Letter-post (U.S.A. and International)

PDF to print

Last updated: 2017-01-16


What Is Letter-post (U.S.A. and International)?

  to top of page

Letter-post is the most economical method of sending personal and business correspondence to the United States and international destinations. Letter-post items are composed of paper or other material with the general characteristics of paper (e.g., tickets, photographs, etc.). These items must meet the requirements for Letter-post, including size and weight.

Letter-post must be posted in Canada for delivery outside of Canada. Letter-post items can include:

  • letters
  • self-mailers
  • cards
  • postcards
  • other paper that meet these specifications which the Customer chooses to deposit.

Standard letters, cards or postcards that weigh 50 g or less and that meet the criteria for standard letters, cards or postcards are mailed at Standard Letter-post prices.

Other Letter-post differs from Standard Letter-post only in terms of weight or size. Items over 50 g and up to 500 g, or items with any dimension over the maximum dimensions of Standard Letter-post are considered Other Letter-post.

A self-mailer is any item other than a postcard, magazine or catalogue that does not have an outer cover, wrapping or envelope (other than the paper or material it has been written on), and weighs up to 50 g.

Products and services are subject to the terms and conditions outlined in the General Terms and Conditions. See in particular, the section entitled “Entire Agreement”.


Unacceptable Items

  to top of page

The following items may not be sent as Letter-post (U.S.A. and International):

  • small packets
  • goods
  • film, audio or video recording (diskettes, CD, DVD)
  • unsealed self-mailers and envelopes
  • items that do not meet the specifications for U.S.A. and International Letter-post
  • items prohibited by law or defined as dangerous goods in Canada (see Non-mailable Matter for more information)
  • items prohibited by law or defined as dangerous goods in the destination country (see International Destination Listing for more information).

The following items are unacceptable when attached to a postcard:

  • photographs
  • samples of merchandise or similar articles
  • cloth, embroidery, spangles or other decorative articles
  • cuttings of any kind
  • fold-back sheets
  • other items that stick out or are in raised relief.



  to top of page

Only paper enclosures which meet the requirements for Letter-post (U.S.A. and International) are acceptable.


Size and Weight

  to top of page

Each Letter-post (U.S.A. and International) item must meet the size and weight specifications shown in Table 1.

Table 1: Letter-post (U.S.A. and International) size and weight
245 mm
156 mm
5 mm
50 g
140 mm
90 mm
0.18 mm
Cards or Postcards
235 mm
120 mm
50 g
140 mm
90 mm
0.18 mm
Other Letter-post
380 mm
270 mm
20 mm
500 g
140 mm
90 mm
0.18 mm


Pricing Information

  to top of page

To obtain information on pricing:


Payment Options

  to top of page

Acceptable proofs of payment and methods of payment for Letter-post items. Some restrictions or conditions may apply.

Proofs of payment
Methods of payment
Contract customer
Contract customer
  • meter impression
  • postage stamp*
  • postal indicia
  • meter impression
  • postage stamp
  • Account
  • Business cheque
  • Cash**
  • Credit card (where available)
  • Debit card (where available)**
  • Meter
  • Money Order**
  • Postage stamp*
  • Traveller’s cheque**
  • Cash
  • Certified cheque
  • Credit card (where available)
  • Debit card (where available)
  • International Reply Coupon
  • Meter
  • Money Order
  • Postage stamp
  • Traveller’s cheque
Customers using the EST cannot pay by postage stamp.
Payment by cash, debit card, Money Order or traveller’s cheque is available only to customers paying at a post office.


Delivery Standards at a Glance

  to top of page

Delivery standards are estimates of how long it will take for the mail to be delivered. These delivery standards are not guaranteed.

Table 2: Letter-post (U.S.A. and International) delivery standards
Delivery Standards
4 to 6 business days
4 to 7 business days



  to top of page

A feature is something that is provided as part of the basic service. The available features are described below.


Return to Sender

All items that cannot be delivered or redirected will be returned to sender free of charge, provided there is a Canadian return address on the outside of the mail item.


Mail Forwarding

All items will be forwarded to the addressee based on the practices and requirements of the destination country’s postal administration.



  to top of page

An option is a service enhancement which is not included automatically as part of the basic service. The customer must select the option by checking a box or affixing an additional label or sticker. Most options are available for an additional fee. The available options are described below.


Registered Mail

Registered Mail provides the sender with a date stamped official registration receipt as proof of mailing. Liability Coverage for loss or damage is included. For detailed information, see Registered Mail (U.S.A. and International).


Literature for the Blind

Materials for the use of the blind mailed in Canada for delivery to the U.S.A. or other international destinations may be sent by Registered Mail free of charge. See Literature for the Blind for more information.


Labels and Documentation Required

  to top of page

Commercial Customers may prepare an Order (Statement of Mailing) electronically, using the EST software, or manually, using a hard copy Order (40-076-705). A processing fee applies to all manually-prepared Orders.

Two paper copies of the electronic Order, or the original hard copy Order, must be given at the time of mailing to an authorized Canada Post employee at the Receipt Verification Unit (RVU) or at the postal facility approved by Canada Post.



  to top of page

Letter, cards, postcards and envelopes – All letters, cards and postcards must be rectangular and all envelopes including self-mailers and transparent plastic envelopes (also referred to as polybags), must be fully sealed. In order to meet this requirement, irregularly shaped cards or postcards must be sent in a sealed, rectangular envelope.

All letters and postcards must bear the words “AIR MAIL” and/or “PAR AVION” in black or blue on the address side of the item, in the upper left-hand corner, under the return address (when provided). The words “AIR MAIL” and “PAR AVION” can also be printed on a black or blue label, affixed in the same location.

The maximum length to height ratio of letters, cards and postcards is 2.6 : 1. The minimum is 1.3 : 1 to the U.S.A. and 1.4 : 1 to other international destinations. Items paid by postage stamps that do not meet the ratio but fall within maximum standard sizes are charged at the Standard Letter-post price.

Transparent plastic envelopes (also referred to as polybags) – Transparent envelopes can be mailed to U.S.A. and all international destinations. If the plastic is such that it cannot be written upon, the plastic film must have a 20 mm-wide white opaque band, large enough to hold the mailing address, postage and service instructions. If the closed transparent material can be written upon, a sample of the envelope must be submitted for testing and approval by Canada Post.

Window envelopes – Window envelopes are acceptable only if the window has a transparent cover parallel to the length of the envelope and the mailing address, which must be easily read, and not interfere with the date-stamping process.

Postcards – Postcards may have an illustration, stamp, label or address slip attached, provided it is made of paper, is very thin, and sticks completely to the postcard. These items must be stuck to either the front of the postcard or the left-hand portion of the back. The right-hand half of the back must be used for the addressee, service instructions and postage. The word(s) “POSTCARD” or “CARTE POSTALE” must appear on the address side of all postcards (except on illustrated and picture postcards).



  to top of page

Addresses must be legible and complete. See Addressing Guidelines for complete details.

There must be only one return address on each item of Letter-post (U.S.A. and International), and if used, that return address must be Canadian.


Mail Preparation and Presortation

  to top of page


Mail Preparation

Mail preparation requirements for Letter-post (U.S.A. and International) items are:

  • all items containing paper documents valued at less than $500 require a completed green CN22 Customs sticker label (43‑074‑076)
  • all items containing paper documents with a value of $500 or more require a completed green CN22 Customs sticker label (43‑074‑076) and a completed Customs Declaration form CP72 (43‑074‑172).


Mail Presortation

There are no mail presortation requirements for Letter-post (U.S.A. and International).


Deposit of U.S.A. and International Letter-post

  to top of page

Postage for Letter-post (U.S.A. and International), either a stamp or meter impression, can be purchased at any post office. If postage is affixed to the item, it may be deposited in a street letter box, at any post office, or at a processing plant. Items paid by Account must be dropped off at a post office, facility or processing plant.

Items must be deposited in accordance with the requirements. Visit canadapost.ca/depositlocations for a list of the different deposit location types and the maximum volume acceptable per day, by location.


Delivery of U.S.A and International Letter-post

  to top of page

Canada Post transfers Letter-post (U.S.A. and International) items to transfer points for delivery by the postal administration of the destination country.


Customer Service Glossary General Terms and Conditions Canada Post Corporation Act and Regulations