Envelope Size Requirements for Mailing

Written by taunda edwards
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If you think the size of your envelope does not matter, you are wrong. The United States Postal Service (USPS) requires that all envelopes meet the appropriate thickness and length for mechanical handling. You are required to choose the appropriate envelope size that fits your mail. You cannot stuff letters or documentation into a small envelope and expect the post office to mail it, especially if you do not pay for the proper postage. If you do not choose the correct envelope size, the post office returns the package to you or refuses to mail the item if you go in person. For large legal documents, use a legal envelope; for small documents, use a regular-sized envelope; and so on.

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Measurement Requirements

It is a good idea to know the measurement and weight of your letter before mailing it off. Envelopes must meet the required minimum and maximum sizes before the USPS can mail them. Letters can have a maximum thickness of 1/4 inch and a maximum size of 11 1/2 inches long by 6 1/8 inch high. The minimum size of a letter is 5 inches long by 3 1/2 inches high, according to the USPS. The USPS also requires large envelopes to be no more than 3 3/4 inches thick, with a minimum size of 11 1/2 inches long by 6 1/8 inches high and a maximum size of 15 inches long by 12 inches high.

Types of Shipping

First-class mail is a fast way to go when sending your mail. However, to use first-class mail, the USPS requires envelopes to meet the required size. You can send large envelopes, postcards and letters with first-class mail as long as they are flat. According to the USPS, a first-class envelope must weigh no more than 369gr for mailing. This does not include the contents of the envelope, just the envelope. For envelopes that weigh more than 369gr, you must use a Priority Mail envelope, which is still a fast way to mail something, but at a more expensive rate. First-class mail generally contains letters, cards, bills or statements for accounts and any other handwritten or typed personal correspondences. Some first-class envelopes also contain lightweight merchandise and small advertisements.

Shape Requirements

The shape of the envelope matters when mailing documentation, cards and letters. The standard envelope size is 10.4 centimetres by 24.1 centimetres, or 4 1/8 inches by 9 1/2 inches. However, some envelopes are unusual shapes, as well as a nonstandard size, such as square envelopes or envelopes where the address is written parallel to the shorter edge. These unusual envelope shapes require you to pay additional postage, because they are harder to process with mail sorting machines. To guarantee your envelope gets mailed, pay the appropriate shipping rate for the envelope shape.

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