A mailpiece must be at least 3-1/2 inches by 5 inches by 0.007-inch thick and no more than 6-1/8 inches by 11-1/2 inches by 1/4-inch thick to be eligible for First-Class Mail letter rates. A mailpiece is considered as a letter if it fits within these dimensions. Second-Class Mail rate schedules are based on the weight of the letter rather than its size or thickness. The recommended minimum weight for letters is 7 ounces (including items such as jewelry, coins, and stamps).
The United States Postal Service (USPS) defines three classes of mail: first class, second class, and third class. First-class mail is the most expensive to process and includes letters, postcards, and packets. Second-class mail is next in price category and includes all general-purpose envelopes, boxes, and tape. Third-class mail is the cheapest type of mail to process and includes newspapers and magazines.
First-class letters and packages over 5-1/2 inches by 8-1/2 inches by 12-3/4 inches should be sent in an envelope labeled "Priority Mail" or equivalent so that they will be processed as priority mail.
It's also important to note that some items cannot be mailed due to regulations regarding explosives, drugs, money orders, and other items that may function as weapons or illegal substances through smuggling.
To be eligible for the normal letter rate, an envelope must be at least 6.125 inches tall by 11.5 inches long and have a thickness of at least 0.25 inches. Anything larger than these dimensions will require extra shipping. If you aren't sure if your envelope meets these requirements, call our customer service team at 1-800-462-6775.
There are three types of letters that can affect their rate: urgent/first class, standard, and express.
Urgent/first class letters are sent through the United States Postal Service (USPS) priority mail system and require a $15 fee per letter. Standard letters go through the regular first-class mail system and cost $5 to send. Express letters use a special delivery service and are delivered within one business day for $20. There is no charge for this service.
The amount charged for postage increases as weight increases. For example, a letter under 5 pounds costs $0.45 first class, $1.50 standard, and $9.00 express. A postcard runs $0.35 first class, $1.10 standard, and $6.00 express.
In addition to determining how much it will cost to send your letter, you will also need to know its final destination to find out whether it needs extra postage.
A item must be rectangular to be eligible for postage at the letter rate. At least 3-1/2 inches tall, 5 inches long, and 0.007 inch thick. 6-1/8 inch high x 11-1/2 inch long x 1/4 inch thick is the maximum size. Mailing envelopes are not required for letters under 20 pages.
There are first-class stamps for letters up to 1 ounce (30 grams), ordinary stamps for letters from 1 ounce to 115 percent of a first-class weight, and commemorative and special stamps. The type of mail available for processing also affects price: Ordinary letters that do not exceed a total weight of 8 ounces can be sent at no charge with first-class stamps; letters over 8 ounces but less than 16 ounces cost $1 per pound ($0.45 per ounce); letters weighing more than 16 ounces cost $0.75 per pound ($0.35 per ounce).
The postal service charges for mailing letters is based on weight, so the larger the letter the heavier it will be. The postage price varies depending on how much it weighs. Here's a list of approximate prices:
First-Class Mail: $0-$10 million letters up to 1 ounce
Standard Mail: $10-$500 thousand letters from 1 to 9 pounds