Contents Index


E100 First-Class Mail

E120 Priority Mail


E120 describes Priority Mail eligibility, required marking, and associated rates.

1.0 Basic Standards


Priority Mail is First-Class Mail weighing more than 13 ounces and, at the mailer's option, any other mail matter (including regular First-Class Mail) weighing 13 ounces or less. Priority Mail rates are based on zone and weight.


The maximum weight limit is 70 pounds, except for some APO and FPO mail subject to E010 and E030 and for Department of State mail subject to E020.


Through merchandise return service, mail received at a post office box address at one postal facility may be reshipped to the addressee at another postal facility by Priority Mail.


The marking “Priority” or “Priority Mail” must be placed prominently on the address side of each piece of Priority Mail. Matter mailed in USPS-provided Priority Mail packaging is subject to Priority Mail rates regardless of how the packaging is reconfigured or how markings may be obliterated. If shipping address labels are used, it is recommended that they contain the Priority Mail service indicator composed of two elements, the service icon and service banner (see Exhibit 1.4):

a. The service icon should appear in a 1-inch square in the upper left corner of the shipping label. The letter “P” must be printed inside the 1-inch square and must be 0.75 inches (3/4”) or greater. A minimum 3/4-point line must border the 1-inch square.

b. The service banner should appear directly below the postage payment area and the service icon, and it should extend across the shipping label. When the service banner is used, the text “USPS PRIORITY MAIL” must be printed in minimum 20-point bold sans serif typeface, uppercase letters, centered within the banner, and bordered above and below by minimum 1-point separator lines. There must be a 1/16-inch clearance above and below the text.

Exhibit 1.4Priority Mail Service Indicator

shows a sample label with the Priority Mail service indicator.

2.0 Rates


Priority Mail rates apply to pieces meeting the standards in 1.0.

2.2Flat-Rate Envelope

Any amount of material that can be mailed in the special flat-rate envelope available from the USPS is subject to the 1-pound Priority Mail rate, regardless of the weight of the mailpiece.

2.3Balloon Rate

Items weighing less than 15 pounds but measuring more than 84 inches in combined length and girth are charged a minimum rate equal to that for a 15-pound parcel for the zone to which it is addressed.

2.4Keys and Identification Devices

Keys and identification devices (e.g., identification cards or uncovered identification tags) that weigh more than 13 ounces but not more than 1 pound are returned at the 1-pound Priority Mail rate plus the fee shown in R100.11.0. Keys and identification devices weighing more than 1 pound but not more than 2 pounds are mailed at the 2-pound Priority Mail rate for zone 4 plus the fee in R100.11.0. The key or identification device must bear, contain, or have securely attached the name and complete address of a person, organization, or concern, with instructions to return the key or identification device to that address and a statement guaranteeing payment of postage due on delivery.

DMM Issue 58 (8-10-03)