How to Send a Letter or Postcard: International

Postage for international letters depends on weight, size/shape, and the price group of the country that you’re sending to. (See the Country Price Groups listing.)

You can weigh your letter with a kitchen scale, postal scale, at a self-service kiosk, or at the Post Office™ counter.

TIP: As a rule of thumb, you can send a 1 oz letter (4 sheets of regular printer paper and a business-sized envelope) or a postcard—to any country in the world—for 1 First-Class Mail® Global Forever stamp (currently $1.50). You can also use any other combination of stamps that adds up to $1.50.

The postage for a large envelope (or flat) starts at $3.00 for 1 oz.

Where Can I Buy Postage?

  • The Postal Store Shop online for all stamps and add-on postage for oversized or heavier envelopes.
  • Post Office™ Locations Buy stamps at Post Offices, self-service kiosks, or at Approved Postal Providers® such as grocery and drug stores.

Additional Postage

If your letter weighs over 1 oz, you can buy additional postage in the amount you need, up to 3.5 oz. (Also, you can mail a large envelope that weighs up to 15.994 oz, paying the rate for large envelopes [flats].):

  • The price for each additional ounce will depend on the destination country’s price group:
    1. Find the country in the Country Price Groups section of the Price List page, look in the “First-Class Mail Int’l” Price Group column, and get the price group number.
    2. Look in the First-Class Mail International Price List to see the fees for that price group.
  • Or, just use the International Price Calculator.
  • Nonmachinable letters that are lumpy, rigid, or rectangular, or that have clasps, string, or buttons will cost $0.40 more to send. You’ll also have to pay more if your letters are square or vertical (taller than they are wide).
  • You can also buy 1¢, 2¢, 3¢, 5¢, and 10¢ stamps at The Postal Store®.
  • Note: If your large envelope (flat) is lumpy, rigid, or nonrectangular, you’ll have to pay the package price.

TIP: Put the stamp on last; that way, if you make a mistake at any other point, you won’t waste a stamp.

Calculate International Postage

Extra Services

If you want insurance, proof of delivery, signature services, or other optional services, you’ll have to pay extra. Note that not all extra services are available for all products; our International Insurance & Extra Services page has more details.

When you go to the Post Office to mail First-Class Mail International letters, some of the more common extra services that you can add include:

  • Registered Mail®: Requires that the recipient sign for the mail to confirm delivery (or attempted delivery). Registered items are handled separately and securely while in the U.S.—destination country procedures may vary. The office of mailing will keep a mailing receipt, and the office of destination will keep a record of delivery.
  • Return Receipt: Available as an add-on when you use Registered Mail service to send a First-Class Mail International item. When you mail the item from a Post Office, a card is attached. When the item is delivered (or delivery is attempted), the card is signed and sent to you as a delivery record. (Note that some countries may not require a recipient signature.)
  • Certificate of Mailing: Proof that you mailed something from a Post Office location.

A Note on Tracking: You can’t get tracking on First-Class Mail International letters. You can use Registered Mail service with Return Receipt, or use a USPS international package shipping service that offers tracking.

TIP: If you’re sending large envelopes (flats) using Priority Mail® International, Priority Mail Express® International, or First-Class Package International Service®, you can use Click-N-Ship® service to pay for and print your own postage online.