373 International Business Reply Service

373.1 Description

International Business Reply Service (IBRS) is similar to domestic business reply mail service. It allows envelopes and cards to be distributed to and deposited in certain foreign countries for return to the addressee in the United States without prepayment of postage. Postage and service fees are collected from the U.S. addressee at delivery. Special services cannot be used with IBRS.

373.2 Availability

International Business Reply Service (IBRS) is available to every country and territorial possession in the world that is a destination point for U.S.–originating international mail. To be admissible in the international mails IBRS envelopes and cards must conform to the size weight and format requirements that are specified in 373.5 and 373.6 respectively. Qualifying mailpieces receive airmail treatment upon being returned by the foreign postal administrations to United States addressees. See 373.4 for the standard IBRS fees that apply to each envelope or card that is returned to the holder of a business reply mail (BRM) permit.

Note: Domestic business reply items are not mailable outside the United States. If deposited in a foreign postal system they will be treated in accordance with that country’s internal postal regulations and may not be returned to the U.S. addressee.

373.3 Who May Distribute IBRS Mail

In order to initiate IBRS mail the U.S. sender must be a business reply mail (BRM) permit holder who has paid the prescribed accounting fee to participate in the Qualified Business Reply Mail (QBRM) program (see DMM 507). Prior to producing IBRS mail the mailers must advise in writing the postmaster of the Post Office facility where their permit is held that they intend to distribute IBRS mail. IBRS mail must meet all specifications of QBRM including using unique ZIP+4 codes identification of the price category and using the corresponding barcode. The postmaster must assign the unique ZIP+4 codes as part of the application process. Participating mailers are encouraged to submit preproduction samples for approval. The postmaster responsible will issue a letter of authorization to the mailer.

373.4 Fees

The fees for IBRS are as follows:

  1. Envelopes up to 2 ounces: $1.45
  2. Cards: $0.95

Note: The fee for each returned IBRS envelope and card includes the per piece charge that is applied to domestic business reply and subject to QBRM accounting procedures. It is not necessary for the sender to obtain a separate international business reply permit to have IBRS items processed through their advance deposit account.

373.5 Size and Weight Requirements

373.51 Cards

The following size and weight requirements apply to cards:

  1. Minimum size: 3–1/2 by 5–1/2 inches.
  2. Maximum size: 4–1/4 by 6 inches.
  3. Thickness: Not less than .007 inch nor more than .016 inch.

Note: IBRS cards must be printed on paper stock meeting a standard industry basis weight of 75 pounds with none less than 71.25 pounds for 500 sheets measuring 25 inches by 38 inches and must also have a thickness of at least .007 inch and not more than .016 inch. The paper must be free from groundwood except when coated with a substance that adds to the paper’s ability to resist an applied bending force.

373.52 Envelopes

The following size and weight requirements apply to envelopes:

  1. Minimum size: 3–1/2 by 5–1/2 inches.
  2. Maximum size: 6–1/8 by 11–1/2 inches.
  3. Thickness: Not less than .007 inch or more than .2 inch.
  4. Maximum weight: 2 ounces.

373.6 Format Requirements (Exhibit 373.6)

373.61 FIM

Each International Business Reply Service (IBRS/CCRI) item must contain a Facing Identification Mark (FIM) pattern C printed at the top right portion of the address side of the item. The top of the FIM C bar pattern must be within 1/8 of an inch of the edge of the item and may extend to the edge. The right–most bar of the pattern must be within 2 inches (plus or minus 1/8 of an inch) of the right edge of the item. The FIM bars must be 5/8 (plus or minus
1/8) of an inch long. The entire FIM pattern must be completely contained within a rectangular clear zone measuring 1–1/4 inches in length and 5/8 of an inch in height; with its top edge formed by the top edge of the item and its right edge beginning 1–3/4 inches from the right edge of the item.

373.62 Barcodes

ZIP+4 Postnet Barcodes preassigned by the U.S. Postal Service must be printed on the address side of each International Business Reply Service (IBRS/CCRI) item within the “barcode read area” which must be free of any printing other than the barcode. The read area extends 5/8 of an inch from the bottom and at least 4–1/2 inches from the right edge of the item. The bottom of the bars must be positioned 1/4 inch (plus or minus 1/16 of an inch) from the bottom edge of the item and the barcode must be completely contained within the read area.

373.63 No Postage Necessary Endorsement

The endorsement “NE PAS AFFRANCHIR NO POSTAGE NECESSARY IF MAILED TO THE UNITED STATES” must be printed in the upper right corner of the face of the piece with a partial diagonal bar. The endorsement must not extend farther than 1–3/4 inches from the right edge of the mailpiece.

373.64 Business Reply Legend

The legend “INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS REPLY MAIL/REPONSE PAYEE” must appear above the address in capital letters at least 3/16 of an inch high. Immediately below the legend the words “PERMIT NO.” followed by the permit number and the issuing Post Office facility (city and state) must be shown in capital letters. This information must appear between two horizontal bars at least 3/32 of an inch thick and at least 1/2 inch apart. The endorsement “POSTAGE WILL BE PAID BY ADDRESSEE” must appear immediately below the lower bar.

373.65 Address

The complete address must appear including the name of the permit holder street address (and/or Post Office box number) city state and unique ZIP+4 code that is preassigned and the country of destination (United States of America) with the bottom line of the address no lower than 5/8 of an inch and the city state and ZIP+4 code line no higher than 2–1/4 inches from the bottom edge of the mailpiece. A clear margin void of any extraneous matter (except for the horizontal bars specified below) of at least 1 inch is required between the left and right edges of the mailpiece and the address.

373.66 Air Mail Endorsement

The endorsement “AIR MAIL/PAR AVION” must be shown in the upper left corner on reverse print. Immediately beneath this endorsement must appear the words “IBRS/CCRI NO.” followed by the permit number.

373.67 Horizontal Bars

A series of horizontal bars parallel to the length of the mailpiece must be printed immediately below the endorsement “NO POSTAGE NECESSARY IF MAILED TO THE UNITED STATES.” The bars must be uniform in length at least 1 inch long and 1/16 of an inch to 3/16 of an inch thick and evenly spaced. The vertical column of horizontal bars must not extend below the delivery address line which is the line above the line containing the ZIP+4 code. There must be at least 1/2 of an inch clearance between the ZIP+4 code and the bars.

Exhibit 373.6 

Format Requirements — US IBRS

Exhibit 373.6 - Format Requirements - US IBRS

373.7 Foreign International Business Reply Service

Mailers in the countries listed in 373.2 may be authorized to distribute IBRS mail in the United States. These items similar to the format in Exhibit 373.7 are accepted without the prepayment of postage for return by air to the destination country. These items are forwarded with ordinary letters and cards to the designated international air exchange office for return to the appropriate country.

Exhibit 373.7 

Format Requirements — Foreign IBRS

Exhibit 373.7 - Format Requirements - Foreign IBRS