What is the Size of a Letter for Mailing? 

Whether you are mailing letters or postcards, there are certain requirements that you must meet to send mail. You should also understand how USPS rates different sizes of pieces. This will help you determine how much you will pay for a certain piece. 

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The USPS defines a letter as a rectangular mailpiece that is at least five inches long, three and one half inches high, and less than or equal to 0.007 inches thick. A postcard is defined as a small card that is at least five inches long, four and one half inches high, and 0.016 inches thick. A postcard can be folded or placed in an envelope. The postage rate for a postcard depends on the size of the postcard, the thickness of the card, and the weight of the mailpiece. If a piece has more than 3.5 ounces, it is subject to a large envelope rate. If a piece is heavier, it is also subject to a package rate. 

If your letter or postcard is too big or too flat, you may be charged a nonmachinable surcharge. These surcharges are applied to any mailpiece that meets the requirements for a postcard or letter but does not conform to the shape qualifications. The most common shape requirements for a postcard are a postcard that is five inches by three and a half inches, has a mailing address on the right side, and is at least 0.007 inches thick. In the case of a letter, the postal service considers a letter to be a rectangular piece with a delivery address on the short side and a thickness of at least 0.007 inches. 

The maximum dimensions for a letter are 8.5 inches by 11 inches. This is the average mailing size in the United States. However, some businesses don’t use letter paper or want to fold the document to save money. If a piece exceeds the maximum size, it will be returned to the originator for re-enveloping. The USPS has a mailing template for the postcard that will help you get the right size. 

The maximum weight for a letter or postcard is three and one-half ounces. The USPS recommends that you avoid brilliant colors in your mailings. A piece that is too heavy is not mailable. It is not necessary to include hazardous materials in your mailings. There are some exceptions, such as a mailpiece that has a CD, DVD, or other material that cannot be bent. 

The thickness requirement for a letter or postcard increases to 0.009 inches for larger pieces. A square envelope is more expensive to mail than a rectangular envelope. If a piece is more than 1/4 inch thick, it will be returned to the originator. This means that you could be charged a significant surcharge. 

A mailpiece can be mailed as a letter, a postcard, or a parcel. A letter is the most common type of mailpiece. A postcard is a flat, rectangular piece that is too wide or tall to be a letter. In addition, postcards are often a lower-cost way to communicate with customers. A postcard is sent at a lower postage rate than regular mail. It is ideal for notices, newsletters, and long-form sales letters. It is also a good choice for nonprofit organizations.