S. post offices.
Exhibit 3.2a and Exhibit 3.2b shows the national holidays observed by the USPS and the service levels provided on those holidays for retail window, post office box, firm call, delivery, and collection services.
Subjects for commemorative postage stamps and postal stationery may be proposed by the public through correspondence to the Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee (see 8.1 for address). The Committee reviews suggestions and makes recommendations to the postmaster general, who makes the final selections.
Stamps, postal stationery, and philatelic products are sold at various types of postal retail facilities. Post offices establish special temporary stations to provide philatelic services and to sell commemorative stamps and philatelic products at activities of significant public or philatelic interest. Temporary philatelic stations may be authorized by the postmaster. Under specific circumstances, the USPS may limit or set conditions on the purchase of stamps and other forms of postage or postal stationery.
Mail orders for postage stamps of selected quality and other philatelic items must be directed to Stamp Fulfillment Services. Post offices do not fill mail orders for stamps and other philatelic items other than orders under the stamps-by-mail program and for locally precanceled stamps. Customers must provide a self-addressed stamped envelope for the return of precanceled stamps.
Postmarking for philately is provided at the request of collectors or cover servicers for postmarking outside ordinary mail processing. The Postal Operations Manual contains USPS policy on philatelic postmarking, including cancellation devices, types of postmarks or cancellations, first day covers, postal cacheted envelopes, and service conditions.
Special cancellations are machine cancellations in which a caption publicizing an event is engraved on a die hub used to cancel mail. They may be used only in post offices with 190 or more revenue units for canceling large volumes of mail. Special cancellations are authorized only if the scheduled observance either is for a national purpose for which Congress has made an appropriation or is of general public interest and importance for a definite period and not conducted for private gain or profit.
Special cancellations are not authorized for events of interest primarily to a particular local group; fraternal, political, religious, service, commercial, or trade organizations; campaigns or events promoting the sale or use of private products or services; idea or slogan promotions not directly connected with an event of general public interest and importance; post office anniversaries; recruitment programs; or events that occur during a period when all canceling machines in the post office are scheduled for other special cancellation die hubs.
A written application for a special cancellation die hub must be submitted to the postmaster at the post office where the special cancellation is to be used. The application must be submitted by the sponsor at least 4 months before the date the special cancellation is to be used. The application must provide this information:
a. Complete description and schedule of the event to be observed; evidence that the event is not for private gain or profit; and the name, address, and telephone number of the sponsor to be billed for the cost of manufacturing the die hubs.
b. The wording of the special cancellation, which must be standardized and approved by the sponsor's national headquarters when the sponsor is an affiliate or local chapter of a national organization. Standardized requests for national events must be forwarded to the manager of Mailing Standards (see 8.1 for address.) Space available for the wording is limited to three lines of not more than 20 letters, numbers, or spaces each. Illustrations or designs may not be used. The wording must directly reflect the event to be commemorated.
Use of a special cancellation may not exceed 6 months. A special cancellation approved on an annual basis is limited to one 60-day period for each year. A request must be submitted for reuse of recurring annual cancellations 3 months before the date the sponsor wants the cancellation to be used again. For national cancellations, a single request from the national sponsor suffices.
Used die hubs may not be given to sponsors or transferred to another post office. A request from the sponsor that a special cancellation die hub be kept for an appropriate purpose (e.g., placement in a museum, library, or historical site) may be approved by the manager of Mailing Standards (see 8.1 for address).
A mailer must affix First-Class postage to mail that the mailer wants canceled with a special cancellation. The mail must bear a complete address. Stamps issued by foreign countries are not permitted on the mail. Mail bearing the special cancellation will not be enclosed in another envelope for return even if a postage-paid envelope is provided by the customer. Damaged envelopes canceled with a special cancellation are not replaced.
By the laws known as the Private Express Statutes, Congress has generally conferred on the USPS the exclusive right to carry letters for others over post routes. USPS regulations under the Private Express Statutes are in the Code of Federal Regulations, 39 CFR 310 and 320, as amended by final rules published in the Federal Register. These regulations take precedence over all prior rulings and USPS publications. Copies of the regulations are available from the manager of the Pricing and Classification Service Center (PCSC) (see 8.4 for address).
For the Private Express Statutes, a letter is a message directed to a specific person or address and recorded in or on a tangible object. A message consists of any information or intelligence that can be recorded on tangible objects including, but not limited to, paper in sheet or card form, recording disks, and magnetic tapes. Certain matter is excluded from the definition of letter, e.g.: telegrams; checks and certain other instruments shipped to, from, or between financial institutions; newspapers; and periodicals. The regulations detail exclusions.
If the proper postage is paid, letters may be privately carried without violating the Private Express Statutes. The regulations detail compliance. Under certain circumstances, letters may be privately carried without paying postage. The principal exceptions cover letters sent with, and related in all substantial respects to, some part of the cargo or to the ordering, shipping, or delivering of the cargo; letters carried by the senders or the recipients, or by their regular salaried employees; and letters carried to or from a postal facility where they are to be or have been carried in the mail. The regulations detail exceptions.
Limited suspensions of the Private Express Statutes specify the conditions under which: (a) private couriers may carry data-processing materials, international ocean carrier documents, extremely urgent letters, and advertisements incidental to the shipment of accompanying merchandise or periodicals; and (b) universities and colleges may carry the letters of their bona fide student and faculty organizations. Carriers wanting to use the suspension for data-processing materials must file a notice of their intention on a form available from the manager of the PCSC.
The public and USPS employees can obtain authoritative advice on the Private Express Statutes, including written advisory opinions, by contacting the Senior Counsel, Ethics and Information, USPS Headquarters (see 8.4 for address and telephone number).
Any postal customer may complain or inquire about postal products, services, or employees at any post office or directly to the USPS Consumer Advocate (see 8.1 for address). A complaint or inquiry may be made in person, by telephone, by e-mail, or by letter. A complaint or inquiry about the handling of a specific piece of mail should include the related envelope or wrapper and copies of all postal forms filed. A customer who is dissatisfied with the local handling of a complaint or inquiry may send a written appeal to the Consumer Advocate. A court of law can require such appeal as a legal prerequisite for hearing a customer's suit against the USPS.
Instructions on mail security as it relates to unauthorized opening, inspection, tampering, or delay of mail are in Administrative Support Manual 274. Information and complaints on a possible postal law violation must be sent to the appropriate address according to the ZIP Code ranges shown below:
USPS trademarks must be used in the form listed in 7.1.1. Proper use of USPS registered marks requires capitalizing the initial letters of the marks to distinguish them from terms not used as trademarks. Words and phrases that are registered trademarks may also use the registration symbol ®. Figures that are registered marks must always use the registration symbol. (An exception to this rule is the USPS emblem used on letterheads and business cards. All other uses of the emblem must include the ®.)
The USPS has additional trademarks not yet registered. The rules in 7.1.2 apply to these common law marks, except that such marks are not to be identified by the symbol ®. Instead, the superscript initials TM may be used to identify these marks. The common law USPS trademarks and service marks for which registration is pending or proposed include the Express Mail International Service logotype, Presort, Registered Mail, and Standard Mail.
The USPS secures copyrights in its philatelic designs and certain publications. The designs of postage stamps, stamped envelopes, stamped cards, aerogrammes, souvenir cards, and other philatelic items issued on or after January 1, 1978, are copyrighted by the USPS under title 17 USC.
d. In motion-picture films, microfilms, slides, or electronic tape for projection on a screen or for use in telecasting. No print or other reproduction from such films, slides, or tapes may be made except for the uses permitted in this section.
Illustrations permitted by 7.2.2a. through 7.2.2d may be in color or in black and white, and may depict philatelic items as uncanceled or canceled. When depicting uncanceled items in color, illustrations must be less than 75% or more than 150% in linear dimension of the size of the design of the philatelic items as issued. Color illustrations of canceled philatelic items and black and white illustrations of uncanceled or canceled philatelic items may be in any size.
The USPS may grant licenses for the use of illustrations of its copyright designs and registered trademarks outside the scope of the above permission. A request for such a license must be sent to the manager, Licensing, Public Affairs and Communications (see 8.1 for address).
Inquiries about USPS copyrights or use of USPS trademarks and service marks, copyright materials, and intellectual property other than patents and technical data rights in USPS contracts must be sent to USPS Stamp Development. Inquiries about licenses to publish or reproduce ZIP Code information must be sent to the National Customer Support Center (see 8.1 for address).
Pricing and Classification
American National Standards Institute
Automatic Identification Manufacturers (AIM)
Uniform Code Council INC
The Pricing and Classification Service Center (PCSC) and the district business mail entry offices provide guidance on mail classification, rates, and mail preparation standards. Direct questions about mail classification and special mail services to local postal officials. The PCSC can help local offices answer these questions. (Note: Zip Code Prefix 340 is shared by South Florida and New York districts. Unassigned prefixes are not listed.)