USPS Homepage Skip NavigationUSPS Home | Postal Explorer Home
 
Go to previous section of document Link to chapter contents    Link to index Go to next section of document

240 Letter-Post

241 Description

241.1 Definition

The letter-post classification encompasses all of the classes of international mail: letters and letter packages, post and postal cards, aerogrammes, printed matter, and small packets that were formerly categorized as LC (letters and cards) and AO (other articles).

241.2 Mailable Matter

Any article that is otherwise acceptable and not prohibited by the country of destination, subject to applicable weight and size limits, may also be mailed at the letter-post rate, either airmail or economy.

242 Postage

242.1 Rates

The country-specific rate group designations that apply to airmail and economy (surface) letter-post items, airmail and economy (surface) M-bags (see 260), and books and sheet music (see 295) are as follows:

Rate Group 1 Rate Group 2 Rate Group 3 Rate Group 4 Rate Group 5
Canada Mexico Andorra
Belgium
Denmark
Faroe Islands
Finland
France
Germany
Gibraltar
Great Britain
Greece
Greenland
Iceland
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Liechtenstein
Luxembourg
Netherlands
Norway
Portugal
San Marino
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
Vatican City
Australia
Japan
New Zealand
All other destination countries and territorial possessions that are referenced in the Individual Country Listings.

Note: See the Individual Country Listings for the airmail and economy (surface) postage rates that are applicable to specific destination countries and territorial possessions.

Return to top of page

242.2 Payment of Postage

Mailers of letter-post items may pay postage with postage stamps, postage meter stamps, postage validation imprinter (PVI) label, and by permit imprint.

243 Weight and Size Limits

243.1 Weight Limit

The weight limit is 4 pounds.

243.2 Size Limits

243.21 Envelopes and Packages

a. Minimum length and height: 5-1/2 x 3-1/2 inches.

b. Minimum depth (thickness): .007 inch.

c. Maximum length: 24 inches.

d. Maximum length, height, depth (thickness) combined: 36 inches.

243.22 Rolls

a. Minimum length: 4 inches.

b. Minimum length plus twice the diameter combined: 6-3/4 inches.

c. Maximum length: 36 inches.

d. Maximum length plus twice the diameter combined: 42 inches.

243.23 Cards

Unenclosed cards exceeding the size limits for postcards are admissible at the letter-post rate if they do not exceed 4-3/4 x 9-1/4 inches.

243.24 Nonmachinable Surcharge

A $0.13 per-piece surcharge is applied to an airmail letter-post item (but not to an economy (surface) letter-post item) that weighs 1 ounce or less, if it has one or more of the following characteristics:

a. Has any dimension that exceeds the acceptable standard dimension - i.e., if length exceeds 11-1/2 inches, or if height exceeds 6-1/8 inches, or if thickness exceeds 1/4 inch.

b. Has an aspect ratio (length divided by height) of less than 1.3 or more than 2.5.

c. Is polybagged, polywrapped, or enclosed in any plastic material.

d. Has clasps, strings, buttons, or similar closure devices.

e. Contains items such as pens, pencils, or loose keys or coins that cause the thickness of the mailpiece to be uneven.

f. Is too rigid (does not bend easily when subjected to a transport belt tension of 40 pounds around an 11-inch diameter turn).

g. For pieces more than 4-1/4 inches high or 6 inches long, the thickness is less than 0.009 inch.

h. Has a delivery address parallel to the shorter dimension of the mailpiece.

i. For self-mailers with a folded edge perpendicular to the address, the piece is not secured according to DMM 201.

j. For booklet-type pieces, the bound edge (spine) is the shorter dimension of the piece or is at the top, regardless of the use of tabs, wafer seals, or other fasteners.

Return to top of page

244 Preparation Requirements

244.1 Addressing

See 122.

244.2 Marking

a. Letter-post items, which because of their size, shape, or configuration might be mistaken for another class of international mail, should be marked "LETTER" on the address side of the mailpiece.

b. Letter-post items that are paid for at the airmail rate of postage must be marked "AIRMAIL/PAR AVION" or have PS Label 19-A, Par Avion Airmail, or PS Label 19-B, Par Avion Airmail, affixed to the address side of the mailpiece.

c. Mailpieces that are paid for at the economy (surface) rate of postage for books and sheet music must be marked "BOOKS" or "SHEET MUSIC," as applicable. See 295.41.

d. Economy (surface) items that qualify as matter for the blind must bear the marking "FREE MATTER FOR THE BLIND" in the upper-right corner of the address side of the mailpiece. See 274.2.

e. Privately printed postcards must bear the marking "POSTCARD." See 251.14.

244.3 Sealing

Unregistered letter-post items may be sealed at the sender's option. Registered items must be sealed. (See 334.4 for sealing requirements for registered mail.)

244.4 Packaging

The following packaging methods may be used when entering letter-post items:

a. Mail matter is admissible in envelopes, sleeves, or wrappers of varying sizes and thickness. Note: Transparent plastic packaging is acceptable for international mailing purposes.

b. Bulkier items are admissible in boxes, cartons, tubes, or other types of containers that are commonly used to transmit shipments that are in package form.

c. Folded mailpieces, without envelopes, are admissible, provided that all of the open sides are secured with tape, tabs, or wafer seals of sufficient quantity and strength as to prevent the mailpieces from opening or being damaged during postal handling.

d. Letter-post items, in card form, are admissible, so long as their overall dimensions do not exceed 4-3/4 X 9-1/4 inches. See 243.23.

Return to top of page

244.5 Customs Forms Required

244.51 Dutiable Merchandise

a. Any merchandise sent to another country may be subject to duty under the customs regulations of that country. The Postal Service does not maintain or provide information concerning the assessment of customs duty.

b. Letter-post items may contain dutiable merchandise unless the country of destination prohibits dutiable merchandise in letters. (See Individual Country Listings.)

c. When mailing articles that may be dutiable, sender must comply with 123.61 and with special instructions under "Customs Forms Required" and "Observations" in Individual Country Listings.

244.52 Nondutiable Merchandise

Nondutiable merchandise may be mailed (at the sender's risk) to countries that do not accept dutiable merchandise. The Postal Service assumes no responsibility for the treatment such items may receive in the country of destination.

Note: Because PS Form 2976 described in 123.61, generally denotes dutiable contents, it should be omitted from letter-post mail when the sender knows the contents are not dutiable, unless the item weighs 16 ounces or more.

Go to previous section of document Link to chapter contents    Link to index Go to next section of document