260 Direct Sacks of Printed Matter to One Addressee
Direct sacks of printed matter to a single foreign addressee, which are also
known as M-bags, are subject to the following conditions of mailing:
• Maximum weight: 66 pounds (including the tare weight of the sack).
• Availability: All destinations that are referenced in the Individual
• Identification: PS Tag 158, M-Bag Addressee Tag, must be completed
and attached to the neck of the sack.
• Postage: The applicable airmail, economy (formerly surface), or
International Surface Air Lift (ISAL) postage must be affixed to PS Tag
• Special services: Certificate of mailing and recorded delivery are
available. Return receipts and restricted delivery are available in
conjunction with recorded delivery. Registry and insurance are not
261.21 Printed Matter
Printed matter is admissible in M-bags. Printed matter is defined as paper on
which words, letters, characters, figures, images, or any combination thereof,
not having the character of a bill or statement of account, or of actual or
personal correspondence, have been reproduced by any process other than
handwriting or typewriting. Articles that meet the printed matter definition
include newspapers, magazines, journals, books, sheet music, catalogues,
directories, commercial advertising, and promotional matter.
Articles of merchandise may be enclosed in M-bags, provided that all of the
following conditions of mailing are met:
a. The merchandise items being sent are limited to disks, tapes, and
cassettes; commercial samples shipped by manufacturers and
distributors; or other non-dutiable commercial articles or informational
materials that are not subject to resale.
b. The merchandise items relate to the printed matter (see 261.21) with
which they are being mailed.
c. The merchandise items are affixed to or are otherwise combined with
the accompanying printed matter.
d. The weight of each mailpiece or package, which contains merchandise
in combination with printed matter, may not exceed 4 pounds.
e. The M-bag must be accompanied by a fully completed PS Form 2976,
Customs - CN 22 (Old C1) and Sender's Declaration, which is to be
affixed to PS Tag 158, M-bag Addressee Tag.
262.11 Airmail M-bags
M-bags that are paid for at the airmail rate of postage may contain any type
of allowable printed matter or merchandise items (see 261.22). See the
Individual Country Listings for the minimum bag charge for "weights up to 11
pounds" and the per-pound rate for "each additional pound or fraction of a
pound" over 11 pounds.
262.12 Economy (Surface) M-bags
Economy (surface) M-bags that contain either publishers' periodicals (see
294) or books and sheet music (see 295) are subject to postage rates that
are specifically applicable to those two categories of printed matter. Mailers
who enter other types of qualifying printed matter, or printed matter in
combination with allowable merchandise items, are required to pay the
"regular" M-bag postage rates. See the Individual Country Listings for the
minimum bag charge for "weights up to 11 pounds" and the per-pound rate
for "each additional pound or fraction of a pound" over 11 pounds.
Exception: The 200 pieces or 50 pounds minimum entry requirement
(see 295.12) does not apply to books and sheet music that are enclosed
in an M-bag. Economy (surface) M-bags containing that category of
printed matter may be tendered at either Postal Service retail counters or
bulk mail acceptance locations.
262.13 International Surface Air Lift (ISAL) M-bags
M-bags that are entered in conjunction with an International Surface Air Lift
(ISAL) mailing (see 293) may contain all types of allowable printed matter or
merchandise items (see 261.22). See 293.71 for the rate of postage that
applies to M-bags mailed to each ISAL destination country.
262.2 Payment of Postage
262.21 Postage Calculation
The amount of postage paid by the mailer is determined by the weight of the
sack's contents, rounded to the next whole pound. For example, if the total
weight of the printed matter in an M-bag is 23.2 pounds, exclusive of the tare
weight of the sack, the postage computation is based on a total content
weight of 24 pounds.
262.22 Stamps, Postage Meter, PVI Labels, or Permit Imprint
M-bag postage can be paid by the following means:
a. By affixing postage stamps, meter stamps, or a postage validation
imprinter (PVI) label to PS Tag 158, M-Bag Addressee Tag.
b. By placing a permit imprint on PS Tag 158, M-Bag Addressee Tag, and
making payment through an advance deposit account. When this
method of payment is used, the minimum quantity requirement (i.e.,
200 pieces or 50 pounds) that is normally a prerequisite for permit
imprint usage (see 152.32) does not apply. The postage
amount must be accounted for on PS Form 3651-M, Postage
Statement - International M-Bag - Permit Imprint. (Note: PS Form
3651-M is not to be used when publishers' periodicals are mailed in
M-bags. See 294.262)
263 Weight and Size Limits
There is no minimum weight requirement for the entry of airmail M-bags,
economy (surface) M-bags, or International Surface (ISAL) M-bags. The
maximum weight limit for any type of M-bag is 66 pounds, which includes the
tare weight of the sack.
Note: Customers who tender M-bags that weigh less than 11 pounds are
required to pay the minimum "11-pound bag charge" that is applicable to
the country of destination where the sack and its contents are to be
263.2 Size Limits
There are no defined size limits so long as articles being sent can be
enclosed in the mailbag.
264 Preparation Requirements
Printed matter, or printed matter in combination with merchandise items, must
be placed into one or more individual packages bearing the name and
address of the sender and addressee. Each package must be marked
"POSTAGE PAID - M-BAG."
264.2 Sacking and Labeling
The sacks and mailing tags (i.e., PS Tag 158) needed for M-bag entry can be
obtained from local Post Office facilities. Airmail pouches, if available, will be
furnished to customers who intend to utilize that type of M-bag service.
PS Tag 158, M-Bag Addressee Tag, must be completed and attached to the
neck of the sack. It must bear the requisite amount of stamped or metered
postage or the sender's authorized permit imprint or indicia (see 262.2).
264.23 Multiple Sacks to One Addressee
If multiple sacks are sent to the same foreign addressee, PS Tag 158 must
be marked with an identifiable fraction such as 1/5, 2/5, 3/5, etc.
264.24 Country Destination Name
The Post Office facility must label the sack with the name of the country of
destination in large letters and the name of the U.S. dispatching exchange
office in small letters (for example, Great Britain via New York), and send it to
that exchange office for dispatch to destination.
M-bags that contain potentially dutiable printed matter or any category of
printed matter that is combined with allowable merchandise items (see
261.22) must be accompanied by a fully completed PS Form 2976,
Customs - CN 22 (Old C1) and Sender's Declaration, which is to be affixed
to PS Tag 158, M-bag Addressee Tag.