International Mail

International Mail Acceptance Policy Change


International shipments sent from the U.S. are subject to federal export laws and regulations, which limit the types of items customers can send to certain countries, individuals, or entities. While customers are responsible for following these laws, the Postal Service™ is changing our interna­tional mail acceptance policy to help ensure international mailpieces can be delivered in a safe and timely manner.

Compliance with federal export laws and regulations is of utmost importance. Anyone found to be violating these laws, regulations, and policy changes can be subject to fines, denial of export privileges, and/or imprisonment.

USPS’s Export Monitoring Activities

USPS® has developed a method to electronically cap­ture and screen customs declaration information required for all mailpieces with a destination address outside the United States. This enables the relevant agencies to target certain items for inspection and, if necessary, take the mail­pieces that do not meet the criteria out of the mailstream.

If customs declarations are completed by customers online (e.g., through Click-N-Ship® service), the data is automatically captured in a USPS database and transmit­ted as necessary. If customs declarations are not submit­ted online (e.g., by using nonelectronic versions or handwritten customs declarations), USPS employees must enter the data manually into a USPS database to facilitate data transmission to screeners.

To ensure all required data is captured electronically, changes are being made to international mail acceptance policies. Employees must be knowledgeable of these changes and handle international mailpieces according to the standard operating procedures they received on or about May 4, 2012.

Overview of Policy Changes

Effective May 21, 2012, the Postal Service will revise Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, International Mail Manual (IMM®) parts 215, 225, 235, and 245 to include new pickup and deposit options for Global Express Guaranteed® (GXG®), Express Mail International®, Priority Mail International®, and First-Class Mail Interna­tional® services. At the same time, the Postal Service will also revise Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM®) sections 608.2.4 and 703.2.3 to include the pickup and deposit options for domestic mailpieces requiring a customs declarations form.

The purpose of these changes is to enable the accurate and timely entry of all information from custom declarations into the appropriate USPS database for screening and transmission to relevant federal agencies.

Overview of Work Changes

Effective May 21, 2012, all international mailpieces bearing a PS Form 2976-A, Customs Declaration and Dis­patch Note CP 72, or PS Form 2976, Customs Declaration CN 22 Sender’s Declaration, that was not completed and submitted online (e.g., using Click-N-Ship service, Click-N-Ship® for Business service, an authorized PC Postage® vendor, or the USPS Web Tools® system) will only be accepted at a retail service counter at a Post Office™ location, except for First-Class Mail International mailings paid by permit imprint, which can be inducted at a Business Mail Entry Unit. In addition, all international mail­pieces that require a customs declaration and bear post­age stamps will only be accepted at a retail service counter at a Post Office location.

The new international mail acceptance policy applies to all mail destined to APO/FPO/DPO addresses.

The sections below provide information on how various employee groups and third-party acceptance channels will be affected by this policy change.


All city, rural, and contract delivery service (CDS) carri­ers will pick up international mailpieces from customers as long as either (1) the postage has been paid by electronic means (such as Click-N-Ship service) or (2) the items were paid by meter strips and contain an electronic customs declaration. International mailpieces that bear handwritten customs declaration forms or that require a customs dec­laration and bear postage stamps will only be accepted at the retail service counter of a Post Office location. If the mailing contains a PS Form 5630, Shipment Confirmation Acceptance Notice, scan label, this label will be scanned by the carrier; otherwise, the carrier will scan the customs label barcode on each item. This policy applies to items collected from customers’ mailboxes, Package Pickup, collection boxes, and collection runs. If a carrier identifies a noncompliant item in a customer’s mailbox or through Package Pickup, the carrier should leave the article and attempt to notify the customer, using Label DDD2 if appro­priate. If a noncompliant item is inadvertently picked up due to the item being placed in a collection box or other pickup where it cannot be refused or returned immediately to the mailer, the carrier should isolate the item and keep it separate.

Upon return to the delivery unit, international mail that meets the pickup requirements will be placed in the appro­priate container on the carrier collection mail setup within every Post Office location and dispatched. If the carrier picks up any Express Mail International or GXG items, these mailpieces should be taken to the designated area and brought to a retail associate’s attention. International mail that does not meet pickup requirements (e.g., mail with a nonelectronically prepared customs declaration or requir­ing a customs declaration and paid with postage stamps) picked up from collection boxes and on collection runs should be placed in a designated location for review by a retail associate upon return from street duties.

Retail Associates

International mail that does not meet pickup require­ments (e.g., nonelectronically prepared customs declara­tion or requiring a customs declaration and paid with postage stamps) can only be accepted at a retail counter. These packages must have their customs form data entered into the Customs and Border Protection Manifest (CBPMAN) system (for PS Forms 2976-A only), be given an acceptance scan, and be round-date stamped before dis­patch.

Note: If the PS Form 2976 is handwritten, information can­not be entered into CPBMAN at the present time. The item should be given a round-date stamp and acceptance scan, then dispatched.

Back Office Clerks

Carriers may not intentionally collect international mail that does not meet pickup requirements (e.g., nonelectron­ically prepared customs declaration or requiring a customs declaration and paid with postage stamps), and such items should not be accepted at the back dock. If a restricted mailpiece is received at the back dock of a delivery unit, the mailpiece should be sent to the retail service counter for customs data entry in CBPMAN. If the retail service counter is closed, the designated back office clerk should perform the CBPMAN data entry (for PS Forms 2976-A only), per­form an acceptance scan, and round-date stamp the article before dispatch.

Note: If the PS Form 2976 is handwritten, information can­not be entered into CPBMAN at the present time. The item should be given a round-date stamp and acceptance scan, then dispatched.

Processing Operations Employees

If an international mailpiece with a handwritten PS Form 2976 or PS Form 2976-A that does not have a round-date stamp is received at a processing facility, the mailpiece should be routed to a retail service counter at a Post Office location for customs data entry. This policy does not require processing center employees to alter their normal duties or to actively search for restricted mail.

Third-Party Acceptance Channels

International mailpieces bearing a customs declaration that were completed and submitted online may be pro­cessed as usual by the third-party acceptance channel, provided those mailpieces are paid by electronic means or contain a meter strip.

If the third-party acceptance location accepts interna­tional mail from customers, any international mail that does not meet the above requirements must be taken by the customer to a retail service counter at a Post Office loca­tion for mailing. These mailpieces should not be accepted from customers at a third-party acceptance channel. If they wish to do so, the third-party acceptance channel may assist customers by filling out their electronic customs dec­larations and assisting them in paying for postage online (e.g., using Click-N-Ship service).

Post Office locations will soon be receiving a supply of Publication 613, Shipping International Packages (revised), Label DDD2, Important Customer Information Label (revised), and Label DDD1, 13-Ounce Rule Label (revised). Please ensure that the revised Publication 613 is available for carriers and retail clerks to hand to frequent interna­tional mailers and that an adequate supply of Labels DDD2 are also on hand. Label DDD1 has been redesigned and must be applied over the existing label on every collection box, lobby drop, and Automated Postal Center® drop as soon as practical on or after May 21, 2012.

Postmasters and supervisors will support employee compliance with this new international mail acceptance policy by providing training information through service talks, available standard operating procedures, or other methods. Within the next couple of weeks, your Post Office location, processing operations center, or international service center will receive job aids and resources that out­line this policy change for both customers and employees. Pages on the Blue and LiteBlue websites are also under development to provide resources to employees.

Your role in these efforts is critical, and USPS counts on you to support compliance with these changes. Failure on the part of our employees to comply with these policies could interfere with our ability to make sure the mail is not being used for purposes contrary to our country’s national security and foreign policy interests.

Thank you for your attention to this important policy change.