USPS First Class Package
November 17, 2022
Suppose you want to ship a package quickly and easily. In that case, the United States Postal Service (USPS) offers First-Class Package service, which is one of the most convenient and affordable delivery options.
If you have not heard of this service, you may wonder about its different requirements, such as the maximum weight, girth, and length of items allowed for this service.
Moreover, does First-Class Package include lightweight packages?
You may also ask: What is the expected delivery time for the First-Class Package service? How is this delivery option different from other services, like Priority Mail Express and First-Class Mail? Can I track my parcel during the delivery?
Findpostoffice.org is an all-in-one site that can provide essential information about the nearest USPS post office in your area.
This article discusses USPS’s First-Class Package service and how it works, including which situations require this delivery method and how to track your package after you have sent it.
Read on to learn more about the nature, cost, and mechanics of sending and tracking first-class USPS packages.
What Is a First Class USPS Package?
USPS’s First-Class Package service is a cost-effective way to ship lightweight packages weighing up to 15.99 ounces to various United States (U.S.) locations.
This service can save you more money, especially for lightweight items, than other methods like Parcel Select Ground and Priority Mail.
USPS’s First-Class service can also offer fast delivery nationwide in five days or less. In some cases, the shipment can even happen in one day.
You can have USPS deliver your item to the following destinations:
- Residential addresses
- Local post office or PO box
- Army post office (APO) for US Army or Air Force personnel
- Fleet post office (FPO) for US Navy personnel
- Diplomatic post office (DPO) for individuals abroad with duty-free import privileges
You can also track your package for free using USPS Tracking if you delivered your mail through First-Class Package Service-Retail (FCPS-R) and First-Class Package Service-Commercial (FCPS-C).
Who Can Use USPS First Class Package Service?
Anyone can use USPS’s first class package service if the parcel’s size and weight do not exceed USPS’s restrictions.
As per USPS’s guidelines, packages should observe the following limitations:
- Maximum weight: 15.99 ounces
- Maximum size:
- 22 inches in length
- 18 inches in width
- 15 inches in thickness
- Minimum size:
- 5 inches in length
- 3½ inches in height and
- 0.007 inches in thickness
How Does USPS’s First Class Mail Service Work?
You usually have to confirm your packages’ dimensions before you can send them through First-Class Package Service.
The following table indicates the size and weight restrictions for packages sent using USPS’s first class package service.
|Type of Mail|
|Letter||Minimum size: 3½ inches by 5 inchesMaximum size: 6⅛ inches by 11½ inches||Minimum size: 3½ inches by 5 inchesMaximum size: 6⅛ inches by 11½ inches|| Up to 3.5 ounces|
Note: There is a separate per ounce price for additional ounces maximum weight
Same as retail weight
|Postcard||Minimum size: 3½ inches by 5 inchesMaximum size: 4¼ inches by 6 inches||Minimum size: 3½ inches by 5 inchesMaximum size: 6 inches by 9 inches|
Less than an ounce
Same as retail weight
|Flats (Large Envelopes)||Minimum size: 6⅛ inches by 11½ inchesMaximum size: 12 inches by 15 inches||Minimum size: 6⅛ inches by 11½ inchesMaximum size: 12 inches by 15 inches||Up to 13 ounces|
Note: Separate per ounce price applies for items with additional ounces above the maximum weight
Same as retail weight
Is USPS First Class Package the Same As Priority Mail?
Like USPS’s Priority Mail, the First-Class Package service allows eCommerce businesses to ship envelopes and parcels.
Sellers can also use these two USPS shipping methods to deliver items locally and internationally.
However, the following list indicates the differences between USPS’s Priority Mail and First-Class Package:
- Priority Mail is usually faster than First-Class Package.
Priority Mail’s estimated delivery period is 1-3 business days, while the First-Class Package service is 2-5 days.
- Priority Mail can ship packages up to 70lbs for some services. In contrast, the First-Class Package service puts a maximum weight limit of 15.99 ounces for items.
- USPS’s First-Class Package service does not automatically include insurance. On the other hand, Priority Mail typically includes insurance (up to $100) and USPS Tracking.
- It is typically more expensive to deliver items via Priority Mail than by First-Class Package service when items are under a pound.
Furthermore, Priority Mail offers two services: Priority Mail and Priority Mail Flat-Rate.
Priority Mail pricing depends on the package’s size, weight, and destination zone.
In contrast, Priority Mail Flat-Rate allows eCommerce businesses to use USPS-provided packaging and pay a one-time, fixed amount for any item (up to the service’s maximum weight).
What Makes a First-Class Service?
First-Class Mail is a first-class service because the USPS considers it a higher priority category than Retail Ground, USPS Marketing Mail, or Media Mail.
Therefore, USPS prioritizes First-Class Mail’s delivery process over other services.
You can check out the USPS website to find the following services:
- Priority Mail Express
- Priority Mail
- Retail Ground
- First-Class Mail
- Media Mail
USPS First Class Package Service: The Breakdown
The following list provides the information you should know regarding the First-Class Package service:
- Delivery typically occurs between 2 to 5 business days for deliveries in the United States
- The service includes USPS Tracking, free of charge
- Deliverables should not exceed 15.999 ounces
- The maximum dimensions for the item are 22 inches long, 18 inches wide, and 15 inches thick (22x18x15″)
Additionally, no USPS branded boxes are available for First-Class Package service. You may have to use your own packaging for this shipment option.
Free USPS boxes are only available for other shipment services, such as Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express.
Furthermore, the First-Class Package service does not automatically come with insurance. However, you can purchase additional delivery insurance when using this service.
Mail: One-to-Five Business Days
The USPS’s first-class mail service can deliver mail in one to five business days.
Small Packages: Two-to-Five Business Days,
On the other hand, First-Class Mail can ship lightweight packages within two to five business days.
First-Class Mail service is a cost-effective and convenient delivery method for envelopes and small packages.
Moreover, First-Class Mail Forever stamps cost $0.60 (the current one-ounce price) and will not expire, even if the First-Class postage stamps’ price increases. On the other hand, for stamps for packages (up to 13 ounces), prices start at $4.50.
What Types of First-Class Services Are Available?
The following sections discuss various USPS first-class services.
First-Class Mail service is an easy-to-understand, affordable way to send envelopes and postcards. Additionally, First-Class Mail Forever stamps for postcards and letters will not expire, even if the First-Class postage rate increases.
You may visit FindPostOffice.org and use the site’s free search tool to see post offices that offer USPS’s first-class mail service in your area.
Furthermore, letters, postcards, and flats are not eligible for USPS Tracking. Still, additional services like Collect on Delivery and Return Receipt provide some tracking information.
Lastly, you cannot apply for a refund after you have sent your mail through First-Class Mail.
First-Class Mail International
First-Class Mail International service is one of the most affordable ways to deliver letters and small packages internationally.
You may need a Global Forever stamp to send a one-ounce postcard or letter to any of the more than 180 countries where the service is available.
Like Forever stamps, Global Forever stamps will not expire, even with an increase in postage rate.
First-Class Package Service
First-Class Package Service can provide some of the best rates for your lightweight packages.
You may choose the First-Class Package Service-Retail to ship any item weighing 13 ounces and below.
On the other hand, commercial service is available for deliveries weighing less than 16 ounces.
Typically, retail and commercial services are available at a post office in your location or on the USPS website.
First-Class Package service also includes free USPS Tracking. You can also purchase additional services for Return Receipt, Collect on Delivery and Insurance, and Signature Confirmation.
Like First-Class Mail, USPS’s First-Class Package service is not eligible for refunds.
When to Ship Packages With First Class Package Service
First Class Package Service is possibly the cheapest USPS delivery option for small parcels weighing 15.99 ounces or less.
With fast shipment within three days, the delivery option is one of the most well-known U.S. Postal Service shipping services.
The finance and pharmaceutical industries can use the First Class Package service to send time-sensitive items.
USPS Tracking and Other Extra Services
Can I Track a First-Class Package Service-Retail, First-Class Mail, or First-Cass Package Service-Commercial Item?
You may track items from First-Class Package Service-Retail (FCPS-R) and First-Class Package Service-Commercial (FCPS-C).
This mail class includes free USPS Tracking for your package.
On the other hand, First-Class Mail letters, postcards, and flats are not eligible for USPS Tracking.
However, you can purchase other optional services that provide barcodes for scanning. These additional services can help give you some tracking data.
What Additional Services Are These Items Eligible for?
You may see the following table to find extra services you can purchase for each mail class.
|Additional Service||Description||Eligible Mail|
First-Class Mail andperiodicals are not eligible for this service.USPS Tracking is free for eligible products, such as First-Class Package Service-Retail (FCPS-R) and First-Class Package Service-Commercial (FCPS-C). However, you may have to pay an extra fee for USPS Marketing Mail.
Provides label number and mailing receipt to help you scan events during the item’s travel, date, and delivery time.
USPS Marketing Mail
Notes: Not at retailParcels only
Notes: Insurance Restricted Delivery (if insured greater than $500)Priority Mail includes $100 of insurancePriority Mail Express includes $100 of insurance
|Offers coverage of up to $5,000 for misplaced, damaged, or incomplete itemsRestricted Delivery: only permits delivery to the recipient or the recipient’s designated representative.||First-Class MailFirst-Class Package Service-RetailFirst-Class Package Service-CommercialPriority Mail ExpressPriority MailUSPS Retail GroundBound Printed MatterLibrary MailMedia MailParcel SelectParcel Select Lightweight (bulk insurance only)USPS Marketing Mail (bulk insurance for nonprofit deliveries only)|
Certified Mail Restricted Delivery
Certified Mail Adult Signature Required
Certified Mail Adult Signature Restricted Delivery
Certified Mail Adult Signature Required and Certified Mail Adult Signature Restricted Delivery only apply if the item is not at retail.Additionally, these two services are for Priority Mail and First-Class Package Service-Commercial only.
|Gives mailing receipt and electronic and number verification indicating the item’s delivery completion or attemptsRestricted Delivery: Delivers directly only to the recipient or recipient’s authorized representativeAdult Signature Required: Requires the signature of an individual 21 years or older at the recipient addressAdult Signature Restricted Delivery: Requires the recipient’s signature only. This individual must be 21 years or older.|
Priority MailFirst-Class MailFirst-Class Package Service-RetailFirst-Class Package Service-Commercial
Registered Mail Restricted Delivery
Registered Mail Collect on Delivery (COD)(Priority Mail, First-Class Mail, and First-Class Package Service-Retail only)
USPS Mail’s most secure option (guarded by safes, cages, sealed containers, locks, and keys).
First-Class Package Service-RetailFirst-Class Package Service-CommercialPriority MailFirst-Class Mail
What Can I Do if My FCPS-R, First-Class Mail, or FCPS-C Item Has Not Arrived?
If you have not yet received the expected item after five days from its date of delivery, you can record your mail lost complaint by calling 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777) or emailing the company.
If your package is nearby, affected individuals may get their items back immediately.
Basic Pricing for First-Class Mail & First-Class Package Service
Below are the current prices for various USPS items and services.
- First ounce: $0.60
Each additional ounce: $0.24
- Prices may vary depending on additional ounces and type of letter. You may visit the USPS price list page for each letter’s prices.
- Single postcard: $0.44
- Stamped postcard: $0.49
- You may check out USPS’s price list to see detailed pricing information
- First ounce: $1.20
Each additional ounce: $0.24
- See USPS’s price list for detailed pricing information
Small packages, or lightweight packages, often use First-Class Package service.
- First four ounces for Zones 1 and 2: $4.50
Second four ounces for Zones 1 and 2 (from 4 ounces to 8 ounces): $5.10
Additional Charges for Irregular Mailpieces, Envelopes, and Small Packages
Mail with unusual shapes, such as letters with strings, clasps, buttons, or envelopes that are square, vertical, lumpy, rigid, or have other fasteners, must undergo hand-cancellation.
Even if they are less than one ounce, such envelopes may still cost you a nonmachinable fee.
Large Mailpieces, Envelopes, and Small Packages
Large envelope (flat) fees apply to letters that are longer, taller, or thicker than the First-Class regular envelope maximum.
You need to pay package rates for large First-Class envelopes (flats) that are stiff, non-rectangular, not consistently thick or exceed the maximum dimensions.
Package Nonstandard Fee: You may have to pay an extra amount if your package has a nonstandard size and it is the following dimensions:
- Longer than 30 inches: add $15
- Between 22 and 30 inches long: add $4
- More than two cubic feet (3,456 cubic inches): add $15
You can use the USPS Price Calculator tool to calculate your domestic mail costs. Additionally, you must know your item’s shape, weight, and size measurements.
Weight and Size Standards for First-Class Mail and First-Class Package Service
The maximum weight for First-Class Mail letters is 3.5 ounces. In contrast, for large First-Class Mail envelopes and parcels, the maximum weight is 13 ounces.
Moreover, all envelopes (or flats) and postcards must be rectangular. Otherwise, an additional charge may apply. Extra size limitations apply depending on the type of package you send.
First-Class Package Service Comparison Chart
You may use the following table to compare the two types of First-Class Package Service:
|First-Class Package Service-Retail or FCPS-R||First-Class Package Service-Commercial or FCPS-C|
|Overview||FCPS-R is an affordable solution for mailing packages. USPS handles and transports FCPS-R items quickly.||Like FCPS-R, FCPS-C is an inexpensive mailing method for packages. USPS processes and delivers FCPS-C packages efficiently.|
|Eligibility||FCPS-R packages are seal-protected and immune from postal investigations.||FCPS-C packages do not have seal protection from the postal examination. |
USPS may open package contents to check whether the right amount of postage was paid and the contents are legal.
|Weight Requirement||Up to 13 ounces |
Note: Price depends on weight and zone.
|Up to 15.99 ounces|
Note: Price also depends on weight and zone.
|Dimensions / Size Requirements|
Minimum size: All items ¼ inch thick or less must be at least:
5 inches long3½ inches tall0.007 inches thick
Maximum size: Packages must not exceed 108 inches in length and girth combined.
Minimum Size: All items ¼ inch thick or less must be at least:
5 inches long3½ inches tall0.007 inches thick
Maximum size: Packages must not be more than 108 inches in length and girth combined.
Moreover, parcels must not exceed:22 inches in length 18 inches in width 15 inches in thickness
|Package Content||Except for illegal items, FCPS-R packages may contain any mailable content.|
FCPS-R parcels may contain the following items:Handwritten and typewritten material
Bills and statements of account
|Except for restricted goods, FCPS-C packages may contain any mailable content.|
FCPS-C parcels cannot contain the following items:Bills and statements of accountHandwritten and typewritten materialPersonal details
USPS First-Class Package Service: How to Send Packages?
Measure Your Package
It is simple to prepare domestic shipments. However, how you prepare your parcels is a crucial step in delivery.
You should measure your parcel first to ensure it will fit through the automated processing equipment.
You will not have to pay additional fees if the size is acceptable. Use a box that is large enough to contain your deliverables securely.
Pack Your Box
After package measurement, use a sturdy box to secure your items and ensure that they arrive intact.
It is usually helpful to tape the box to close flat on all sides. You may put the recipient’s address on your parcel after packaging it.
Afterward, choose a mail service and then calculate and apply postage. Correct postage may help your package arrive on time.
Get Postage Prices
Suppose you need to obtain postage prices for various services. In that case, you can type your package data into the USPS Postage Calculator.
Ship Your Package
The last step is shipping your package. You can visit a post office, request free pickups, drop small packages in a blue collection box, or leave your box with an approved postal provider.
- Is USPS First Class Package Service insured?
The USPS First Class Package item is not automatically insured.
However, you can purchase insurance coverage of up to $5,000 for First-Class Mail, Standard Mail, or Priority Mail.
- What is the delivery window for First-Class Mail?
The approximate delivery period for First-Class mail is one to three days from the postmark date.
On the other hand, if you send a parcel domestically, your delivery might only take a day.
However, First-Class Mail delivery times are approximations only and not guaranteed by USPS.
- Can the first-class package be a box?
You can deliver a box, poly mailer, or envelope using USPS First Class Package Service.
Remember that you must use your brand or plain packaging. The USPS First Class Package service does not automatically include USPS delivery supplies.
- Does USPS have free first-class package service boxes?
No, the USPS does not have boxes for the First Class Package service.
However, even with the cost of acquiring the box, you can still save money when you use this option over USPS Priority Mail.
- Is USPS First Class Package good?
Overall, the First-Class Package service is an excellent USPS delivery service.
This assessment is remarkably accurate if you want affordable yet convenient package shipping.
1. What are the Types of First-Class Mail?
2. Priority Mail
3. Mail & Shipping Services
4. First-Class Mail
5. First-Class Mail International
6. What Domestic Mail Extra Services are Available?
7. Special Services for Mailing