1.0 Elements of Addressing
3.0 Use of Alternative Addressing
4.0 Detached Address Labels (DALs) and Detached Marketing Labels (DMLs)
5.0 Move Update Standards
6.0 ZIP Code Accuracy Standards
7.0 Carrier Route Accuracy Standard
8.0 Presort Accuracy Validation and Evaluation (PAVE)
9.0 Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS)
A clear space must be available on all mail for the address, postage (permit imprint, postage stamp, or meter stamp), postmarks, and postal endorsements.
The delivery address specifies the location to which the USPS is to deliver a mailpiece. Except for mail prepared with detached address labels under 4.0, the piece must have the address of the intended recipient, visible and legible, only on the side of the piece bearing postage.
All mail not bearing a simplified address must bear a delivery address that contains at least the following elements in this order from the top line:
- Intended recipient’s name or other identification.
- Private mailbox designator (“PMB” or alternative “#”) and number if the mailpiece is addressed to a commercial mail receiving agency (CMRA) address.
- Street and number. (Include the apartment number, or use the Post Office box number, or general delivery, or rural route or highway contract route designation and box number, as applicable.)
- City and state (or state abbreviation). The city is any acceptable mailing name for the 5-digit ZIP Code serving the intended recipient as shown in the USPS City State Product.
- ZIP Code where required:
- ZIP Codes are required on Priority Mail Express, commercial First-Class Mail, First-Class Package Service, Periodicals, USPS Marketing Mail, Package Services and Parcel Select mailpieces, all mail sent to military addresses within the United States and to APO and FPO addresses, official mail, Business Reply Mail, and merchandise return service mail.
- Unless required above, ZIP Codes may be omitted from single-piece price First-Class Mail (including Priority Mail), single-piece price USPS Retail Ground, and pieces bearing a simplified address.
A complete address has all the address elements necessary to allow an exact match with the current USPS ZIP+4 Product to obtain the finest level of ZIP+4 code for the delivery address. A complete address may be required on mail at some automation prices.
A complete delivery address includes:
- Addressee name or other identifier and/or firm name where applicable.
- Private mail box designator and number (PMB 300 or #300).
- Urbanization name (Puerto Rico only, ZIP Code prefixes 006 to 009, if area is so designated).
- Street number and name (including predirectional, suffix, and postdirectional as shown in USPS ZIP+4 Product for the delivery address or rural route and box number (RR 5 BOX 10), highway contract route and box number (HC 4 BOX 45), or Post Office box number (PO BOX 458), as shown in USPS ZIP+4 Product for the delivery address). (“PO Box” is used incorrectly if preceding a private box number, e.g., a college mailroom.)
- Secondary address unit designator and number (such as an apartment or suite number (APT 202, STE 100)).
- City and state (or authorized two-letter state abbreviation). Use only city names and city and state name abbreviations as shown in USPS City State Product. Contact the National Customer Support Center (see 509.1.0) for more information about the City State Product.
- Correct 5-digit ZIP Code or ZIP+4 code. If a firm name is assigned a unique ZIP+4 code in the USPS ZIP+4 Product, the unique ZIP+4 code must be used in the delivery address.
The return address tells the USPS where the sender of a mailpiece wants it returned if the piece cannot be delivered.
The return address contains elements corresponding to those for the delivery address. A return address is required in specific circumstances (see 1.5.3). If the sender’s name is not included in the return address, another clear designation (apartment, suite, or room number) is required to ensure proper handling of ancillary services and/or return of the piece. ZIP Codes (5-digit or ZIP+4) are required in the return address of all mail on which postage is paid with precanceled stamps or company permit imprint, and in the sender’s return address on Periodicals mail when “Address Service Requested” is specified. Official mail (penalty mail) also requires a ZIP Code in the return address.
The sender’s domestic return address must appear legibly on:
- Mail of any class bearing a printed ancillary service request or an ancillary service request embedded within an Intelligent Mail barcode.
- Official mail.
- Mail paid with precanceled stamps (except USPS Marketing Mail pieces weighing 13 ounces or less and bearing a mailer‘s postmark in accordance with 604.3.4).
- Matter bearing a company permit imprint.
- Priority Mail.
- Periodicals in envelopes or opaque wrappers.
- USPS Retail Ground.
- Package Services (except unendorsed Bound Printed Matter).
- Parcel Select.
- Registered Mail.
- Insured mail.
- Collect on delivery (COD) mail.
- Certified Mail if a return receipt is requested.
- Priority Mail Express if a return receipt is requested. The return address on the Priority Mail Express label meets this standard.
- Detached addressed labels (DALs).
- Adult Signature.
Regardless of destination, when U.S. postage is applied to a mailpiece, only a domestic return address is authorized, except when the addressee’s permanent residence is outside the United States or its territories (e.g., a tourist who lives abroad and is shipping an item home from the United States). This exception is applicable for only incidental non-commercial use for single-piece price mailpieces.
An endorsement directing return to point of mailing (postmark) is not honored.
The USPS uses the return address to provide ancillary services requested by the mailer (e.g., “Return Service Requested”). The return address on any mailpiece endorsed for an ancillary service must identify where the piece is to be returned and where the mailer is prepared to pay applicable postage and fees for pieces returned or for ancillary service provided at the mailer’s request. A domestic return address must be placed in the upper left corner of the address side of the piece or the upper left corner of the addressing area.
If the names and addresses of the sender and intended recipient do not appear on both the host and attachment, the sender’s name and address must be placed on one piece and the recipient’s name and address on the other. Combination containers that have inseparable parts or compartments are mailable with the names and addresses on only one.
The ZIP (Zone Improvement Plan) Code system is a numbered coding system that facilitates efficient mail processing. The USPS assigns ZIP Codes. All Post Offices are assigned at least one unique 5-digit ZIP Code. Larger Post Offices may be assigned two or more 5-digit ZIP Codes (multi-5-digit ZIP Code offices). Separate 5-digit ZIP Codes are assigned to each delivery unit at these offices.
The most complete ZIP Code is a nine-digit number consisting of five digits, a hyphen, and four digits, which the USPS describes by its trademark ZIP+4. The correct format for a numeric ZIP+4 code is five digits, a hyphen, and four digits. The first five digits represent the 5-digit ZIP Code; the sixth and seventh digits (the first two after the hyphen) identify an area known as a sector; the eighth and ninth digits identify a smaller area known as a segment. Together, the final four digits identify geographic units such as a side of a street between intersections, both sides of a street between intersections, a building, a floor or group of floors in a building, a firm within a building, a span of boxes on a rural route, or a group of Post Office boxes to which a single USPS employee makes delivery.
A numeric equivalent of a delivery point barcode (DPBC) consists of five digits followed by a hyphen and seven digits as specified in 188.8.131.52. The numeric equivalent is formed by adding three digits directly after the ZIP+4 code.
Basic addressing standards are in the Prices and Eligibility section for each class of mail.
Mail with a dual address (both a street address and a Post Office box number) is delivered to the address immediately above the city and state (or to the Post Office box if both the street address and Post Office box are on the same line). If a ZIP+4 code or 5-digit ZIP Code is used, it must correspond to the address element immediately above the city and state (or with the Post Office box number in the address if both the street address and Post Office box are on the same line). These restrictions also apply to return addresses on mail (for more information, see Publication 28, Postal Addressing Standards).
Mail with the name of more than one Post Office in the delivery address or return address is not acceptable for mailing.
Mail sent to an addressee at a commercial mail receiving agency (CMRA) must be addressed to their private mailbox (“PMB” or “#”) number at the CMRA mailing address.
Alternative addressing formats may be used as described in 3.2 through 3.4.
Alternative addressing formats may not be used on:
- Priority Mail Express pieces.
- Mail with any ancillary service endorsement under 507.1.1 through 507.1.8, except as allowed for First-Class Mail, First-Class Package Service parcels, or Priority Mail under 507.1.5.1b.
- Periodicals intended to count as subscriber or requester copies to meet the applicable circulation standards.
- Mail addressed to an overseas military Post Office under 703.2.2.
- Mail with the following extra services:
- Registered Mail.
- Certified Mail.
- Insured mail.
- Return receipt.
- Restricted delivery.
- Return receipt for merchandise.
- Signature Confirmation.
- Collect on delivery (COD).
- Adult Signature.
Mail with an occupant or an exceptional address format is delivered as addressed and is not forwarded. Such mail is treated as undeliverable only when the address is incorrect or incomplete or when the mail cannot be delivered for another reason related solely to the address (e.g., a vacant building), as shown in Exhibit 507.1.4.1. Periodicals publishers are notified when a mailpiece with an occupant or exceptional address format is undeliverable for solely address-related reasons. Mail with a simplified address format is distributed to all deliveries on a route or to Post Office boxholders. Undeliverable mail with any alternative addressing format is disposed of as waste under 507.1.9.1, except for First-Class Mail, First-Class Package Service parcels, and Priority Mail under 507.1.5.1b.
The following conditions must be met when using a simplified address on commercial mailpieces:
- The simplified address format (“Postal Customer” or one of the optional formats in 3.2.1a1 through 3.2.1a3) must be used on mail when complete distribution is made to each family (household residence) or boxholder on a rural or highway contract route, and to Post Office boxes in offices without city carrier service. The following also apply:
- Mailers may use a more specific address, such as “Rural Route Boxholder,” for mail intended to all boxholders on a rural route, followed by the name of the Post Office and state.
- Mailers may use “Residential Customer” to indicate that delivery is desired to residential addresses only.
- Use of the word “Local,” instead of the Post Office and state name, is optional; however the Postal Service recommends using the Post Office, state and ZIP Code for mail not dropshipped directly to a destination delivery unit.
- See 3.2.2 for governmental mail and 703.6.0 for Congressional mail.
- USPS Marketing Mail, Periodicals, and Bound Printed Matter flat-size mailpieces (including USPS Marketing Mail pieces allowed as flats under 3.2.1c), USPS Marketing Mail Product Samples mailed at saturation (Every Door) prices, and Periodicals irregular parcels for distribution to a city route or to Post Office boxes in offices with city carrier service may bear a simplified address, but only when complete distribution is made under the following conditions:
- Mailers must use the simplified address “Postal Customer” when complete distribution is intended to all active deliveries (residential and business) on any designated city route.
- Mailers may use a more specific address, such as “PO Boxholder” when delivery is intended to all active Post Office boxes.
- Mailers may use “Residential Customer” to indicate that delivery is intended only to all active residential deliveries.
- When preparing mail to routes with 100 percent business deliveries, mailers may use “Business Customer” to indicate that delivery is intended to all active business deliveries.
- Use of the word “Local,” or the Post Office and state name, is optional; however the Postal Service recommends using the Post Office, state and ZIP Code for mail not entered at or dropshipped directly to a destination delivery unit.
- See 3.2.2 for governmental mail and 703.6.0 for Congressional mail.
- USPS Marketing Mail flats with simplified addresses must have one dimension larger than a letter-size maximum dimension, except under 184.108.40.206. Simplified addressed pieces, when mailed under conditions in 220.127.116.11, are considered to be saturation flats. See 243.6.7 for pricing eligibility. Letter-size pieces that meet the size standards in 18.104.22.168 and that are addressed to rural routes may be mailed as letters or flats with simplified addresses at the mailer‘s option.
When distribution is to be made to each active possible delivery on city carrier routes or to each Post Office boxholder at a Post Office with city carrier service, the addressee’s name; mailing address; and city, state, and ZIP Code may be omitted from the address only on pieces mailed as official matter by agencies of the federal government (including mail with the congressional frank prepared under 703.6.0); any state, county, or municipal government; and the governments of the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and any U.S. territory or possession listed in 608.2.0. The requirement for distribution to each stop or Post Office boxholder may be modified for congressional mail under 703.6.0. The following also applies:
- Only these forms of address may be used instead of the addressee’s name and address:
- “Postal Customer” (delivery desired at all addresses).
- “Residential Customer” (delivery desired at residential addresses only).
- “Business Customer” (delivery desired at business addresses only).
- At least 10 days before the mailing date, the mailer must submit a sample mailpiece and the following information to the entry office postmaster (in response, the mailer receives a mailing schedule that must be followed):
- Proposed mailing date.
- Total number of pieces being mailed.
- Method of postage payment.
- Names of all city delivery Post Offices to receive any of the mailing and the number of pieces for each.
Mailers must prepare letter-size pieces in trays. Mailers must prepare flat-size pieces and irregular parcels in carrier route bundles in sacks or directly on pallets. Bundles, sacks, or trays may be placed on 3-digit, 5-digit, or 5-digit scheme pallets under 705.8.10. In addition to the required simplified address, each bundle must bear a facing slip showing the desired distribution (for example, 5-digit ZIP Code and route number) or the top piece of each bundle must include the route number and ZIP Code. Mailers may obtain delivery statistics for routes as described in 509.1.0. The following also applies:
- All pieces must be in the same processing category.
- Mailers must mark pieces according to 102 or 202.
- Mailers must prepare all pieces for the same carrier route in bundles of 50, so far as practicable. If the pieces are bundled in quantities other than 50, mailers must show the actual number of pieces on the facing slip or on the top piece of the bundle.
- If selective distribution is desired, the mailer must include enough pieces to cover the routes selected.
Postage must be paid with permit imprint, meter indicia, precanceled stamps, or other authorized methods not requiring cancellation, according to the standards for the class of mail. Postage for pieces mailed as EDDM-Retail flats must be as described in 144.
Only the address designations in 3.2.1 or 3.2.2 may be used. Other designations (e.g., “Food Buyer,” “Voter”) are not permitted.
The occupant address format (“Postal Customer” or “Occupant,” “Householder,” or “Resident”) may be used to address mail selectively to a rural route and box number, a specific street number, or a specific Post Office box number without using the addressee’s name:
2711 ORDWAY ST NW APT 204
WASHINGTON DC 20008-5036
The exceptional address format (“Jane Doe or Current Resident” or “Jane Doe or Current Occupant”) may be used on any mail except mail types listed in 3.1.2. The word “Current” is optional. The order of the words may be reversed (e.g., “Current Resident or Jane Doe” rather than “Jane Doe or Current Resident”).
The exceptional address format must be placed in the address block, with the following exceptions:
- If all the current resident/occupant information cannot be placed on the first or second line of the address, the exceptional address format may be placed no more than 3/4 inch above the address block.
- If an optional endorsement line (OEL) is used, the mailer may elect to place the exceptional address format above the OEL. In these cases, the exceptional address format must be at least 1/2 inch, but not more than 3/4 inch, above the optional endorsement line. If a window envelope is used with an OEL, the exceptional address information may be printed either in the area on the insert showing through the window or on the envelope above the window.
For these standards, item(s) refers to the types of mail described in 4.1.2 through 4.1.4. DALs in their basic form may be used by mailers as an optional method of addressing and printing of postage indicia on the DALs instead of printing addresses and postage on the items mailed with the DALs. DMLs are types of DALs, but also include advertising. For purposes of standards in 4.0, the term “DALs” (or “DAL”) will be used to mean both DALs and DMLs, unless a standard specifically states that it applies only to DMLs.
Saturation mailings of only unaddressed Periodicals or USPS Marketing Mail flats may be mailed with detached address labels (DALs), but DALs may not bear simplified addresses when used with USPS Marketing Mail flats. For this standard, saturation mailing means a mailing sent to at least 75% of the total addresses on a carrier route or 90% of the residential addresses on a route, whichever is less. Saturation flats presented with DALs that are not automation-compatible and correctly barcoded do not qualify for saturation prices. Instead they may be entered at applicable basic carrier route prices. This standard (for automation-compatible barcoded DALs) does not apply to DALs with simplified addressing when correctly used with Periodicals flats.
DALs or DMLs must be used with USPS Marketing Mail Marketing parcels mailed at targeted Product Sample prices and may be used with parcels mailed at saturation Product Sample prices.
Unaddressed pieces of Bound Printed Matter may be mailed with DALs when:
- The mail is prepared on 5-digit pallets meeting the standards in 705.8.0, except that for flat-size mail, separate 5-digit pallets of carrier route and Presorted price mail are not required. The destination delivery unit (DDU) is determined using the Drop Shipment Product under the provisions for the DDU price in 266.3.0 through 266.6.0 or 266.3.0 through 266.6.0. The mail may not be prepared on pallets when the Drop Shipment Product indicates that the delivery unit that serves the 5-digit pallet destination cannot handle pallets. For such delivery units, mail with DALs must be prepared in sacks. The trays or cartons of DALs must be prepared under 4.3, placed on the same pallet as the pieces, and must be stretch-wrapped together as one unit.
- The mail is prepared in 5-digit sacks and entered at the destination delivery unit. The destination delivery unit is determined by using the Drop Shipment Product under the provisions for the DDU price in 266.3.0 through 266.6.0 or 266.3.0 through 266.6.0. DALs must be bundled under 4.3 and presented to the destination delivery unit with the accompanying items to be distributed with the DALs.
DALs may have alternative addressing formats under 3.0, subject to the applicable standards.
When requested by the USPS, DAL mailers must provide documentation to establish that the applicable distribution standards in 4.1.2 through 4.1.4 are met.
Items mailed with DALs may not be combined with any extra service.
Each DAL must be made of paper or cardboard stock that is not folded, perforated, or creased, and that meets these measurements:
- Between 3-1/2 and 5 inches high (perpendicular to the address).
- Between 5 and 9 inches long (parallel to the address).
- At least 0.007 inch thick, except under 4.2.1d.
- If more than 4-1/4 inches high or more than 6 inches long, must be at least 0.009 inch thick.
- Must have an aspect ratio (length divided by height) from 1.3 to 2.5, inclusive.
The address for each item must be placed on a DAL, parallel to the longest dimension of the DAL, and may not appear on the item it accompanies. The DAL must contain the delivery address and a return address. In addition, if DALs accompany saturation mailings of Periodicals or USPS Marketing Mail flats, a correct Intelligent Mail barcode with an 11-digit routing code must be printed on each DAL except when using a simplified address for Periodicals flats as allowed by standards.
Only one DAL may be prepared for each accompanying item, and only one item may be identified for delivery per DAL (a single DAL may not be prepared to deliver one each of different accompanying items or multiples of the same item).
The following words must appear in bold type at least 1/8 inch high on the front of each DAL: “USPS regulations require that this address label be delivered with its accompanying postage-paid mail. If you should receive this label without its accompanying mail, please notify your local postmaster.” The title or brand name of the item (which may include an illustration of the item) must also appear on the front or back of the DAL to associate it with the accompanying item.
In addition to the information described in 4.2.2 and 4.2.4, and an indicium of postage payment, only official pictures and data circulated by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children may appear on the front of a DAL. Advertising may appear on a DML, under the following conditions:
- The DMLs must meet the physical characteristics for DALs under 4.2.1 and have a correct Intelligent Mail barcode with an 11-digit routing code (see 204.1.0).
- The advertising must not obstruct or overlap any of the required elements on the front of a DML.
- The advertising must be to the left of the delivery address and placed to maintain required clear spaces around the address and postage payment (see 202 and 1.0).
Each delivery office to receive a DAL mailing must be notified in writing at least 10 days before the requested delivery period. To ensure that the delivery office can readily relate the notice to the cartons containing the corresponding items, a copy of that letter must be enclosed with the DALs unless the initial notice and the cartons used for the DALs and items each conspicuously bears a mailing identification number. The letter must contain the following information:
- Name and telephone number of mailer or representative.
- Origin Post Office of mailing.
- Expected mailing date.
- Description of mailing.
- Number of addressees for each 5-digit ZIP Code.
- Number of DALs per carton or bundle.
- Number of items per carton or bundle.
- Expected delivery period (range of dates).
- Requested action for excess or undeliverable DALs or items (see 4.4).
The DALs must be presorted, counted, and prepared by 5-digit ZIP Code delivery area. Only DALs for the same 5-digit area may be placed in the same carton, sack, or tray. DAL mailings claimed at carrier route basic or walk-sequence prices must be further prepared under the corresponding standards. Mailers must prepare DALs as bundles in sacks or in cartons, unless prepared in trays under 4.3.7 when mailed with saturation flats or with Product Samples. Different size cartons may be used in the same mailing, but each must be filled with dunnage as necessary to ensure that the DALs retain their orientation and presort integrity while in transit. Each carton of DALs must bear a label showing the information in 4.3.5 unless a mailing identification number is used (see 4.3.1). Multiple containers of DALs must be numbered sequentially (“1 of __,” “2 of __,” etc.).
Except for bundles of saturation flats or Product Samples placed directly on pallets under 4.3.7, the items to be distributed with DALs must be placed in cartons or prepared in bundles placed in sacks, subject to the standards for the price claimed. A label bearing the content description information in 4.3.5 must be affixed to each carton, sacked bundle, or pallet unless a mailing identification number is used (see 4.3.1). Cartons of items (including those on pallets) may be of different sizes but must be filled with dunnage as necessary to ensure the integrity of the items while in transit. The gross weight of each carton or sack must not be more than 40 pounds.
Both the DALs and the accompanying items may be enclosed in the same carton when sent to a small volume 5-digit ZIP Code area. If packed together, these standards apply:
- The DALs must be bundled and labeled under 4.3.2 and placed on top of the items.
- The carton must be packed with dunnage to ensure the integrity of the contents while in transit.
- The gross weight of the carton must not exceed 40 pounds.
- The exterior of the carton must be labeled under 4.3.5 and marked “DALs ENCLOSED” in letters not less than 1/2 inch high.
Sacks, cartons, and pallets of DAL mail must be labeled under the preparation standards for the price claimed. A second label must be affixed to each carton or sacked bundle to provide the following information (unless a mailing identification number is used under 4.3.1):
- Delivery Post Office name and 5-digit ZIP Code delivery area.
- Title, brand name, or other description of the items.
- Name and telephone number of the mailer or representative.
- Number of labels or items in the carton, as applicable.
- Instructions to open and distribute either the DALs with matching items or the items with matching DALs, as appropriate.
Mailers may prepare DALs in letter trays according to 245.9.0 when DALs are used in mailings of saturation flats or Product Samples. Bundles of saturation flats and bundles of Product Sample parcels to be distributed with DALs may be prepared on 5-digit (and 5-digit scheme under L606 for parcels) pallets under 4.3.7. Do not use pallets when the Drop Shipment Product indicates the delivery unit that serves the 5-digit pallet destination cannot handle pallets. For such delivery units, mail with DALs must be prepared in cartons or sacks. The tray(s) of corresponding DALs must be placed on top of the accompanying pallet of flats, and the pallet contents must be secured with stretchwrap to avoid separation in transportation and processing. All containers must be labeled according to 4.3.5.
Bundles of flats, bundles of Product Samples, and cartons or sacks of items may be placed on pallets meeting the standards in 705.8.0. Cartons or trays of DALs must be placed on pallets with the corresponding items under 4.3 and 705.8.0. The USPS plant manager at whose facility a DAL mailing is deposited may authorize other containers for the portion of the mailing to be delivered in that plant‘s service area.
The letter required under 4.3.1 must either request that the delivery office contact the mailer (or representative) about excess DALs or items, or provide instructions for their treatment. (If the mailer does not provide information about excess DALs or items, such material is disposed of as waste by the USPS.) The mailer must choose one of the following options for each DAL mailing and the items:
- Disposal of any excess material as waste.
- Return of the excess material to the mailer, postage due at the applicable single-piece price under 4.5.
- Holding of the excess material for pickup by the mailer (or representative). If pickup is not made within 15 calendar days of the notice to the mailer, the material is returned to the mailer postage due.
- Holding of the excess material while additional DALs or items are supplied (as applicable). If additional material is not supplied within 15 days of the notice to the mailer, the excess material is returned to the mailer postage due. Additional material must be sent prepaid to the delivery Post Office as First-Class Mail, Priority Mail, or Priority Mail Express.
Ancillary service endorsements are not permitted. A DAL that is undeliverable as addressed is handled under 507.1.1 through 507.1.9 for the applicable class of mail. The accompanying item is treated as specified by the mailer under 4.4.1.
DAL mailings are not eligible for automation prices, but the pieces may qualify for carrier route prices, subject to applicable standards. Mailers must pay a surcharge for each DAL used with USPS Marketing Mail flats. See Notice 123—Price List for prices.
Postage is computed based on the combined weight of the item and the accompanying DAL. If the number of DALs and items mailed is not identical, the number of pieces used to determine postage is the greater of the two. No postage refund is allowed in these situations. In addition, these methods of postage payment apply:
- Periodicals flats must be prepaid. A notice of entry must appear in the upper right corner of the DAL.
- USPS Marketing Mail flats (except EDDM flats) and parcels and Bound Printed Matter pieces must be paid by permit imprint, which must appear on each DAL.
- A surcharge applies to each DAL (including DMLs) used in a USPS Marketing Mail flats mailing and to each DAL (or DML) used with pieces mailed at USPS Marketing Mail Product Sample saturation parcel prices.
Postage for excess or undeliverable DALs that are properly endorsed or for items being returned is computed at the single-piece price (First-Class Mail, Priority Mail, or Package Services) applicable to the combined weight of the DAL and the accompanying item, regardless of whether both are returned. The total amount due for returned material, which includes the return postage and the applicable address correction fee for each DAL or item returned, is collected when the material is returned to the mailer.
Postage for additional material (DALs or items) mailed to the USPS under 4.4.1d must be prepaid as First-Class Mail, Priority Mail, or Priority Mail Express, subject to the eligibility standards for the price claimed and the conditions in 4.5.2.
The Move Update standard requires the periodic matching of a mailer‘s address records with customer-filed change-of-address orders maintained by the USPS. Each address, except for mail bearing an alternative address format (under 3.0), in a mailing at commercial First-Class Mail presorted or automation prices, USPS Marketing Mail, or Parcel Select Lightweight prices is subject to the Move Update standard and must meet these requirements:
- Each address and associated addressee used on the mailpieces in a mailing must be updated within 95 days before the mailing date, with one of the USPS-approved methods in 5.2.
- The Move Update standard is met when an address used on a mailpiece in a mailing at any class of mail is updated under 5.2, and the same address is used in a First-Class Mail, USPS Marketing Mail, or Parcel Select Lightweight mailing within 95 days after the address has been updated.
The following methods are authorized for meeting the Move Update standard:
- Address Change Service (ACS).
- National Change of Address Linkage System (NCOALink). This includes both pre-mail NCOALink processing systems and the physical mailpiece processing equipment system: National Change of Address Linkage System Mail Processing Equipment (NCOALink MPE). See the NCOALink page (NCOALink MPE Solutions) on ribbs.usps.gov for more information on the MPE application.
- Applicable ancillary service endorsements under 507.1.5.1 or 507.1.5.3, except “Forwarding Service Requested.”
- For First-Class Mail only: Mailer Move Update Process Certification and USPS-approved alternative methods for mailers with legitimate restrictions on incorporating USPS-supplied change-of-address information into their mailing lists. The National Customer Support Center (see 608.8.1 for address) administers and approves both Mailer Move Update Process Certification and alternative methods.
Mailings are subject to a Move Update assessment charge if more than 30 percent of addresses with a change-of-address (COA) are not updated, based on the error rate found in USPS sampling at acceptance during Performance-Based Verification. Specifically, mailings for which the sample contains greater than 30 percent failed COAs out of the total COAs in the sample are subject to additional postage charges as follows:
- The percentage of the mailing paying the charge is based on the percentage of failed pieces above 30 percent.
- Each of the assessed pieces is subject to the $0.07 per piece charge.
- As an example, if 40% of COAs in the sample are not updated, then the charge is applied to 10% (=40% - 30%) of the total mailing.
- Mailings for which the sample has five or fewer pieces that were not updated for a COA are not subject to the assessment, regardless of the failure percentage.
The mailer‘s signature on the postage statement certifies that the Move Update standard has been met for each address in the corresponding mailing presented to the USPS.
Except for mail bearing a simplified address, addresses used on pieces in a mailing at all commercial First-Class Mail, nonbarcoded presorted Periodicals, USPS Marketing Mail, Parcel Select Lightweight, and Bound Printed Matter presorted and carrier route prices are subject to the ZIP Code accuracy standard and must meet these requirements:
- Each address and associated 5-digit ZIP Code on the mailpieces in a mailing must be verified and corrected within 12 months before the mailing date with one of the USPS-approved methods in 6.2.
- If an address used on a mailpiece in a mailing at one class of mail and price is verified and corrected with an approved method, the same address may be used during the following 12 months to meet the ZIP Code accuracy standard required for mailing at any other class of mail and price.
The following methods meet the ZIP Code accuracy standard:
- For computerized lists, Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS)-certified address matching software and current USPS City State Product, within a mailer‘s computer systems or through an authorized service provider.
- For manually maintained lists or small computerized lists, options include the following:
- Surveys of addressees on mailer‘s address list inquiring about the accuracy of ZIP Code information.
- Any mailing list service in 507.8.0.
- An authorized service provider.
- CASS-certified matching software.
- USPS Web site www.usps.com.
The mailer‘s signature on the postage statement certifies that the ZIP Code accuracy standard has been met for each address in the corresponding mailing presented to the USPS.
The carrier route accuracy standard is a means of ensuring that the carrier route code correctly matches the delivery address information. For the purposes of this standard, address means a specific address associated with a specific carrier route code. Addresses used on pieces claiming any Periodicals carrier route prices, any USPS Marketing Mail Enhanced Carrier Route prices (including DALs used with Product Samples), or any Bound Printed Matter carrier route prices are subject to the carrier route accuracy standard and must meet the following requirements:
- Each address and associated carrier route code used on the mailpieces (or DALs) in a mailing must be updated within 90 days before the mailing date with one of the USPS-approved methods in 6.2.
- Each individual address in the mailing is subject to the carrier route accuracy standard.
- If the carrier route code (and accuracy) of an address, used on a mailpiece in a carrier route mailing at one class of mail and price, is updated with an approved method, the same address may be used during the following 90 days to meet the carrier route accuracy standard required for mailing at any other class of mail and price.
The carrier route accuracy standard does not apply to mail of any class bearing a simplified address format under 3.0.
Carrier route coding must be performed using CASS-certified software and the current USPS Carrier Route Product or another Address Information System (AIS) product containing carrier route information subject to 509.1.0 and 9.0. Printed Carrier Route Files (schemes) may be used only for Periodicals carrier route mailpieces and for USPS Marketing Mail Enhanced Carrier Route flat-size mailpieces.
The mailer’s signature on the postage statement certifies that the carrier route accuracy standard has been met for each address in the corresponding mailing presented to the USPS.
[7-10-17] The Presort Accuracy Validation and Evaluation (PAVE) program is a process to evaluate presort software and determine its accuracy in sorting address files under DMM standards. PAVE is available only to software and hardware manufacturers (i.e., companies that develop presort software or manufacture presorting equipment). PAVE certification does not guarantee acceptance of customer mail prepared with PAVE-validated hardware/software.
PAVE evaluates the accuracy of presort products by providing test address files to vendors. Vendors process the test file(s) through their presort software or hardware and return the resulting postage statement facsimile(s) and other presort documentation to the USPS National Customer Support Center (NCSC) for evaluation of the answers. Each test file is evaluated for its accuracy of presort, compliance with current DMM standards, accuracy of sack/tray/pallet tag labels, and general acceptability of computer-generated facsimiles of postage statements and other presort documentation. If the answers are accurate, the vendor’s presort product is validated for a 12-month period or until the end of the current annual period.
For information on participation in PAVE, presort product developers may request the PAVE Program Technical Guide from the NCSC by calling 1-800-238-3150. Participants may use the PAVE form included in that guide to order PAVE test files.
[7-10-17] The Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS) improves the accuracy of delivery point codes, ZIP+4 codes, 5-digit ZIP Codes, and carrier route codes on mailpieces. CASS provides a common platform to measure the quality of address matching software and to diagnose and correct software problems.
Any mailing claimed at an automation price must be produced from address lists properly matched and coded with CASS-certified address matching methods listed below. A mailer using multiline optical character readers (MLOCRs) to print delivery point barcodes on mailpieces must also obtain CASS certification (including Multiline Accuracy Support System (MASS)) for the address matching software used on the MLOCRs.
Delivery point or ZIP+4 coding may be obtained by using the CASS-certified DPC address matching software with components DPV and LACSLink; CASS-certified Z4CHANGE process; CASS-certified DirectDPV process; NCOALink; or DSF2 process.
Any user of address matching software that applies ZIP+4 codes to address lists to obtain an automation price must use address matching software that is CASS-certified. Address matching software used to ZIP+4 code address records must, as part of its process, return a standardized address to ensure that the ZIP+4 code or mailer-applied barcode represents the proper depth of code available. The original input address submitted for coding may also be returned. The CASS-certified address matching software must be used according to specific parameter settings (configurations) as described below.
All address lists used to produce mailings for automation prices must be matched and ZIP+4 coded with current CASS-certified software in line with the configuration standards shown below. Summary output reports or computer-generated facsimile Forms 3553 must contain information about the configuration used when processing the address list on the CASS-certified address matching software.
These are permissible configurations for address matching software:
- Vendor-Supplied Software With Vendor CASS-certified Software Configurations. The software vendor is CASS-certified for specific configurations. The user is using that software as prescribed by the vendor and with the CASS-certified configurations obtained by the vendor.
- Vendor-Supplied Software With User CASS-certified Software Configurations. The software user is using vendor-supplied software in a configuration not CASS-certified by the vendor but by the user.
- User-Developed Software for Which User Obtained CASS Certification. The software user obtained individual user CASS certification for self-developed software and is using it as certified.
When used for ZIP+4 or delivery point barcoding, the address matching software and coding methods must have a valid CASS certification and use the current USPS ZIP+4 Product updated to include all applicable change transaction files.
Unless Z4CHANGE or DirectDPV is used, all automation and carrier route mailings bearing addresses coded by any AIS product must be coded with current CASS-certified software and the current USPS database. Coding must be done within 90 days before the mailing date for all carrier route mailings and within 180 days before the mailing date for all non-carrier route automation price mailings. All AIS products may be used immediately on release. New product releases must be included in address matching systems no later than 45 days after the release date. The overlap in dates for product use allows mailers adequate time to install the new data files and test their systems. Mailers are expected to update their systems with the latest data files as soon as practicable and need not wait until the “last permissible use” date. The mailer’s signature on the postage statement certifies that this standard has been met when the corresponding mail is presented to the USPS. The “current USPS database” product cycle is defined by the following table.
When using Z4CHANGE to match and code address lists for automation price mailings:
- The entire address list must first be matched and ZIP+4 coded with current CASS-certified software and the current USPS ZIP+4 Product.
- Every 60 days after the first matching, the address list must be processed through Z4CHANGE using USPS-certified software to identify changed records since the last update.
- The changed records identified through the Z4CHANGE processing must then be matched and coded using current CASS-certified address matching software and the current ZIP+4 Product.
- The entire address list must be rematched and ZIP+4 coded every 3 years using current CASS-certified software and the current USPS ZIP+4 Product.
When using DirectDPV to match and code address lists for automation price mailings:
- The entire address list must first be matched and ZIP+4 coded with Cycle L (or later) CASS-certified software and the current USPS ZIP+4 product.
- Every 180 days after the initial matching, the address list must be processed through DirectDPV using Cycle L (or later) CASS-certified address matching software to identify changed records since the last update.
- If an address record was previously ZIP+4 coded and that ZIP+4 code is not in DirectDPV, it does not need to be run through CASS-certified address matching software until the annual run. Address records identified as changed through DirectDPV that have a valid converted 11-digit record require additional processing. These records can either be reconstructed using the 11-digit code provided or reprocessed through CASS-certified software. Address records identified as changed through DirectDPV that have a zero 11-digit code must then be matched and coded using Cycle L (or later) CASS-certified address matching software and the current USPS ZIP+4 product.
- The entire address list must be processed once a year using current CASS-certified address matching software and the current USPS ZIP+4 product.
For this section, mailing list or address list is the group of names and addresses to which mailpieces in the corresponding mailing are addressed. Whether the addresses used in a mailing are obtained from a single list or from two or more lists (whole lists or extracts of those lists), each list used to produce a mailing claimed at an automation price must meet the standards in 9.0.
Unless excepted by standard, the mailer must complete a Form 3553 for each mailing claimed at all automation prices and all carrier route prices. A computer-generated facsimile may be used if it contains the required data elements in a format similar to the USPS form. The data recorded on Form 3553 must refer only to the address list used to produce the mailing with which it is presented. The postage statement must be annotated in the block(s) provided to reflect the date when address matching and coding were performed. When a mailing is produced using multiple lists, the mailer must show the earliest (oldest) date of address matching and coding (shown on Form 3553, section B2). The mailer certifies compliance with this standard when signing the corresponding postage statement.
Form 3553 and other documentation must be retained by the mailer or the mailer’s agent for 1 year from the date of mailing and be made available to the USPS on 24-hour notice.
The data recorded on Form 3553 is taken from the summary output report generated by the computer process by which address lists are matched and ZIP+4 coded using CASS-certified software. The summary output information may also be generated as a facsimile Form 3553. Form 3553 may show summary output information for a single address list or consolidate summary output information from multiple address lists combined to produce a single mailing. Figures on Form 3553 are not required to match total mailpiece figures on the corresponding postage statement.
Summary output reports or computer-generated Forms 3553 must contain this information:
- CASS-certified company name as it appears on the CASS certificate; name and software version that received CASS certification; and the software configuration used when processing the address list.
- Name of the list processor using the CASS-certified software to match and code the address list, the date the address list was processed, the date of the USPS database used to code the address list, the address list name or identification number, the total number of address records on the list submitted for coding, the total number of address records successfully coded to the appropriate depth of code, and the valid dates for the records successfully coded.
When a mailing is produced using all or part of a single address list, the mailer must retain one Form 3553 and other required documentation reflecting the summary output information for the entire list, as obtained when the list was coded. When the same address list is used for other mailings within 180 days of the date it was matched and coded, a copy of the Form 3553 must be retained with the documentation for each mailing.
When a mailing is produced using multiple address lists, the mailer must retain a consolidated Form 3553 summarizing the individual summary output and/or facsimile Forms 3553 for each list used (and other required documentation). As an alternative, the mailer may combine the addresses selected from the multiple lists into a single new list, reprocess the addresses using CASS-certified address matching software, and retain one Form 3553 for the summary output generated by that process.
If the name of the CASS-certified company entered on Form 3553 does not appear on the list published by the USPS, a copy of the CASS certificate for the software used also must be retained by the mailer with the documentation.
To obtain information on standards and arrange for testing of carrier route, ZIP+4, or delivery point address matching software, contact the National Customer Support Center by calling 1-800-238-3150, or by writing to the CASS Certification Department, National Customer Support Center (see 608.8.0 for address).
The CASS certification process is a two-stage procedure. Stage I is a test file with answers supplied on request to customers wanting to certify an address matching software product. The Stage I file contains fabricated sample addresses from address ranges across the country with missing or incorrect address elements. The correct answers supplied on this Stage I test file allow self-assessment of address matching software/hardware accuracy so that software/hardware vendors or users can predetermine product readiness for the actual test.
The Stage II file is the actual test without answers. This test measures the accuracy of address matching software/hardware. Similar to the Stage I file, the Stage II file contains fabricated sample addresses from address ranges across the country with missing or incorrect address elements that the address matching software must correct. Software vendors or users process the Stage II file against their address matching products, appending the correct or missing information in each address record. After completing the test, the vendor or user returns the Stage II file to the USPS for analysis, scoring, and, if qualified, certification. For multiline optical character readers (MLOCRs) and encoding stations, CASS certification is obtained by barcoding sample mailpieces in a test deck. After completing the test, the vendor or user returns the test deck to the USPS for analysis, scoring, and, if qualified, certification.
To be CASS-certified:
- Delivery point code address matching software/hardware must correctly ZIP+4 code the addresses in the Stage II file or test deck with an accuracy rate determined by the CASS Certification Department and must correctly append the additional two digits of the delivery point code (plus a check digit) to the Stage II file or test deck with 100% accuracy.
- A 2-digit utility (separate or stand-alone address matching software that appends only the correct 2-digit DP9019C information) must use the standardized address information returned by DPC address matching software when determining the correct delivery point code. A 2-digit utility must assign the 2-digit delivery point code (plus a check digit) to the addresses in the Stage II file with 100% accuracy.
- Address matching software used to assign 5-digit ZIP Codes and carrier route codes must assign the appropriate codes to the Stage II file with an accuracy rate determined by the CASS Certification Department.
The USPS sends written notice informing the customer of the results of the analysis and the product certification status. Follow-up notification is mailed to remind previously certified vendors and users of the next certification.