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USPS - Mail Classifications

*New postal terms were established with the U.S. Postal Services' Reclassification Reform on July 1, 1995

A. Priority Mail Express

Priority Mail Express service is the most expensive type of mailing offered by the U.S. Postal Services. It is the only overnight service that can be delivered to USPS post boxes.

Express mail service is a reliable, guaranteed 24 hour delivery service of material able to be mailed up to 70 pounds to most major metropolitan areas.

Domestic Express Mail postage rates are based on weights and start at $16.95 for a half-pound and $19.99 for a flat-rat envelope.

UH Postal Services takes all outgoing Express mail to the U.S. Post Office at 3:30 p.m. Contact UH Postal Services for rates and any other questions regarding Express mail.

Please fill in only the "From" and "To" boxes on the Express Mail label. Do not check any of the other boxes on the form. They are reserved for the U.S.P.S. use only. Please do not remove any copies from the Express mail label. After UH Postal Services takes the item to the Post Office, a copy with the Post Office official round date stamp will be returned to you. Please keep this receipt until you are sure the item has been delivered. You need this receipt as proof of mailing if there is a problem. UH Postal Services does not keep a copy on file. You may track your Express Mail by using the U.S.P.S. web site:

Express mail envelopes and forms are available upon request through UH Postal Services.

B. First Class Mail

Any matter able to be mailed may be sent as First Class mail. First Class mail consists of handwritten and type- written matter, bills and statements of account. First Class mail is closed to postal inspection.

Domestic mail is any mail transmitted within the United States, its territories and possessions, Army-Air Force (APO) and Navy (FPO) Post Offices.

Oversize/Underweight Mail: First Class mail weighing one ounce or less is non-standard if it exceeds any of the following:

11.5 inches in length or
6-1/8 inches in height or
1/4 inches in thickness or
Aspect ratio (length divided by height) does not
fall between 1 to 1.3 and 1 to 2.5 inclusive.

There is an additional charge on each piece of non-standard mail.

Note: The U.S. Post Office may open any mail other than First Class to determine whether the proper rate of postage has been paid.

C. Priority Mail

All First Class mail exceeding 13 ounces and not exceeding 70 pounds is considered priority mail and, at the option of the mailer, any mail weighing 11 ounces or less. There is a size limit of 108 inches in combined length and girth (distance around parcel at the thickest part). The rate is determined by weight and distance. Priority envelopes are available free upon request from UH Postal Services.

Flat rate containers (various size envelopes and boxes) are available. Whatever fits in the container can go at the flat rate. Prices range from $5.60 - $17.45.

D. Global Express Guaranteed, Express Mail International, Priority Mail International

These are all mail services offered by the USPS for international mail. Please call UH Postal Services for questions utilizing these services.

E. Business Reply Mail (BRM) (First Class Permit #1821)

Business Reply Mail Service enables mailers to receive mail back from individuals by paying postage and fees on only the mail that is returned from the original mailing. No special services (i.e., certified, registered, insured, etc) may be used in conjunction with the BRM rate: First Class mail postage plus a surcharge.

To ensure the proper printing of BRM mail pieces, UH Postal Services requests that you use the UH Printing Department. They have the correct template from the U.S. Postal Services to print mail pieces to meet BRMAS qualification and thereby receive the greatest discount on the reply mail. Improperly printed mail pieces will be charged the regular business reply rate.

Please contact UH Postal Services for more information before printing.

F. Periodicals

Periodicals (formerly Second Class Mail) is generally used by newspapers and other periodicals which meet the criteria established by the U.S. Postal Office. Further information can be obtained by contacting the UH Postal Services.

G. Standard Mail

Standard Mail is an economical way to mail. This class includes circulars, newsletters and printed matter weighing less than 16 ounces which have been reproduced by any process other than handwriting or typewriting. No personal correspondence can be sent Standard Mail. See the Mail Handling Tips Section for Standard mail procedures. Requires a minimum volume of 200 pieces or 50 pounds.

H. Package Services

Package Services designation for parcels (non-letter mail) weighing 16 ounces or more. The following types of mail fall within the Package Services:

Bound Printed Matter

Bound Printed Matter is typically catalogs, books and other printed matter that weigh from one to fifteen pounds and not to exceed 108" in combined length and girth. Single pieces must be marked "Bound Printed Matter", catalogs must also be marked "Catalog or Catalog Rate". A bulk mailing of 200 pieces or more must be marked "Bound Printed Matter and "Bulk Rate or Blk Rt".

Library Rate

Library rate is the most economical Package Service postage rate and is intended primarily to serve libraries mailing books on loan. The rate, however, can be used by University departments for certain other limited educational materials such as films, recording tapes and other prescribed audio-visual materials, scientific instructional kits, and museum and herbarium materials. Each piece must be marked "Library Rate" or "Library Mail".

Media Mail

The Media Mail subclass is for any type of published media - books, CDs, DVDs, play scripts, sheet music, test materials and so on. Advertising content is severely restricted; for example, books may not contain advertisements beyond incidental announcements for other books. Each piece must be marked Media Mail.