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Basic Postal Regulations

 

 

Addressing

The following addressing format is recommended to ensure efficient handling and delivery of the mail by the postal service:

 

Attention Line
Recipient Line:
Delivery Address Line:
City/State/Zip:
Country:
(if applicable)
JOHN SMITH
1234 MAIN ST
NEW YORK NY 16428-2888
(if applicable)

  • Capitalize everything in delivery address
  • Use two letter abbreviations for states and protectorates
  • Eliminate all punctuation in delivery address
  • Use common abbreviations
  • Use Zip+4 (if unknown, use five-digit zip code)
  • Capitalize every letter in country (if applicable)
  • Left justify every letter in address

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Address Characters

The recommended type size is 10 to 12 points for maximum readability. Address characters must be no less than 0.08 inches and no more than .2 inches high. Address characters should be of uniform thickness, not less than .75 point and no more than 2 points wide.

The above diagram indicates where the address block, the return address area, and the barcode clear zone area are located on an envelope.

The OCR (Optical Character Reader) area is where the address block should be positioned. The bar code clear zone is reserved for the bar code only. This area should be free of any printing or graphics.

          1. Logo below delivery address line.
            No printing can be placed in this space.
          2. Address not totally visible through window.
            Address cannot be read by automation equipment.
          3. Characters touch. Address cannot be read by
            automation equipment.
          4. Address is slanted.

 

Any of these address flaws may delay your mailing or deem it nonmailable.

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Envelopes

Light-colored envelopes are recommended for legibility. The following are the minimum and maximum dimensions for each mail piece:

 
 
Postcards
Letters
Flats

Height

3 1/2"

Min

4 1/4"

Max

3 1/2"

Min

6 1/8"

Max

6 1/8"

Min

12"

Max

Length 5" Min 6" Max 5" Min

11 1/2"

Max

11 1/2"

Min

15" Max
Thickness

0.007"

Min

0.016"

Max

0.007"

Min

1/4"

Max

1/4"

Min

3/4"

Max

Any piece exceeding or not meeting these dimension requirements may be subject to additional surcharges.

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Window Envelopes

Window envelopes and their inserts should be designed so that the entire address and a postal barcode, if applicable, appear in the window.

The address block must maintain at least a 1/8" clearance on all sides of the window. If a barcode is printed either above or below the address block, the address space should have at least 1/8" clearance on the left and right edge of the barcode and at least 1/25" clearance above and below the barcode. The entire window of the envelope should be no lower than 1/2" from the bottom edge of the envelope.

All window coverings must be free of wrinkles, streaks, fogging, or colors that may obscure the address or barcode. We recommend the use of cellophane, polystyrene, or glassine as window coverings.

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Self-Mailers

Self-Mailers can take the form of cards, booklets, single folded sheets, multiple folded sheets, or self-mailers with inserts. This type of mailing must be secured (tabbed) to prevent an open edge from jamming high-speed processing equipment.

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