UCR Mail Services

International Mail

General Information
International mail rates and regulations vary from country to country. Both Air and Surface Transportation is available to most countries for all types of international mail. International mail consists of three categories of mail. The three categories, abbreviation of French words, are LC, or Letters et Cartes (letters and cards), AO, or Autre Objects (other Articles), and CP, or Colis Postaux (parcel post). Each category is defined below.
LC Mail (letters and cards)
This type of mail compares to U.S. Domestic first-class mail. All mail must measure at least 5-1/2" in length and 3-1/2" in width. When the package is in the form of a roll, the length may not be less than 4", or the length plus twice the diameter may not be less than 6-3/4".

Articles having lesser dimensions are accepted on conditions that a rectangular address tag is attached to the article, and the article is not smaller than 4"x 2-3/4". This group consists of letters, letter packages, aerogrammes, and post cards.
Letters and letter packages
Letters and letter packages are items of mail containing personal handwritten or typewritten communications having the character of current correspondence. Unless prohibited by the country of destination, merchandise or other articles within the applicable weight and size limits may also be mailed at the letter rate of postage. The weight limit for letters and letter packages is four pounds. The maximum dimensions for letters weighing one ounce or less, which if exceeded are subject to a surcharge in addition to regular postage, are a length no greater than 11-1/2", a height no greater than 6-1/8", a thickness no greater than 1/4", and a height to length ratio less than 1.3 or more than 2.5 (to obtain ratio, divide the length of the piece by its height). If a package is sent, the length, width, and thickness combined must not exceed 36", and the length cannot exceed 24". If the package is sent in the form of a roll, the length plus twice the diameter must not exceed 42", and the length cannot exceed 36". International Customs-Douane PS Form 2976.
Aerogrammes are air letter sheets which can be folded into the form of an envelope and sealed. Tape or stickers must not be used to seal aerogrammes. Enclosures are not permitted in aerogrammes.

Postcards are single cards sent without a wrapper or an envelope. Folded (double) cards must be mailed in an envelope at the letter rate of postage. Postcards cannot exceed a maximum of 4-1/4"x 6". The minimum size for postcards is 3-1/2"x 5-1/2". These measurements apply to all countries.

AO Mail (other articles)
AO mail includes regular printed matter, books and sheet music, matter for the blind, small packets, and publishers' periodicals. Dimension restrictions for AO mail are the same as for LC mail.

Printed matter means paper on which words, letters, characters, figures, or images, or any combination of them not having the character of a bill or statement of account, or of actual or personal correspondence, have been reproduced by any process other than handwriting or typewriting. Included in this category are regular printed matter, books and sheet music, and publishers' periodicals. Stationery, stamps of various kinds, whether used or not, framed photographs and certificates, photographic negative and slides, films, microfilm and microfiche, sound or video recordings, and punched paper tapes or ADP cards and playing cards are not acceptable as printed matter.
International Customs-Douane PS Form 2976.
CP Mail (parcel post)
This classification resembles domestic zone-rated standard-class mail. Packages of merchandise or any other articles that are not required to be mailed at letter postage rate can be sent as parcel post. LC mail cannot be enclosed or attached to CP mail. If one places a piece of LC mail in a CP package, the higher letter rate applies to the entire parcel.

Measurements of CP mail must be at least 3-1/2" in width and 5-1/2" in length. The maximum length can be 3-1/2 feet, the maximum length and girth combined can be 6 feet. Length and girth is the measurement of once the length plus twice the width, plus twice the depth. For circular parcels, such as ones containing tires, coil, or rope, measure around the diameter line. This measurement cannot exceed 64".

Packing must be secure enough to withstand repeated rough handling. Sealing is mandatory for all insured or registered parcels and for ordinary parcel post for certain countries. In general, it is best to completely seal all parcels so that any tampering is easily detected by postal officials.
International Parcel Post PS Form 2976A/2966E.
Expedited Mail International Service (EMS) ("Express Mail")
Express Mail International is a service similar to domestic Express Mail. However, where domestic Express Mail offers a refund for delay in delivery, International Express Mail has no service guarantee. There are two kinds of service, Custom Designed and On Demand. Express Mail International is available to most countries, but not all. Service restrictions and offerings vary by country.
Special Services
International mail offers a few special services such as Registered Mail, Insurance, Return Receipt, and Restricted Delivery. Certified Mail is not available for International Mail.
Registered Mail
Registered Mail provides secure handling of mail and carries with it an indemnity of .35 maximum. This service is available for letter class mail, small packets, and all printed matter. Registered service is not available for items paid at the parcel post rate.
Insured Mail
The purchase of insurance offers indemnity for loss of, or damage to items paid at the parcel post rate with a maximum amount of 00 for most countries. This service is available to many countries. Insurance is not available for letter class mail, small packets, or printed matter.
Return Receipt (international)
Return receipts provide the mailer with evidence of delivery of Registered or Insured Mail. Return Receipts must be purchased at the time of mailing. Return Receipt service is available at no charge for Expedited Mail. International Return Receipt Service is offered to a limited number of countries. International Return Receipt PS Form 2865.
Restricted Delivery
This service insures delivery only to a specific individual. The mail can only be delivered to the addressee. This service is governed by the internal legislation of the destination country and is available to many countries for Registered Mail.
Addressing International Mail
International mail must be properly addressed. The receivers full address should be typed or legibly written, and placed lengthwise on one wide of the item. An address in a foreign language is permissible provided the names of the city, province, and country are also indicated in English. The last line of the address must show only the country name, unabbreviated, and in CAPITAL letters. Foreign postal codes should be placed on the line above the country of destination. The address of both the sender and the addressee should be included inside parcels. Items sent to General Delivery must indicate the name of the addressee and the French endorsement "Post Restante" (General Delivery). An example for a foreign address is:
The sender's name and address including Zip Code and country of origin, should be shown on all mail. In the event a letter or parcel cannot be delivered, this will ensure that it is returned.

Some restriction include: parcels "in care of" one country when the addressee is another country, addresses written in pencil, and addresses with initials only, unless they are adopted trade names.
Size Limits
Each class has different size limits and requirements. They are as follows:

Envelopes and Packages 
Height and Length: 3-1/2"x 5-1/2"
Thickness: .007"
Length: 24"
Length, height, and thickness combined: 36"
Length: 4"
Length plus twice the diameter combined: 6-3/4"
Length: 36"
Length plus twice the diameter combined: 42"
Height and length: 3-1/2"x 5-1/2"
Height and length: 4-1/4"x 6"
Thickness: .0095"
Printed Matter in the Form of a Card
Height and length: 3-1/2"x 5-1/2"
Height and length: 4-3/4"x 9-1/4"
Nonstandard Surcharge
A surcharge of 11 cents per item will be assessed on all outbound air and surface letters and regular printed matter weighing one ounce or less if:
  • its length exceeds 11-1/2"
  • its height exceeds 6-1/8"
  • its thickness exceeds 1/4"
  • its length divided by its height is less than 1.3 or more than 2.5.
Parcel Post

Rectangular Parcels:
Width and length: 3-1/2"x 5-1/2"
Length: 42"
Length and girth combined: 79"
Mailers must mark the envelopes or wrappers of articles to show the classification under which they are mailed. When mailing small packets, endorse the envelopes or wrappers "Small Packets" or its equivalent in a language known in the country of destination, ie: "Petit Paquet" (French), "Packchen" (German), or "Pequeno Paquet" (Spanish). Endorse the envelopes or wrappers "Printed Matter" or "Printed Matter-Catalogs" when mailing at regular printed matter rates, and "Printed Matter-Books" or "Printed Matter-Sheet Music" when mailing at special rates prescribed for that category of printed matter. In addition, airmail articles should be plainly endorsed "Par Avion", "AIRMAIL", or have a label 19, Airmail, Par Avion, affixed.
Registered letters and registered packages must be sealed. Padded envelopes are acceptable for international registered items. Ordinary letters and small packets should be sealed. Printed matter may be sealed if postage is paid by permit imprint postage meter stamps, precanceled stamps, or periodical indicia. Ordinary printed matter in padded envelopes closed by staples is acceptable at the sender's risk. Matter for the blind must be left unsealed. All international parcels must be sealed. Senders must seal their own parcels. Wax, gummed-paper tape, nails, screws, wire, metal bands, or other materials may be used to seal parcels. The seal must be sufficient to allow detection of tampering.
Prohibited Articles
Articles which may cause injury to postal employees, or may damage postal equipment or mail, and articles prohibited from domestic mail of the United States are prohibited; also matches and most live or dead animals. Communications having the character of actual or personal correspondence must be sent as letters or post cards. Restrictions apply to firearms capable of being concealed on the person, to flammable liquids, and to radioactive materials. Articles that are acceptable in one country may not be acceptable in another. Each country of destination has special prohibitions or restrictions on particular goods. Direct any questions to MS.
Business Reply Mail (international)
International Business Reply Service (IBRS) is currently available to a limited number of countries. IBRS allows you to distribute business reply cards and envelopes to customers in some countries and pay the postage due for replies through the Business Reply Mail Accounting System (BRMAS).

More Information

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UCR Mail Services
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