Post Office Mailing Requirements

Most people will mail something at the post office, whether it's for business, sending a gift, or something else. It can be frustrating to go through post office lines only to find out that a package cannot be mailed. Knowing post office mailing requirements ahead of time can help avoid trouble when it comes time to ship a package.

  1. Clear Address

    • The U.S. Postal Service requires a clear address, including the street address (or post office box) of the recipient, city, state, and ZIP code for domestic mail. International mail should include the full international address, including full country name. The address should be written only in English. A return address is necessary to send any international mail.


    • Senders must pay all required postage, based on current postage fees. Post office employees can calculate postage for both envelopes and packages. This postage is based on a number of things, including size and weight of the item, how fast you want it sent, and the location of the address. The post office has flat-rate envelopes and boxes which you can use to send anything that will fit for a flat fee.

    Prohibitted Items

    • Prohibited items are mainly chemicals or substances which could become dangerous during shipping (such as gasoline, cleaning products, and fireworks), but also include items such as locksmithing tools, and contraceptive samples. The U.S. Postal Service's website has detailed lists or proscribed items. You can send some items only if you inform the post office at the time of mailing; for instance, you can mail most liquids if you inform the post office when you drop off your package.


    • International shipments must include a customs declaration, stating the items sent and their approximate value. You can find these forms on the USPS website, but they are also available in the post office itself. Customs declarations include, beyond the list of items, the names of the sender and recipient, and a phone number for both parties.

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  • Photo Credit air mail image by Nikolay Okhitin from

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