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130 Mailability

131 General

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.

131.3 Individual Country Prohibitions and Restrictions

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.

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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.

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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 limited to:

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 nonmailable.

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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 (IBRS).

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 risk.

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134.2 Prohibitions

Individual countries prohibit or restrict some or all of the valuable items listed above. See the "Prohibitions and Restrictions" section in the Individual Country Listings.

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 mailpieces.

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 them.

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.

135.2 Authorization

135.21 Authorized Institutions

Biological substances can be sent to or received by only the following types of institutions:

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 public authority.

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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:

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.

135.3 Packaging

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 be followed:

(1) The ice must be placed between the second container and the outer packaging.

(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.

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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 mail.

135.4 Marking

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 warning:


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 PERISSABLES."

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.

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135.5 Handling and Dispatch

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 conditions:

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 countries.

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."

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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.

c. Oxidizers.

d. Corrosives, liquid or solid.

e. Compressed gases.

(1) Flammable.

(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.

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139 Perishable Matter

139.1 Animals

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 are met:

(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 agencies.

(4) They are sent in letter packages or small packets.

(5) Mailable animals must be in containers conforming to the requirements in the DMM.

139.2 Plants

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:

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.

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139.3 Eggs

139.31 Restrictions

Eggs may be sent only by parcel post. See 550 for nonpostal regulations on dried whole eggs.

139.32 Packaging

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 are nonmailable.

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