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Quick Service Guide 201
Commercial Letters and Postcards
Physical Standards for Commercial Letters and Postcards
Mailpieces are classified by shape and by the way they are prepared. These classifications are based on how efficiently mailpieces can be processed on Postal Service equipment. The Postal Service classifies letters and cards into one of three categories: machinable, nonmachinable, and automation. For the purposes of determining mailability or machinabilty, the length is the dimension parallel to the address as read (601.1.1.2).
Machinable Letters and Cards (201.1.0)
If you prepare your letters and cards so that they have an accurate address and can be processed on Postal Service equipment, your mail is “machinable” and eligible for “presort” prices. Machinable mailpieces must meet specific standards, including size, shape, and weight.
Maximum weight: First-Class Mail, machinable letters and Standard Mail machinable letters: 3.3 ounces, Periodicals letters: 3.5 ounces.
Machinable letters must not meet any of the nonmachinable characteristics (201.2.0).
Nonmachinable Letters (201.2.0)
Maximum weight: First-Class Mail and Periodicals nonmachinable letters 3.5 ounces; Standard Mail nonmachinable letters; less than 16 ounces.
Examples of a nonmachinable letter include:
Automation Letters and Cards (201.3.0)
If your letter-size mailpiece is machinable and displays the correct delivery point barcode or Intelligent Mail barcode, you may qualify for lower, “automation” prices. A letter or card meets automation standards and qualifies for automation prices if it meets the specific addressing, barcoding, and design standards.
For additional information, see:
Shape: rectangular. Aspect ratio (length divided by height): 1.3 to 2.5 (201.3.7).
Length is the dimension parallel to the address as read (601.1.1.2).
All letter-size reply cards and envelopes (Business Reply Mail, Courtesy Reply Mail, and meter reply mail) provided as enclosures must meet the physical standards for automation letters and cards in 201.3.17.
Quick Service Guides
230b Machinable Letters and Cards
230c Automation Letters and Cards
207e Barcoded (Automation) Letters