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 price eligibility and mail preparation. Domestic mail is classified by size, weight, content, service, and other factors.
The DMM is distributed to selected 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. 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).
USPS may change the standards in the DMM. Substantive revisions are published in the Postal Bulletin and, when appropriate, the Federal Register.
1.4 Terms in the DMM
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.
2.0 Domestic Mail
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:
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.
Except for items sent via Express Mail, or Priority Mail combined with Registered Mail service, any mailpiece (regardless of contents) weighing 16 ounces or more must bear a properly completed PS Form 2976, Customs Declaration CN 22, or, if the customer prefers, a PS Form 2976-A, Customs Declaration and Dispatch Note – CP 72, when the item is:
a. Sent from the United States, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands to the ZIP Code destinations listed in the table below.
b. Sent from the ZIP Code destinations listed in the table below to the United States, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands.
c. Sent between two different destinations listed in the “Territory, Possession, or Freely Associated States” column in the table below.
d. Sent within American Samoa, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or the Republic of the Marshall Islands. This standard does not apply to items sent within Guam or Palau.
2.4.2 Items Containing Goods
Regardless of mail class or weight, items containing goods (i.e., contents other than documents; see IMM 123.63 for “document” eligibility) must bear a properly completed PS Form 2976, Customs Declaration CN 22, or, if the customer prefers, a PS Form 2976-A, Customs Declaration and Dispatch Note – CP 72, when the items are sent to the United States or Puerto Rico from the ZIP Code destinations listed in the table in 2.4.1, or from the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Mailpieces deposited without a properly completed customs form under 2.4.1 and 2.4.2 will be returned to the sender.
2.4.4 Overseas Military Mail
For determining customs declarations' required usage when mailing to or from APO, FPO, or DPO addresses, see 703.2.3.6 through 703.2.3.8.
2.4.5 Enter and Deposit—Items Requiring a Completed Customs Declaration
Except as provided in 2.4.6, a mailer may not deposit an item that requires a completed customs declaration into a collection box, Postal Service lobby drop, Automated Postal Center (APC) drop, customer mailbox, or at a Postal Service dock or other unattended location. In addition, these mailpieces are precluded from Pickup on Demand service and Carrier Pickup service under 507.7.0. Customers must present such items to an employee at a Post Office retail service counter. The Postal Service will return improperly presented items to the sender for proper entry and acceptance.
2.4.6 Items Bearing a Completed Customs Declaration with an Electronic Round Date
Items under 2.4.1 that have the mailing label, customs declaration (including an electronic round date), and postage prepared and paid online through an authorized PC Postage vendor Web site may be deposited only as follows:
Items sent to the Freely Associated States listed in 2.2 that require an export license under 2.5.8, regardless of weight or class of mail, always require a PS Form 2976-A. See IMM 530 for additional information on export licenses.
This section describes the various U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Bureau of the Census requirements when shipping goods to, from, and between U.S. territories, possessions, and Freely Associated States. Shipments to APO/FPO/DPO addresses are not subject to these requirements. Customers may be subject to civil and criminal penalties if they fail to electronically file their export information when required, or if they fail to comply with the Foreign Trade Regulations in any other way. Refer to IMM 520 for additional standards about the Census Bureau's requirements.
2.5.1 Mandatory Electronic Filing—U.S. Territories, Possessions, and Freely Associated States
Under the authority of 13 U.S.C. Chapter 9, as amended by the Foreign Relations Authorization Act of 2002, P.L. 107-228, U.S. Census Bureau regulations require electronic filing of export information through the U.S. Census Bureau's Automated Export System or AESDirect website for certain or AESDirect website for certain shipments of goods. Electronic filing of export information is required when any of the following applies, subject to certain exemptions and exclusions (see 2.5.4):
a. The item requires an export license under U.S. law when sent to the Freely Associated States. See 2.5.5 and 2.5.6.
b. One or more classes of goods (per Schedule B Export Codes at www.census.gov/foreign-trade/schedules/b) within the item is valued at more than $2,500 and the item is mailed as follows:
3. From the United States, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands to the Freely Associated States.
2.5.2 Value Criterion
a. A package contains one mechanically operated watch (Schedule B item # 9101.11.0000) valued at $2600. The total value of goods to be mailed is $2600, and the value of all items within the same Schedule B number is over $2500. Consequently, electronic filing and a PFC would be required (unless an exemption or exclusion applies).
b. A package contains one mechanically operated watch (Schedule B item # 9101.11.0000) valued at $2400, and one electronically operated watch (Schedule B item # 9101.91.0000) valued at $2400. The total value of goods to be mailed is $4800, but no group of items within the same Schedule B number is valued over $2500. Consequently, electronic filing and a PFC would not be required, because the mechanical watch and electronic watch are in different Schedule B groups,
c. A package contains two mechanically operated watches (Schedule B item # 9101.11.0000) one valued at $1400 and one valued at $1500. The total value of goods to be mailed is $2900 and the value of all items within the same Schedule B number is over $2500. Consequently, electronic filing and a PFC would be required, unless an exemption or exclusion applies.
For additional information on electronic filing, call the U.S. Census Bureau's toll-free information hotline at 800-549-0595, option #3. To file electronic export information through AESDirect and obtain a PFC, customers should use the following steps:
a. Go to www.aesdirect.gov.
b. Register for an AESDirect account or log into your existing account.
g. After successfully filing electronic export information, AESDirect will provide an alphanumeric Internal Transaction Number (ITN) as confirmation. The PFC consists of the letters “AES” followed by the ITN: for example, “AES X20080930987654”.
2.5.4 AES Downtime Citation
If electronic information filing is required but U.S. Census Bureau's Automated Export System or AESDirect website is unavailable, the goods may be shipped but the customer is responsible for providing the appropriate AES Downtime Citation instead of a PFC. This citation includes the word “AESDOWN,” the customer's AES filer identification number, and the date: for example, “AESDOWN 123456789 09/30/2009.” If the Automated Export System system is down, call 800-549-0595, option 1.
In many circumstances, electronic export information filing and a Proof of Filing Citation (PFC) may not be required. In these circumstances, and only when a customs declaration form is required under 2.4, customers are responsible for presenting an applicable Exemption or Exclusion Legend on the customs declaration form upon mailing. Customers may forgo this requirement if no customs declaration form is required. When a customs declaration form is used, customers should enter the applicable Exemption or Exclusion Legend on the customs declaration form. Customers must only enter one Exemption or Exclusion Legend per addressed mailpiece. When multiple Exemption or Exclusion Legends may apply, the mailer may select any one that applies. For more information on these and other exemptions and exclusions, customers should consult Appendix C of the Foreign Trade Regulations, 15 C.F.R. Part 30. The following is a list of the most commonly applicable Exemption or Exclusion Legends for items mailed to, from, or between destinations under 2.0.
a. Regardless of value, for all goods shipped to, from, or between the following U.S. Territories, use “NOEEI 30.2(d)(2)”:
2. Guam Island.
b. For items destined to the Freely Associated States listed in 2.2, customers may apply “NOEEI 30.37(a)” if the value of each class of goods is $2,500 or less, provided an export license is not required (see 2.5.7 and 2.5.8).
2.5.6 Placement of PFC, AES Downtime Citation Placement, or Exemption and Exclusion Legend
If no customs declaration form is required (e.g., items sent between the United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands), no other action for recording the PFC or AES Downtime Citation on the package is required. However, when a shipment requires a PFC, or AES Downtime Citation, or Exemption and Exclusion Legend, and a PS Form 2976-A is used under 2.4; it is the customer's responsibility to legibly write the PFC, AES Downtime Citation, or Exemption or Exclusion Legend as follows:
a. On PS Form 2976-A, Customs Declaration and Dispatch Note - CP72 (large white form) customers should write one PFC, AES Downtime Citation, or Exemption or Exclusion Legend in Block 11.
b. On older versions of PS Form 2976-A printed prior to January 2009 customers should write one PFC, AES Downtime Citation, or Exemption or Exclusion Legend at the top of the form or in any clear space. Avoid writing over the barcode on the form.
The Freely Associated States listed in 2.2 are foreign destinations for the purposes of the Foreign Trade Regulations and other laws and regulations governing imports and exports. As such, certain goods shipped to these destinations from the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, or other U.S. territories may require an export license. To determine if an export license is required, go to http://www.export.gov/regulation/index.asp or call: 1-800-USA-TRAD(E) (1-800-872-8723).
When an export license is required under 2.5.7, a PS Form 2976-A is always required. The electronically generated License Number must appear in Block 13, and a PFC or AES Downtime Citation must appear in Block 11 of the customs declaration form. See IMM 520 and 530 for complete requirements. In addition, it is the mailer's responsibility to comply with the U.S. Census Bureau's requirements for filing electronic export information, as described in 2.5.1 and 2.5.2. A PFC or AES Downtime Citation should appear on the customs declaration form as described in 2.5.6.
The USPS establishes and maintains Post Offices, stations, and branches for customer convenience.
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.
3.1.4 Military Post Offices
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-price mail; such mailings must be deposited at (nonmilitary) U.S. Post Offices.
3.2 Holiday Service
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.
Exhibit 3.2a Holidays Widely Observed
Exhibit 3.2b Holidays Not Widely Observed
4.1 Basic Standards
4.1.1 Philatelic Policy
A single national USPS policy governs postage stamps and postal stationery, including their release, sale, and discontinuance.
4.1.2 Stamp Subjects
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.
4.1.3 Philatelic Availability
Stamps, postal stationery, and philatelic products are sold at various types of postal retail facilities. Post Offices establish special temporary retail 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.
4.1.4 Philatelic Mail Orders
Mail orders for postage stamps and other philatelic items must be directed to Stamp Fulfillment Services (see 8.1 for address). 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.
4.1.5 Philatelic Postmarking
Postmarking for philatelic (stamp collecting) purposes is provided at the request of collectors or cover servicers. The Postal Operations Manual contains USPS policy on philatelic postmarking, including cancellation devices, types of postmarks or cancellations, first day covers, and service conditions.
Special cancellations are inkjet cancellations in which a caption publicizing an event is used to cancel mail. Special cancellations may be used only in Post Offices with 190 revenue units for canceling large volumes of mail. Special cancellations are authorized only if the scheduled observance is for a national purpose for which Congress has made an appropriation, or is of general public interest and importance. Special cancellations are approved for a definite period not to exceed 6 months, and must not be conducted for private gain or profit.
Special cancellations are not authorized for events of interest primarily to a particular local group; for fraternal, political, religious, service, commercial, or trade organizations; for campaigns or events promoting the sale or use of private products or services; for idea or slogan promotions not directly connected with the event of general public interest and importance; for Post Office anniversaries; for recruitment programs; or for events that occur when all canceling machines in the Post Office are scheduled for other special cancellations.
Submit a written letter of request, on the requesting organization's letterhead, to the manager, Product Classification (see 8.1 for address) at least 4 months before the special cancellation will be used. The letter must include the following information:
b. Advance promotional materials that include a complete description and schedule of the event.
d. The wording of the special cancellation, which must be standardized and approved by the sponsor's national headquarters. Space available for the wording is limited to three lines of not more than 20 letters, numbers, or spaces each. Illustrations or designs cannot 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 for reuse of recurring annual cancellations must be submitted 4 months before the date the cancellation will be used again. For national cancellations, the national sponsor may submit a single request.
The USPS may curtail or revoke the use of any special cancellation when it is necessary to use special postmarking for USPS purposes.
More information about special cancellations is in the Postal Operations Manual.
A mailer must affix First-Class Mail 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.
5.1.1 Legal Foundation
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, Product Classification, USPS Headquarters (see 8.1 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, Product Classification.
Product Classification, USPS Headquarters, is responsible for reviewing initial reports of possible violations of the Private Express Statutes. When warranted by the facts, possible violations are forwarded to the USPS General Counsel for further action.
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 8.1 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:
7.0 Trademarks and Copyrights of the USPS
7.1.1 Registered Marks
7.1.2 Use of Registered Marks
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.
7.2.1 Copyrighted Material
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.
a. In editorial matter in newspapers, magazines, journals, books, philatelic catalogs, and philatelic albums.
c. In advertising matter, circulars, or price lists for the sale of newspapers, magazines, journals, books, philatelic catalogs, and philatelic albums containing illustrations of philatelic designs.
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).
8.1 Postal Service
Business Mail Acceptance
Business Mailer Support
Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee
Customer Service Standardization
Domestic Claims Appeals
Integrated Business Solutions, Shipping Services
Label Printing Center
Material Distribution Center
Money Order Branch
National Customer Support Center
Network Distribution Center Operations
New Business Opportunities
Postage Technology Management
Postal Inspection Service
Postal Inspection Service
Postal Inspection Service
Post Office Accounting Manager
Product Classification (formerly Mailing Standards)
Prohibitory Order Processing Center
Revenue Assessment and Control
Shipping Support, Shipping Services
Stamp Fulfillment Services
Transactions and Correspondence
8.2 Federal Agencies
Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms
Bureau of the Public Debt
Diplomatic Pouch Division
Office of the Federal Register
Plant Protection and Quarantine Programs
Postal Regulatory Commission
Superintendent of Documents
US Fish and Wildlife Service
8.3 Other Agencies
The Pricing and Classification Service Center (PCSC) and the district business mail entry offices provide guidance on mail classification, prices, 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.)
For return receipts mailed under the provisions in 601.11.5, 601.11.7, and 601.11.8, use the following address:
90 Church St Ste 3100
PCSC, PACT MAILING OFFICE
Exhibit 8.4.1 Contact Information for Business Mail Entry Offices, Grouped by Region and Listed by District and 3-Digit ZIP Code Service Area