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United State Postal Laws

The United States has a number of rules and regulations regarding the postal service. The laws surrounding the mail are meant to keep postal service workers and the general public safe. They are also set up to make sure that there aren’t any other laws being broken through use of the postal system. If you intend to send anything in the mail, it is important to make sure that you understand United States postal laws.

Mail Delivery
There are a number of laws regarding your mailbox, which helps keep your mail carrier safe and helps her do the job more quickly and easily. Mailboxes have to be placed at a height between 3.5 and 4 feet, from the surface of the ground, and they must be located somewhere where it is safe to access. Other laws, according to the state in which you live, may apply.

Addressing Regulations
In order for mail to get to the correct person, you have to follow postal laws regarding addressing. For any size envelope or package, you must print or type your address (the return address) in the upper left-hand corner. Postage should be placed in the upper right-hand corner. The delivery address should be located near the center, parallel to the longest side of the envelope or package. For express mail, you must use a specific label that you can get for free from your local post office.

When sending a package, you must use tape that is at least 2 inches wide to reinforce all of the seams. You also cannot use cord, string, twine or rope, because these items can get caught in the machinery that processes the mail. In general, the outside of your package has to be smooth and clearly labeled, without any part that could get caught or torn.

Hazardous Materials
Most hazardous materials cannot be mailed. The sender is required to know and follow these laws. Some of the materials restricted include fireworks, small arms ammunition and fuses. There are also tight restrictions on mailing switchblade knives, alcoholic beverages, firearms, toxic liquids or powders, motor vehicle master keys, locksmithing devices and controlled substances.

Perishable Materials
There are also strict regulations regarding the mailing of perishable materials. In general, most live birds, warm-blooded animals, reptiles, spiders and insects are non-mailable, while non-poisonous insects, day-old poultry, some adult birds, certain small animals and dried or refrigerated dead or parts of dead animals can be mailed under certain restrictions. There are also special requirements for mailing eggs, meat and other items that could potentially go bad while in the mail.

usps tracking

usps tracking number

How To Track Registered Air Mail

Registered mail allows for the sender of an item to be notified of its arrival and receive a copy of the signature that authorized delivery. When this type of mail travels internationally, it either moves via parcel post, which is relatively slow, or, for a greater fee, by plane. The latter method is called Registered Airmail. Most postal systems provide a tracking number that is affixed to the item when it is sent. With that number it is easy for the sender to follow the progress of an item; it is normally scanned and recorded at each shipping depot.

Tracking Mail That You’ve Sent
Package your item in a box or envelope and write the destination address on it using a non-erasable pen.

Bring the item to a post office and request that it be sent by First Class Mail International. You can also send it by flat-rate International Priority Mail if the item is small enough to fit into the small size flat-rate box or envelope. These are the two types of international mail that can be registered.

Pay the registration fee. As of December 2010, this was $11.50. This can be paid with a credit card, debit card or cash. Once this is paid, you will be provided with a receipt with a tracking number on it.

Enter your tracking number in the appropriate box on the U.S. Postal Service tracking and confirmation web page (usps.com/shipping/trackandconfirm.htm) and click “Go.” A list will display, showing all the places where your shipment has been tracked, in chronological order.

Tracking an Item Sent to You
Contact the sender of the item and ask them to provide you with the tracking number. You should also confirm what country the item was shipped from, as you will need to track the item with that country’s postal service. Not all postal services offer tracking, but many do.

Visit the tracking section of the website maintained by the postal service of the country from which the item was sent. You can find a list of these sites in the Resources section of this article.

Enter your tracking number and click the button next to the entry field. You will receive a report of all the tracking information that the sending postal system has for your item.

usps tracking

usps tracking number