UCR Mail Services

Outgoing US Mail

General Mail Preparation Guidelines

All mail processed by the USPS must meet the following requirements.

Size Requirements
Following is a list of minimum requirements for all U.S. mail:
  • Standard Letter Size / Flats
  • Rectangular shape
  • At least 0.007" thick
  • At least 3-1/2" high
  • At least 5" long
  • Address placed parallel to the item's long edge
Size Standards for Post Cards and Non-Standard size mail
Following are maximum size restrictions for specific items.

  • No more than 4-1/4" high
  • No more than 6" long

*Cards exceeding these dimensions require one ounce letter-rate postage.

Nonstandard-Size Mail:

First-Class Mail weighing one ounce or less is nonstandard if it:
  • Is taller than 6-1/8" in height
  • Is longer than 11-1/2" in length
  • Is thicker than 1/4" thick
  • Has a length which is less than 1.3 times the height or more than 2.5 times the height.

A surcharge is placed on each piece of mail that exceeds any of the above standards, and weighs one ounce or less.

Maximum size limits for domestic mail are as follows:
  • No more than 70 pounds in weight

  • No more than 108 total inches in combined girth and length.

  • Girth is calculated by measuring the length and the circumference of the thickest part of the parcel and adding the two together. Length and girth examples

Addressing Outgoing U.S. Mail
All mail must be addressed correctly in order for it to be delivered accurately and in a timely manner. The following is a list of how you should address outgoing mail:
  • The top line should be the "attention" line.
  • The next line includes the name of the recipient.
  • The next to the last line should be the delivery address, box number, or rural route number followed by apartment, unit office, or multi-dwelling number. If the apartment number, etc., will not fit on that line, it should be placed on the line above, not below, the delivery line address.
  • The last line should include the city, state, and Zip Code.
For the best possible service, you should use all capital letters, eliminate all punctuation, except the hyphen in the Zip+4 Code and use the common state and street abbreviations.

All mail is preferred typed, but handwritten addresses are acceptable if they are legible.
Sample address formats.

When using window envelopes, make sure the window is large enough to see the entire address through it, even if the contents of the envelope shift.

See below for a list of do's and don'ts for the addressing of mail.
Addressing DO's
  • Use white or light-colored envelopes because a good contrast between the print and its background is necessary for the Optical Character Reader (OCR) to locate the address. Black ink on a white background is preferable.
  • Format all lines of the address with a uniform left margin. This gives the OCR a fixed field to scan the address.
  • Use all capital letters because there are fewer variations in the print styles of capital letters than lower case letters which makes it easier for the OCR to "read" the address.
  • The typewriter or printer should leave a clear space between each character. If any characters in the address touch each other, the OCR cannot tell where one letter ends and another begins. On typewriters, set pitch at 1O.
  • In the last line of the address, spell out the city name in its entirety and use the appropriate two-character state abbreviation. Standard address Abbreviations.
  • Place a full character space between words. Two spaces are recommended between the state abbreviation and the Zip Code.
  • Use correct address abbreviations (i.e, ST for street, BLVD for boulevard, etc.). Standard address Abbreviations.
  • The line immediately above the City/State/Zip Code line must indicate the delivery address.
  • Make certain the address is not slanted and the attention line is placed correctly, which is on the line above all delivery information including the company name.
  • When using a window envelope, make certain that the entire address always appears even if the contents shift.
  • The upper right hand corner of the mail piece must be free of marks so that postage may be applied, whether it is metered, permit imprint, or postage stamps.
Addressing DON'Ts
  • Do not use italic (script) print. The OCR is unable to read this type of print. Dot matrix print is very hard for the OCR to read if the dots do not touch each other.
  • Do not use any punctuation in the address except for the hyphen in the Zip+4 Code.
  • Do not use the name of a building in place of the street address. If a street address is not available, as in the case of most University buildings, do use the building and room number on the address line.
  • Do not use intersections such as "Broad & High."
  • Do not place any printing below the city/state/zip code line or show the attention line on the line below the company name.
Failure to adhere to these suggestions will definitely delay the delivery of your mail.
Through specific endorsements on the mail piece, the mailer can request four ancillary service endorsements; "Address Service Requested", "Forwarding Service Requested", "Return Service Requested", and "Change Service Requested". Endorsement chart.

Endorsements should be placed in one of the following locations; (1), above the delivery address, (2) to the left of the postage area, (3) below the postage area, and (4) to the left of the postage area. The endorsement must be printed in at least 8-point type and stand out against its background.

You should base the choice of endorsement on the class of mail that is to be sent, the service desired, and cost considerations.

The USPS is very particular in the wording of the endorsements, so you must use the above mentioned exactly as they are written.
First-Class Mail (enclosures)
If a piece of first-class mail is placed in a book, catalogue, or fourth-class mailing, the package must be marked "First-Class Letter Enclosed," and appear on the package above the address and below the postage. Postage for the mail piece must be prepaid.

First-Class letters may be enclosed in Standard-mail (B) parcels. Postage must be paid for each letter in the parcel. The parcel must be endorsed indicating, "First Class Letter Enclosed."

Incidentals are defined as an attachment to a parcel that is closely associated with or related to the piece to which it is attached or in which it is enclosed. It must be secondary to the parcel and not interfere with postal processing. Examples are as follows:
  • a bill for the product or publication
  • a statement of account for past products or publications
  • a personal message or greeting included with a product, publication, or parcel.
If an incidental First-Class addition is inseparable from a Standard Mail piece, it will be charged the postage of the parcel itself.

Items such as paper clips, metal pieces, and sand are not mailable in envelopes. These items will cause postal equipment to jam or break.

If you choose to use window envelopes, be sure that the address is visible even if the contents shift. The contents cannot be stapled to the envelope.


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Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

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UCR Mail Services
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Riverside, CA 92521

Tel: (951) 827-6245
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