Addressing Foreign Mail
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) requires complete adherence to the following regulations regarding addressing foreign mail.
The sender must place all foreign letter mail in envelopes. Non-envelope mail, e.g., folded self-mailers or paper folded to make a non-envelope mailer, may not be sent outside the U.S.
Customs Declaration Forms
A customs declaration form is not required for a parcel weighing less than one pound.
The sender must complete customs declaration forms for each parcel weighing over one pound. Two customs declarations forms (PS Form 2976 and PS Form 2976-A) are used, in accordance with postal standards and the requirements of the country to which the item is being mailed.
Senders must prepare customs declarations electronically using the online form on the USPS Custom Forms website at:
The sender prints one copy of the shipping label and customs form for attachment to the package and one copy for departmental records.
To complete the PS Form 2976: Customs Declaration-Sender’s Declaration and the PS Form 2976-A: Customs Declaration and Dispatch Note, the sender must:
- Provide a complete description of each article in the parcel, even if it contains commercial samples, gifts, or merchandise.
General descriptions such as “food,” “medicine,” “gifts,” or “clothing” are not acceptable. The description must be in English, although an interline translation in another language is permitted.
- State the exact quantity of each article in the parcel.
- Declare the value, in U.S. dollars, of each article in the parcel.
The sender may declare that the contents have no value. Declaring no value does not exempt the item from customs examination or charges in the destination country.
- Show the total weight of the parcel, if known or estimate of the weight. (Contact the campus mailing services office for assistance with estimating parcel weight. See Assistance below.) NOTE: The WSU Vancouver Mailroom enters the parcel weight on customs declaration form before mailing.)
- Indicate in the appropriate check box on the forms whether the parcel contains gifts, merchandise, or commercial samples. If not, the sender does not check these boxes.
- Enter sender’s full name and return address in the blocks indicated.
- Print copies of the shipping address label and applicable customs form.
- Sign and date the form in the block indicated on all parts of the form.
The sender’s signature certifies that all entries are correct and that the parcel contains no dangerous material prohibited by postal regulations.
- Affix the shipping address label on the lower center right area of the parcel. Affix the customs forms near the shipping label without covering up any information.
The name of the city and country of destination must be written in full in capital letters. The country name must be the last item in the address. The city and country must be in English, and not abbreviated. If the information is not typewritten, it should be legibly printed.
The entire address must be legible and written in full in capital letters. Use Roman letters and Arabic numbers. The address must be placed lengthwise on only one side of the mail.
The complete address of the sender, including ZIP Code, must appear in the upper left corner of the address side. The sender’s name and complete address must be written in capital letters.
Use at least the entire right half of the address side of the piece of mail for the name and address of the addressee, postage stamps or postage-tape impressions, service labels, and postal notations (postmarks, etc.). Place the name and address in the lower center right.
Addresses in Foreign Characters
Addresses in foreign characters, e.g., Russian, Greek, Arabic, Hebrew, Japanese, or Chinese must include an interline English translation of the names of the destination’s post office, province and country. Examples:
Hungarian Academy of Science
Magyar Tudomanycs Akademia Konyutara
Victoria University of Wellington
Japan Publications Trading Co., Ltd.
2-1, Sarugaku-cho 1-chome, Chiyoda-ku
For mail deposited in the U.S. domestic mail for eventual delivery in Canada, use of the Canada Postal Code is not mandatory. Mailers are encouraged to use the code to simplify mail processing and speed delivery.
CANADA (in capital letters) must be included in the address.
Accepted Address Formats
1010 Any Street
OTTAWA ON CANADA
Mail will be processed by optical character reading equipment.
When the Postal Code is isolated on the last line, CANADA must be the last item on the preceding line.
1010 Any Street
OTTAWA ON KIA OB1
The second address format provides mechanized sorting but does not provide for processing on the optical character reading equipment.
Abbreviations for Canadian Provinces
|Prince Edward Island||
University mailing services departments at the Pullman, Spokane, Tri-Cities, and Vancouver campuses provide assistance with preparing, addressing, and sending foreign mail.
For more information concerning mail services at each of the campuses, see the following:
- WSU Pullman Mailing Services
- Website: ucomm.wsu.edu/mailing/
- Telephone: 509-335-2365
- WSU Spokane Mail Services
- WSU Tri-Cities Copy and Mail Distribution Center; telephone 509-372-7273.
- WSU Vancouver Mailroom
- WSU Everett; telephone 425-405-1600.