Customer Support Ruling

Sealed Envelopes

UPDATED January 2017

PS-044 (

This CSR determines the rate of postage required on a sealed envelope enclosed in a mailpiece.

This ruling concerns the price of postage that should have been paid on pieces mailed under the permit imprint system at the USPS Marketing Mail prices. Each piece consisted of a sealed flat-size envelope that contained a smaller sealed envelope that was endorsed "First-Class Mail".

In accordance with the provisions of Domestic Mail Manual (DMM), matter closed against postal inspection may only be mailed as First-Class Mail, Priority Mail, or Express Mail. That section states that First-Class Mail is considered closed against postal inspection. Note: The Postal Service may open mail other than First-Class Mail, Priority Mail, or Express Mail to ascertain whether the proper price of postage has been paid. Matter which is wrapped or packaged in such a way that cannot be easily examined or examined without destruction or serious damage will be considered closed against postal inspection and will be charged the appropriate First-Class Mail price.

DMM* provides that USPS Marketing Mail is not sealed against postal inspection, and the mailing of articles at USPS Marketing Mail prices is consent by the mailer for postal inspection of the contents, whether secured or not.

An examination of the mailing pieces in question disclosed that the endorsement "First-Class Mail" was not visible through the window of the outer envelope. In view of that and since the inside envelopes contained only USPS Marketing Mail matter (i.e., printed materials and a courtesy reply envelope), the pieces that were mailed were properly accepted at the bulk USPS Marketing Mail prices.

It should be noted that since the entire piece constitutes USPS Marketing Mail matter, the inside envelope was not considered to be sealed against inspection notwithstanding its endorsement. However, the inside envelope should not have been endorsed "First-Class Mail".


Sherry Suggs


Mailing Standards

Headquarters, US Postal Service

Washington, DC  20260-3436