USPS Homepage Skip navigation     USPS Home | Postal Explorer Home
Section divider line

Quick Service Guide 604b

Basic Standards for All Mailing Services

Precanceled Stamps

April 17, 2011
Printer-Friendly PDF

Overview (604.3.0)

Section divider line

Use of precanceled stamps is an optional payment method for mailings at Presorted and automation First-Class Mail and all Standard Mail prices. Precanceled stamps may not be used with any Package Services pieces. This payment method requires the stamps to be affixed to each piece.


Section divider line

Mailer must complete PS Form 3615, Mailing Permit Application and Customer Profile, and submit it to the office of mailing. No permit application fee required.

Postage and Payment Methods

Section divider line

Documentation: mailings of nonidentical-weight pieces and mailings that do not have full correct postage affixed to each piece must meet basic documentation standards in 708.1.0 unless excepted by standard in 604.3.1.

Return address: a complete domestic return address is required (except Standard Mail pieces 13 ounces or less, using a mailer's Postmark and not bearing an ancillary service request). If return address is outside delivery area of Post Office of mailing, mailer must follow one of the options in 604.3.1.8.

Amount of Postage

Section divider line

The value of a precanceled stamp affixed to each piece in a mailing must be either the exact amount due or another amount permitted by standard. If the exact amount is not affixed to each piece, documentation meeting the basic standards in 708.1.0 and the Postage Payment and Documentation DMM section applicable to the class and shape of the mailpiece must be provided.

Producing Precanceled Stamps

Section divider line

Precanceled stamps are preprinted by the USPS with a price category as the precancelation method (604.3.3); other stamps may be precanceled by the mailer (604.3.4), as described below.

Precancellation by mailer:

  • "Application: complete PS Form 3615 for authorization to preprint price markings or use a precancel postmark on adhesive stamps, stamped cards, and stamped envelopes (604.3.4).
  • "Authorization conditions: valid when sample mailer's postmarks are submitted and approved prior to mailing. Approval is required for each precanceled postmark format or preprinted marking used (604.3.4.3).

Format of postmark and required content:

  • "First-Class Mail: day, month, and year of mailing. Standard Mail: use of date is optional for Standard Mail. When the date is used, it must include only the month and year.
  • "Words "Mailer's Postmark" followed by permit number and cancellation bars to cancel postage stamps.
  • "Either the city, state, and 5-digit ZIP Code of the post office where the precancel permit is held and the mailing is deposited or the words "Mailed From ZIP Code" followed by the 5-digit ZIP Code of the office of mailing.

Mail Preparation

Section divider line

Other markings and endorsements may be required on each piece under standards for the price claimed or services requested (604.3.1).

Enter and Deposit

Section divider line

Deposit: Unless deposited under a plant verified drop-ship (PVDS), mailpieces bearing precanceled stamps must be presented at the Post Office where the permit is held. Mail with precanceled postage must not be deposited in collection boxes (604.3.1).

Precanceled Stamp

This graphic shows a Precanceled stamp and return address.

Post Office Precanceled Postmarks

These graphics show Post Office Precanceled postmarks with return address.

Mailer’s Precanceled Postmarks

These graphics show Post Office Precanceled postmarks with return address.


Back to Top