First-Class Package International Service

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June 9, 2023

Suppose you want to ship a package abroad. In that case, the United States Postal Service (USPS) offers First-Class Package International Service, one of the most convenient and affordable delivery options.

If you know little about this service, you may wonder about its various requirements (like weight and dimensions), costs, and benefits.

FindPostOffice.org provides information about local post offices in San Francisco, San Diego, San Antonio, Miami, Chicago, and other cities in U.S. where you can access USPS First-Class International Package Service.

This article explains the USPS First-Class Package International Service and how it works, including how to use the service.

This article also gives the possible cost of USPS First-Class Package International Service.

Learn more about USPS First-Class International Package Service, including the service’s advantages and how to track this service.

What Is USPS First-Class Package International Service?

This USPS service is one of the most affordable shipping services for sending small packages and large envelopes internationally from the U.S. It ships to over 180 countries.

Features and Pricing

Here’s what to expect when using the USPS First-Class Package International Service:

  • Over 180 countries where you can ship worldwide
  • Price differs depending on weight, dimensions, and destination
  • Delivery time varies by destination

You can also get Electronic USPS Delivery Confirmation International or E-USPS DELCON INTL online for specific destinations. However, this feature only applies to the following locations:

AustraliaBelarusBelgiumCanadaCroatiaCyprusDenmarkEstoniaFinlandFranceGeorgia, Republic of GermanyGibraltarGreeceHong KongIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIrelandIsraelItalyJapanKorea, Republic of (South Korea)LebanonLithuaniaLuxembourgMalaysiaMaltaNetherlandsNew ZealandPolandPortugalRomaniaSingaporeSlovak Republic (Slovakia)SwedenSwitzerlandThailandTurkiye, Republic ofUnited Kingdom of Great BritainNorthern Ireland

Weight, Size, and Shape Requirements

The maximum weight for packages is 4 pounds (lbs) or 64 ounces (oz). However, the required size and shape differ, as indicated below:

Packages or Small Packets Must Be Within the Following Dimensions

Packages (aside from rolls):

  • Length: minimum of 6 inches (“) and maximum of 24”
  • Height: minimum of 4”
  • Combined height, length, and depth (thickness): no more than 36”

Note that the postage, address, customs form, and other necessary elements must cover at least 6” long by 4” high.

Rolls Must Be Within the Following Dimensions

Rolls or Tubes:

  • Length: minimum of 4” and a maximum of 36”
  • Length plus twice the diameter (combined): minimum of 6 and ¾” and a maximum of 42”.

Customs Forms

Restrictions and prohibitions vary from country to country.

For First-Class Package International Service, your package must contain the customs form. Remember the following tips when completing this form:

  • If you choose the Click-N-Ship service to generate your postage, you will receive a customs form. You can print a shipping label and customs form here.
  • When paying for postage at the post office, you can save shipping time by printing your customs form and bringing it with your package to the post office. Create your customs form online here.
  • You can also bring your package to a post office, submit Form PS 2976-R, and then give it to a USPS retail associate who will create and print your customs form.

How to Use First-Class Package International Service

First-Class Package International Service does not require special USPS packaging, envelopes, or shipping labels. Just prepare your packages the same way you would for domestic mail.

So, write your return address, including the country, in the upper left corner, with your recipient’s address in the middle.

Ensure that the contents of the package are acceptable in the recipient’s country before sending.

What Can You Send Using the First-Class Package International Service?

You will also need to weigh your mailpiece to determine if it exceeds the weight limit for First-Class Mail International shipments and to estimate the shipping fees.

Software and tools on sites like Stamps.com can automatically calculate rates based on weight, package size, and delivery destination.

If you ship a flat or package, you must complete a customs form that requires you to describe the contents and value of the shipment and specify whether it is a gift or a purchase.  

Are Any Items Prohibited From Being Sent via the First-Class Package International Service?

Below are some items that you can’t ship using the First-Class Package International Service: 

  • Ammunition
  • Hemp-based products
  • Poisons
  • Dry ice
  • Aerosols
  • Nail polish
  • Cigarettes
  • Gasoline
  • Perfume

You can sometimes send the following items, but you should familiarize yourself with their shipment limitations:

  • Glues
  • Firearms
  • Live animals
  • Paints
  • Matches
  • Perishables
  • Cigars

Can You Send Letters Using the First-Class Package International Service?

Unfortunately, no. This service is only available for shipping packages. If you want to send letters abroad, you can use First-Class Mail International Service.

Pickup or Deposit

Below are some rules when picking up or depositing packages with USPS:

Items Eligible for Deposit or Pickup

Suppose your First-Class Package International Service item bears a computer-generated customs form with customs data that has been electronically sent.

  In that case, you can deposit those items using the following procedures, provided you didn’t pay the postage using postage stamps:

  • In a collection box
  • At a Contract Postal Unit (CPU)
  • At a postal service retail counter
  • Into a postal service dropbox
  • At a USPS-approved shipper address
  • Using package pickup or pickup on demand

Items Not Eligible for Deposit or Pickup

On the other hand, you must present the following First-Class Package International Service items with a customs form to a post office retail service counter employee. 

The Postal Service will return incorrectly presented items for package processing and acceptance. Items with the following criteria may not be eligible for deposit or pickup:

  • A customs form paid with only postage stamps
  • A handwritten customs form
  • A customs form that was not generated by a computer
  • Customs data that was not transmitted electronically

Does First-Class Package International Service Have USPS Tracking?

The USPS tracks international packages depending on the type of mail.

The First-Class Package International Service provides electronic delivery confirmation worldwide.

“Where Can I Drop Off My Package?”

You can leave your First-Class package at any drop-off point, including the USPS post office. 

How Fast Does the First-Class Package International Service Travel?

Delivery times will vary significantly depending on the destination. Obviously, the more distant the recipient’s address is, the longer the shipping time. 

That said, some say that the delivery window is typically one to four weeks.

Considering that this service operates in almost 200 countries, it is understandable that the estimated timeframe is broad.

How Long Does First-Class Package International Service Take to Canada?

As indicated above, delivery varies by destination. However, using First Class Mail International, deliveries usually take 7 to 21 days. It is reasonable to expect the package to arrive in Canada within this timeframe. However, USPS does not guarantee delivery times.

What Are Some Additional Requirements for Sending First-Class Package International Service

Due to their size, shape, or configuration, some First-Class Package International Service items might be confused with other international mail categories. In this case, the items should have the mark “LETTER-POST” on the address side of the mailpiece.

What Are Some Extra Services Available for First-Class Package International Service?

Here are additional services to expect with First-Class Package International Service:

  • Electronic USPS delivery confirmation for international packages
  • Certificate of mailing (for unregistered mail only)
  • Registered Mail service can be added, providing limited indemnity coverage 
  • Package Pickup
  • Pickup on Demand
  • Return Receipt Service (offered only with Registered Mail service).

Is the First-Class Package International Service Affordable?

For small packages, the First-Class Package International Service is the United States Post Office’s most affordable international service.

Moreover, USPS collaborates with other mailing companies around the globe to ensure that mail can be transported and delivered efficiently for reasonable rates. However, this move comes with a price, as this service sometimes takes time. 

How to Determine the Price of First-Class Package International Service Packages

First-Class Package International Service postage prices depend on the package’s size and weight and the destination country. 

If you want to determine how much a package will cost, use the International Postage Price calculator

How Much Does the First-Class Package International Service Cost?

For small, inexpensive items, including health and beauty products, books, clothing, or accessories, USPS First Class Mail International can be the most affordable way to ship packages overseas. 

For example, the cost of sending a 1-pound package from the United States to Cancun, Mexico, would be $36.81 if you use Priority Mail International.

On the other hand, the delivery only costs $19.71 if you use First Class Package International Service (following the commercial base rates). 

What Are USPS First-Class Package International Service Commercial Rates?

You can send packages weighing up to 4 pounds (valued at up to $400) worldwide. Note that destination countries may have other restrictions.  

Also, select countries can receive delivery confirmation, and the retail prices begin at $15.75.

Note

Starting March 1, 2023, shipments that follow European Union (EU) customs rules require more detailed content descriptions for customs forms. 

Nonstandard Fees and Dimensional Noncompliance Fees

USPS will assess nonstandard fees for packages requiring manual handling, such as those whose dimensions exceed automated sorting specifications.

Weight-Based Country Price Groups

On January 24, 2021, the USPS added the following weight-based Country Price Groups to its services:

  • First-Class Package International Service: Expanded from 9 groups to 20 groups
  • Priority Mail Express International and Priority Mail International: Expanded from 17 to 20 groups

How Much Can You Insure an Item for Using the First-Class Package International Service?

International First-Class Packages do not include insurance, but Registered First-Class Mail International has indemnity (insurance), depending on the letter’s destination.

Some Recommend Buying Insurance for International Packages

Some countries do not have as reliable a postal service as the United States, so you might want to have your packages insured, especially for international shipping. To do this, consider shipping through Registered First-Class Mail International.

What Payment Methods Are Eligible for Postage of First-Class Package International Service Items?

You can pay for First-Class Package International Service items via the following methods:

  • Postage stamps
  • Postage meter stamps
  • Information-based indicia (IBI)
  • Click-N-Ship
  • Postage validation imprinter (PVI) labels
  • PC Postage service
  • Permit imprint

Country Groups for USPS First Class Package International

The rates for this service vary depending on the destination country’s pricing group. 

List of USPS Country Groups for First Class Package International

Here’s a list of countries and their price group:

  • Group 1
    • Canada (CA)
  • Group 2
    • Mexico (MX)
  • Group 3
    • Albania (AL) 
    • Andorra (AD)
    • Armenia (AM) 
    • Azerbaijan (AZ) 
    • Belarus (BY)
    • Bosnia-Herzegovina (BA) 
    • Bulgaria (BG)
    • Kosovo, Republic of (XZ)
    • Malta (MT)
    • Moldova (MD)
    • Montenegro (ME) 
    • Romania (RO) 
    • Georgia, Republic of (GE) 
    • Latvia (LV) 
    • North Macedonia, Republic of (MK) 
    • Saint Pierre and Miquelon (PM)
    • Slovak Republic or Slovakia (SK) 
    • Serbia, Republic of (RS)
    • Turkey (TR)
    • Ukraine (UA)
  • Group 4
    • Afghanistan (AF)
    • Bahrain (BH)
    • Bangladesh (BD)
    • Bhutan (BT)
    • Brunei Darussalam (BN)
    • Burma (Myanmar) (MM)
    • Cambodia (Kampuchea) (KH)
    • Cyprus (CY)
    • Indonesia (ID)
    • Iran (IR)
    • Iraq (IQ)
    • Jordan (JO)
    • Kazakhstan (KZ)
    • French Polynesia (PF)
    • Kiribati (KI)
    • Maldives (MV)
    • Fiji (FJ)
    • Mongolia (MN)
    • Kuwait (KW)
    • Kyrgyzstan (KG)
    • Macao (MO)
    • Laos (LA)
    • Lebanon (LB)
    • Nauru  (NR)
    • Nepal (NP)
    • New Caledonia (NC)
    • North Korea or Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (KP)
    • Oman (OM)
    • Pakistan (PK)
    • Papua New Guinea (PG)
    • Philippines (PH)
    • Pitcairn Island (PN)
    • Qatar (QA)
    • Samoa (WS)
    • Saudi Arabia (SA)
    • Solomon Islands (SB)
    • Sri Lanka (LK)
    • Syrian Arab Republic or Syria (SY)
    • Tajikistan (TJ)
    • Timor-Leste, Democratic Republic of (TL)
    • Turkmenistan (TM)
    • Tuvalu (TV)
    • Tonga (TO)
    • Uzbekistan (UZ)
    • Vanuatu (VU)
    • Vietnam (VN)
    • Wallis and Futuna Islands (WF)
    • Yemen (YE)
  • Group 5
    • Algeria (DZ)
    • Angola (AO)
    • Ascension (AC)
    • Benin (BJ)
    • Botswana (BW)
    • Burkina Faso (BF)
    • Burundi (BI)
    • Cameroon (CM)
    • Cape Verde (CV)
    • Central African Republic (CF)
    • Chad (TD)
    • Comoros (KM)
    • Congo, Democratic Republic of the (CD)
    • Congo, Republic of the (CG)
    • Cote d’Ivoire or Ivory Coast (CI)
    • Djibouti (DJ)
    • Egypt (EG)
    • Equatorial Guinea (GQ)
    • Eritrea (ER)
    • Eswatini or Swaziland (SZ)
    • Ethiopia (ET)
    • Kenya (KE)
    • Lesotho (LS)
    • Liberia (LR)
    • Libya (LY)
    • Madagascar (MG)
    • Malawi (MW)
    • Mali (ML)
    • Mauritania (MR)
    • Mauritius (MU)
    • Gabon (GA)
    • Gambia (GM)
    • Ghana (GH)
    • Guinea (GN)
    • Guinea-Bissau (GW)
    • Morocco (MA)
    • Mozambique (MZ)
    • Namibia (NA)
    • Niger (NE)
    • Nigeria (NG)
    • Rwanda (RW)
    • Saint Helena (SH)
    • Sao Tome and Principe (ST)
    • Senegal (SN)
    • Seychelles (SC)
    • Sierra Leone (SL)
    • South Africa (ZA)
    • South Sudan, Republic of (SS)
    • Sudan (SD)
    • Tanzania (TZ)
    • Togo (TG)
    • Tristan da Cunha (GS)
    • Tunisia (TN)
    • Uganda (UG)
    • Zambia (ZM)
    • Zimbabwe (ZW)
  • Group 6
    • Anguilla (AI)
    • Antigua and Barbuda (AG)
    • Aruba (AW)
    • Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba (BQ)
    • British Virgin Islands (VG)
    • Cayman Islands (KY)
    • Bahamas (BS)
    • Barbados (BB)
    • Belize (BZ)
    • Bermuda (BM)
    • Bolivia (BO)
    • Colombia (CO)
    • Costa Rica (CR)
    • Cuba (CU)
    • Curacao (CW)
    • Dominica (DM)
    • Dominican Republic (DO)
    • Ecuador (EC)
    • El Salvador (SV)
    • Falkland Islands (FK)
    • Grenada (GD)
    • Guatemala (GT)
    • Guyana (GY)
    • Haiti (HT)
    • Honduras (HN)
    • Jamaica (JM)
    • Montserrat (MS)
    • Nicaragua (NI)
    • Panama (PA)
    • Paraguay (PY)
    • Peru (PE)
    • Saint Kitts and Nevis (KN)
    • Saint Lucia (LC)
    • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (VC)
    • Sint Maarten (Dutch) (SX)
    • Suriname (SR)
    • Trinidad and Tobago (TT)
    • Turks and Caicos Islands (TC)
    • Uruguay (UY)
  • Group 7
    • Czech Republic (CZ)
    • Gibraltar (GI)
    • Hungary (HU)
    • Iceland (IS)
    • Liechtenstein (LI)
    • Lithuania (LT)
    • Poland (PL)
    • Portugal (PT)
  • Group 8
    • Croatia (HR)
    • Greece (GR)
    • Israel (IL)
    • San Marino (SM)
    • Sweden (SE)
    • Slovenia (SI)
    • Spain (ES)
    • Luxembourg (LU)
  • Group 9
    • Austria (AT)
    • Belgium (BE)
    • Denmark (DK)
    • Estonia (EE)
    • Faroe Islands (FO)
    • Finland (FI)
    • Greenland (GL)
    • Ireland (IE)
    • Italy (IT)
    • Netherlands (NL)
    • Norway (NO)
    • Switzerland (CH)
    • Vatican City (VA)
  • Group 10
    • India (IN)
    • Malaysia (MY)
    • Singapore (SG)
    • Taiwan (TW)
    • Thailand (TH)
    • United Arab Emirates (AE)
  • Group 11
    • Argentina (AR)
    • Chile (CL)
    • Venezuela (VE)
  • Group 12
    • Australia (AU)
    • New Zealand (NZ)
  • Group 13
    • Brazil (BR)
  • Group 14
    • China (CN)
  • Group 15
    • France (FR)
    • French Guiana (GF)
    • Guadeloupe (GP)
    • Reunion (RE)
    • Martinique (MQ)
  • Group 16
    • Germany (DE)
  • Group 17
    • Japan (JP)
  • Group 18
    • Hong Kong (HK)
    • South Korea (Republic of Korea) (KR)
  • Group 19
    • Russia (RU)
  • Group 20
    • Northern Ireland and United Kingdom of Great Britain (GB)

Should You Use the First-Class Package International Service?

You can use the USPS First-Class Package International Service if you do not need an item to arrive fast and it meets the service’s size and value parameters. 

While it isn’t the fastest shipping service when sending mail abroad, it is a relatively cheap option, making it an attractive choice for many people.

Who Is USPS First-Class Package International Service Best Suited for?

This service is for people who are not in a hurry and can wait longer for their package to arrive at their chosen destination. 

Also, as indicated above, you can only use this USPS service to send packages that weigh less than 4 pounds and have a value of less than $400. 

Benefits of Choosing USPS First-Class Package International Shipping

While USPS may not be the first carrier that comes to mind for eCommerce businesses sending international shipments, the institution still offers one of the most reliable and cost-effective international shipping services.

What Are Other International Services Available?

Aside from the First-Class Package International Service,  you can choose from any of the following:

  • Global Express Guaranteed
  • Airmail M-Bags
  • USPS Priority Mail Express International
  • USPS Priority Mail International 

Additional Information

Below is additional information you should know when shipping internationally with USPS.

Shipping to a Military Post Office: FPO, APO, and DPO

You don’t select First-Class Package International Service to deliver packages to the Army Post Office (APO), Fleet Post Office (FPO), and Diplomatic Post Office (DPO) in other countries. Instead, you’ll access domestic services at domestic rates.

Military and Diplomatic Mail

You’ll pay domestic rates when sending packages to U.S. military bases or embassies overseas. However, you must still follow the destination country’s restrictions and complete a customs form. 

For Businesses

USPS offers affordable shipping services so businesses can expand their network and compete in ever-growing global markets.

References

  1. First-Class Package International Service
    https://www.usps.com/international/first-class-package-international-service.htm
  2. First Class Package International Service® (FCPIS)
    https://faq.usps.com/s/article/First-Class-Package-International-Service-FCPIS
  3. First Class Package International Service
    https://www.stamps.com/usps/first-class-international/
  4. International Mail & Shipping Services
    https://www.usps.com/international/mail-shipping-services.htm

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