What is a Standard Size Letter For Mailing? 

Choosing the right standard-size letter for mailing depends on the type of mail piece you are mailing. Four main categories of mail are classified by the USPS. Each category has a specific size and thickness requirement. These requirements apply to both letters and parcels. The weight of the mail piece also affects the postage cost. For example, a letter that weighs less than 100 grams will be charged at the standard rate, but a letter that weighs more than 100 grams will be charged at a higher rate. 

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The standard size letter for mailing is a rectangular piece that is at least 5 inches long, 3 1/2 inches tall, and at least 0.007 inches thick. The USPS also defines a postcard as a mail piece that is less than 4 1/4 inches high and less than 0.007 inches thick. Postcards can be mailed using the USPS Marketing Mail service. Postcards that are less than 6 inches x 9 inches are sent at a lower rate than regular mail. The thickness requirement goes up to 0.009 inches for larger pieces. 

In addition to a rectangular piece, the USPS also classifies flats. These pieces are nonmachinable. Nonmachinable mailpieces must have a closure device and have their delivery address parallel to the shorter side of the mailpiece. They are also subject to a nonmachinable surcharge. They are charged an additional 21 cents. They cannot include hazardous materials or hazardous materials packaging. They must also have an aspect ratio of at least one. The USPS also has separate rules for parcels carrying CDs or DVDs. 

In general, the size of a letter is determined by the placement of the address. When a mail piece exceeds the maximum dimensions, it automatically becomes the next largest shape. The size of the envelope also depends on the content of the mail piece. For example, an announcement envelope is ideal for greeting cards and promotional materials. It is also used by some businesses that send out catalogs. In addition to the above sizes, there are booklet envelopes that are used to send different items. A-series envelopes are popular for formal announcements. They have deep pointed flaps. They conform to the internationally recognized standard ISO 216. 

For the Standard Mail service, nonmachinable letters must be less than 1.3 inches thick and more than 2.5 inches long. They cannot be more than 3.5 ounces. If the letter has unusual features, such as clasps, it will be charged a nonmachinable surcharge. Nonmachinable letters may be sent as First Class Mail or as Package Mail. 

A letter with a square shape is considered nonmachinable, but a flat letter with a rectangle shape is not. Square envelopes are defined as nonmachinable. Nonmachinable letters must have a thickness of at least 0.009 inches and a finished radius of at least one inch. They must have a thickness that is consistent throughout the letter. Nonmachinable letters that are less than 0.009 inches thick can be sent as First Class Mail. A letter that is more than 0.009 inches thick will be charged a nonmachinable letter surcharge.