DMM TOC > 200 Commercial Letters and Cards|
c. Rectangular, with four square corners and parallel opposite sides. Letter-size, card-type mailpieces made of cardstock may have finished corners that do not exceed a radius of 0.125 inch (1/8 inch). See Exhibit 1.1.1e.
d. Within an aspect ratio (length divided by height) of 1.3 to 2.5, inclusive. See 601.1.4.
All machinable letters must meet the additional standards for automation-compatible letters in 3.0.
c. Rectangular, with four square corners and parallel opposite sides. Card-size pieces meeting the standards in 1.2.1 may have finished corners that do not exceed a radius of 0.125 inch (1/8 inch). See Exhibit 1.1.1e.
A card that does not meet the applicable standards in 1.2 must not bear the words "Postcard" or "Double Postcard."
A card must be of uniform thickness and made of unfolded and uncreased paper or cardstock of approximately the quality and weight of a stamped card (i.e., a card available from the USPS). A card must be formed either of one piece of paper or cardstock or of two pieces of paper permanently and uniformly bonded together. The stock used for a card may be of any color or surface that permits the legible printing of the address, postmark, and any required markings.
a. A paper label, such as a wafer seal or decal affixed with permanent adhesive to the back side of the card, or within the message area on the address side (see 1.2.6), or to the left of the address block.
The address side of a card is the side bearing the delivery address and postage. The address side may be formatted to contain a message area. Cards that do not contain a message area on the address side are subject to the applicable standards for the price claimed. For the purposes of 1.2, miscellaneous graphics or printing, such as symbols, logos, or characters, that appear on the address side of cards not containing a message area are generally acceptable provided the items are not intended to convey a message. Cards claimed at the Presorted or automation card prices that contain a message area on the address side must be divided vertically or horizontally and meet the following additional standards, as applicable:
2. The delivery address, postage, and any USPS marking or endorsement must appear in the right portion. The right portion must be at least 2-1/8 inches wide (measured from the right edge of the card, top to bottom inclusive).
3. For cards claimed at the Presorted price, nondelivery address information may extend into the right portion only above the address block and if the information is shaded or surrounded by a border that has at least 1/8 inch clearance between the delivery address block and the border. Mailers may choose not to shade or border the nondelivery address information if there is at least 1/8 inch of clear space around the delivery address block.
4. For cards claimed at the automation price, the standards for automation-compatible mail in 3.0, Physical Standards for Machinable and Automation Letters and Cards, and 202.5.0, Barcode Placement, must be met.
1. The address side of the card must be divided into an upper portion and a lower portion, with or without a horizontal rule. The portion of the address side that does not contain the delivery address is the message area.
2. The delivery address, postage, and any USPS marking or endorsement must appear within the portion containing the delivery address. As an alternative, when the delivery address appears within the lower portion, it is permissible for the postage, return address, and any USPS marking or endorsement to appear in the upper portion. The portion bearing the delivery address must be at least 1-1/2 inches high (measured from the top or bottom edge of the card, as applicable, right edge to left edge inclusive).
3. For cards claimed at the Presorted price, nondelivery address information may extend into the portion containing the delivery address only if it appears above the address block and if the information is shaded or surrounded by a border that has at least 1/8 inch clearance between the delivery address block and the border. Mailers may choose not to shade or border the nondelivery address information if there is at least 1/8 inch of clear space around the delivery address block.
4. For cards claimed at the automation price, the standards for automation-compatible mail in 3.0, Physical Standards for Machinable and Automation Letters and Cards, and 202.5.0, Barcode Placement, must be met.
A double card (a double stamped card or double postcard) consists of two attached cards, one of which is designed to be detached by the recipient and returned by mail as a single card. Double cards are subject to these standards:
a. The reply half of a double card must be used for reply only and may not be used to convey a message to the original addressee or to send statements of account. The reply half may be formatted for response purposes (e.g., contain blocks for completion by the addressee).
b. A double card must be folded before mailing and prepared so that the address on the reply half is on the inside when the double card is originally mailed. The address side of the reply half may be prepared as business reply mail, courtesy reply mail, meter reply mail, or as a merchandise return service label.
c. Plain stickers, seals, or a single wire stitch (staple) may be used to fasten the open edge at the top or bottom once the card is folded if affixed so that the inner surfaces of the cards can be readily examined. Fasteners must be affixed according to the applicable preparation requirements for the price claimed. Any sealing on the left and right sides of the cards, no matter the sealing process used, is not permitted.
A letter-size piece is nonmachinable if it has an exterior surface that is not made of paper or if it does not meet the standards in 3.0. Windows in envelopes made of paper do not make mailpieces nonmachinable. Attachments do not render mailpieces nonmachinable if allowed by eligibility standards according to the class of mail and if not prohibited in 3.0. In addition, a letter-size piece is nonmachinable if it weighs more than 3.3 ounces (up to 3.5 ounces) unless it has a barcode and is eligible for and claims automation letter prices or Standard Mail Carrier Route letter prices.
Letter-size pieces (except cards) that meet one or more of the nonmachinable characteristics in 2.1 are subject to the nonmachinable surcharge (see 233.1.4). All letter-size pieces over 3.5 ounces are prepared as letters and charged the flat-size prices.
The nonmachinable prices in 243.1.5 apply to Standard Mail letter-size pieces that weigh 3.3 ounces or less and have one or more of the nonmachinable characteristics in 2.1. Mailers must prepare all nonmachinable letters as described in 245.5.0, and pay nonautomation flats prices for pieces over 3.3 ounces.
[1-2-11] Mailers are encouraged, but not required, to design and produce Express Mail and Priority Mail letter-size pieces as machinable letters. Critical Mail letter-size pieces (see 223) that do not meet machinable letter standards in 1.0 and 3.0 are not eligible for Critical Mail letter prices, but are eligible for Priority Mail Commercial Plus Flat Rate Envelope prices.
Letters and cards claimed at any machinable, automation, or Standard Mail carrier route price, must meet the standards in 3.0. Unless prepared as a folded self-mailer, booklet, or postcard under 3.14 through 3.16, each machinable or automation letter must be a sealed envelope (the preferred method) or, if unenveloped, must be sealed or glued completely along all four sides.
Mailpieces should be constructed from high tear strength paper stock. All references in 3.0 to paper basis weight are for book-grade paper unless otherwise stated. The conversion table in Exhibit 3.2 provides a paper basis weight cross-reference.
Letter-size mailpieces containing a single disc and meeting the general standards in 3.0 and the specific standards in 3.3 are considered automation-compatible. Mailpieces with one enclosed disc not meeting these standards must be tested and approved for automation-compatibility.
Position the disc symmetrically at the vertical centerline and as near to the top edge of the mailpiece as is practical. Secure the disc to prevent it from shifting more than 1/2 inch in any direction. The maximum disc size is:
Each enveloped letter must meet the basic standards for machinable letters in 1.0 and have the following characteristics:
Each folded self-mailer must meet the basic standards for machinable letters in 1.0 and have the following characteristics:
e. Be prepared from paper stock meeting the industry standard for a basis weight of 75 pounds or greater, with none less than 71.25 pounds (measured weight for 500 25- by 38-inch sheets). The stock must be free from groundwood unless coated with a substance adding to the stock's ability to resist an applied bending force.
g. Must meet the tabbing requirements for pieces prepared with folds or perforations parallel to the address provided in 3.14.
d. Automation enveloped letters and cards - 3.5 ounces (see 3.6 for pieces over 3 ounces.)
Heavy letter mail (letter-size pieces over 3 ounces) must be prepared in a sealed envelope, may not contain stiff enclosures, and must have an 11-digit delivery point POSTNET or an Intelligent Mail barcode with a routing code in the address block (see 202.5.0).
The aspect ratio (length of the mailpiece divided by height) must be between 1.3 and 2.5, inclusive. Length and height are defined in 601.1.4.
An automation-compatible mailpiece may not be polywrapped, polybagged, or shrinkwrapped; have clasps, strings, buttons, or similar closure devices; or have protrusions that might impede or damage the mail or mail processing equipment.
Staples or saddle stitching may be used only on booklet-type mailpieces to join the bound edge (spine). Inserted staples or stitching must parallel the bound edge, seat tightly and securely, and have no protrusions that might impede or damage the mail or mail processing equipment.
Rigid items (e.g., pens, pencils, keys, bottle caps) are prohibited within mailpieces. Reasonably flexible items (e.g., credit cards) are permitted. Subject to 3.12, Flexibility Standards for Automation Letters, odd-shaped items (e.g., coins and tokens) are permitted if firmly affixed to and wrapped within the contents of the mailpiece and envelope to streamline the shape of the mailpiece for automated processing.
Tabs on booklets must be at least 1-1/2 inches in width and must not contain perforations. The tab placement standards in 3.15 are subject to 1/4-inch variance in either direction. Tabs may be made of opaque paper, translucent paper, vinyl or plastic. Cellophane tape may also be used as a closure. The following standards also apply:
b. Opaque paper tabs should be made of a minimum of 60-pound basis weight paper with a tear strength of at least 56 grams of force in the machine direction (MD) and 60 grams of force in the cross direction (CD).
c. When a barcode clear zone is required under 202.5.1, tabs in the barcode clear zone must have a paper face meeting the standards for background reflectance and, if the barcode is not preprinted by the mailer, the standards for acceptance of water-based ink.
g. Continuous glue lines may be used as cover-to-cover seals for specific designs. When using glue as a sealing method, it must be placed along the entire length of the open edge and end no more than 3/4-inch from the open ends (see Exhibit 3.11g) unless standards require use of a continuous 1/2-inch wide glue line under 3.11h.
h. Continuous, 1/2-inch wide, glue lines must be placed along the entire length of the open edge and end within 1/16-inch of the open ends. The selvage along the open edge must not exceed 1/16 inch. Glue lines must be created with a permanent adhesive that is not tacky when dry.
A mailer wanting to have mailpieces tested for flexibility must submit at least 50 sample pieces and a written request to USPS Engineering at least 6 weeks before the mailing date. The request must describe mailpiece contents and construction, number of pieces being produced, and preparation level (e.g., presort). Engineering advises the mailer by letter of its findings. If the mailpiece is approved, the letter includes a unique number identifying the piece tested and serves as evidence that the piece meets the relevant standards. A copy of the letter must be attached to each postage statement submitted for mailings of the approved piece. If requested by the USPS, the mailer must show that pieces presented for mailing are the same as those tested and approved.
3.13 Labels, Stickers, Release Cards, and Perforated Pockets Affixed to the Outside of Letter-Size Mailpieces
[12-6-10] [8-2-10] A label, sticker, perforated pocket (under 3.13.6 and 3.13.7), or release card may be placed on a letter-sized mailpiece that is eligible for automation letter prices, including barcoded carrier route letters meeting automation standards. Release cards and perforated pockets may not be affixed to pieces mailed at First-Class Mail card prices; see 1.2 for other restrictions on attachments to cards. A Standard Mail or Periodicals letter with a label, sticker, release card or perforated pocket must meet additional standards in 243.2.5 These attachments may be:
a. A label or sticker less than 0.007 inch thick, and a perforated pocket other than repositionable notes affixed under 705.22.0, as follows:
b. Up to two release cards, each at least 0.007 inch and no more than 0.012 inch thick, secured to a letter with a liner or backing under 3.13.4.
Any pressure-sensitive label or sticker affixed directly to a mailpiece before mailing must have a minimum peel adhesion to stainless steel of 8 ounces/inch. This standard does not apply to pressure-sensitive labels provided by the USPS to label bundles to sortation levels.
A face stock/liner label ("sandwich" label) is a two-part unit with a face stock (top label) attached to a liner (bottom label) affixed to the mailpiece. The face stock must have a peel adhesion value of at least 2 ounces/inch with respect to the liner label and at least 8 ounces/inch when reapplied to stainless steel.
[8-2-10] Mailings of letter-size mailpieces with a release card attached to the outside of each piece must include 8 pieces, as part of the mailing, addressed to "USPS Engineering—Letter Mail Technology" with the attention line: "Release Card Sample", using the street address in 608.8.1. A letter-size mailpiece, with one or two attached release cards, must have the following characteristics:
a. Be between 8 and 9-1/2 inches long (inclusive). With one release card affixed, be between 4 and 6 inches high (inclusive); with two release cards affixed, be between 5-1/2 and 6 inches high (inclusive).
d. Enveloped letters must be made of paper with a minimum 60-pound book grade paper and have a maximum thickness of 1/8 (0.125) inch. Window envelopes must have only one closed panel address window, no larger than 1-1/2 x 4-1/4 inches.
f. All letter-size pieces other than enveloped letters and card-type pieces (such as folded self-mailers and booklets) must have a maximum thickness of 0.10 inch as mailed. Mailpieces with two affixed release cards must meet the following additional conditions:
2. Booklets must have a minimum cover weight of 70-pound book-grade paper (see 3.2)
3. Folded self-mailers must have a minimum cover weight of 100-pound book-grade paper (see 3.2).
h. Release cards must meet the standards in 3.13.5.
b. Be between 2 and 2-1/2 inches (inclusive) high, and between 3 and 3-1/2 inches (inclusive) long. Affix each card with either edge parallel to the length of the mailpiece. Affix two cards on the same side of the mailpiece under these conditions:
d. Be affixed 1 inch (+/- 1/8 inch) from the bottom of the mailpiece and must not interfere with readability of the address, barcode, or postage information. When affixing two cards to a mailpiece, these additional conditions apply:
2. When affixing two cards to the nonaddress side, the right edge of a card must be placed between 5 and 6 inches from the leading edge of the mailpiece, but no closer than 1/2 inch from the trailing edge. Maintain a space of at least 1/2 inch from the top edge.
1. Adhesive used to affix the backing to the mailpiece must have a peel adhesion of at least 2 pounds/inch to stainless steel with a 20 minute dwell time, at 300"/minute at 90 degrees per ASTM test D3330F.
2. Adhesive used to attach the release card to the backing must have a peel adhesion of at least 1.5 ounces/inch to stainless steel with a 30 minute conditioning time, at 300"/minute at 90 degrees per ASTM test D3330F.
[12-6-10] Perforated pockets are permanent attachments to letter-sized mailpieces that may be opened to reveal a small printed insert. Advertising may be printed on the components used to create a perforated pocket and on the printed insert within. Perforated pockets may not be used to conceal or contain matter bearing personal information except as provided in 243.2.2. Perforated pockets may be used on letter-size Standard Mail and Periodicals and are not considered sealed against Postal inspection. When affixed to Periodicals mail, advertising printed on the perforated pocket and any inserted matter is counted as part of the total advertising content of the host publication. Pockets may be used in lieu of labels to bear a permit imprint indicia showing that postage is paid if indicia information does not appear on the perforated panel or on the perforations used to create the perforated panel. A maximum of two perforated pockets are permitted on eligible letter-size mailpieces that have the following characteristics:
d. Perforated pockets may be affixed to the nonaddressed side of envelopes with one closed panel address window. Perforated pockets must be placed one inch closer to the trailing edge than the window.
e. If tabs are used to seal a folded self-mailer prepared with perforated pockets the folded self-mailer must be sealed with 1-1/2 inch nonperforated tabs placed 1" from the top on the leading and trailing edges.
a. The perimeter of the pocket is affixed with permanent glue with a minimum adhesive strength of 2 lbs/inch to stainless steel with 20 minute dwell time at 300" minute at 90 degrees per ASTM Test D3330F.
2. Has an affixed area no more than 0.012 inch thick and a perforated panel no more than 0.03 inch thick. Perforated pockets may not exceed the thickness of the host mailpiece. They may not cause the host to have an uneven surface and must not interfere with readability of the address, barcode, or postage information.
Except as noted in 3.14c., a folded self-mailer must be prepared with the folded edge parallel to the longest dimension and the address of the mailpiece. Based on the number of tabs used, these additional standards apply:
a. With one tab or wafer seal, the folded edge must be at the bottom of the self-mailer. The tab or wafer seal must be placed in the middle of the top edge of the piece. If formed of a single folded sheet, the self-mailer must be prepared from paper with a minimum basis weight of 28 pounds (measured weight for 500 17- by 22-inch sheets) or 70 pounds (measured weight for 500 25- by 38-inch sheets). If formed of multiple folded sheets, the self-mailer must be prepared from paper with a minimum basis weight of 24 pounds (measured weight for 500 17- by 22-inch sheets) or 60 pounds (measured weight for 500 25- by 38-inch sheets).
b. With two tabs or wafer seals, the folded edge may be at the top or bottom of the self-mailer. The two tabs or wafer seals must be placed on the open edge, opposite the folded edge. One tab or wafer seal must be placed within 1 inch of the left edge of the piece; the other, within 1 inch of the right edge of the piece. See Exhibit 3.14b. The whole tab need not be placed within 1 inch of the edge. The tabs must not obscure the FIM, postage, or required address information. The folded self-mailer must be prepared from paper with a minimum basis weight of 20 pounds (measured weight for 500 17- by 22-inch sheets).
c. In specifically identified formats, a self-mailer may have the final fold on the right side (leading edge) of the piece. The left edge (trailing edge) and other open edges must be secured with at least one tab or a glue line. The number of tabs required is determined by the final trim size and paper basis weight of the piece. If the piece is 7 inches long or more, the piece must be sealed on the top and the bottom. In all cases, additional tabs, seals, or glue spots or glue lines may be used. Newsprint paper is acceptable if the basis weight of the paper meets the minimum standards in 3.14a. and the piece is certified by the USPS mailpiece design analyst to be acceptable for automated processing.
Booklets must have a bound edge (spine.) Sheets that are fastened with at least two staples in the manufacturing fold (saddle stitched), perfect bound, pressed-glued, or joined together by another binding method that produces a spine where pages are attached together are considered booklets. Booklets are open on three sides before sealing, similar in design to a book. In general, booklets must be uniformly thick. Large bound booklets that are folded for mailing may qualify for automation and machinable prices if the final mailpiece remains nearly uniform in thickness and conforms to all other automation standards.
Booklet covers generally must be made with a minimum paper basis weight of 60-pounds or equivalent. Minimum basis weights are higher for some designs (see 3.15.4).
e. Aspect ratio: within 1.3 to 2.5 (see 3.7).
The position of the final fold and intermediate fold (or spine) for letter-sized booklets varies according to the specific design of the mailpiece. Open edges can be sealed with tabs, glue lines, or glue spots. Except for the simple spine wallet-style design with a height of 4 inches and a maximum length of 8 inches; tabs used as seals on the leading edge of small booklets less than 5 inches high, may be placed closer to the top and bottom edges than shown in Exhibit 3.15.5 through Exhibit 3.15.8 and may overlap in some cases. See Exhibit 3.15.5 through Exhibit 3.15.8 for design and sealing standards by type of design.
A spine forms the bottom edge. Wallet style booklets must be from 5.2 inches to 8 inches long, 4 inches high; can weigh up to 2.5 ounces; and must be sealed with nonperforated tabs. Tab size and placement are dictated by the weight of the booklet.
Folded booklets are mailpieces that are bound and then folded to letter-size. The folded spine may be the leading edge or at the top of the booklet. If necessary, the booklet may be prepared with the spine as the trailing edge, however, this configuration is not recommended. The cover is at least 40-pound paper. Folded booklets must be sealed with nonperforated 1.5" tabs.
Any postcard must be prepared from paper stock meeting the industry standard for a basis weight of 75 pounds or greater, with none less than 71.25 pounds (measured weight for 500 25- by 38-inch sheets). The stock must be free from groundwood unless coated with a substance adding to the stock's ability to resist an applied bending force. A double postcard not prepared with all edges sealed must have the folded edge at the top or bottom, and the open edge parallel to the address must be secured with one tab (or other permitted closure) in the middle of the length. Pieces claimed at First-Class Mail automation card prices also must meet the standards in 1.2.
All letter-size reply cards and envelopes (business reply mail (BRM), courtesy reply mail (CRM), and meter reply mail (MRM)) provided as enclosures in automation First-Class Mail, Periodicals, and Standard Mail and addressed for return to a domestic delivery address must meet the applicable standards for automation-compatible mail in 3.0. The mailer's signature on the postage statement certifies that this standard, and the standards listed below, have been met when the corresponding mail is presented to the USPS:
a. Each reply piece must include the appropriate facing identification mark (FIM) under 708.9.0, Facing Identification Mark (FIM).
b. Each BRM piece must bear the correct BRM ZIP+4 barcode; each MRM and CRM piece must bear the correct barcode for the delivery address, subject to 202.5.0, Barcode Placement.
c. Each BRM piece must meet any applicable standard under 507.9.0; each MRM piece must meet any applicable standard under 604.4.0, Postage Meters and PC Postage Products ("Postage Evidencing Systems"); and each CRM piece as defined in 3.17.2 must meet the standards of this section.
For these standards, courtesy reply mail (CRM) is reply mail other than BRM or MRM enclosed in other mail, with or without prepayment of postage, for return to the address on the reply piece. If postage is required, the customer returning the piece affixes the applicable First-Class Mail postage. Each piece must meet the physical standards in 1.0 or 2.0. CRM has no additional required design standards unless enclosed in automation mail.