Helpful Mailing Tips

  1. Always select the best and most logical type of mailing container.
  2. Fold four or fewer pages to fit into smaller envelopes. Sending lightweight items in oversized envelopes or flats requires a surcharge in addition to the normal postage fee.
  3. Use an envelope that is only slightly larger than the material being mailed.
  4. Do not use wrapping paper for unclassified mail (boxes) unless the box is heavily marked. Experience shows such wrappers are often torn in handling and the address/return address of the parcel is lost. If wrapping paper is absolutely necessary, always put your return and delivery address on the box itself before wrapping.
  5. Marking requirements for the outside of parcels include a mandatory provision that containers marked "DO NOT BEND" MUST HAVE STIFFENERS to protect the contents. Also, extraneous information such as order numbers, which can be confused with ZIP codes, are not permitted adjacent to or immediately under the last line of the address. The optical reader scans addresses from the bottom up. Therefore, the zip code area must be clear of all other markings so as not to confuse the machine.
  6. Pressure sensitive, filament-reinforcement tape will be used for closing and reinforcing containers. Masking tape and cellophane tape can never be used in closing or reinforcing packages but may be used to augment adhesive closures on envelopes or to cover staples on bags.
  7. Mailing tubes are discouraged. Their use is to be limited to those instances when no other mailing container will satisfy a particular mailing requirement. As a precautionary measure, do not use labels on tubes. Write addresses on the tube itself in case labels peel off.
  8. All mail must be endorsed with the class of mail desired except letter size envelopes. Mail weighing 11 oz. or more must be endorsed as Priority Mail. The OPR must indicate the class of service required in the top right corner of the container. **NOTE** Mail intended for pouch service will be endorsed as "POUCH" regardless of weight or container.
  9. Consolidate accountable items without return receipts when sent to the same destination, thereby saving registration and certification fees.
  10. Official mail is authorized only for material relating exclusively to the business of the government.
  11. Use the correct FPO/APO element for overseas mail
  12. Take time to use complete and correct addresses. Sounds simple, but so many people do not do it! Stateside mail must contain a unit designation, office symbol, street address to include room or suite #, city, state and ZIP + four code. Mail destined for overseas will include a unit designation, office symbol, UNIT #, box # (if assigned), and a correct APO/FPO number and ZIP + four code. In some cases, unit #s will be used as the +four digit code in the zip. A geographical address such as "Okinawa, Japan" MUST NEVER be used for overseas mail unless going to a civilian address as international mail.
  13. Know what kind of mail service you want. All letter size mail must be sent First Class and does not require that "First Class" be shown on the envelope.

Example Example 2
Department of Navy
Commanding Officer
Fleet and Industrial Supply Center
1942 Gaffney Street, Suite 100
Pearl Harbor, HI 96860-4549
Fleet and Industrial Supply Center
1000 Nimitz Drive
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055-0791
Official Business  

Note: Envelopes, labels, etc. with the words "Penalty for Private use $300" preprinted under the return address must have those obliterated prior to mailing.


The size of the envelope should properly accommodate the contents. For use in the USPS, there are basically two categories of envelopes: Letter Size and "Flats." The USPS rates letters and non-letters or "flats" differently, and the customer should use the appropriate envelope to assure the best rate is received. STAPLES are not to be used to seal envelopes.


Boxes are acceptable subject to the following:

  1. Paperboard boxes for easy and average loads to 10 pounds.
  2. Metal - stayed paperboard boxes for easy and average loads to 20 pounds.
  3. Solid and corrugated fiberboard boxes to these limits, unless otherwise specified. (The first maximum reached governs the grade of the box used.)

Maximum pound weight of box and contents

Grade Easy and Avg. Loads Difficult Loads Maximum length & girth in inches
125 20   67
175 40 20 100
200 65 45 108
275 70 65 108
350   70 108

Wood, metal, or plastic boxes are generally acceptable for all types of loads, assuming adequate construction. The size of the box must be adequate to contain the items and provide enough space for cushioning material. Good, rigid, used boxes with all flaps intact are acceptable

Closure, Dealing and Reinforcement

Cellophane and masking tape may not be used for closure or reinforcement of packages but may be used to augment adhesive closures on envelopes. For Registered mail containers must be sealed with paper tape. Tape must visibly damage the envelope or wrapper if removed and must absorb the ink in a postmark impression.

Mail Classifications

  1. Express Mail is the highest priority in handling and the most highly reliable service. The two to three day delivery of Express mail exceeds the needs of most military administrative material. Express Mail is used only for:
    1. MILSTRIP, Logistics shipments identified as mission capability or movement precedent 999.
    2. Administrative material (correspondence, documents, data tapes, etc.) only when it is the most effective way to accomplish a mission within time, security, and accountability restraints.

Express mail provides shipment of letters, documents, and other mailed items. Express mail collected during the day will be processed the same day. DOD 4525.8-M states that express mail shall be used only when it is the most cost-effective way to accomplish a mission within time, security, and accountability constraints; and shall not be used:

  1. To respond to directed actions or requests for information unless using it is the only way to meet a short suspense
  2. For the purpose of correcting administrative oversights such as a late suspense when adequate time existed
  3. On days before weekends or holidays unless the sender has verified that someone will be available to accept it and work on it during the weekend or holiday.

This is the most expensive service.

  1. Priority Mail: is used when the speed of express mail is not needed, but preferential handling is desired. Priority mail offers faster delivery at a less expensive rate. Priority mail is first class mail not exceeding 70 pounds and 108 inches in length and girth combined. At the option of the mailer, any mail may be sent priority mail. There is no minimum weight limitation
  2. First Class Mail: can be any mailed matter. If your first class mail is not letter size, make sure to mark it "first class", otherwise it will be mailed at the lowest rate. First class mail is generally delivered overnight to locally designated cities.
  3. Periodicals include magazines or newspapers mailed at a higher rate than Standard Mail. Foreign periodicals are treated as first class.
  4. Standard Mail: includes circulars, booklets, merchandise, photographs, catalogs, newsletters, and printed matter. Each piece must be less than 16 ounces. Anything heavier must be mailed using package services or priority mail.
  5. Package Services: include packages or parcels, library materials, bound printed matter, sound recordings, merchandise, computer media, books, films, and videotapes. Each piece must weigh 16 ounces or more, not mailed or not required to be mailed as Periodicals and does not exceed 70 pounds in weight and a maximum of 108" in length and girth combined. (Items at or greater than 130" in length and girth will be accepted at the surcharge rate.) Call the JXMC for the surcharge rate.
  6. Consolidated Mail: The JXMC consolidates mail to many different locations and zip codes throughout Conus and the Pacific Region. Consolidated mail is a reliable way to ship administrative and operational communications and logistical items between commands, and is processed as priority mail. It remains intact while in transit and reduces the number of times the contents are sorted. It reduces cost because postage is paid on the total weight of the single consolidated DOD owned container and its contents, rather than separately on each piece within the container. Under the postage rate structure, the first pound is the most expensive. As weight increases, the cost per pound decreases. The cost and weight of the container and any package material must be considered in the mailing cost.

Who Prepares Mail for Dispatch?

Each activity is responsible for ensuring mail is properly prepared for dispatch off base including the following requirements:

  1. All parcels/packages and flats must be endorsed with the class of service desired (First, Standard, etc.) in the upper right corner of the envelope. This is not required for letter size mail. All letter size mail is dispatched as First Class Mail.
  2. If you need to use an "ATTENTION TO" line, type this above the delivery address, then type the street address, route or box number on the next line and the geographical location (city, state, and zip+4 for stateside bases). Use APO/FPO on the last line in place of the city and state for overseas bases. Navy official mail delivery and return addresses will be limited to five lines. NOTE: The USPS automated equipment reads the address from the bottom line up. If your address lines are not in this particular order, it must be hand processed which delays prompt delivery.

Containers Used for Mailing:

Envelopes must be of a standard size to avoid surcharges from the USPS. They must be only slightly larger than the material you¿re mailing. Place correspondence of four pages or less in letter size envelopes. Avoid using envelopes larger than 12" x 16". Have flaps not exceeding 3-7/8", so automatic mailing or metering machines can seal them. Letter size envelopes should not exceed 1/4" in thickness, after stuffing and sealing them. Letter size window envelopes used for dispatching off-base mail will not be used unless used with an address label. Do not use envelopes with clasps, staples, strings, buttons or similar securing devices. No item may be packaged so that its contents could harm workers, equipment or other mail.

The following criteria and restrictions apply to envelopes:

  1. TYPE address (return address may be stamped).
  2. Do not print or stamp markings, slogan, or designs supporting an activity or its program.This restriction also applies to mailing labels, post cards, and self-mailers.
  3. Indicia envelope with or without "Penalty for Private Use" statement will not be used unless completely obliterated.

Special Postal Services

Limit special postal services to when law, DOD, or your service directives require them, or when mission essential. Follow these guidelines: If the mail needs additional security, only use registered mail, since it alone gets special handling and is traceable. DO NOT use special mail services just to get a record of mailing or delivery or to trace communication sent between two activities unless DOD or your service directives authorize it.

CERTIFIED MAIL provides receipt of mailing to the sender and record of delivery at the post office where it is mailed. A return receipt to provide you with proof of delivery is an additional fee. Certified is available for first class mail and Priority only. No insurance coverage is provided. It is dispatched, handled and treated in transit as ordinary mail. If lost, it cannot be traced. Use it only within the US domestic and military postal system when law, DOD or directives require it. A numbered label and completed receipt must be affixed.

INSURED MAIL provides indemnity for articles that are lost or damaged in the mail. Only use it to return private property. It is a service available only on Standard mail, or mail containing Standard mail sent at the first class or Priority rate.Numbered insured mail may be used:

  1. For accountability reasons, when proof of delivery is required for valuable administrative or logistical equipment, supplies, and printed matter.
  2. To return borrowed library and similar items when required by non-DOD lender.

The monetary limit for mail dispatched, as Insured is $5000.00.

REGISTERED MAIL. Registered mail is the most secure service option offered by the Postal Service. It incorporates a system of receipts to monitor mail movement from the point of acceptance to delivery. Return receipts and restricted delivery services are available for additional fees. Mail is registered for security not indemnity. Added security may delay delivery.


Our Headquarters


Connect with NAVSUP Headquarters

  • Facebook Image Link Youtube Image Link Twitter Image Link Linked-in Image Link NEDS Image Link
Guidance-Card-Icon Dept-Exclusive-Card-Icon