Quick Service Guide 201b
Commercial Letters and Postcards
Using Tabs, Wafer Seals, and Glue Strips
May, 11 2009
Unenveloped letter-size mailpieces prepared for automation mailings must be secured (tabbed) to prevent an open edge from jamming high-speed processing equipment. Standards for tabbing are based on basis weight of paper stock used and the location of the folded or bound edge. As an alternative to tabs or wafer seals, the open edge of the length of the mailpiece may be continuously glued or spot glued. Continuous glue or spot glue is permissible with single-sheet self-mailers and postcards.
Physical Standards (201.3.11)
Number and location of tabs or wafer seals are specified for particular types of letter-size mail. In all cases, additional tabs may be used.
Tabs, wafer seals, cellophane tape, or permanent glue (continuous or spot) must not interfere with recognition of the barcode, rate marking, postage identification, or required address information. In all cases additional tabs or seals may be used. Cellophane tape is not acceptable within the barcode clear zone. Tabs or wafer seals placed in the barcode clear zone must contain a paper face meeting the standards for background reflectance and, if the barcode is not preprinted by the mailer, the standards for water-based ink.
Adequate adhesion is required.
Basis weight: the minimum basis weight standards vary, depending on the construction of the mailpiece (see below) and the sheet size below.
Letter-Size Folded Self-Mailers (201.3.14)
Folded edge (top or bottom) must be parallel to the longest dimension (length) and address of the mailpiece.
With one tab or wafer seal: folded edge at bottom of mailpiece, tab or wafer seal in middle of top edge of mailpiece.
With two tabs or wafer seals: minimum basis weight 20 pounds (17 by 22 inches by 500 sheets) if folded edge is at top or bottom of the mailpiece. Tabs or wafer seals must be placed within 1 inch of the right and left edges of mailpiece (see reverse).
With folded edge on right (leading) edge: left (trailing) edge and other open edges must be secured with at least one tab or a glue line; additional tabs may be required based on trim size and basis weight.
Letter-Size Booklet-Type Mailpiece (18.104.22.168)
The bound edge (spine) must be at the bottom and parallel to the longest dimension (length) and the address of the mailpiece, unless preapproved by the USPS. The mailpiece must be tabbed (secured) in one of two ways:
Cover must have a minimum basis weight of 20 pounds.
With spine on right (leading) edge: minimum basis weight 20-pound bond paper. Address must be parallel to longest dimension (length) and unbound left (trailing) edge must be tabbed (secured):
Minimum basis weight 75 pounds or greater. Double postcards must have folded edge at the top or bottom. The open edge must be secured with one tab in the middle.
Flat-Size Booklet-Type Mailers (301.3.7)
The contents of the mailpiece prepared in sleeves or other wrappers must be sufficiently secure in the sleeve or wrapper to stay in place during processing. If material bearing the delivery information or barcode for the mailpiece is enclosed in a partial wrapper, that wrapper must be sufficiently secure to prevent the contents from shifting and obscuring the delivery address or barcode.