Customer Support Ruling

Embossed Permit Imprints

UPDATED January 2017

PS-280 (604.5.3)

This CSR discusses the use of embossing techniques on permit imprints.

Permit imprints may be embossed as noted in Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) 604.5.3.1. In addition, DMM 604.5.3.3 states that the permit imprint must be legible and of a color that contrasts sufficiently with the paper and the imprint’s background for readability. A different color background may be used to highlight the background of a permit imprint.

However, some embossing techniques produce a raised outer ridge resembling a perforated separation, very much like the edge of a postage stamp. When such embossing is combined with the printing of a highlighted background color, the imprint can appear, upon casual inspection, to be affixed postage. DMM 604.1.4 states, in part, that mailpieces bearing imitations of postage stamps are not acceptable for mailing.

Embossed permit imprints with an outer ridge resembling a perforated separation are permissible on Presorted USPS Marketing Mail mailings only under the following conditions:

· The contents of the permit imprint must be printed and remain consistent with all other standards noted in DMM 604.5.

· The raised portion of the envelope stock (forming the background of the permit imprint) must not distort the printed contents of the imprint, or weaken the paper stock so that it is unreasonably susceptible to tearing during normal processing and handling.

· The use of different colors, graphics, or printed patterns (other than those used for the envelope paper stock and the required permit imprint wording) is not permitted when embossing because of the standards in DMM 604.5.3.11.


Sherry Suggs


Mailing Standards

Headquarters, US Postal Service

Washington, DC  20260-3436