USPS Flat Size Commercial Mail Addressing Standards

February 13, 2009

DMM Advisory

Pricing and Classification keeping you informed about the prices and mailing standards of the United States Postal Service

Reminder – New Address Standards for Commercial Flat-Size Mail  

New address standards for commercial flat-size mail are effective on March 29, 2009, and require mailers to place delivery addresses in the top half of all Periodicals, Standard Mail, and Package Services flats mailed at automation, presorted, or carrier route prices. Additional standards relate to address characteristics and apply to all commercial flat-size pieces, including First-Class Mail.

We encourage mailers to review the latest standards in the February 12 Postal Bulletin and use the tools on RIBBS to ensure you are ready for the change. We posted fact sheets summarizing the requirements for each class of mail, a new poster, and a scripted presentation that walks you through the changes and provides examples of addresses that do and do not meet the new standards. All of these materials are illustrated with realistic magazines, catalogs, and business envelopes.

Please contact your Business Mail Entry manager with any questions about the new standards.

DMM Revision: New Address Requirements for Automation, Presorted, and Carrier Route Flat-Size Mail

Effective March 29, 2009, we are adopting new address standards for Periodicals, Standard Mail®, Bound Printed Matter, Media Mail®, and Library Mail flat-size pieces mailed at automation, presorted, or carrier route prices. Some of these revisions also apply to automation and presorted First-Class Mail® flats.

The new address placement standards require the delivery address in the upper portion of all Periodicals, Standard Mail, Bound Printed Matter, Media Mail, and Library Mail flat-size pieces mailed at automation, pre­sorted, or carrier route prices. Mailers may place the address parallel or perpendicular to the top edge, but not upside down as read in relation to the top edge. The new standards define “upper portion” as the top half of the mailpiece. Mailers are encouraged to place the address as close to the top edge as possible, while maintaining a 1/8-inch clearance from every edge.

In addition, mailers must address all presorted, carrier route, and automation flat-size mailpieces, including First-Class Mail items, using a minimum of 8-point type or, if the mailpiece bears a POSTNETTM or Intelligent Mail® barcode with a delivery point routing code, a minimum of 6-point type in all capital letters. In addition, for all automa­tion pieces, the characters in the address must not overlap, the address lines must not touch or overlap, and each address element may be separated by no more than five blank character spaces.

The new standards enable more efficient processing and delivery of flat-size pieces. The improved type size and line spacing requirements support accurate and efficient delivery and redirection services and ensure carriers can readily read the addresses and delineate delivery stops.

Fact sheets, summarizing the changes for each class of mail, are available online at http://ribbs.usps.gov/; in the left frame, click on Flats Sequencing Strategy then Flats Addressing Requirements. The fact sheets include addi­tional illustrations for each type of mail. We also posted a scripted presentation that walks mailers and employees through the address changes and provides examples of addresses that do and do not meet the new standards.

We are revising Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM®) as explained below.

Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM)

* * * * * 

300 Commercial Mail Flats

* * * * * 

302 Elements on the Face of a Mailpiece 1.0 All Mailpieces

* * * * * 

1.2 Delivery and Return Address

[Revise 1.2 as follows:]

The delivery address specifies the location to which the USPS is to deliver a mailpiece. Except for mail prepared with detached address labels under 602.4.0, the mailpiece must have the address of the intended recipient, visible and legible, only on the side of the piece bearing postage (Peri­odicals do not display postage, and the address may appear on either side). Use at least 8-point type (each char­acter must be at least 0.080 inch high). A sans-serif font is preferred. Addresses printed in all capital letters are also preferred. See additional standards in 2.0. A return address is required in specific circumstances (see 3.2 and 602.1.5 for more information about return addresses).

* * * * * 

[Renumber 2.0 through 4.0 as 3.0 through 5.0. Insert new 2.0 as follows:]

2.0 Address Placement 2.1 Basic Standards

On all Periodicals, Standard Mail, Bound Printed Matter, Media Mail, and Library Mail flats mailed at presorted, auto­mation, or carrier route prices, mailers must place the deliv­ery address at least 1/8 inch from any edge of the mailpiece. For the purposes of these standards, the “deliv­ery address” is the recipient’s name or other identification; the company information line; the street and number, and any necessary secondary information; and the city, state, and ZIP Code. The delivery address may appear on the front or the back of the mailpiece (but must be on the side bearing postage, except for Periodicals), parallel or per­pendicular to the top edge, but it cannot be upside down as read in relation to the top edge. See 2.2 for additional standards for enveloped or polywrapped pieces, and card-style pieces; and 2.3 for bound or folded pieces not in envelopes or polywrap.

2.2 Address Placement on Enveloped or Polywrapped Pieces

The following standards apply to enveloped, polywrapped, or card-style Periodicals, Standard Mail, Bound Printed Matter, Media Mail, and Library Mail flats mailed at pre­sorted, automation, or carrier route prices:

a. The “top” of the mailpiece is either of the shorter edges.

b. The entire delivery address must be within the top half of the mailpiece (see Exhibit 2.2), except under 2.2c or 2.2d. Optimal placement is at the top edge (while maintaining the 1/8-inch clearance requirement).

c. If a vertical address will not fit entirely within the top half, the address may cross the midpoint if it is placed within 1 inch of the top edge.

d. If the delivery address is placed on an insert poly­wrapped with the host piece:

1. The address must not appear on a component that rotates within the bag.

2. The address must remain visible throughout the addressed component’s range of motion.

3. The insert must be affixed to maintain the address entirely in the top half throughout processing and delivery or, if not affixed, the insert must maintain at least the beginning 0.5 inch of the address in the top half. The “beginning 0.5 inch” means the first half-inch of the recipient, delivery address, and city/state/ZIP Code lines, and not the end of each line.

Exhibit 2.2 Delivery Address on Enveloped, Polywrapped, and Card-Style Pieces

Delivery Address on Enveloped, Polywrapped, and Card-Style Pieces diagram.

2.3 Address Placement on Bound or Folded Pieces

The following standards apply to bound or folded Periodi­cals, Standard Mail, Bound Printed Matter, Media Mail, and Library Mail flats mailed at presorted, automation, or carrier route prices not in envelopes or polywrap (see 2.2 for all card-style pieces):

a. The “top” is the upper edge of the mailpiece when the bound or final folded edge is vertical and on the right side of the piece. Exception: For Carrier Route (or Enhanced Carrier Route) saturation pieces, the “top” of the mailpiece is either of the shorter edges.

b. The entire delivery address must be within the top half of the mailpiece (see Exhibit 2.3), except under 2.3c. Optimal placement is at the top edge (while maintaining the 1/8-inch clearance requirement).

c. If a vertical address will not fit entirely within the top half, the address may cross the midpoint if it is placed within 1 inch of the top edge.

Exhibit 2.3 Delivery Address on Bound or Folded Pieces

Delivery Address on Bound or Folded Pieces diagram.

2.4 Type Size and Line Spacing

On all First-Class Mail, Periodicals, Standard Mail, Bound Printed Matter, Media Mail, and Library Mail flats mailed at presorted, automation, or carrier route prices, mailers must print the delivery address using at least 8-point type (each character must be at least 0.080 inch high). A sans serif font is preferred. Addresses printed in all capital letters are also preferred. These additional standards apply to automation pieces:

a. The individual characters in the address cannot over­lap. The individual lines in the address cannot touch or overlap. A minimum 0.028-inch clear space between lines is preferred.

b. Each element on each line of the address may be separated by no more than five blank character spaces. One or two blank spaces is preferred.

For example, “ANYTOWN US 12345,” not “ANYTOWN US 12345.” A “blank” character space can equal the width of the widest character in the address.

c. For pieces that bear a POSTNET barcode with a delivery point routing code under 708.4.2 or an Intel­ligent Mail barcode with a delivery point routing code under 708.4.3, mailers may print the delivery address in a minimum of 6-point type (each character must be at least 0.065 inch high) if all capital letters are used.

* * * * * 

330 First-Class Mail 333 Prices and Eligibility

* * * * * 

3.0 Eligibility Standards for First-Class Mail Flats

* * * * * 

3.3 Additional Basic Standards for First-Class Mail

All pieces of presorted First-Class Mail must:

* * * * * 

[Revise introductory text in item f to reference the new address standards as follows (no change to items 1, 2, or 3):]

f. Bear a delivery address formatted according to 302.2.4 that includes the correct ZIP Code or ZIP+4 code and that meets these address quality standards:

* * * * * 

340 Standard Mail 343 Prices and Eligibility

* * * * * 

3.0 Basic Standards for Standard Mail Flats

* * * * * 

3.3 Additional Basic Standards for Standard Mail

Each Standard Mail mailing is subject to these general standards:

* * * * * 

[Revise item e to reference the new address standards as follows:]

e. Each mailpiece must bear the addressee’s name and delivery address, including the correct ZIP Code or ZIP+4 code, except as allowed when using alterna­tive addressing formats under 602.3.0 or detached address labels under 602.4.0. Format and position the delivery address according to 302.2.0.

* * * * * 

360 Bound Printed Matter 363 Prices and Eligibility

* * * * * 

2.0 Basic Eligibility Standards for Bound Printed Matter

* * * * * 

2.3 Delivery and Return Addresses

[Revise 2.3 to reference the new address standards as follows:]

All BPM mail must bear a delivery address formatted and positioned according to 302.2.0. The delivery address must include the correct ZIP Code or ZIP+4 code. Alterna­tive addressing formats under 602.3.0 may be used. Except for unendorsed BPM, each mailpiece must bear the sender’s return address.

* * * * * 

370 Media Mail 373 Prices and Eligibility

* * * * * 

3.0 Price Eligibility for Media Mail Flats

* * * * * 

3.3 Delivery and Return Addresses

[Revise 3.3 to reference the new address standards as follows:]

All Media Mail must bear a delivery address formatted and positioned according to 302.2.0. The delivery address must include the correct ZIP Code or ZIP+4 code. Alterna­tive addressing formats under 602.3.0 or detached address labels under 602.4.0 may be used. Each mailpiece must bear the sender’s return address.

* * * * * 

380 Library Mail 383 Prices and Eligibility

* * * * * 

3.0 Price Eligibility for Library Mail Flats

* * * * * 

3.3 Delivery and Return Addresses

[Revise 3.3 to reference the new address standards as follows:]

All Library Mail must bear a delivery address formatted and positioned according to 302.2.0. The delivery address must include the correct ZIP Code or ZIP+4 code. Alterna­tive addressing formats under 602.3.0 or detached address labels under 602.4.0 may be used. Each mailpiece must bear the sender’s return address.

* * * * * 

600 Basic Standards for All Mailing Services

* * * * * 

604 Postage Payment Methods

* * * * * 

5.0 Permit Imprint (Indicia)

* * * * * 

5.3 Indicia Design, Placement, and Content

* * * * * 

5.3.4 Indicia Placement on Mailpiece

[Revise the first sentence for clarity as follows:]

Permit imprint indicia must read in the same direction as the delivery address on the mailpiece.***

* * * * * 

700 Special Standards

* * * * * 

707 Periodicals

* * * * * 

3.0 Physical Characteristics and Content Eligibility

* * * * * 

3.2 Addressing 3.2.1 General

[Revise text by adding a new last sentence as follows:]

***On flat-size pieces, the address must be formatted and positioned according to 302.2.0.

* * * * * 

[Delete 3.2.3, Address Placement, and Exhibit 3.2.4, Address Placement for Periodicals. Renumber current 3.2.4 as 3.2.3.]

* * * * * 

3.3 Permissible Mailpiece Components

* * * * * 

3.3.10 Label Carrier

A label carrier may be used to carry the delivery address for the mailpiece and must consist of a single unfolded, uncreased sheet of card or paper stock, securely affixed to the cover of the publication or large enough so that it does not rotate inside the wrapper, subject to these conditions:

* * * * * 

[Insert new item e as follows:]

e. For flat-size pieces, the label carrier must be affixed to maintain the delivery address entirely in the top half of the mailpiece (see 302.2.0) throughout pro­cessing and delivery or, if not affixed, at least the beginning 0.5 inch of the address must remain in the top half. The “beginning 0.5 inch” means the first half-inch of the recipient, delivery address, and city/state/ZIP Code lines, and not the end of each line.

* * * * * 

– Mailing Standards,
Pricing, 2-12-09

http://www.usps.com/cpim/ftp/bulletin/2009/pb22252/html/updt_002.html