International Mail

Customs documentation is required for all international mailings that meet any of the following criteria

• Packages that weigh over 16 oz.
• Packages measuring greater than 15” x 12” x ¾”
• Packages containing items with commercial (dutiable) value

Mail Consolidation

Michigan State University partners with International Mail Service (IMS), a mail consolidator, to increase deliverability and garner postage savings. IMS is used for packages valued at less than $400. Mail Services recommends that if your package is of greater value, you use FedEx or UPS. A Service Request and required customs forms must be completed and attached to the mail.
View PDF tutorial on completing Customs documents.

Requirements

Return addresses are required on all outbound international mail for all types of service used. The mailpiece must bear a complete return address in the country of origin where postage is being paid. Visit the USPS International help page for information. To reduce processing delays, please separate international mail from domestic US Mail.

International Addressing

When addressing international mail, the country name always stands alone on the bottom line, completely spelled out in English.


Sample:
MS JOYCE BROWNING
2045 ROYAL ROAD
06570 ST PAUL
FRANCE

Canada Address Requirements

The following address format should be used when the postal address delivery zone is included in the address. Use the standard two-character abbreviations for provinces and territories.

Canadian Province/Territory

Postal Service Abbreviation

Alberta AB
British Columbia BC
Manitoba MB
New Brunswick NB
Newfoundland and Labrador NL
Northwest Territories NT
Nova Scotia NS
Nunavut NU
Ontario ON
Prince Edward Island PE
Quebec QC
Saskatchewan SK
Yukon YT


Sample:
MS HELEN SAUNDERS
1010 CLEAR STREET
OTTAWA ON K1A 0B1
CANADA

Uncommon US Domestic Addresses

The following should be entered as US domestic addresses:

State Field

Name

ZIP Codes

AS American Somoa 96799
GU Guam 96910 to 96970
MH Marshall Islands 96960 to 96970
MS Micronesia, Federated States of 96941 to 96944
MP Northern Mariane Islands 96950 to 96952
PW Palau 96940
PR Puerto Rico 00601 to 00799 and 00901 to 00999
VI US Virgin Islands 00801 to 00851

 
Military Mail

Military mail is classed as US domestic mail. The name of the destination town and country should not appear in the address; the army post office codes must be used instead.

City Field

State Field*

ZIP Code

APO AE 09001-5275
FPO AP 96606-2783
APO AA 34035-4198

*Letters used in the State Field column are explained below:
AE is used for armed forces stationed in Europe, in the Middle East, in Africa and in Canada.
AP is used for armed forces stationed in the Pacific region.
AA is used for armed forces stationed in the Americas (other than in Canada).

Service Levels

International Priority Airmail is the most commonly used level of service at Mail Processing for MSU international mail, and is the default level used unless another is specified.

International Priority Airmail
International Priority Airmail is a volume airmail service that provides rapid and economical worldwide delivery for your business. Invoices, direct mail, catalogs, small merchandise packages, business correspondence—virtually all types of mail weighing up to four pounds can be delivered. 

First-Class Mail International
First-Class Mail International is the most economical way to send letters, small packages, postal cards, printed matter, and small packets 4 pounds and under, worldwide. 

Priority Mail International
Priority Mail International is an airmail service that provides customers with a reliable and economical means of sending correspondence and merchandise up to 70 pounds to over 190 countries and territories worldwide.

Express Mail International
Get fast delivery of documents and packages to over 190 countries. Send documents and packages around the world at competitively low prices with Express Mail International with service guaranteed to select destinations. 

Global Express Guaranteed
Global Express Guaranteed (GXG) is the premium international shipping option from the U.S. Postal Service with international transportation and delivery by FedEx Express. GXG offers date-certain delivery in 1-3 business days to more than 190 countries worldwide. 
 
Airmail M-Bags
Airmail M-Bags deliver a large amount of mail to a single addressee. M-bags have the following conditions when mailing:
  • The maximum weight is 66 pounds (including the tare weight of the sack). There is no longer a minimum weight; however, if it weighs 11 pounds or less, the customer will pay the 11-pound rate.
  • They can be mailed to all destination countries.
  • All categories of printed matter can be enclosed in an M-bag. Printed matter is defined as paper on which words, letters, characters, figures, images, or any combination thereof, not having the character of a bill or statement of account, or of actual or personal correspondence, have been reproduced by any process other than handwriting or typewriting.

Extra Services

The USPS offers a variety of confirmation and protection options for your international mail.The limited information below was updated June 2010 and is provided only to give you an idea of the service offered. USPS content changes frequently. Visit their extra services web page often for the most current information.

Registered Mail
Registry service provides security and limited indemnity protection for First-Class Mail®, International, and Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelope items. Items bearing an address in pencil or any erasable format are not accepted as Registered Mail. This optional special service is not available with Priority Mail International flat rate or variable weight parcels or Express Mail International® services.

Priority Mail® International Ordinary Indemnity
Indemnity coverage is now provided for all ordinary (uninsured) Priority Mail International (flat rate envelope not included) items. This coverage is provided at no additional charge and protects mailers against loss, damage, or missing contents. Coverage is calculated based on the weight of the parcel and not on the value of the contents of the parcel whichever is less. Mailers may still purchase insurance for a fee to many countries. When insurance is purchased, it replaces the indemnity coverage provided on ordinary Priority Mail International parcels.

Priority Mail® International Insurance
At the sender's option, Priority Mail International (flat rate envelope and small flat rate box not included) packages mailed to many destination countries can be insured against loss, damage, or missing contents. Comparable insurance coverage is not available to senders who mail letter-post items to those same countries.

Return Receipt
Return Receipt service provides the sender with confirmation of delivery for Express Mail, Registered Mail, and insured Priority Mail International items. A Return Receipt must be purchased at the time of mailing.

Restricted Delivery
Restricted delivery is a service that generally limits who may receive an item. It is limited to First-Class Mail International items (including the Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelope and small flat rate box.) using Registered Mail service.

Certificate of Mailing
This official record shows the date your mail was accepted. Certificates of mailing furnish evidence of mailing only.
Certified Mail and COD (collect on delivery) Mail are not available in conjunction with International Mail. 

Resources
International Postage Calculator
Calculate postage online for the shape, weight, and destination of your mail.

Postage Rates and Restrictions by Country
Find out what you are allowed to mail by destination country as well as service levels, extra services and rates available.

Universal Postal Union—Address Format by Country
Search by specific country to be sure your address is formatted correctly.