International Business Reply Service (IBRS) (in French, “Correspondance Commerciale-Réponse Internationale,” abbreviated “CCRI”) is similar to domestic business reply mail service. It allows envelopes and cards to be distributed to and deposited in certain foreign countries for return to the addressee in the United States without prepayment of postage. Postage and service fees are collected from the U.S. addressee at delivery. Extra services cannot be used with IBRS.
IBRS is available to every country and territorial possession in the world that is a destination point for U.S.–originating international mail. To be admissible in the international mails IBRS envelopes and cards must conform to the size, weight, and format requirements that are specified in 382.5 and 382.6 respectively. Qualifying mailpieces receive airmail treatment upon being returned by the foreign postal administrations to United States addressees. See 382.4 for the standard IBRS fees that apply to each envelope or card that is returned to the holder of a business reply mail (BRM) permit.
Note: Domestic business reply items are not mailable outside the United States. If deposited in a foreign postal system they will be treated in accordance with that country’s internal postal regulations and may not be returned to the U.S. addressee.
In order to initiate IBRS mail the U.S. sender must be a business reply mail (BRM) permit holder who has paid the prescribed accounting fee to participate in the Qualified Business Reply Mail (QBRM) program (see DMM 507). Prior to producing IBRS mail the mailers must advise in writing the postmaster of the Post Office facility where their permit is held that they intend to distribute IBRS mail. IBRS mail must meet all specifications of QBRM including using unique ZIP+4®codes identification of the price category and using the corresponding barcode. The postmaster must assign the unique ZIP+4 codes as part of the application process. Participating mailers are encouraged to submit preproduction samples for approval. The postmaster responsible will issue a letter of authorization to the mailer.
See Notice 123, Price List, for the applicable fees that apply to each card, or each envelope (up to a 2-ounce maximum).
Note: The fee for each returned IBRS envelope and card includes the per piece charge that is applied to domestic business reply service and subject to QBRM accounting procedures. It is not necessary for the sender to obtain a separate international business reply permit to have IBRS items processed through their advance deposit account.
The following size and weight requirements apply to cards:
- Minimum size: 3–1/2 by 5–1/2 inches.
- Maximum size: 4–1/4 by 6 inches.
- Thickness: Not less than .007 inch nor more than .016 inch.
Note: IBRS cards must be printed on paper stock meeting a standard industry basis weight of 75 pounds with none less than 71.25 pounds for 500 sheets measuring 25 inches by 38 inches and must also have a thickness of at least .007 inch and not more than .016 inch. The paper must be free from groundwood except when coated with a substance that adds to the paper’s ability to resist an applied bending force.
The following size and weight requirements apply to envelopes:
- Minimum size: 3–1/2 by 5–1/2 inches.
- Maximum size: 6–1/8 by 11–1/2 inches.
- Thickness: Not less than .007 inch or more than .2 inch.
- Maximum weight: 2 ounces.
See Exhibit 382.6 for an illustration of an IBRS mailpiece showing the items and formatting requirements discussed in 382.62 through 382.68.
The endorsement “AIR MAIL/PAR AVION” must appear in the upper left corner in reverse print. Immediately beneath this endorsement must appear the words “IBRS/CCRI NO.” followed by the permit number.
Each IBRS mailpiece must contain a Facing Identification Mark (FIM) pattern C printed at the top middle right on the address side of the mailpiece. The formatting requirements for the placement of the FIM are as follows:
- The top of the FIM C bar pattern must be within 1/8 of an inch of the edge of the mailpiece and may extend to the edge.
- The rightmost bar of the pattern must be within 2 inches (plus or minus 1/8 of an inch) of the right edge of the mailpiece.
- The FIM bars must be 5/8 of an inch long (plus or minus 1/8 of an inch).
- The entire FIM pattern must be completely contained within a rectangular clear zone measuring 1-1/4 inches in length and 5/8 of an inch in height, with its top edge formed by the top edge of the mailpiece and its right edge beginning 1-3/4 inches from the right edge of the mailpiece.
The endorsement “NE PAS AFFRANCHIR NO POSTAGE NECESSARY IF MAILED TO THE UNITED STATES” must appear in the upper right corner of the face of the piece with a partial diagonal bar appearing in the upper left and lower right of the endorsement. The endorsement must not extend farther than 1-3/4 inches from the right edge of the mailpiece.
A vertical column of horizontal bars parallel to the length of the mailpiece must appear immediately below the endorsement “NO POSTAGE NECESSARY IF MAILED TO THE UNITED STATES.” The formatting requirements for the horizontal bars are as follows:
- The bars must be uniform in length and thickness — at least 1 inch long, and 1/16 of an inch to 3/16 of an inch thick.
- The bars must be evenly spaced.
- The lowest bar must not extend below the delivery address line, which is the line above the line containing the ZIP+4 code.
- There must be at least 1/2 of an inch clearance between the ZIP+4 code and the bars.
The legend “INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS REPLY MAIL/REPONSE PAYEE” or “INT’L BUSINESS REPLY MAIL/REPONSE PAYEE” must appear above the address. The formatting requirements for the legend are as follows
- The legend must appear in capital letters at least 1/8 of an inch high.
- Immediately below the legend, the words “PERMIT NO.” followed by the permit number and the issuing Post Office facility (city and state) must appear in capital letters.
- The information in items a and b must appear between two horizontal bars at least 3/32 of an inch thick and at least 1/2 inch apart.
- The endorsement “POSTAGE WILL BE PAID BY ADDRESSEE” must appear in capital letters immediately below the lower horizontal bar.
The complete delivery address must appear on four lines as follows:
- The name of the permit holder.
- The street address and/or Post Office box number.
- The city, state, and unique preassigned ZIP+4 code.
- The country of destination (United States of America).
The formatting requirements for the complete delivery address are as follows:
- The bottom line of the address must be no lower than 5/8 of an inch from the bottom edge of the mailpiece and no higher than 2-1/4 inches.
- A clear margin void of any extraneous matter of at least 1/2 inch is required between the left edge of the mailpiece and the delivery address.
The unique ZIP+4 POSTNET™ or optional Intelligent Mail® barcode preassigned by the U.S. Postal Service must appear on the address side of each IBRS mailpiece. When a mailer uses the Intelligent Mail barcode option, the barcode must contain the barcode ID, service type ID, and correct ZIP+4 routing code, as specified in DMM 708.4.3. In addition, effective May 2011, the barcode must also contain a USPS-assigned Mailer ID.
The unique preassigned ZIP+4 barcode must appear on the address side of the mailpiece, positioned in either of the following two locations:
- As part of the delivery address block as defined in DMM 202.5.7.
- If printed directly on the mailpiece, within the barcode clear zone in the lower right corner of the piece. When a mailer uses this option, the “barcode read area” must be free of any printing other than the barcode. The formatting requirements for the barcode clear zone are as follows:
- The read area extends 5/8 of an inch from the bottom and
4-3/4 inches from the right edge of the mailpiece.
- The leftmost bar must be between 3-1/2 inches and 4-1/4 inches from the right edge of the mailpiece .
- The bottom of the barcode must be at least 3/16 inch from the bottom edge of the mailpiece.
- The top of the barcode must be no more than 1/2 inch from the bottom edge of the mailpiece.
Format Requirements — US IBRS
Mailers in the countries listed in 382.2 may be authorized to distribute IBRS mail in the United States. These items similar to the format in Exhibit 382.7 are accepted without the prepayment of postage for return by air to the destination country. These items are forwarded with ordinary letters and cards to the designated international air exchange office for return to the appropriate country.
Format Requirements — Foreign IBRS