As of January 27, 2013, the U.S. Postal Service no longer sells international reply coupons. However, coupons previously sold by the U.S. Postal Service can still be used or exchanged (see 381.2). The following standards apply to international reply coupons:
- The sender of a letter may prepay a reply by purchasing reply coupons that are sold and exchangeable for postage stamps by participating postal administrations in member countries of the Universal Postal Union.
- International reply coupons (in French, Coupons-Reponse Internationaux) are printed in blue ink on paper that has the letters “UPU” in large characters in the watermark. The front of each coupon is printed in French. The reverse side of the coupon, which has text relating to its use, is printed in German, English, Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, or Russian.
The following standards apply to the exchange of international reply coupons:
- International reply coupons sold by the United States Postal Service prior to January 27, 2013, are exchangeable in any other member country for a stamp or stamps representing the minimum postage on an unregistered air letter. Unused U.S. coupons (that is, those with the U.S. selling price stamped on them that are not ultimately redeemed by recipients in other countries) may be exchanged only by the original purchaser for United States postage stamps at a discount of 1 cent below the purchase price.
- With the exceptions noted in 381.3d, international reply coupons purchased in foreign countries are exchangeable at U.S. Post Office facilities toward the purchase of postage stamps and embossed stamped envelopes at the current maximum First-Class Mail International 1-ounce, letter-size price, per coupon, irrespective of the country where they were purchased. See Notice 123, Price List.
The following standards apply when processing international reply coupons:
- Under Universal Postal Union’s regulations, participating member countries are not required to place a control stamp or postmark on the international reply coupons that they sell. Therefore, some foreign issue reply coupons that are tendered for redemption may bear the name of the issuing country (generally in French) rather than the optional control stamp or postmark. Such coupons are exchangeable for U.S. postage as specified in 381.2b.
- A Post Office facility redeeming an unused U.S. coupon must postmark it in the unpostmarked circle. A Post Office facility exchanging a foreign reply coupon must postmark it. Post Office facilities must not accept foreign coupons that already bear a United States Postal Service postmark.
- The only valid version of the international reply coupons printed by the Universal Postal Union is Item Number 330800, which is approximately 3.75 inches by 6 inches, has a barcode on the reverse side, and has an expiration date of December 31, 2013.
- Reply coupons formerly issued by the Postal Union of the Americas and Spain are no longer valid. These coupons are printed in green ink and bear the caption Cupon Respuesta America-Espanol. Customers possessing any of these coupons should return them to their correspondents in the country of issue for redemption through the selling post office.
- Postmasters must process exchanged foreign and redeemed U.S. international reply coupons as prescribed in Handbook F-101, Field Accounting Procedures, in section 11-6.6, “International Reply Coupons.”