131.1 Domestic Limits
All articles that are nonmailable in domestic mail are nonmailable in
international mail. See DMM 601 and Publication 52, Hazardous, Restricted,
and Perishable Mail.
131.2 International Limits
Many articles that are mailable in domestic mail are nonmailable in
international mail. See section 630 of Publication 52 and "Prohibitions and
Restrictions" in the Individual Country Listings.
131.31 Information Available
Information on articles that are prohibited or restricted to individual countries
appears under "Prohibitions and Restrictions" in the Individual Country
Listings. These prohibitions and restrictions are based on information
furnished by the countries concerned. Customers should inquire at the Post
Office facility about specific prohibitions or restrictions.
131.32 Prohibited and Restricted Articles
Articles that are prohibited by the destination country are nonmailable. For
mail known to contain articles restricted by the destination country, the sender
must be informed of the restrictions and advised that the articles are subject
to the import requirements of that country.
131.33 Return or Seizure of Mail
A country may return or seize mail containing articles prohibited or restricted
within that country, whether or not notice of such prohibition or restriction has
been provided to or published by the Postal Service.
131.34 Foreign Customs Information
The Postal Service does not maintain or provide information concerning the
assessment of customs duty in other countries. Postal Service employees
must not attempt to inform customers whether articles (gifts or commercial
shipments) will be subject to customs duty. Postal Service employees may
suggest to customers, however, that they inform the addressees in advance
of the articles they intend to mail. Addressees can then obtain information
from their local customs authorities. No provision is made for prepayment of
customs duty on mail addressed for delivery in foreign countries.
If duties or taxes are assessed, most countries will collect from the recipient a
customs clearance and delivery fee, in addition to the duties and taxes. This
fee is authorized by international postal agreements to reimburse the delivery
service for the costs it incurs in clearing the items through customs and
collecting duties at the time of delivery. The duties, taxes, and fee, if
applicable, are not included in the postage paid by the mailer.
131.4 Mailer Responsibility
Regardless of any statement in this manual or the statement of any employee
of the United States Postal Service, the burden rests with the mailer to
ensure compliance with domestic, international, and individual country rules
and regulations for mailability.
131.5 Preparation for Mailing
131.51 General Packaging Requirements
Parcels of articles or goods must meet the requirements of DMM 601. The
size and weight limits for each of several grades of fiberboard boxes are as
specified for difficult loads in DMM 601. Reinforce boxes in each of two
directions around the package.
131.52 Special Packaging Requirements
Each mailer must meet the following special packaging requirements when
mailing any of the following articles (see DMM 601):
a. Fragile articles, such as glass, must be cushioned as required to
dissipate shock and pressure forces over as much of the surface of the
item as possible.
b. Liquids must be packaged as required.
c. Package fatty substances that do not easily liquefy, such as ointments,
soft soap, resins, etc., as well as silkworm eggs, in an interior container
(box, cloth, or plastic bag) and place them in an outer shipping
container of minimum 275-grade test strength.
d. Enclose dry, powdered dyes, such as aniline, in sift-proof, sturdy tin or
plastic boxes in an outer sift-proof shipping container. This container
must have a minimum 275-grade test strength fiberboard or equivalent.
132 Written, Printed, and Graphic Matter
132.1 Domestic Limits
All written, printed, and graphic matter that is described as nonmailable in
DMM 601 is nonmailable internationally. This matter includes but is not
a. Advertisements for abortion.
b. Advertisements for motor vehicle master keys.
c. Copyright violations.
d. Fictitious matter.
e. Lottery matter.
f. Matter inciting violence.
g. Solicitations in the guise of bills or statements of account.
h. Solicitations or inducements for mailing harmful matter, radioactive
materials, controlled substances, or intoxicating liquors.
Note: Immoral or obscene articles and advertisements for them are
132.2 Reply Cards and Envelopes
Mailpieces that are sent to foreign addressees may not contain prepaid reply
cards or envelopes that bear a U.S. postage stamp, meter stamp, meter
impression, or a domestic business reply indicia. See 373 for
regulations governing mailer use of International Business Reply Service
Exception: The prohibition against enclosing U.S. domestic business
reply cards or envelopes does not apply when they are bound into, are
stapled to, or form an integral part of the printed page of mailpieces that
are paid for at publishers' periodical rates. Such enclosures may be
admitted so long as they are not used as response vehicles by foreign
recipients and the postal administrations of the destination countries do
not object to their presence in U.S. origin publications.
133 Improperly Addressed Mail
The following items are nonmailable in international mail:
a. Unaddressed items.
b. Items whose ultimate destination cannot be determined due to
insufficient, illegible, or incorrect addressing.
c. Items bearing multiple addresses to the same or different countries.
134 Valuable Articles
134.1 List of Articles
The following valuable articles may be sent only in registered letter-post
mailpieces or by insured parcel post and are not mailable in Global Express
Mail (EMS) or ordinary parcel post shipments (see 221.2 and 281.2):
a. Coins, banknotes, and currency notes (paper money).
b. Instruments payable to bearer. (The term "instruments payable to
bearer" includes checks, drafts, or securities that can be legally cashed
or easily negotiated by anyone who may come into possession of them.
A check or draft payable to a specific payee is not regarded as payable
to bearer unless the payee has endorsed it. If not endorsed, or if
endorsed in favor of another specific payee, it is not regarded as
payable to bearer.)
c. Traveler's checks.
d. Manufactured and unmanufactured platinum, gold, and silver.
e. Precious stones, jewels, jewelry, watches, and other valuable articles.
Note: The term "jewelry" is generally understood to denote articles
of more than nominal value. Inexpensive jewelry, watches, such as
tie clasps and costume jewelry, containing little or no precious
metal, is not considered to be jewelry within the meaning of this
section and is accepted under the same conditions as other
mailable merchandise to any country. Inexpensive jewelry is
accepted to countries that prohibit jewelry, but only at the sender's
Individual countries prohibit or restrict some or all of the valuable items listed
above. See the "Prohibitions and Restrictions" section in the Individual
135 Mailable Dangerous Goods
135.1 Biological Substances
135.11 General Conditions
Infectious and noninfectious biological substances are acceptable in the
international mail subject to the provisions of DMM 601 and under the
additional conditions specified in subsections below.
135.12 Type of Mail
Such substances may be sent only in registered airmail letter-post
135.13 Senders and Receivers
Such substances may be sent only by authorized laboratories to their foreign
counterparts in those countries that have indicated a willingness to accept
Note: Countries distinguish between infectious and noninfectious
biological substances and may prohibit one or the other or both. See
"Prohibitions" in the Individual Country Listings.
135.21 Authorized Institutions
Biological substances can be sent to or received by only the following types
a. Laboratories of local, state, and federal government agencies.
b. Laboratories of federally licensed manufacturers of biological products
derived from bacteria and viruses.
c. Laboratories affiliated with or operated by hospitals, universities,
research facilities, and other teaching institutions.
d. Private laboratories licensed, certified, recognized, or approved by a
135.22 Request for Authorization
Qualifying institutions wishing to mail letter packages containing biological
substances must submit a written request on its organizational letterhead to
the following address:
MANAGER MAILING STANDARDS
PRICING AND CLASSIFICATION
US POSTAL SERVICE
475 L'ENFANT PLZ SW RM 3436
WASHINGTON DC 20260-3436
In its letter of application, the institution must indicate the nature of its work,
the identity and qualifications of the prospective recipient, and the number of
packages to be mailed.
135.31 Infectious Biological Substances
Infectious biological substances are limited to 50 milliliters (ml) per outside
package and must be packaged in accordance with DMM 601 and as follows:
a. The second watertight container must also be surrounded by sufficient
absorbent material to absorb the entire contents in case of leakage.
b. Screw cap closures must be reinforced with pressure-sensitive tape.
c. Infectious substances shipped in a refrigerated or frozen state must not
be sent in an inner container with a metal screw cap. A heat-sealed
skirted stopper or metal crimp seal must be used to prevent the
contents from leaking.
d. When wet ice is used as a preservative, the following procedures must
(1) The ice must be placed between the second container and the
(2) The outer packaging should be designed with interior supports to
prevent it from collapsing after the ice melts.
(3) The entire package must be leak-proof.
135.32 Noninfectious Biological Substances
Noninfectious biological substances are limited to 1,000 ml per interior
primary container and 4,000 ml per outer shipping container and must be
packaged in accordance with DMM 601.
Note: Dry ice (carbon dioxide solid) is not acceptable in international
135.41 Infectious Biological Substances
Letter-post items that contain infectious biological substances should be
identified by a black and white diamond-shaped label with the division
number 6.2 in the bottom, in addition to the Etiologic Agents/Biohazard
Material label. The top half of the label must bear the designated symbol for
infectious substances, while the bottom half must contain the following
"INFECTIOUS SUBSTANCE. IN CASE OF DAMAGE OR LEAKAGE
IMMEDIATELY NOTIFY THE PUBLIC HEALTH AUTHORITY."
135.42 Noninfectious Biological Substances
Letter-post items that contain noninfectious biological substances must be
identified by a violet-colored label bearing the prescribed symbol and French
wording for perishable biological materials: "MATIERES BIOLOGIQUES
135.43 Shipping Descriptions
The appropriate shipping description must be marked on each package, e.g.,
for infectious substances affecting humans, "CONTAINS (NAME OF
SUBSTANCE), UN2814," or for infectious substances affecting animals,
"CONTAINS (NAME OF SUBSTANCE), UN2900."
135.44 Shipper's Declaration
Registered airmail letter-post items that contain infectious biological
substances (i.e., etiologic agents) must be accompanied by a shipper's
declaration for dangerous goods. That shipping paper must be placed in an
adhesive backed plastic envelope or other document carrier that is affixed to
the exterior of the mailpiece. A shipper's declaration for dangerous goods is
not required when the contents are limited to noninfectious biological
substances. See Postal Service Publication 52, Hazardous, Restricted, and
Perishable Mail, sections 326 and 622.2f.
135.51 Biological Substances
Letter-post items that contain perishable biological substances must be given
careful yet expeditious handling from receipt through dispatch.
135.52 Infectious Substances
Shipments containing infectious substances must be segregated from other
types of mail matter (i.e., placed in separate sacks). PS Tag 44, Sack
Contents Warning, must be attached to the outside of sacks to identify the
hazardous nature of the contents. PS Tag 44 is for internal use only, and
must be removed from mail sacks, and the hazardous materials tendered to
air carriers as outside pieces.
135.6 Radioactive Materials
Shipments containing radioactive materials are acceptable in the international
mail subject to the provisions of DMM 601 (Publication 52, Acceptance of
Hazardous, Restricted, or Perishable Matter), and under the following
a. Shipments may be sent only in registered letter-post mailpieces.
b. Shipments may be sent only to those countries that have expressed a
willingness to accept radioactive materials. See "Prohibitions and
Restrictions" in the Individual Country Listings.
c. Shipments must comply with the International Atomic Energy Agency
rules and regulations.
d. Senders and recipients of radioactive materials must receive prior
authorization from the appropriate regulatory authorities within their
e. A white package label bearing the French words "Matieres
Radioactives" (Radioactive Materials) must be applied to the address
side of each package containing radioactive materials. Senders are
responsible for supplying and affixing this label to the package.
f. The package must also bear the following endorsements in bold letters:
"RETURN TO SENDER IN CASE OF NONDELIVERY" and
"RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS, QUANTITIES PERMITTED FOR
MOVEMENT BY POST."
136 Nonmailable Dangerous Goods
The following dangerous goods (hazardous materials, as defined in DMM
601) are prohibited in the international mail:
a. Explosives or explosive devices.
b. Flammable materials.
(1) Pyrophoric, flammable, or combustible liquids with a closed cup
flash point below 200°F.
(2) Flammable solids, including matches.
d. Corrosives, liquid or solid.
e. Compressed gases.
(2) Nonflammable with an absolute pressure exceeding 40 psi at
70°F or 104 psi at 130°F.
f. Poisons, irritants, controlled substances, and drug paraphernalia.
g. Magnetized material with a magnetic field strength of .002 gauss or
more at a distance of 7 feet.
h. Dry ice (carbon dioxide solid).
137 Other Restricted Materials
Some items are prohibited in the international mail (see DMM 601), except as
specified in the Individual Country Listings. This includes intoxicating liquor,
matter emitting obnoxious odor (liquids and powders), motor vehicle master
keys, battery-powered devices, odd-shaped items in envelopes, and abortive
and contraceptive devices.
138 Firearms, Knives, and Sharp Instruments
Some items (see DMM 601) may be mailed to certain countries under the
conditions specified in the Individual Country Listings. See 540 for
U.S. Department of State licensing requirements applicable to the
international mailing of arms or implements of war, component parts, and
related technical data.
139 Perishable Matter
All live or dead animals are nonmailable, except the following:
a. Live bees, leeches, silkworms, and flies of the family Drosophilidae
(see DMM 601.9.3.9).
b. Dead insects or reptiles, when thoroughly dried.
c. Parasites and predators of injurious insects, if the following conditions
(1) They are admissible in the domestic mail.
(2) They are useful in controlling harmful insects.
(3) They are exchanged by officially recognized scientific or health
(4) They are sent in letter packages or small packets.
(5) Mailable animals must be in containers conforming to the
requirements in the DMM.
139.21 General Restrictions
Plants, seeds, and plant materials, including fruits and vegetables, are
subject to the provisions of DMM 601; Publication 14, Prohibitions and
Restrictions on Mailing Animals, Plants, and Related Products; and the
quarantine regulations of the country of destination. Customers can obtain
information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and
Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Plant Protection and Quarantine
(PPQ) Programs at:
USDA APHIS PPQ
4700 RIVER RD
RIVERDALE MD 20737-1228
139.22 Tobacco Seeds and Tobacco Plants
It is unlawful to export any tobacco seed or live tobacco plants without a
written permit granted by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. See 560
for procedures and processing requirements.
Eggs may be sent only by parcel post. See 550 for nonpostal
regulations on dried whole eggs.
Eggs must be packaged in the following manner:
a. Eggs mailed to any country except Canada must be placed in a metal
egg container. Each egg must be packed in cushioning material. The
metal egg container must be enclosed in an outer container of wood
with cushioning packed between the two containers.
b. Eggs mailed to Canada may be packed either as prescribed in 139.32a
or in a box of rigid material with a tight-fitting lid. Each egg must be
wrapped in protective material and placed on end. Vacant spaces in the
box must be filled with packing material to prevent the eggs from
striking each other or the box.
139.4 Food and Other Perishable Articles
Fruits, vegetables, fresh meats, and other articles that easily decompose or
that cannot reasonably be expected to reach their destination without spoiling