771 Mail of Domestic Origin
Items that originate in the United States and are found to be undeliverable in
the destination country will generally be returned to the U.S. sender.
Ordinary (unregistered) items of printed matter, other than books, are not
returned, unless the sender has requested their return. Parcels whose
customs declaration requests abandonment in event of nondelivery are
usually not returned.
Mail returned to the United States should bear an endorsement specifying the
reason for nondelivery. The following French and Spanish language
endorsements are frequently noted on returned mail:
Adresse Insuffisant (Fr)
Insufficiente (direccion) (Sp)
Left (Gone Away)
Left (Gone Away)
Non Reclame (Fr)
No Reclamado (Sp)
Objets Interdits (Fr)
Objectos Prohibidos (Sp)
License d' Importation Manque (Fr)
No Import License
De passe le Poids Reglementaire (Fr)
En Sus de la Norme (contenu) (Fr)
Contents Exceed the Limits
771.4 Remailing of Returned Mail
New postage must be applied to returned items, which are subsequently
reentered into the mail.
771.5 Return Charges for Letter-Post Mail
771.51 General Procedure
Except as noted in 771.52, undeliverable-as-addressed letter-post mail that a
foreign postal administration returns to the U.S. sender is not subject to the
payment of return charges. This provision applies to postal items that were
originally entered at the following rates of postage:
a. Airmail or economy (surface) letter-post.
b. Postcard or postal card.
c. International Priority Airmail (IPA).
d. Airmail or economy (surface) M-bag.
e. International Surface Airlift (ISAL).
f. Economy (surface) books and sheet music.
g. Economy (surface) publishers' periodicals.
Delivery Post Office facilities should collect return charges from the U.S.
sender under the following circumstances:
a. If a returned letter-post item bears a short-paid endorsement that was
originally applied by the Postal Service dispatching exchange office, the
delivery office should collect the amount of the postage deficiency that
would otherwise have been collected from the foreign addressee.
b. If a returned letter-post item bears a collection instruction that was
applied by a Postal Service International Service Center (ISC),
international exchange office, or mail recovery center, the delivery office
should collect the "due amount" that is specified on the mailpiece.
771.6 Return Charges for Parcel Post
On delivery to the sender, return parcels are subject to collection of return
postage and any other charges, including charges assessed by the foreign
postal authorities. The amount of such charges will be indicated by the
international exchange office, usually on a PS Form 2993, Returned or
Redirected Parcel (label).
771.71 Refused by Sender
If the sender refuses a returned parcel, it must be disposed of as dead parcel
771.72 Sender Has Moved to Another U.S. Address
If the sender has moved to another address in the United States, the returned
parcel may be redirected, subject to forwarding postage, at the U.S. domestic
771.73 Sender Has Moved to Another Country
If the sender has moved to another country, the Post Office facility must hold
the parcel and request instructions from the international claims and inquiries
office that handles international inquiries for the country in which the sender
(or address) of the parcel is located. Requests should be sent to the
postmaster at the appropriate international claims and inquiries office shown
in 931.22, and include the following information:
a. New address of the sender.
b. Amount of return charges due on the parcel.
c. Weight of the parcel.
d. Whether the parcel is insured.
e. Nature and value of the contents as shown on the customs declaration.
772 Mail of Foreign Origin
772.11 Reason for Nondelivery
At the end of the retention period, undeliverable items must be endorsed with
the reason for nondelivery (see DMM 507).
Apply a legible postmark to back of return letters and front of return
Cross out but do not obliterate the address, and draw an arrow to return
772.14 Method of Return
Undeliverable airmail letters and cards and all letter-post items marked
"PRIORITY" are returned to origin by air. All parcels and other items are
returned by surface. Any "AIRMAIL" or "PAR AVION" endorsements or label
must be obliterated on undeliverable items returned by surface.
772.15 Abandoned Parcel
If the sender of a parcel has given instructions on the wrapper or dispatch
note that the parcel is to be abandoned if undeliverable, endorse the parcel
"ABANDONED" (see 772.32c).
772.2 Dutiable Mail
Detach both copies of Customs Form (CF) 3419, Mail Entry - Customs, and
treat them in accordance with 713.33 and 713.52.
772.31 General Procedure
Dispatch undeliverable air letters, aerogrammes, and air postcards bearing a
return address to the appropriate air exchange office as if they were
originating mail. Dispatch all other undeliverable air items and all
undeliverable surface items to the appropriate surface exchange office as if
they were originating mail.
The following exceptions apply:
a. Postcards that do not bear the sender's request for return and
postcards with no return address are disposed of in accordance with
b. Ordinary (unregistered) printed matter, other than books, which does
not bear the sender's request for return, is disposed of in accordance
with DMM 507. Books and registered prints must always be returned to
c. Parcels with no return address or endorsed "ABANDONED" (see
772.15) must be sent to the appropriate mail recovery center. If the
parcel was assessed duty, detach Customs Form (CF) 3419 and report
it as an uncollected item (see 713.52) before forwarding it to the
appropriate mail recovery center.
d. Canadian Periodicals Mail publications are treated in accordance with
e. Canadian originating mail of all classifications not covered by a and b
above and not bearing the sender's name and address must be sent to
the following address:
UNDELIVERABLE MAIL OFFICE
CANADA POST CORPORATION
1860 MIDLAND AVE UNIT 1
SCARBOROUGH ON M1P 2M0
780 Items Mailed Abroad by or on Behalf of Senders in
the United States
781 Postage Payment Required
Payment of U.S. postage is required to secure delivery of mail when the
mailing is by or on behalf of a person or firm that is a resident of the United
States and the foreign postage rate applied to such items is lower than the
comparable U.S. domestic postage rate.
A resident of the United States includes any firm that has a place of business
in the United States or is incorporated or otherwise organized in the United
States, its territories, or its possessions.
A mailing is made by or on behalf of a person or firm that is a resident of the
United States if such a resident seeks or expects to derive economic benefit
or advantage from that mailing.
A place of business in the United States is any location in the United States,
its territories, or its possessions where a firm's employees or agents regularly
have personal contact with other individuals for conducting the firm's
business. For the purposes of this section, a firm whose employees or agents
have personal contact with others for conducting the firm's business in
different places in the United States for short periods (for example, at hotels
in different cities for 1 or 2 days at a time) is considered to have a place of
business in the United States if the aggregate amount of time spent in the
United States is 180 days or more within 12 consecutive months.
The use of a nonexclusive agent in the United States for the sole purpose of
accepting orders and remissions for transmission to a firm in another country
or for the sole purpose of distributing merchandise manufactured in another
country and shipped to the United States in bulk does not by itself establish a
place of business in the United States.
783 Advance Payment Required
A sender affected by the provisions in 781 must submit a sample mailpiece
(envelope and contents) from the proposed mailing; a statement about the
number of items to be mailed, the date of mailing, and the place of mailing;
and a check, made payable to the U.S. Postal Service, to cover the amount
of the applicable U.S. postage. The sample mailpiece, statement, and check
must be sent to:
MANAGER INTERNATIONAL PRODUCTS
US POSTAL SERVICE
475 L'ENFANT PLZ SW RM 3216
WASHINGTON DC 20260-3216
Headquarters provides notification of postage acceptance and approval of
the mailing to the sender and to the receiving U.S. exchange office. This
notification permits the items in the mailing to go forward to the addressees
without delay when the items reach the United States.
Items may be returned to origin or disposed of in accordance with Postal
Service regulations if U.S. postage is not paid.
A mailing subject to the provisions in 781 received without advance payment
of U.S. domestic postage is held at the receiving U.S. exchange office. The
exchange office reports the mailing to the manager of International Pricing,
Postal Service Headquarters. (The exchange office is advised to release the
mail when the applicable postage is paid.) The report must contain the
a. Title and/or nature of the items.
b. Identity of the sender.
c. Number of items detained.
d. Weight of a single item.
e. Foreign postage paid per item.
f. Country of mailing.
785 Report of Mailings
The receiving U.S. exchange office must report any mail appearing to be
subject to the provisions of this subchapter to the manager of International
Pricing, Postal Service Headquarters.