1.0 Nonprofit Standard Mail
2.0 Overseas Military and Diplomatic Post Office Mail
3.0 Department of State Mail
4.0 Mail Sent by U.S. Armed Forces
5.0 Free Matter for the Blind and Other Physically Handicapped Persons
6.0 Official Mail (Franked)
7.0 Official Mail (Penalty)
8.0 Balloting Materials
9.0 Mixed Classes
Only organizations that meet the standards in 1.2, or 1.3, and that have received specific authorization from the USPS may mail eligible matter at any Nonprofit Standard Mail price, including Nonprofit Enhanced Carrier Route prices.
Specific authorization is required to mail at Nonprofit Standard Mail prices and may be used at any Post Office with PostalOne! access. Mailers are required to confirm authorization at non-PostalOne! Post Office locations before mailings will be accepted at Nonprofit Standard Mail prices.
Pieces mailed at the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices must meet the standards in 243 and the corresponding standards for any other discount or price claimed.
An organization described in 1.2.3 through 1.2.10 may be authorized to mail at the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices if it is not organized for profit and none of its net income inures to the benefit of any private stockholder or individual.
The standard of primary purpose used in the definitions in 1.2.3 through 1.2.10 requires that the organization be both organized and operated for the primary purpose. Organizations that incidentally engage in qualifying activities do not meet the primary purpose test.
A religious organization is a nonprofit organization whose primary purpose is to:
- Conduct religious worship (e.g., churches, synagogues, temples, or mosques);
- Support the religious activities of nonprofit organizations whose primary purpose is to conduct religious worship; or
- Further the teaching of particular religious faiths or tenets, including religious instruction and the dissemination of religious information.
An educational organization is a nonprofit organization whose primary purpose is the instruction or training of individuals for improving or developing their capabilities or the instruction of the public on subjects beneficial to the community. An organization may be educational even though it advocates a particular position or viewpoint, as long as it presents a sufficiently full and fair exposition of the pertinent facts to permit the formation of an independent opinion or conclusion. Conversely, an organization is not considered educational if its principal function is the mere presentation of unsupported opinion. These are examples of educational organizations:
- An organization (e.g., a primary or secondary school, a college, or a professional or trade school) that has a regularly scheduled curriculum, a regular faculty, and a regularly enrolled body of students in attendance at a place where educational activities are regularly carried on.
- An organization whose activities consist of presenting public discussion groups, forums, panels, lectures, or similar programs, including on radio or television.
- An organization that presents a course of instruction by correspondence or through the use of television or radio.
- Museums, zoos, planetariums, symphony orchestras, and similar organizations.
A scientific organization is a nonprofit organization whose primary purpose is to conduct research in the applied, pure, or natural sciences or to disseminate technical information dealing with the applied, pure, or natural sciences.
A philanthropic (charitable) organization is a nonprofit organization organized and operated to benefit the public. Examples include those that are organized to relieve the poor, distressed, or underprivileged; to advance religion, education, or science; to erect or maintain public buildings, monuments, or works; to lessen the burdens of government; or to promote social welfare for any of the above purposes or to lessen neighborhood tensions, eliminate prejudice and discrimination, defend human and civil rights secured by law, or combat community deterioration and juvenile delinquency. That an organization organized and operated to relieve indigent persons may receive voluntary contributions from those persons does not necessarily make it ineligible for Nonprofit Standard Mail prices as a philanthropic organization. That an organization, in carrying out its primary purpose, advocates social or civic changes or presents ideas on controversial issues to influence public opinion and sentiment to accept its views, does not necessarily make it ineligible for Nonprofit Standard Mail prices as a philanthropic organization.
An agricultural organization is a nonprofit organization whose primary purpose is the betterment of the conditions of those engaged in agricultural pursuits, the improvement of the grade of their products, and the development of a higher degree of efficiency in agriculture; or the collection and dissemination of information or materials about agriculture. The organization may further and advance agricultural interests through educational activities; by holding agricultural fairs; by collecting and disseminating information about cultivation of the soil and its fruits or the harvesting of marine resources; by rearing, feeding, and managing livestock, poultry, bees, etc.; or by other activities related to agricultural interests.
A labor organization is a nonprofit organization whose primary purpose is the betterment of the conditions of workers. Labor organizations include, but are not limited to, organizations in which employees or workers participate, whose primary purpose is to deal with employers on grievances, labor disputes, wages, hours of employment, working conditions, etc. (e.g., labor unions and employee associations).
A veterans’ organization is a nonprofit organization of veterans of the armed services of the United States, or an auxiliary unit or society of, or a trust or foundation for, any such post or organization.
A fraternal organization is a nonprofit organization whose primary purpose is fostering fellowship and mutual benefits among its members. For this standard, a qualified fraternal organization must also be organized under a lodge or chapter system with a representative form of government; must follow a ritualistic format; and must be composed of members elected to membership by vote of the members. Qualifying fraternal organizations include the Masons, Knights of Columbus, Elks, and college fraternities or sororities, and may have members of either or both sexes. Fraternal organizations do not encompass such organizations as business leagues, professional associations, civic associations, or social clubs.
These political committees may be authorized to mail at the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices without regard to their nonprofit status:
- A national committee of a political party.
- A state committee of a political party.
- The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
- The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
- The National Republican Congressional Committee.
- The National Republican Senatorial Committee.
For the standards in 1.3.1:
- A national committee is the organization that, by virtue of the bylaws of a political party, is responsible for the day-to-day operations of such political party at the national level.
- A state committee is the organization that, by virtue of the bylaws of a political party, is responsible for the day-to-day operation of such political party at the state level.
Voting registration officials in a state or the District of Columbia are authorized to mail certain Standard Mail materials at the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (see 1.6.12).
These and similar organizations do not qualify for the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices, even if organized on a nonprofit basis:
- Automobile clubs.
- Business leagues.
- Chambers of commerce.
- Citizens’ and civic improvement associations.
- Mutual insurance associations.
- Political organizations (other than those specified in 1.3).
- Service clubs (e.g., Civitan, Kiwanis, Lions, Optimist, and Rotary).
- Social and hobby clubs.
- Associations of rural electric cooperatives.
- Trade associations.
State, county, and municipal governments are generally not eligible for the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices. However, a separate and distinct state, county, or municipal governmental organization that meets the criteria for any one of the specific categories in 1.2 may be eligible, notwithstanding its governmental status.
All matter mailed at the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices must identify the authorized nonprofit organization. The name and return address of the authorized nonprofit organization must be either on the outside of the mailpiece or in a prominent location on the material being mailed. Pseudonyms or bogus names of persons or organizations may not be used. If the piece bears any name and return address, it must be that of the authorized nonprofit organization. A well-recognized alternative designation (e.g., “The March of Dimes”) or abbreviation (e.g., “AFL-CIO”) may be used rather than the full organization name.
An organization authorized to mail at the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices may mail only its own matter at those prices. An authorized organization may not delegate or lend the use of its authorization to mail at the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices to any other person or organization.
No person or organization may mail, or cause to be mailed by contractual agreement or otherwise, any ineligible matter at the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices.
A cooperative mailing is subject to the following:
- A cooperative mailing may be made at the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices only when each of the cooperating organizations is individually authorized to mail at the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices at the Post Office where the mailing is deposited.
- A cooperative mailing involving the mailing of any matter on behalf of or produced for an organization not itself authorized to mail at the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices at the Post Office where the mailing is deposited must be paid at the applicable regular Standard Mail prices. The mailer may appeal the decision under 607.2.0.
- Exception: The standard in 1.6.3b does not apply to mailings by an organization authorized to mail at Nonprofit Standard Mail prices when both of the following conditions are met:
- Mailings must be soliciting monetary donations to the authorized mailer and not promoting or otherwise facilitating the sale or lease of any goods or services.
- The organization authorized to mail at Nonprofit Standard Mail prices is given a list of each donor, contact information (e.g., address, telephone number) for each, and the amount of the donation (or waives in writing the receipt of this list).
Nonprofit Standard Mail prices may not be used for the entry of material that advertises, promotes, offers, or, for a fee or consideration, recommends, describes, or announces the availability of:
- Any credit, debit, or charge card or similar financial instrument or account, provided by or through an arrangement with any person or organization not authorized to mail at the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices at the entry Post Office.
- Any insurance policy, unless the organization promoting the purchase of such policy is authorized to mail at the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices at the entry Post Office; the policy is designed for and primarily promoted to the members, donors, supporters, or beneficiaries of that organization; and the coverage provided by the policy is not generally otherwise commercially available as explained in 1.6.5.
- Any travel arrangement, unless the organization promoting the arrangement is authorized to mail at the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices at the entry Post Office; the travel contributes substantially (aside from the cultivation of members, donors, or supporters, or the acquisition of income or funds) to one or more of the purposes that constitute the basis for the organization’s authorization to mail at the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices; and the arrangement is designed for and primarily promoted to the members, donors, supporters, or beneficiaries of that organization.
- Any other product or service unless one of these exceptions is met:
- The sale of the product or the provision of such service is substantially related to the exercise or performance by the organization of one or more of the purposes used by the organization to qualify for mailing at the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices. The criteria in IRS regulations at 26 C.F.R. section 1.513-1(d), supplemented by the definitions in 1.6.6, are used to determine whether an advertisement, promotion, or offer for a product or service is for a substantially related product or service and, therefore, eligible for Nonprofit Standard Mail prices.
- The product or service is advertised in Standard Mail material meeting the prescribed content requirements for a periodical publication. The criteria in 1.6.8 are used to determine whether the Standard Mail material meets the content requirements for a periodical publication.
For the standard in 1.6.4b:
- Except as specified in 1.6.5c, the phrase not generally otherwise commercially available applies to the actual coverage stated in an insurance policy, without regard to the amount of the premiums, the underwriting practices, and the financial condition of the insurer. When comparisons are made with other policies, consideration is given to coverage benefits, limitations, and exclusions, and to the availability of coverage to the targeted recipients. When insurance policy coverages are compared to determine whether coverage in a policy offered by an organization is not generally otherwise commercially available, the comparison is based on the specific characteristics of the mailpiece recipients (e.g., geographic location or demographics).
- Except as specified in 1.6.5c, the types of insurance considered generally otherwise commercially available include, but are not limited to, homeowner’s, property, casualty, marine, professional liability (including malpractice), travel, health, life, airplane, automobile, truck, motorhome, motorbike, motorcycle, boat, accidental death, accidental dismemberment, Medicare supplement (Medigap), catastrophic care, nursing home, and hospital indemnity insurance.
- Coverage is considered not generally otherwise commercially available if either of the following conditions applies:
- The coverage is provided by the nonprofit organization itself (i.e., the nonprofit organization is the insurer).
- The coverage is provided or promoted by the nonprofit organization in a mailing to its members, donors, supporters, or beneficiaries in such a way that the members, donors, supporters, or beneficiaries may make tax-deductible donations to the nonprofit organization of their proportional shares of any income in excess of costs that the nonprofit organization receives from the purchase of the coverage by its members, donors, supporters, or beneficiaries.
For the standards in 1.6.4d:
- Standards established by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the courts with respect to 26 USC 513(a) and (c) of the Internal Revenue Code are used to determine whether the sale or provision of an advertised product or service, whether sold or offered by the organization or by another party, is substantially related to the qualifying purposes of an organization. (Advertisements in Standard Mail material that meet the content requirements for a periodical publication need not meet the substantially related standard to be mailable at the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices. See 1.6.8.)
- To be substantially related, the sale of the product or the provision of the service must contribute importantly to the accomplishment of one or more of the qualifying purposes of the organization. This means that the sale of the product or providing of the service must be directly related to accomplishing one or more of the purposes on which the organization’s authorization to mail at the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices is based. The sale of the product or providing of the service must have a causal relationship to the achievement of the exempt purposes (other than the production of income) of the authorized organization. (Income produced from selling an advertised product or providing a service does not make such action a substantially related activity, even if the income will be used to accomplish the purpose or purposes of the authorized organization.) See 26 C.F.R. section 1.513-1(d).
- If an organization pays Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT) on the income from the sale of a product or the provision of a service, that activity is by IRS definition not substantially related. See 26 U.S.C. section 512. The fact that an organization does not pay such tax, however, does not establish that the activity is substantially related because other criteria may exempt the organization from payment. See 26 C.F.R. section 1.513-1(e).
- Third-party paid advertisements may be included in material mailed at the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices if the products or services advertised are substantially related to one or more of the purposes for which the organization is authorized to mail at the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices. However, if the material contains one or more advertisements that are not substantially related, then the material is not eligible for the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices unless it is part of material that meets the content requirements described in 1.6.8 and is not disqualified from using the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices under another provision.
- Announcements of activities (e.g., bake sale, car wash, charity auction, oratorical contest) are considered substantially related if substantially all the work is conducted by the members or supporters of an authorized organization without compensation. See 26 U.S.C. section 513(a)(1); 26 C.F.R. section 1.513-1(e)(1).
- Advertisements for products and services, including products and services offered as prizes or premiums, are considered substantially related if the products and services are received by an authorized organization as gifts or contributions. See 26 U.S.C. section 513(a)(3); 26 C.F.R. section 1.513-1(e)(3).
- An advertisement, promotion, offer, or subscription order form for a periodical publication meeting the eligibility criteria in 207.4.0 and published by one of the types of nonprofit organizations listed in 1.2 is mailable at the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices.
- Unless the mailing is ineligible for the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices for other reasons, mailings will be accepted at the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices upon certification that income derived from the sale of products or services advertised in the mailing is not subject to the Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT) described at 26 U.S.C. section 512, and that each of the products or services is substantially related to the nonprofit organization’s qualifying purpose.
An authorized nonprofit organization’s material is not disqualified from being mailed at the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices solely because that material contains, but is not primarily devoted to:
- Acknowledgments of organizations or individuals who have made donations to the authorized organization.
- References to and a response card or other instructions for making inquiries about services or benefits available from membership in the authorized organization, if advertising, promotional, or application materials for such services or benefits are not included. For purposes of this section, descriptions of membership benefits available as a part of membership, including the use of adjectives, terms, conditions, and brand names, are permissible when they are a minor part of a solicitation or renewal request for membership payments. For purposes of this provision, “minor” is defined as “less than half.” Measurement is made in accordance with 188.8.131.52. The solicitation or renewal request in which, to a minor degree, membership benefits may be promoted is considered to include only a printed letter to prospective members or current members whose membership is about to expire, and not to any separate, distinct, or independent brochure, circular, flyer, or other documents. Such separate documents will be considered advertising if they contain any advertising, promotional, or application materials. Exception: A separate document prepared by the qualifying organization, consisting of one sheet, will be considered to be part of the solicitation letter if it describes the organization’s membership benefits and the solicitation letter does not describe the organization’s benefits but instead refers the reader to the separate document.
Advertisements for products and services in material that meets the content requirements for a periodical publication are mailable at the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices. The material mailed must meet these standards:
- Have a title. The title must be printed on the front cover page in a style and size of type that make it distinguishable from other information on the front cover page.
- Be formed of printed sheets. (It may not be reproduced by stencil, mimeograph, or hectograph. Reproduction by any other process is permitted.) Any style of type may be used.
- Contain an identification statement on one of the first five pages of the publication that includes these elements:
- Issue date. The date may be omitted if it is on the front cover or cover page.
- Statement of frequency showing when issues are to be published (daily; weekly; monthly; monthly except June; four times a year in June, August, September, and December; annually; irregularly, etc.).
- Name and address of the authorized organization, including street number, street name, and ZIP+4 or 5-digit ZIP Code. The street number and street name are optional if there is no letter carrier service.
- Issue number. Every issue of each publication is numbered consecutively in a series that may not be broken by assigning numbers to issues omitted. The issue number may be printed on the front or cover page instead of in the identification statement.
- International Standard Serial Number (ISSN), if applicable.
- Subscription price, if applicable.
- Consist of at least 25% nonadvertising matter in each issue. Advertising is defined in 207.4.12.
Announcements for premiums received as a result of a contribution or payment of membership dues are not considered advertisements if the membership dues or requested contribution is more than 4 times the cost of the premium item(s) offered and more than 2 times the represented value in the mailpiece, if any, of the premium item(s) offered.
A qualifying political committee under 1.3 may mail election-related materials, such as candidate endorsements, at the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices if the materials are exclusively of the qualifying political committee. Political mailings may not be made at the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices when a political candidate or anyone else not authorized to mail at the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices assists the qualifying political committee with the preparation or mailing of such materials, or pays any of the costs of preparation or mailing, or provides any consideration to the qualifying political committee in return for the mailing being made. The following are examples of political mailings that would not qualify for mailing at the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices:
- A mailing containing material identified as having been paid for by the campaign committee or treasurer of an individual candidate.
- A mailing containing circulars, flyers, brochures, or other printed matter prepared or printed by a political candidate or his or her campaign organization.
- A mailing on which the postage is paid for by a political candidate or his or her campaign organization.
- A mailing made on behalf of a candidate in return for a contribution to the qualifying political committee.
[1-17-16] The following products are mailable at Nonprofit Standard Mail prices:
- Low-cost items within the meaning of 26 USC 513(h)(2), Internal Revenue Code. At the beginning of each calendar year, the value of low-cost items is adjusted for cost of living. Effective January 1, 2016, the cost of such items cannot exceed $10.60. This is the cost to the authorized organization that mails the items or on whose behalf the items are mailed.
- Items donated or contributed to the qualified organization. Such items do not have to meet the definition of a low-cost item.
- A periodical publication (as defined in 207.4.0) of a nonprofit organization unless it is ineligible under 1.6 to be mailed at the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices.
The voting registration official may mail, at the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices, only qualifying Standard Mail matter that is required or authorized to be mailed at those prices by the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.
On request, an organization authorized to mail at the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices must provide evidence to the USPS, or cause evidence held by another party to be provided to the USPS, about the eligibility of any of its mail matter or mailings to be sent at those prices. Any failure to provide evidence needed for a ruling on the eligibility of matter to be sent at the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices, or to cause such evidence to be provided, is sufficient basis for a finding that the matter is not eligible for the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices, as well as for the revocation of the organization’s authorization to mail at the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices.
An application on Form 3624, Application to Mail at Nonprofit Standard Mail Prices, must be filed by an organization prior to being authorized to mail at Nonprofit Standard Mail prices. The applicant must indicate on Form 3624 the qualifying category of organization under which it seeks authorization.
No fee is charged for filing Form 3624.
Authorization to mail at Nonprofit Standard Mail prices does not relieve the mailer‘s obligation to obtain mailing permits and pay the required fees for mailing at presorted prices.
Form 3624 must be accompanied by evidence that the applicant meets the standards of a qualifying category in 1.2 and that the organization is nonprofit (e.g., a certificate of exemption from federal income tax). An exemption from the payment of federal income tax is not required to qualify for the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices. Such exemption is considered as evidence of qualification for preferred postal prices, but is not the controlling factor in the decision. When an organization submits proof that it is granted federal income tax exemption under 26 USC 501(c)(3), as a religious, educational, scientific, or philanthropic (charitable) organization; under 501(c)(5) as an agricultural or labor organization; under 501(c)(8) as a fraternal organization; or under 501(c)(19) as a veterans’ organization, it is considered as qualifying for the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices, unless other evidence discloses some disqualification.
Form 3624 filed by an organization seeking authorization as a qualified political committee must include evidence that the applicant meets the standards of one of the qualifying categories of political committees in 1.3; evidence of nonprofit status is not required.
Once an organization is authorized, it may mail at Nonprofit Standard Mail prices at any Post Office location that accepts presorted mailings within the United States. The Postal Service will issue a national Nonprofit Standard Mail authorization number to each organization authorized to mail at the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices. Authorized organizations must display this number in the appropriate space on each postage statement that accompanies a mailing at Nonprofit Standard Mail Prices.
An authorized organization, or organization pending authorization, wishing to mail at a non-PostalOne! Post Office location must file Form 3623, Request for Confirmation of Authorization (or Pending Authorization) to Mail at Nonprofit Standard Mail Prices, with the postmaster prior to mailings being made at Nonprofit Standard Mail prices.
No fee is charged for filing Form 3623.
If the organization name on Form 3623 is different from the one on USPS records, the applicant must revise the organization’s original application to reflect a name change by providing evidence that the organization name was officially changed (e.g., an official amendment to the organization’s Articles of Incorporation stating the former name and the new name and a letter issued by the Internal Revenue Service recognizing the name change).
Confirmation of authorization to mail at Nonprofit Standard Mail prices does not relieve the mailer‘s obligation to obtain mailing permits and pay the required fees for mailing at presorted prices.
An organization may not mail at Nonprofit Standard Mail prices at a Post Office before Form 3624 or Form 3623, if required, is approved.
While an application, or confirmation of authorization, is pending postage must be paid at applicable First-Class Mail or Priority Mail prices, or at applicable Standard Mail prices. The USPS records the difference between postage paid at regular Standard Mail prices and the postage that would have been paid at Nonprofit Standard Mail prices. No record is kept if postage is paid at First-Class Mail or Priority Mail prices.
If an authorization, or confirmation of authorization, to mail at Nonprofit Standard Mail prices is issued, the mailer may be refunded the postage paid at the Post Office where pending mailings were made for any amount that exceeds the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices since the effective date of the authorization or confirmation. No refund is made:
- If the application on Form 3624 is denied and no appeal is filed.
- If postage was paid at First-Class Mail or Priority Mail prices.
- For the period before the effective date of the authorization.
- If confirmation of authorization using Form 3623 is denied.
The effective date of the Nonprofit Standard Mail price authorization is the date of the application or the date of the organization’s eligibility, whichever is later.
The mailer may continue to mail in a pending status until a final decision is reached on an appeal of a denied application.
The PCSC manager may request additional information or evidence to support or clarify the application. Failure to provide such information is sufficient grounds to deny an application.
The PCSC manager rules on Form 3624 and Form 3623 and notifies the applicant directly.
If the application on Form 3624 or Form 3623 is denied, the applicant may submit a written appeal to the postmaster where the application was filed within 15 days of the applicant‘s receipt of the decision. After reviewing the file, if the PCSC manager still believes that the organization does not qualify to be authorized at Nonprofit Standard Mail prices, or the request for confirmation of authorization is not able to be confirmed, the applicable appeal is forwarded to the manager, Product Classification (see 608.8.0 for address), who issues the final agency decision.
The PCSC manager may initiate at any time a review of any organization authorized to mail at the Nonprofit Standard Mail prices. The PCSC manager may ask an organization for information or evidence to determine whether the organization is still qualified. Failure to provide such information is sufficient cause for revocation.
If it is found that authorization has been given to an organization that was not qualified at the time of application or later became unqualified, the PCSC manager notifies the organization of the proposed revocation and the reasons for it.
Revocation for cause under 1.11.2 takes effect 15 days from the organization’s receipt of the notice, unless the organization files a written appeal within that time through the PCSC with the manager, Product Classification (see 608.8.0 for address). The manager, Product Classification may ask the organization for more information or evidence to determine the organization’s eligibility. Failure to provide such information is sufficient grounds for denial of the appeal. The manager issues a written appeal decision directly to the organization.
The PCSC revokes an authorization to mail at Nonprofit Standard Mail prices if no Nonprofit Standard Mail price mailings are made by the authorized organization during a 2-year period. The PCSC notifies the organization of the revocation for nonuse.
First-Class Mail letter mail, including stamped cards and postcards, and sound-recorded communications that have the character of personal correspondence are given airlift service on a space available basis between overseas military Post Offices outside the 48 contiguous states, and between those military Post Offices and the point of embarkation or debarkation of this mail within the 50 states. Unless sent free under 4.0, sound recordings must be marked “Sound Recorded Personal Correspondence” by the mailer on the address side.
Only USPS-produced Flat Rate Boxes are eligible for the Flat Rate Box prices and are charged a flat rate regardless of the actual weight (up to 70 pounds) of the mailpiece or domestic destination. The Board Game Large Flat Rate Box, and Large Flat Rate Box and “special version of this box” identified with the additional logo: “Americasupportsyou.mil.” addressed to APO/FPO and DPO destinations are priced less than the conventional domestic Large Flat Rate Boxes. If the special version of the APO/FPO Flat Rate Box is used for non-APO/FPO and DPO destination addresses, the domestic or international Large Flat Rate Box prices will apply.
Parcels of any class, paid at surface postage prices, are airlifted to, from, or between overseas military Post Offices outside the 48 contiguous states. These parcels must be marked “SAM” (space available mail) on the address side, preferably below the postage and above the addressee’s name. These maximum weight and size limits apply when mailed from:
- The 48 contiguous states: 15 pounds, 60 inches in length and girth combined.
- An APO or FPO outside the 48 contiguous states: Package Services and Parcel Select weight and size limits (201).
Periodicals publications featuring current news of general interest and published weekly or more frequently, mailed at or addressed to any military Post Office outside the 48 contiguous states, are given airlift service under 2.1.3. Airlift service in 2.1.3 and 2.1.4 is not provided for mailings of publications sent in bulk to exchanges or news agents for later resale or distribution.
Items sent by air or surface mail are subject to the size and weight standards in 201 or 201 unless limited further by this standard. Mail must be addressed under 602. Postage at the applicable Priority Mail or Package Services prices is charged for parcels sent by air or surface transportation.
The Department of Defense (DOD) can provide information on mail security and mail cover regulations for mail in the military postal system overseas.
[3-7-16] Overseas military addresses must conform to domestic addressing standards format, while including the correct APO or FPO and AA, AE, or AP designation. AA, AE, and AP are used for addresses with the 3-digit ZIP Code prefixes 340, 090-098, and 962-966, respectively. APO/FPO/DPO addresses must not include a foreign city and/or country name. Mail must be addressed to an individual or job title such as “Commander,” “Commanding Officer,” etc. Mail addressed to “Any Service Member,” or similar wording such as “Any Soldier,” “Sailor,” “Airman,” or “Marine”; “Military Mail”; etc., is prohibited. The correct format and correlating examples are as follows:
- Line 1: Full name and/or job title.
- Line 2: The delivery line (the second line from the bottom in the address) must show the word “UNIT”, “CMR” or “PSC” and number; and box number assigned, when applicable.
- Line 3: The bottom line must contain the APO or FPO (“city”) designation and the appropriate two-letter AA, AE, or AP (“state”) abbreviation followed by the ZIP Code or ZIP+4 Code.
Exhibit 2.2.1 Military Addressing Format
Mail showing a foreign city and country in addition to the military address is subject to the postage prices and conditions for international mail.
Mail addressed to military personnel within the United States must show the name of the military installation, state, and either the correct ZIP Code or ZIP+4 code. In addition:
- Mail addressed to Army personnel must show full name, including first name and middle name or initial, and organization.
- Mail addressed to Air Force personnel must show full name, including first name and middle name or initial, organization, and box number (if served by a PSC).
- Mail addressed to Navy and Marine Corps personnel must show full name, including first name and middle name or initial, and organization.
- Mail sent to dependents of military personnel for delivery through the sponsor’s military unit must be addressed in care of the sponsor.
- Mail sent to dependents of military personnel for delivery at the sponsor’s military quarters need not be addressed in care of the sponsor.
Hazardous, restricted, or perishable materials mailed to, from, and between overseas military and Diplomatic Post Offices are subject to the conditions of International Mail Manual 130, the standards in DMM 601, Publication 52, Hazardous, Restricted, and Perishable Mail, and conditions prescribed by the Department of Defense (DOD), as listed in the “Overseas Military/Diplomatic Mail” section of the Postal Bulletin.
Firearms are subject to 601.9.0. To export firearms not specifically prohibited by the Conditions Applied to Mail Addressed to Military Post Offices Overseas, periodically printed in the Postal Bulletin, a mailer exporting permissible firearms must present an export license from the Office of Munitions Control, Department of State, Washington, DC 20520-0001. Importing firearms by military personnel by mail from overseas military Post Offices is subject to 27 CFR 178.114(b), Revenue Ruling 69-309 of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), preparation of ATF Form 6, Department of Defense regulation 5030.49-R, and other appropriate military directives and standards of the U.S. Customs Service.
Information on mailing animal and plant products is in 601.9.0 and Publication 52, Hazardous, Restricted, and Perishable Mail.
Except for eligible mail marked “Free Matter for the Blind or Handicapped,” any mailpiece addressed to a retiree at a military Post Office overseas must weigh less than 1 pound when the designation “Box R” is part of the address.
Packages addressed from, to, or between overseas military Post Offices must meet the standards in 601.1.0 through 601.9.0. All containers of liquids and substances that easily liquefy must be packed, with enough absorbent material to take up all leakage in case of breakage, inside a second sealed waterproof container.
[10-3-16] A hard copy PS Form 2976-R, Customs Declaration and Dispatch Note, may be completed and presented with mailpieces at a retail service counter or an electronically generated PS Form 2976, PS Form 2976-A, or PS Form 2976-B must be applied to mailpieces sent to APO, FPO, and DPO addresses as required in the “Overseas Military/Diplomatic Mail” section of the Postal Bulletin. When a customs declaration is required, the surface area of the address side of the item to be mailed must be large enough to contain completely the applicable customs declaration, postage, and any applicable markings, endorsements, and extra service labels.
Customs declarations forms required for use to or from APO/FPO/DPO addresses are as follows:
- Except as provided in 2.3.8, mailpieces addressed to or from an APO, FPO, or DPO location must bear a properly completed PS Form 2976-B, Priority Mail Express International Shipping Label and Customs Form, if mailed using Priority Mail Express service.
- Other than as provided in a) above and in 2.3.8, mailpieces addressed to or from an APO, FPO, or DPO location must bear a properly completed PS Form 2976, Customs Declaration CN22 or, if the customer prefers, a PS Form 2976-A, Customs Declaration and Dispatch Note – CP 72, if:
- The mailpiece weighs 16 ounces or more (regardless of its contents, value, shape, or mail class [other than Priority Mail Express, which requires a PS Form 2976-B]).
- The mailpiece contains goods (regardless of weight, shape, or mail class [other than Priority Mail Express, which requires a PS Form 2976-B]).
The following exceptions to the customs declaration requirement are provided for items addressed to an APO, FPO, or DPO destination ZIP Code:
- Known mailers are exempt from providing customs documentation on non-dutiable letters, and printed matter weighing 16 ounces or more. A known mailer is a business mailer who enters volume mailings through a business mail entry unit (BMEU) or other bulk mail acceptance location, pays postage through an advance deposit account, uses a permit imprint for postage payment, and submits a completed postage statement at the time of entry that certifies the mailpieces contain no dangerous materials that are prohibited by postal regulations.
- All federal, state, and local government agencies whose mailings are regarded as “Official Mail” are exempt from providing customs documentation on mail addressed to an APO, FPO, or DPO except for those APO, FPO, and DPOs to which restriction “B2” applies as required in the Restriction Legend of the “Overseas Military/Diplomatic Mail” section of the Postal Bulletin.
- Prepaid mail from military contractors is exempt, providing the mailpiece is endorsed “Contents for Official Use - Exempt from Customs Requirements.”
Items bearing a computer-generated customs form (e.g., using Click-N-Ship service on usps.com, an authorized PC Postage vendor, or the USPS Web Tools system) may be deposited through any of the following methods, provided postage is paid by a means other than the use of postage stamps:
- In a mailbox bearing a return address that matches the address at the point of pickup, when the customer or business is known to reside or do business at that location.
- Through Pickup on Demand service.
- Through Package Pickup service.
- At a Postal Service retail counter.
- Into a Postal Service lobby drop.
- In a collection box.
- At a Contract Postal Unit (CPU).
- At a USPS Approved Shipper location.
Except for items under 2.3.12, customers must present the following items requiring a customs form to an employee at a Post Office retail service counter. Deposit and pickup methods listed under 2.3.9 are prohibited. The Postal Service will return these improperly presented items to the sender for proper entry and acceptance:
- Any item bearing a customs form and paid with only postage stamps.
- Any item bearing a handwritten customs form.
- Any item bearing a customs form that was not computer-generated.
Items paid with online postage, postage meters, or information-based indicia (IBI) weighing less than 16 ounces and not requiring a customs form under 2.3.7 may be deposited by one of the following methods:
- In a mailbox bearing a return address that matches the address at the point of pickup, when the customer or business is known to reside or do business at that location.
- Through Pickup on Demand service.
- Through Package Pickup service.
- At a Postal Service retail counter.
- Into a Postal Service lobby drop.
- In a collection box.
- At a Contract Postal Unit (CPU).
- At a USPS Approved Shipper location.
[1-17-16] Items requiring a customs label and paid with a permit imprint may be entered at a business mail entry unit (BMEU) if the customs form was computer-generated and the customs data was electronically transmitted.
Military ordinary mail (MOM) is DOD official mail sent at Periodicals, Standard Mail, Parcel Select, USPS Retail Ground, or Package Services prices that requires faster service than sealift transportation to, from, and between military Post Offices. USPS transportation of MOM is by surface means. Expedited service is determined and provided by and at the expense of the DOD. MOM is limited to mail originated by the DOD or DOD-authorized contractors and each piece must:
- Be conspicuously marked “MOM” on the address side, below the postage or penalty mail indicia, and above the addressee’s name.
- Conform to the maximum size and weight limits for the postage price claimed (Periodicals, Standard Mail, or Package Services).
Parcel airlift service (PAL) provides for air transportation of parcels on a space-available basis to or from military Post Offices (MPOs) outside the 48 contiguous states (from the Post Office of origin to the appropriate port of embarkation) for onward dispatch to other overseas MPOs or (from the port of embarkation for onward dispatch) to a Post Office within the 48 contiguous states.
PAL is available for USPS Retail Ground, Package Services, or Parcel Select pieces that do not exceed 30 pounds in weight or 60 inches in length and girth combined, when mailed at or addressed to any overseas military Post Office outside the 48 contiguous states.
Fee is in addition to postage and other fees, per piece. See Notice 123—Price List.
The applicable PAL fee must be paid in addition to the regular surface price of postage for each addressed piece sent by PAL service.
The following extra services may be combined with PAL if the applicable standards for the services are met and the additional service fees paid:
- Certificate of mailing.
- Insured mail.
- Restricted delivery (if insured for more than $200.00).
- Return receipt (if insured for more than $200.00).
- Return receipt for merchandise.
- Special handling.
PAL parcels must be marked with the large letters “PAL” on the address side.
[1-17-16] PMEMS is an expedited service for shipping any mailable matter between the United States and designated APOs and FPOs to provide Department of Defense personnel stationed overseas and others entitled to APO and FPO mailing privileges a delivery service to or from the United States with a money-back guarantee, subject to the standards in 110, 210, and below.
[1-17-16] Except for Flat Rate Packaging, postage is charged for each addressed piece according to its weight and zone. See Notice 123—Price List for applicable Priority Mail Express prices.
[1-17-16] PMEMS is available at Post Offices for delivery to designated APO/FPO and DPO 5-digit ZIP Code locations. In addition, PMEMS is available at designated APO/FPO and DPO Post Offices for delivery to the United States. Delivery time is typically 3 to 5 business days depending on origin and destination; however, the scheduled delivery date is determined at the time of mailing. PMEMS is not available between APO/FPO and DPO destinations. A PMEMS directory, showing PMEMS APO/FPO and DPO ZIP Code availability can be obtained at: http://ribbs.usps.gov.
[1-17-16] PMEMS items must be presented no later than the local Post Office designated acceptance time.
[1-17-16] Under PMEMS, items mailed to APO/FPO and DPO destinations (from the United States) are available for delivery at the destination APO/FPO or DPO Post Office by 3 p.m. on the designated delivery day.
Under PMEMS, items mailed from APO/FPO and DPO locations (going to the United States) are delivered to an addressee within the delivery area of the destination Post Office by 12:00 p.m. or 3 p.m. on the designated delivery day.
[1-17-16] For each PMEMS item, the mailer must complete mailing Label 11-B or Label 11-F. Mailers authorized to present PMEMS items using a Priority Mail Express Manifesting System under 705.2.6 are required to follow label preparation procedures in Publication 97, Priority Mail Express Manifesting Technical Guide.
For each PMEMS item, the mailer may also have to complete a customs declaration under 2.3.6.
[1-17-16] PMEMS must be deposited as follows:
- May be deposited at a Post Office location, deposited in a Priority Mail Express collection box, picked up during the normal delivery and collection of mail, or picked up by Pickup on Demand service.
- Items weighing more than 13 ounces bearing only postage stamps as postage may not be deposited into a Priority Mail Express collection box, picked up during the normal delivery and collection of mail, or through USPS Pickup on Demand service. The sender must present such items to an employee at a Post Office location. Improperly presented items will be returned to the sender for proper deposit.
- Items must be deposited by the local Post Office designated acceptance time. Designated acceptance times can be found in the Postage Price Calculator on Postal Explorer at pe.usps.com.
- If manifested, PMEMS items must be accepted at the locations and times specified in the Priority Mail Express Manifesting agreement.
Military Post Offices (MPOs) are branches of a U.S. civil Post Office, operated by the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps to serve military personnel overseas or aboard ships. The term includes Army Post Offices (APOs) for the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force and fleet Post Offices (FPOs) for the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps. MPOs provide postal service for military personnel where the U.S. civil postal service does not operate and a military situation requires the service. MPOs are established or discontinued by the USPS only on request of the military department that operates them. Notice of these actions is published in the Postal Bulletin. Military Post Offices do not verify and accept bulk or commercial mail; such mailings must be deposited at (nonmilitary) U.S. Post Offices, with the appropriate postage affixed to each individually addressed piece.
For units not operating military Post Offices (MPOs), mail addressed to officials by title and personnel of military organizations is delivered to unit mail clerks or mail orderlies if such individuals are designated on DD Form 285 to receive all mail addressed to that unit. Registered, numbered insured, certified, and restricted-delivery mail addressed to individuals by name may be delivered to the unit mail clerk or mail orderly only if the addressee so authorizes in a letter to the Post Office, on Form 3849 or Form 3801.
For units operating military Post Offices (MPOs), all mail is delivered to the military postal clerk, an assistant postal clerk, or postal finance clerk for the organization. Mail for other military organizations may be delivered to military postal clerks or military postal finance clerks for further delivery, when requested.
To obtain mail, unit mail clerks, mail orderlies, postal clerks, and assistant postal clerks must provide proper identification.
Return receipts for registered, numbered insured, and Certified Mail must not be completed by anyone other than the addressee.
Subject to its own regulations, conditions, and restrictions, the U.S. Department of State transmits limited amounts of certain types of personal mail to authorized U.S. citizen employees of the federal government stationed in other countries. Authorized mailers pay domestic postage prices and are not subject to foreign customs clearance standards. Customers can obtain current information regarding Department of State services, internal controls, and restrictions from the U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Pouch Division.
The Department of State opens and inspects all mail sent to it for transmission abroad to determine whether the mail meets Department of State standards. Mail that does not comply may be returned to the USPS for return to sender.
If Department of State destinations are not available, customers may mail articles to the addressee directly as regular international mail or, if the addressee has an APO or FPO address, as military mail under 2.0 or to a Department of State branch Post Office at a diplomatic post under Title 39 USC 406 or 413, if the addressee has a DPO address.
USPS mailability standards for international mail apply to mail sent to the Department of State for transmission abroad.
In addition to any restriction imposed by the Department of State, the following items are prohibited:
- Parcels not meeting the size and weight limits in 3.2.3.
- Items not meeting the standards in 601.8.0, or Publication 52, Hazardous, Restricted, and Perishable Mail.
- International Air Transport Association (IATA) dangerous goods.
- Fragile materials.
- Materials in glass containers.
- Seeds, plants, and animals.
- Personal effects of deceased U.S. citizens.
- Items that are illegal to import into the receiving country or to export from the sending country.
- Goods from a foreign country addressed to the Department of State that require clearance by customs authorities before onward shipment to posts abroad.
- Weapons of any kind or items that resemble weapons (e.g., pellet guns, toy guns, etc.).
Maximum weight or size dimensions may not exceed any of the following:
- Weight: 70 pounds.
- Length: 29 inches.
- Width: 29 inches.
- Height: 29 inches.
- Combined length and girth: 108 inches for all mail classes other than USPS Retail Ground.
- Combined length and girth: 130 inches for USPS Retail Ground.
Mailers must pay postage at the applicable domestic postage price for the class of mail and the type of service requested for mail sent through the Department of State. Zoned prices are computed to 3-digit ZIP Code area 205.
Mailers may not send Priority Mail Express items through the Department of State.
The following extra services are not available for mail sent through the Department of State. If one of these services is requested, USPS returns the mailpiece to the sender with the endorsement “Service Not Available.” (Mailers may request other extra services under 503.)
- Collect on Delivery (COD).
- Insured Mail.
- Registered Mail.
- Restricted Delivery.
- Special Handling.
- Adult Signature Required and Adult Signature Restricted Delivery.
Address all official correspondence for transmission by the Department of State as follows:
Recipient‘s Name (e.g., JOHN SMITH, or INFORMATION MANAGEMENT OFFICER)
Number, Street Designation (e.g., 9900 VIENNA PLACE)
City, State, and ZIP+4 Code (e.g., WASHINGTON, DC 20521-9900)
Change-of-address standards for Department of State mail are as follows:
- Individuals may not file a change-of-address order for mail originally addressed to Department of State ZIP Code 20521. Additionally, individuals may not file a change-of-address order to have mail forwarded to Department of State ZIP Code 20521.
- Individuals may file a change-of-address order for mail addressed to or from Department of State ZIP Code 20189 only under the following conditions:
- The change-of-address order is submitted through the Internet Change of Address (ICOA) entry under 507.2.1.4b. All other change-of-address methods are prohibited.
- Only “Individual” orders are permitted.
- Only “Permanent” orders are permitted.
Customs declarations (Form 2976 or 2976A) are not required on mail sent to individuals through Department of State facilities.
The Department of State does not assume liability for loss or damage to any mail it accepts for transmission abroad, including any liability for mail that has been accepted for mailing with extra services. However, if the Department of State receives such mail, it will attempt delivery. By using Department of State facilities, the sender consents both to the Department of State‘s examining the mail by means such as x-ray and other mail-screening methods, and to the department‘s opening, searching, and divulging the contents of any package.
Letters sent by soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines in the U.S. military service stationed in the United States or other places where U.S. domestic mail service operates, addressed to places in the United States, may be dispatched without postage for collection of the postage on delivery, if endorsed as follows:
- The address side of the letter must be marked “Soldier’s Letter,” “Airman’s Letter,” “Sailor’s Letter,” or “Marine’s Letter,” as applicable.
- Under the marking, the letter must bear the signature and official designation with a facsimile hand stamp or in writing of a commissioned officer to whose command the soldier or airman belongs, or of a surgeon or chaplain at a hospital where he or she is. In the Navy and Marine Corps, the letter must bear the signature and official designation with a facsimile hand stamp or in writing of a commissioned officer attached to the vessel on which the member is serving or an officer commanding a hospital or detachment ashore where he or she is.
Postage at the applicable single-piece price for First-Class Mail is collected from the addressee on delivery.
Matter that may be mailed free of postage by certain military personnel is restricted to letters, postcards, and recorded communications (whether sound or video) with the character of personal correspondence.
The free mailing privilege may be used only by members of the U.S. Armed Forces on active duty who are either:
- Assigned to military duty in a certain overseas area, as designated by the President or designee under 39 USC 3401(a)(1), and who mail the matter at an Armed Forces Post Office in that area.
- Hospitalized in a facility under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Armed Forces because of disease or injury from military service in an overseas area, as designated by the President or designee.
The definition of overseas areas is administered by the Military Postal Service Agency, which periodically provides the USPS with information for publication in the Postal Bulletin listing current overseas areas and other pertinent details.
Matter mailed free must be addressed to a military Post Office (APO/FPO) or a place in the United States (including its territories, possessions, and Puerto Rico) served by a U.S. Post Office.
The address side of a mailpiece must be marked “FREE,” written in the sender’s handwriting, in the upper right corner; and the sender’s name, military grade, and complete military address, in the upper left corner.
Matter mailed free may not be registered, certified, or insured.
If matter mailed free is undeliverable as addressed, the matter is treated as First-Class Mail for transportation, processing, delivery, and handling.
Subject to the standards below, matter may be entered free of postage if mailed by or for the use of blind or other persons who cannot read or use conventionally printed materials due to a physical handicap. The provisions of 5.0 apply to domestic mail only.
Matter mailed free under this standard is not considered part of any particular class of mail and is not protected against postal inspection. This matter is treated as First-Class Mail for the exclusive purposes of determining appropriate standards for processing and delivery and for handling if undeliverable.
The following persons are considered to be blind or unable to read or use conventionally printed material due to a physical handicap for purposes of this section:
- Certified participants in the Library of Congress National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS).
- Blind persons whose visual acuity, as determined by competent authority, is 20/200 or less in the better eye with correcting lenses, or whose widest diameter of visual field subtends angular distance no greater than 20 degrees.
- Other physically handicapped persons certified by competent authority as meeting one or more of the following conditions:
- Having a visual disability, with correction and regardless of optical measurement, that prevents the reading of standard printed material.
- Being unable to read or unable to use standard printed material as a result of physical limitations.
- Having a reading disability resulting from organic dysfunction and of sufficient severity to prevent their reading printed material in a normal manner.
- Meeting the requirements of eligibility resulting from a degenerative, variable disease that renders them unable to read or use conventional printed material because of impaired eyesight or other physical factors. These persons are eligible during the time in which they are certified by a competent authority as unable to read or use conventional materials.
- Eligible participants must be residents of the United States, which includes territories, insular possessions, and the District of Columbia, or American citizens domiciled abroad.
For purposes of this standard:
- The postmaster may extend the free matter privilege to an individual recipient based on personal knowledge of the individual’s eligibility.
- In cases of blindness, visual impairment, or physical limitations, “competent authority” is defined to include doctors of medicine; doctors of osteopathy; ophthalmologists; optometrists; registered nurses; therapists; and professional staff of hospitals, institutions, and public or private welfare agencies (e.g., social workers, caseworkers, counselors, rehabilitation teachers, and superintendents). In the absence of any of these, certification may be made by professional librarians or by any person whose competence under specific circumstances is acceptable to the Library of Congress (see 36 CFR 701.10(b)(2)(i)).
- In the case of reading disability from organic dysfunction, “competent authority” is defined as doctors of medicine and doctors of osteopathy.
The USPS may require individuals claiming entitlement to the free matter privilege to furnish evidence of eligibility consistent with the standards in 5.1.3 and 5.1.4, or verify by other means that the recipients are eligible to receive free matter.
Subject to 5.2.2, this matter may be mailed free:
- Reading matter in braille or 14-point or larger sightsaving type and musical scores.
- Sound reproductions.
- Paper, records, tapes, and other material for the production of reading matter, musical scores, or sound reproductions.
- Reproducers or parts of them for sound reproductions.
- Braille writers, typewriters, educational or other materials or devices, or parts thereof, used for writing by, or designed or adapted for use of, a blind person or a person who has a physical impairment as described in 5.1.3.
The matter listed in 5.2.1 must meet these conditions:
- The matter must be for the use of a blind or other physically handicapped person.
- Either no charge, rental, subscription, or other fee is required for this matter; or, if required, may not exceed the cost of the item.
- The matter may be opened and inspected by the USPS.
- The matter contains no advertising. Advertising is defined as:
- All material of which a valuable consideration is paid, accepted, or promised, that calls attention to something to get people to buy it, sell it, seek it, or support it.
- Reading matter or other material of which an advertising price is charged.
- Articles, items, and notices in the form of reading matter inserted by custom or understanding that textual matter is to be inserted for the advertiser or the advertiser’s products in which a display advertisement appears.
- An organization’s advertisement of its own services or issues, or any other business of the publisher, whether in display advertising or reading matter.
Letters prepared in any form by sighted individuals, to be sent to a blind or other physically handicapped person, or empty shipping materials for mailing matter described in this section, may not be sent free and must bear the full applicable postage.
Only letters in braille or in 14-point or larger sightsaving type or in the form of sound recordings, and containing no advertising, may be mailed free, and only if unsealed and sent by a blind or other physically handicapped person as described in 5.1.3.
Letters that are handwritten, or printed or typed in a type size smaller than 14 points, may not be sent free. These letters must bear the full applicable postage.
All matter mailed under this standard:
- Must be marked “Free Matter for the Blind or Handicapped” in the upper right corner of the address side.
- Must meet the minimum and maximum dimensions in 601.1.0.
- Is subject to the mailability standards in 601.8.0 through 601.9.0.
Insurance is the only extra service that can be added to mail sent under this standard. The fee for insurance must be paid by the sender.
Official mail of Members of Congress is sent without prepayment of postage and bears instead either a written or printed facsimile signature or a specified marking. Exhibit 6.1.1 shows what is accepted under frank and who is authorized its use.
Exhibit 6.1.1 Franked Mail of Members of Congress
Vice President of the United States, Members of Congress, Resident Commissioners, Secretary of the Senate, Sergeant at Arms of the Senate, and each elected officer of the House of Representatives (other than Members of the House)
Public documents printed by order of Congress
“Public Document” and “U.S.S.” or “M.C.” must appear on address side.
During 90 days immediately after expiration of term of office
Members of Congress and Resident Commissioners
Congressional Record or any part of it (including reprints of any part, speech, or report contained in it) if for official business, activities, or duties
“Congressional Record” or “Part of Congressional Record” and “U.S.S.” or “M.C.” must appear on address side.
During term of office only
Members of Congress
Seed and agricultural reports from Department of Agriculture
Signature and title (written or printed facsimile) of person entitled to frank must appear on address side.
During 90 days immediately after expiration of term of office
Vice President of the United States, Members and Members–elect of Congress, Resident Commissioners, Secretary of the Senate, Sergeant at Arms of the Senate, each elected officer of the House of Representatives (other than a Member of the House), Legislative Counsels of the House of Representatives and the Senate, Law Revision Counsel of the House of Representatives, and Senate Legal Counsel
The signature and title (written or printed facsimile) of person entitled to frank must appear on address side.
During term of office only. When position of Secretary, Sergeant at Arms, elected officer, Legislative Counsel, Law Revision Counsel, or Senate Legal Counsel is vacant, privileges may be exercised in officer’s name by authorized persons.
All mail connected with preparation for assumption of official duties as Vice President
Signature and title (written or printed facsimile) of Vice President-elect must appear on address side.
Until assumption of duties as Vice President
Former Vice President, each former Member of Congress, former Secretary of the Senate, former Sergeant at Arms of the Senate, each former elected officer of the House (other than former Member of the House), and each former Delegate or Resident Commissioner
Matter on official business about closing of offices
Signature and title (written or printed facsimile) of person entitled to frank must appear on address side.
During 90 days immediately after date of leaving office
Former Speakers of the House
Public documents, seeds, and agricultural reports from Department of Agriculture, official correspondence
Signature and title (written or printed facsimile) of former Speaker or public document marking as shown above, must appear on address side.
For as long as former Speaker determines necessary
Any former President of the United States and any surviving spouse of a former President may send nonpolitical mail as franked mail if it bears the sender’s written or facsimile signature and the words “Postage and Fees Paid” in the upper right corner of the address side.
The Vice President-elect of the United States may send franked mail in connection with preparations for assuming official duties as Vice President. If the Vice President-elect is authorized/eligible to use penalty mail, the right to use penalty mail ceases immediately on inauguration to the vice presidency.
When a Member of Congress dies during the term of office, the Member’s surviving spouse may send correspondence relating to the death without prepayment of postage, for a period not to exceed 180 days after the death of the Member. The mail must bear the sender’s written or facsimile signature in the upper right corner of the address side. If there is no surviving spouse, this privilege may be exercised by an immediate family member of the deceased Member of Congress designated by the Secretary of the Senate or the Clerk of the House of Representatives, as appropriate.
For information on the standards for franked mail see Handbook DM 103, Official Mail.
The term penalty mail refers to official mail, sent by U.S. government agencies, relating solely to the business of the U.S. government, that is authorized by law to be carried in the mail without prepayment of postage. For this standard, agencies are departments, agencies, corporations, establishments, commissions, committees, and all officers and authorities of the U.S. government authorized to use penalty mail. For information on the standards for penalty mail see Handbook DM 103, Official Mail.
Balloting materials include postcard applications, all ballot types, voting instructions, mailing instructions, and return envelopes.
[11-7-16] An exception to the marking and verification standards in 8.1.3 through 8.1.5 may be granted for one of the following reasons:
- Ballots are mailed under 8.2.
- Ballots are prepared and mailed under 8.3.
- Ballots are returned under 505.1.0.
- A postage due account has been established to guarantee the payment of return postage.
- Prepayment of return postage is made by stamps, meter, or Permit Reply Mail.
Except for ballots meeting one of the exceptions under 8.1.2, balloting materials for any election, whether disseminated hardcopy or electronically, must indicate in a prominent location that the proper amount of postage must be paid. This information must be included in the balloting materials with the marking “First-Class Mail postage must be applied.” Alternatively, the marking “Apply First-Class Mail postage here” may be printed in the upper right corner of the address side of the return envelope. Approved versions will also be acceptable in either location. Election officials should consult with postal officials to assist with mailpiece design, barcode placement, and to determine the proper amount of postage required for mailing ballots to voters and the return of ballots to election officials.
Except for ballots meeting one of the exceptions under 8.1.2, all ballot types for any election, whether disseminated hardcopy or electronically, must indicate in a prominent location on the balloting materials the specific amount of First-Class Mail postage required for return by mail to election officials.
Except for ballots meeting one of the exceptions under 8.1.2, each mailing must be accompanied by a complete sample mailpiece.
Balloting materials may be sent through the mail without prepayment of postage to enable persons in the following categories to apply for registration and vote by absentee ballot when absent from the place of voting residence and otherwise eligible to vote as an absentee:
- Members of the Armed Forces in active service and their spouses and dependents.
- Members of the U.S. Merchant Marine and their spouses and dependents.
- U.S. citizens residing outside the territorial limits of the United States and the District of Columbia and their spouses and dependents residing with or accompanying them.
To be mailable without prepayment of postage, the balloting materials must be deposited at a U.S. Post Office, an overseas U.S. military Post Office (APO/FPO), a Diplomatic Post Office (DPO), or an American Embassy or American Consulate.
Balloting materials may be mailed between state and local election officials, individually or in bulk, without prepayment of postage. Packages of materials mailed in bulk must bear an address label as described in 8.2.
Materials may be for any general election of electors for President and Vice President, or of senators and representatives in Congress, and other general, primary, and special elections.
The envelope used to send balloting material and the envelope supplied for return of the ballots must have printed across the face the words “Official Absentee Balloting Material—First-Class Mail” (or similar language required by state law) in a rectangular box. Immediately below, the words “No Postage Necessary in the U.S. Mail—DMM 703.8.0” must be printed. Envelopes previously approved with the citation “DMM E080” must not be rejected. In the upper right corner of the envelope, in a rectangular box, the words “U.S. Postage Paid, 39 USC 3406” must be printed. An appropriate inscription or blank spaces for the return address of the sender must be shown in the upper left corner (see Exhibit 8.2.5).
Exhibit 8.2.5 Balloting Material Formats—Envelope
The federal voting registration postcard application must be approximately 5 by 8 inches. The design shown in Exhibit 8.2.6 must be printed on the address side of the card.
Exhibit 8.2.6 Balloting Material Formats—Postcard
The correct facing identification mark (FIM) as described in 505.1.5.8 must be printed on the address side of envelopes and cards.
[11-7-16] Absentee ballots may be returned by military personnel from overseas APO/FPO military locations using Priority Mail Express Label 11-DOD without the prepayment of postage. Ballots prepared with Label 11-DOD affixed for return by military personnel from overseas APO/FPO military locations are exempt from the marking and verification standards in 8.1.3 through 8.1.5.
When mail of a higher price is enclosed with mail of a lower price, the postage on the entire piece is charged at the higher price, except under 9.2 through 9.6.
Mailers are subject to a fine if they conceal letters or other mail of a higher price in mail sent at a lower price without paying the correct postage on the enclosures (18 USC 1723).
Letters or other pieces of First-Class Mail or Standard Mail may be placed in an envelope and attached to the address side of a Periodicals, Standard Mail, Parcel Select, or Package Services piece. Combination envelopes or containers with separate parts for the two classes of mail may be used.
If a Periodicals, Standard Mail, Parcel Select, or Package Services host piece qualifies for:
- A presort discount, a First-Class Mail or Standard Mail attachment is eligible for the comparable First-Class Mail or Standard Mail presort price. The attachment need not meet the volume standard that would apply if mailed separately.
- An automation price, a First-Class Mail or Standard Mail attachment is eligible for the comparable First-Class Mail or Standard Mail price. The attachment need not meet the volume standards that would apply if mailed separately. An automation price may not be claimed for an attachment unless a similar automation price is claimed for the host piece. If the attachment makes the host piece incompatible with automation standards, neither the host piece nor the attachment qualifies for an automation price.
- A carrier route price, a First-Class Mail or Standard Mail attachment is eligible for the comparable First-Class Mail or Standard Mail price if every host piece for which the carrier route price is claimed has a First-Class Mail or Standard Mail attachment. The attachment need not meet the volume standard that would apply if mailed separately. A carrier route price may not be claimed for an attachment unless a similar price is claimed for the host piece.
- A destination entry price (DDU, DSCF, DADC, or DNDC), a Standard Mail attachment is eligible for the comparable destination entry price. The attachment need not meet the volume standard that would apply if mailed separately. A price including a destination entry discount may not be claimed for an attachment unless a similar price is available and claimed for the host piece.
Except under 9.3.2, all enclosures mailed with a bound publication must be bound into the publication or securely affixed to a page of the publication. Enclosures mailed with an unbound publication must be combined with, and inserted within, the publication. Subject to payment of the applicable postage, separate and independent pieces of nonincidental First-Class Mail and pieces of Standard Mail may be mailed as enclosures with Periodicals publications.
A loose enclosure may be mailed with a bound Periodicals publication only if:
- The enclosure and the Periodicals materials are totally enclosed in an envelope or plastic or paper wrapper; or the enclosure and the Periodicals materials are inside a sleeve and the enclosures are inserted within the publication and held by tension or secured to prevent separating from the publication while in the mail.
- For Standard Mail matter, the total weight of all enclosed material is less than 16 ounces.
- If enclosed in a plastic wrapper or polybag, the Periodicals publication is the top or bottom piece, faces out, and its title is visible.
- The enclosure is not addressed.
Letters or other pieces of First-Class Mail may be enclosed in pieces of Standard Mail, Parcel Select, and Package Services. Postage at the appropriate First-Class Mail price must be paid for each piece of First-Class Mail, except incidental First-Class Mail attachments or enclosures under 9.5.
Standard Mail may be enclosed in a parcel mailed at Parcel Select or Package Services prices or under 4.0. Postage at the applicable First-Class Mail or Standard Mail price must be paid on this matter, unless excepted by the prices and eligibility standards in 253, 263, and 273.
An incidental attachment or enclosure must be closely associated with or related to the piece to which it is attached or in which it is enclosed; must be secondary to that piece; must not encumber postal processing; and must require First-Class Mail postage if mailed separately. Incidental First-Class Mail matter may be enclosed in or attached to Periodicals matter, Standard Mail merchandise (including books but excluding merchandise samples), Parcel Select, and Package Services matter. The attached or enclosed incidental matter may be mailed at the applicable postage price of the host piece with which it is attached or enclosed. Incidental First-Class Mail matter includes a bill for the product or publication, a statement of account for past purchases, and a personal message or greeting included with a product, publication, or parcel.
A mailer may combine into one parcel separate and distinguishable pieces of Media Mail and Bound Printed Matter for the same addressee, if these combined pieces form a regular machinable parcel as defined in 201.7.5.
Presorted prices may be claimed, subject to the applicable preparation standards. If Presorted prices are claimed on both subclasses, the mail must be prepared under the standards for Bound Printed Matter in 265.5.0 for flats and 265.5.0 for parcels.
First-Class Mail attachments must be marked “First-Class” or “Letter Enclosed.” Standard Mail attachments must be marked “Standard” or “STD.”
When a Periodicals publication is mailed with a nonincidental First-Class Mail or any Standard Mail enclosure, the corresponding “First-Class Mail Enclosed” or “Standard Mail Enclosed” marking must be placed on or in the host publication as follows:
- If placed on the outer wrapper, polybag, envelope, or cover of the host Periodicals publication, the marking must be set in type no smaller than any used in the change-of-address notice in the identification statement.
- If placed in the identification statement, the marking must meet the standard in 9.7.2a.
- Except under 9.9, the marking must not be on or in copies without a First-Class Mail or Standard Mail enclosure.
The mailer must mark “First-Class Mail Enclosed” or “Standard Mail Enclosed” on each Standard Mail, Parcel Select, and Package Services parcel with such an enclosure. The marking must be placed below the postage and above the delivery address, using any method that produces legible wording.
Postage for the host Periodicals, Standard Mail, Parcel Select, or Package Services piece must be paid under the applicable standards. Except for incidental First-Class Mail attachments under 9.11, First-Class Mail or Standard Mail attachments must have postage affixed at the proper price.
Separate postage statements using the proper USPS forms must be prepared for the host piece and the attachment and must be submitted at the time of mailing.
The annual mailing fee must be paid for the current 12-month period at each office where postage for a Standard Mail attachment is paid at any Standard Mail price.
Postage for the Periodicals publication is paid under 207.16.0. The proper First-Class Mail or Standard Mail price is paid for the enclosed material, based on the comparable Periodicals price applicable to the addressed piece containing the enclosure.
A publisher authorized for Centralized Postage Payment (CPP) may arrange to submit postage statements and pay postage for First-Class Mail or Standard Mail enclosures to the designated Post Office (DPO) under the relevant standards in 207.16.0. The publisher must be authorized by the DPO each time the Periodicals publication is mailed with a First-Class Mail or Standard Mail enclosure.
When more than one enclosure of the same mail class is enclosed with a publication, they may be treated as a single enclosure for computing postage.
Postage for a First-Class Mail or Standard Mail enclosure may be paid by affixing the correct amount in precanceled or meter stamps to the enclosure or to the outer wrapper, polybag, envelope, or cover of the host Periodicals publication.
Postage for a First-Class Mail or Standard Mail enclosure may be paid with a permit imprint placed on the outer wrapper, polybag, envelope, or cover of the host Periodicals publication if:
- The permit imprint is prepared as shown in 604.5.0.
- The permit imprint and any required marking are set in type no smaller than any used in the change-of-address notice (“POSTMASTER: ...”) in the identification statement.
- The permit imprint and marking appear only on copies accompanied by a First-Class Mail or Standard Mail enclosure.
- Unless postage for the host publication is paid under CPP or plant-verified drop shipment procedures, the mail is entered at the Post Office where the permit is held.
Postage for a First-Class Mail or Standard Mail enclosure may be paid with a permit imprint placed in the identification statement of the host Periodicals publication if:
- The permit imprint is prepared under 604.5.0.
- The permit imprint and any required marking are set in type no smaller than any used in the change-of-address notice (“POSTMASTER: ...”) in the identification statement and surrounded by either a black line or a 1/4-inch clear area.
- The permit imprint and the required markings are only on copies accompanied by a First-Class Mail or Standard Mail enclosure unless the marking in all copies is followed by both a list of the editions or edition codes mailed with a First-Class Mail or Standard Mail enclosure and the edition name or edition code that applies to the respective copy.
- Unless postage for the host publication is paid under CPP or plant-verified drop shipment procedures, the mail is entered at the Post Office where the permit is held.
A permit imprint need not be printed on the outer wrapper, polybag, envelope, or cover of the host publication, and need not be printed inside the publication, when the marking “First-Class Mail Enclosed” or “Standard Mail Enclosed,” as appropriate, is placed on the outer wrapper, polybag, envelope, or cover of the host publication, or in the Identification Statement.
Permit imprint postage for the enclosure is computed at the applicable First-Class Mail or Standard Mail price, corresponding to the number of copies of the Periodicals publication prepared with the enclosure. The enclosure is eligible for the price for its class of mail that is most comparable to the presort and destination discounts that apply to the Periodicals host piece. For example, a Standard Mail enclosure is eligible for the SCF entry discount if the publication is deposited at the destinating SCF. When more than one enclosure of the same class of mail is enclosed with a publication, the enclosures are treated as a single enclosure for computing postage. Postage for the First-Class Mail or Standard Mail enclosure must be claimed on the proper postage statement.
The annual mailing fee must be paid for the current 12-month period at each office where postage for a Standard Mail enclosure is paid at any Standard Mail price.
Subject to 708.1.0, documentation for a mailing of a Periodicals publication with nonincidental First-Class Mail or Standard Mail matter enclosed includes:
- The Periodicals postage statement and any supporting documentation specified in the standards for the price claimed.
- The First-Class Mail or Standard Mail postage statement for the enclosed matter.
- Amendments or additions to the documentation required in 9.9.10a as necessary to account for the enclosed matter and support the postage claimed for it.
Postage for the enclosure must be placed on the outside of the parcel, either separately or by addition to the postage for the parcel itself.
Separate postage statements for the host piece (if required) and the enclosure must be submitted at the time of mailing.
Postage is based on the weight of the host piece plus the weight of the incidental attachment or enclosure and is paid at the price applicable to the host piece.
Postage for an incidental attachment or enclosure with a Periodicals piece is determined as follows:
- If the Periodicals piece consists entirely of nonadvertising matter, the attachment or enclosure is also considered nonadvertising matter.
- If the Periodicals piece consists of advertising and nonadvertising matter, the attachment or enclosure is considered advertising matter.
Postage for each separate unit must be placed on the outside of the parcel.
When required, a separate postage statement must be submitted for each part of the combined mailing.
In addition to the required price markings, each parcel must show, below the postage and above the address, an endorsement declaring the enclosure and the additional postage paid for it (e.g., “Bound Printed Matter Enclosed $1.345.”).
A parcel containing Media Mail and Bound Printed Matter is charged postage at Parcel Select Ground prices if it:
- Is not endorsed as specified in 9.12.3.
- Does not consist of separate and distinguishable units of mail.
- Is not machinable.
A combination mailpiece sent as a Parcel Select or a Package Services parcel may be sent using special handling; only one special handling fee is charged for the parcel.
A combination mailpiece may be sent insured or COD. The insurance covers only the value of the parcel.
A combination mailpiece may not be sent as Registered Mail.