DMM TOC > 600 Basic Standards for All Mailing Services|
1.1 Clear Space
A clear space must be available on all mail for the address, postage (permit imprint, postage stamp, or meter stamp), postmarks, and postal endorsements.
1.2 Delivery Address
The delivery address specifies the location to which the USPS is to deliver a mailpiece. Except for mail prepared with detached address labels under 4.0, the piece must have the address of the intended recipient, visible and legible, only on the side of the piece bearing postage.
1.3 Address Elements
[10-3-11] All mail not bearing a simplified address must bear a delivery address that contains at least the following elements in this order from the top line:
b. Private mailbox designator (“PMB” or alternative “#”) and number if the mailpiece is addressed to a commercial mail receiving agency (CMRA) address.
c. Street and number. (Include the apartment number, or use the Post Office box number, or general delivery, or rural route or highway contract route designation and box number, as applicable.)
d. City and state (or state abbreviation). The city is any acceptable mailing name for the 5-digit ZIP Code serving the intended recipient as shown in the USPS City State Product.
1. ZIP Codes are required on Express Mail, commercial First-Class Mail, First-Class Package Service, Periodicals, Standard Mail, Package Services and Parcel Select mailpieces, all mail sent to military addresses within the United States and to APO and FPO addresses, official mail, Business Reply Mail, and merchandise return service mail.
2. Unless required above, ZIP Codes may be omitted from single-piece price First-Class Mail (including Priority Mail), single-piece price Parcel Post, and pieces bearing a simplified address.
A complete address has all the address elements necessary to allow an exact match with the current USPS ZIP+4 Product to obtain the finest level of ZIP+4 code for the delivery address. A complete address may be required on mail at some automation prices.
d. Street number and name (including predirectional, suffix, and postdirectional as shown in USPS ZIP+4 Product for the delivery address or rural route and box number (RR 5 BOX 10), highway contract route and box number (HC 4 BOX 45), or Post Office box number (PO BOX 458), as shown in USPS ZIP+4 Product for the delivery address). (“PO Box” is used incorrectly if preceding a private box number, e.g., a college mailroom.)
e. Secondary address unit designator and number (such as an apartment or suite number (APT 202, STE 100)).
f. City and state (or authorized two-letter state abbreviation). Use only city names and city and state name abbreviations as shown in USPS City State Product. Contact the National Customer Support Center (see 509.1.0) for more information about the City State Product.
g. Correct 5-digit ZIP Code or ZIP+4 code. If a firm name is assigned a unique ZIP+4 code in the USPS ZIP+4 Product, the unique ZIP+4 code must be used in the delivery address.
1.5 Return Addresses
The return address tells the USPS where the sender of a mailpiece wants it returned if the piece cannot be delivered.
1.5.2 Return Address Elements
The return address contains elements corresponding to those for the delivery address. A return address is required in specific circumstances (see 1.5.3). If the sender’s name is not included in the return address, another clear designation (apartment, suite, or room number) is required to ensure proper handling of ancillary services and/or return of the piece. ZIP Codes (5-digit or ZIP+4) are required in the return address of all mail on which postage is paid with precanceled stamps or company permit imprint, and in the sender’s return address on Periodicals mail when “Address Service Requested” is specified. Official mail (penalty mail) also requires a ZIP Code in the return address.
[4-17-11] The sender’s domestic return address must appear legibly on:
a. Mail of any class bearing a printed ancillary service request or an ancillary service request embedded within an Intelligent Mail barcode.
c. Mail paid with precanceled stamps (except Standard Mail pieces weighing 13 ounces or less and bearing a mailer's postmark in accordance with 604.3.4).
h. Parcel Select (including Parcel Select Regional Ground).
m. Express Mail if a return receipt is requested. The return address on the Express Mail label meets this standard.
The USPS uses the return address to provide ancillary services requested by the mailer (e.g., “Return Service Requested”). The return address on any mailpiece endorsed for an ancillary service must identify where the piece is to be returned and where the mailer is prepared to pay applicable postage and fees for pieces returned or for ancillary service provided at the mailer’s request. A domestic return address must be placed in the upper left corner of the address side of the piece or the upper left corner of the addressing area.
If the names and addresses of the sender and intended recipient do not appear on both the host and attachment, the sender’s name and address must be placed on one piece and the recipient’s name and address on the other. Combination containers that have inseparable parts or compartments are mailable with the names and addresses on only one.
1.8 ZIP Codes
1.8.1 Purpose of ZIP Code
The ZIP (Zone Improvement Plan) Code system is a numbered coding system that facilitates efficient mail processing. The USPS assigns ZIP Codes. All Post Offices are assigned at least one unique 5-digit ZIP Code. Larger Post Offices may be assigned two or more 5-digit ZIP Codes (multi-5-digit ZIP Code offices). Separate 5-digit ZIP Codes are assigned to each delivery unit at these offices.
The most complete ZIP Code is a nine-digit number consisting of five digits, a hyphen, and four digits, which the USPS describes by its trademark ZIP+4. The correct format for a numeric ZIP+4 code is five digits, a hyphen, and four digits. The first five digits represent the 5-digit ZIP Code; the sixth and seventh digits (the first two after the hyphen) identify an area known as a sector; the eighth and ninth digits identify a smaller area known as a segment. Together, the final four digits identify geographic units such as a side of a street between intersections, both sides of a street between intersections, a building, a floor or group of floors in a building, a firm within a building, a span of boxes on a rural route, or a group of Post Office boxes to which a single USPS employee makes delivery.
A numeric equivalent of a delivery point barcode (DPBC) consists of five digits followed by a hyphen and seven digits as specified in 708.4.2.4. The numeric equivalent is formed by adding three digits directly after the ZIP+4 code.
1.9 Additional Addressing Standards by Class
[10-3-11] Basic addressing standards are in the Prices and Eligibility section for each class of mail.
2.1 Dual Address
Mail with a dual address (both a street address and a Post Office box number) is delivered to the address immediately above the city and state (or to the Post Office box if both the street address and Post Office box are on the same line). If a ZIP+4 code or 5-digit ZIP Code is used, it must correspond to the address element immediately above the city and state (or with the Post Office box number in the address if both the street address and Post Office box are on the same line). These restrictions also apply to return addresses on mail (for more information, see Publication 28, Postal Addressing Standards).
Mail with the name of more than one Post Office in the delivery address or return address is not acceptable for mailing.
Mail sent to an addressee at a commercial mail receiving agency (CMRA) must be addressed to their private mailbox (“PMB” or “#”) number at the CMRA mailing address.
3.1.2 Prohibited Use
[4-17-11] Alternative addressing formats may not be used on:
c. Periodicals intended to count as subscriber or requester copies to meet the applicable circulation standards.
Mail with an occupant or an exceptional address format is delivered as addressed and is not forwarded. Such mail is treated as undeliverable only when the address is incorrect or incomplete or when the mail cannot be delivered for another reason related solely to the address (e.g., a vacant building), as shown in Exhibit 1.4.1, USPS Endorsements for Mail Undeliverable as Addressed. Periodicals publishers are notified when mailpieces with the occupant or exceptional address formats are undeliverable for solely address-related reasons. Mail with a simplified address format is distributed to all deliveries on a route or to Post Office boxholders. Undeliverable mail with any alternative addressing format is disposed of as waste under 507.1.9.1.
[4-17-11] The following conditions must be met when using a simplified address on commercial mailpieces:
a. The simplified address format ("Postal Customer" or one of the optional formats in 3.2.1a..1. through 3.2.1a..3.) must be used on mail when complete distribution is made to each family (household residence) or boxholder on a rural or highway contract route, and to Post Office boxes in offices without city carrier service. The following also apply:
1. Mailers may use a more specific address, such as "Rural Route Boxholder," for mail intended to all boxholders on a rural route, followed by the name of the Post Office and state.
2. Mailers may use "Residential Customer" to indicate that delivery is desired to residential addresses only.
3. Use of the word "Local," instead of the Post Office and state name, is optional; however the Postal Service recommends using the Post Office, state and ZIP Code for mail not dropshipped directly to a destination delivery unit.
b. Standard Mail, Periodicals, and Bound Printed Matter flat-size mailpieces and Standard Mail and Periodicals irregular parcels for distribution to a city route and to Post Office boxes in offices with city carrier service may bear a simplified address, but only when complete distribution is made to each active residential delivery or each active delivery, under the following conditions:
1. Mailers must use the simplified address "Postal Customer" when complete distribution is intended to all active deliveries (residential and business) on any designated city route.
2. Mailers may use a more specific address, such as "PO Boxholder" when delivery is intended to all active Post Office boxes.
3. Mailers may use "Residential Customer" to indicate that delivery is intended only to all active residential deliveries.
4. Mailpieces must bear the city, state and ZIP Code, when entered at an origin facility (unless the intended delivery unit is located within the same facility) or deposited at a DNDC or DSCF.
5. Mailpieces deposited at a destination delivery unit (DDU) may bear the word "Local" instead of a city, state and ZIP Code.
3.2.2 Use—Governmental Mailers
When distribution is to be made to each active possible delivery on city carrier routes or to each Post Office boxholder at a Post Office with city carrier service, the addressee’s name; mailing address; and city, state, and ZIP Code may be omitted from the address only on pieces mailed as official matter by agencies of the federal government (including mail with the congressional frank prepared under 703.6.0); any state, county, or municipal government; and the governments of the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and any U.S. territory or possession listed in 608.2.0. The requirement for distribution to each stop or Post Office boxholder may be modified for congressional mail under 703.6.0. The following also applies:
b. At least 10 days before the mailing date, the mailer must submit a sample mailpiece and the following information to the entry office postmaster (in response, the mailer receives a mailing schedule that must be followed):
4. Names of all city delivery Post Offices to receive any of the mailing and the number of pieces for each.
3.2.3 Mail Preparation
Mailers must prepare letter-size pieces in trays. Mailers must prepare flat-size pieces and irregular parcels in carrier route bundles in sacks or directly on pallets. Bundles, sacks, or trays may be placed on 3-digit, 5-digit, or 5-digit scheme pallets under 705.8.10. In addition to the required simplified address, each bundle must bear a facing slip showing the desired distribution (for example, 5-digit ZIP Code and route number) or the top piece of each bundle must include the route number and ZIP Code. Mailers may obtain delivery statistics for routes as described in 509.1.0. The following also applies:
c. Mailers must prepare all pieces for the same carrier route in bundles of 50, so far as practicable. If the pieces are bundled in quantities other than 50, mailers must show the actual number of pieces on the facing slip or on the top piece of the bundle.
d. If selective distribution is desired, the mailer must include enough pieces to cover the routes selected.
Postage must be paid with permit imprint, meter indicia, precanceled stamps, or other authorized methods not requiring cancellation, according to the standards for the class of mail.
3.2.5 Address Designation
3.3 Occupant Address
3.3.1 Use of Occupant Address
The occupant address format (“Postal Customer” or “Occupant,” “Householder,” or “Resident”) may be used to address mail selectively to a rural route and box number, a specific street number, or a specific Post Office box number without using the addressee’s name:
The exceptional address format (“Jane Doe or Current Resident” or “Jane Doe or Current Occupant”) may be used on any mail except mail types listed in 3.1.2. The word “Current” is optional. The order of the words may be reversed (e.g., “Current Resident or Jane Doe” rather than “Jane Doe or Current Resident”).
The exceptional address format must be placed in the address block, with the following exceptions:
a. If all the current resident/occupant information cannot be placed on the first or second line of the address, the exceptional address format may be placed no more than 3/4 inch above the address block.
b. If an optional endorsement line (OEL) is used, the mailer may elect to place the exceptional address format above the OEL. In these cases, the exceptional address format must be at least 1/2 inch, but not more than 3/4 inch, above the optional endorsement line. If a window envelope is used with an OEL, the exceptional address information may be printed either in the area on the insert showing through the window or on the envelope above the window.
4.1 DAL Use
Saturation mailings of unaddressed Periodicals or Standard Mail flats may be mailed with detached address labels (DALs). For this standard, saturation mailing means a mailing sent to at least 75% of the total addresses on a carrier route or 90% of the residential addresses on a route, whichever is less. Deliveries are not required to every carrier route of a delivery unit. Saturation flats mailings presented with DALs that are not automation-compatible and barcoded do not qualify for saturation prices. Instead they may be entered at the Periodicals basic carrier route price or the Standard Mail basic Enhanced Carrier Route price. This standard (for automation-compatible barcoded DALs) does not apply to DALs with simplified addressing.
Merchandise samples more than 5 inches wide (high) or 1/4 inch thick, or nonuniform in thickness, mailed at Standard Mail prices, must be mailed with DALs when prepared for general distribution on city delivery routes. Merchandise samples may be mailed with DALs for general distribution on other (e.g., rural) routes and for the residual portion of a general distribution mailing. For this standard, general distribution means distribution in a single mailing to at least 25% of the addresses in any 5-digit ZIP Code delivery area regardless of the number of samples addressed to a single route or the number of 5-digit areas to which samples are addressed. If the same mailing includes a general distribution to one or more 5-digit areas and a secondary distribution of lesser quantities to one or more other 5-digit areas, pieces in the secondary distribution are considered residual. Merchandise samples must be endorsed with a carrier release endorsement, as specified in 508.1.2. At the mailer's option, merchandise samples may be mailed with DALs without meeting the general distribution conditions above when all of the following conditions are met:
c. There are at least 10 addressed samples for delivery on an individual carrier route or Post Office Box section.
d. Mailings are entered at a destination delivery unit (DDU) or placed on 5-digit pallets entered at a destination sectional center facility (SCF).
4.1.4 Bound Printed Matter
a. The mail is prepared on 5-digit pallets meeting the standards in 705.8.0, except that for flat-size mail, separate 5-digit pallets of carrier route and Presorted price mail are not required. The destination delivery unit (DDU) is determined using the Drop Shipment Product under the provisions for the DDU price in 366.3.0 through 366.6.0 or 466.3.0 through 466.6.0. The mail may not be prepared on pallets when the Drop Shipment Product indicates that the delivery unit that serves the 5-digit pallet destination cannot handle pallets. For such delivery units, mail with DALs must be prepared in sacks. The trays or cartons of DALs must be prepared under 4.3, placed on the same pallet as the pieces, and must be stretch-wrapped together as one unit.
b. The mail is prepared in 5-digit sacks and entered at the destination delivery unit. The destination delivery unit is determined by using the Drop Shipment Product under the provisions for the DDU price in 366.3.0 through 366.6.0 or 466.3.0 through 466.6.0. DALs must be bundled under 4.3 and presented to the destination delivery unit with the accompanying items to be distributed with the DALs.
The addresses on DALs may be prepared using an alternative addressing format under 3.0, subject to the applicable eligibility, volume, density, and preparation standards.
When requested by the USPS, DAL mailers must provide documentation to establish that the applicable distribution standards in 4.1.2 through 4.1.4 are met.
4.1.7 Extra Services
Items mailed with DALs may not be combined with any extra service.
4.2.1 Label Construction
Each DAL must be made of paper or cardboard stock that is not folded, perforated, or creased, and that meets these measurements:
a. Between 3-1/2 and 5 inches high (perpendicular to the address).
b. Between 5 and 9 inches long (parallel to the address).
d. If more than 4-1/4 inches high or more than 6 inches long, must be at least 0.009 inch thick.
The address for each item must be placed on a DAL, parallel to the longest dimension of the DAL, and may not appear on the item it accompanies. The DAL must contain the recipient’s delivery address and the mailer’s return address. In addition, if DALs accompany saturation mailings of Periodicals or Standard Mail flats, a correct delivery point POSTNET barcode or Intelligent Mail barcode with an 11-digit routing code must be included (see 708.4.0) except when using a simplified address.
Only one DAL may be prepared for each accompanying item, and only one item may be identified for delivery per DAL (a single DAL may not be prepared to deliver one each of different accompanying items or multiples of the same item).
4.2.4 Required Information
The following words must appear in bold type at least 1/8 inch high on the front of each DAL: “USPS regulations require that this address label be delivered with its accompanying postage-paid mail. If you should receive this label without its accompanying mail, please notify your local postmaster.” The title or brand name of the item (which may include an illustration of the item) must also appear on the front or back of the DAL to associate it with the accompanying item.
4.2.5 Other Information
a. Official pictures and data circulated by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
2. The advertising must not obstruct or overlap any of the required elements that are placed on the front of a DAL.
3. The advertising must be to the left of the delivery address and must be placed to maintain required clear spaces around the address and postage payment (see 202 and 1.0).
4.3 Mail Preparation
Each delivery office to receive a DAL mailing must be notified in writing at least 10 days before the requested delivery period. To ensure that the delivery office can readily relate the notice to the cartons containing the corresponding items, a copy of that letter must be enclosed with the DALs unless the initial notice and the cartons used for the DALs and items each conspicuously bears a mailing identification number. The letter must contain the following information:
4.3.2 Basic Standards for DALs
The DALs must be presorted, counted, and prepared by 5-digit ZIP Code delivery area. Only DALs for the same 5-digit area may be placed in the same carton, sack, or tray. DAL mailings claimed at carrier route basic or walk-sequence prices must be further prepared under the corresponding standards. Mailers must prepare DALs as bundles in sacks, or in cartons, unless prepared in trays under 4.3.7 when mailed with saturation flats. Different size cartons may be used in the same mailing, but each must be filled with dunnage as necessary to ensure that the DALs retain their orientation and presort integrity while in transit. Each carton of DALs must bear a label showing the information in 4.3.5 unless a mailing identification number is used (see 4.3.1). Multiple containers of DALs must be numbered sequentially ("1 of __," "2 of __," etc.).
Except for bundles of saturation flats placed directly on pallets under 4.3.7, the items to be distributed with DALs must be placed in cartons or prepared in bundles placed in sacks, as appropriate for the type of item and subject to the standards for the price claimed. A label bearing the content description information in 4.3.5 must be affixed to each carton, sacked bundle, or pallet unless a mailing identification number is used (see 4.3.1). Cartons of items (including those on pallets) may be of different sizes but must be filled with dunnage as necessary to ensure the integrity of the items while in transit. The gross weight of each carton or sack must not be more than 40 pounds.
4.3.4 Combined Cartons
Both the DALs and the accompanying items may be enclosed in the same carton when sent to a small volume 5-digit ZIP Code area. If packed together, these standards apply:
b. The carton must be packed with dunnage to ensure the integrity of the contents while in transit.
4.3.5 Container Labels
Sacks, cartons, and pallets of DAL mail must be labeled under the preparation standards for the price claimed. A second label must be affixed to each carton or sacked bundle to provide the following information (unless a mailing identification number is used under 4.3.1):
e. Instructions to open and distribute either the DALs with matching items or the items with matching DALs, as appropriate.
Mailers may prepare DALs in letter trays according to 245.6.0, when DALs are used for mailings of saturation flats. Bundles of saturation flats to be distributed with DALs may be prepared on 5-digit pallets under 4.3.7. The mail may not be prepared on pallets when the Drop Shipment Product indicates the delivery unit that serves the 5-digit pallet destination cannot handle pallets. For such delivery units, mail with DALs must be prepared in sacks. The tray(s) of corresponding DALs must be placed on top of the accompanying pallet of flats, and the pallet contents must be secured with stretchwrap to avoid separation in transportation and processing. All containers must be labeled according to 4.3.5.
Cartons, bundles of flats, and sacks of items may be placed on 5-digit pallets meeting the standards in 705.8.0. Cartons or trays of DALs must be placed on pallets with the corresponding items under 4.3 and 705.8.0. The USPS plant manager at whose facility a DAL mailing is deposited may authorize other containers for the portion of the mailing to be delivered in that plant's service area.
4.4.1 Excess Material
The letter required under 4.3.1 must either request that the delivery office contact the mailer (or representative) about excess DALs or items, or provide instructions for their treatment. (If the mailer does not provide information about excess DALs or items, such material is disposed of as waste by the USPS.) The mailer must choose one of the following options for each DAL mailing and the items:
b. Return of the excess material to the mailer, postage due at the applicable single-piece price under 4.5.
c. Holding of the excess material for pickup by the mailer (or representative). If pickup is not made within 15 calendar days of the notice to the mailer, the material is returned to the mailer postage due.
d. Holding of the excess material while additional DALs or items are supplied (as applicable). If additional material is not supplied within 15 days of the notice to the mailer, the excess material is returned to the mailer postage due. Additional material must be sent prepaid to the delivery Post Office as First-Class Mail, Priority Mail, or Express Mail.
4.4.2 Undeliverable DAL
Ancillary service endorsements are not permitted. A DAL that is undeliverable as addressed is handled under 507.1.1 through 507.1.9 for the applicable class of mail. The accompanying item is treated as specified by the mailer under 4.4.1.
DAL mailings are not eligible for any automation price, but they may qualify for a carrier route price, subject to the applicable standards. For DALs used with Standard Mail ECR flats and ECR parcel mailings, mailers must pay a surcharge for each DAL. See 343.1.0 and 443.1.0.
Postage is computed based on the weight of the entire mailpiece (the combined weight of the item and the accompanying DAL). If the number of DALs and items mailed is not identical, the number of pieces used to determine postage is the greater of the two. No postage refund is allowed in these situations. The total weight of the mailing excludes the weight of the cartons used to carry the DALs or items, dunnage, and carton labels. In addition, these methods of postage payment apply:
a. Periodicals flats must be prepaid. A notice of entry must appear in the upper right corner of the DAL.
b. Standard Mail flats and samples and Bound Printed Matter must be paid by permit imprint, which must appear on each DAL. Standard Mail postage is computed at the applicable nonletter prices.
Postage for excess or undeliverable DALs that are properly endorsed or for items being returned is computed at the single-piece price (First-Class Mail, Priority Mail, or Package Services) applicable to the combined weight of the DAL and the accompanying item, regardless of whether both are returned. The total amount due for returned material, which includes the return postage and the applicable address correction fee for each DAL or item returned, is collected when the material is returned to the mailer.
4.5.4 Additional Items
Postage for additional material (DALs or items) mailed to the USPS under 4.4.1d must be prepaid as First-Class Mail, Priority Mail, or Express Mail, subject to the eligibility standards for the price claimed and the conditions in 4.5.2.
5.1 Basic Standards
[11-7-11] The Move Update standard requires the periodic matching of a mailer's address records with customer-filed change-of-address orders maintained by the USPS. Each address, except for mail bearing an alternative address format (under 3.0), in a mailing at commercial First-Class Mail presorted or automation prices, First-Class Package Service presorted parcel prices, or Standard Mail prices is subject to the Move Update standard and must meet these requirements:
a. Each address and associated addressee used on the mailpieces in a mailing must be updated within 95 days before the mailing date, with one of the USPS-approved methods in 5.2.
b. The Move Update standard is met when an address used on a mailpiece in a mailing at any class of mail is updated under 5.2, and the same address is used in a First-Class Mail, First-Class Package Service, or Standard Mail mailing within 95 days after the address has been updated.
c. FASTforward MLOCR processes, for letters only, if used each time before mail entry. If a mailpiece that initially uses FASTforward MLOCR processing is rejected and then entered into a Direct View Encoding Desk (DVED) operation (or similar system), the piece does not meet the Move Update standard. The name and address information on the piece must then be processed through a FASTforward RVE system to meet the Move Update standard. FASTforward RVE processes also meet the Move Update standard if used each time before mail entry.
e. For First-Class Mail, and First-Class Package Service only: Mailer Move Update Process Certification and USPS-approved alternative methods for mailers with legitimate restrictions on incorporating USPS-supplied change-of-address information into their mailing lists. The National Customer Support Center (see 608.8.1 for address) administers and approves both Mailer Move Update Process Certification and alternative methods.
The mailer's signature on the postage statement certifies that the Move Update standard has been met for each address in the corresponding mailing presented to the USPS.
6.1 Basic Standards
Except for mail bearing a simplified address, addresses used on pieces in a mailing at commercial First-Class Mail, First-Class Package Service presorted parcel, Standard Mail, and Bound Printed Matter presorted and carrier route prices are subject to the ZIP Code accuracy standard and must meet these requirements:
a. Each address and associated 5-digit ZIP Code on the mailpieces in a mailing must be verified and corrected within 12 months before the mailing date with one of the USPS-approved methods in 6.2.
b. If an address used on a mailpiece in a mailing at one class of mail and price is verified and corrected with an approved method, the same address may be used during the following 12 months to meet the ZIP Code accuracy standard required for mailing at any other class of mail and price.
a. For computerized lists, Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS)-certified address matching software and current USPS City State Product, within a mailer's computer systems or through an authorized service provider.
1. Surveys of addressees on mailer's address list inquiring about the accuracy of ZIP Code information.
The mailer's signature on the postage statement certifies that the ZIP Code accuracy standard has been met for each address in the corresponding mailing presented to the USPS.