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“Small packets" may weigh up to 2 pounds 3 ounces (1 kilo). The postage rate is 3 cents for each 2 ounces or fraction, with a minimum charge of 10 cents per packet.
“Small packets" must be stamped with the words "small packet” and, whether dutiable or not, must bear the green label (Form C 1, Postal Form 2976) customarily used on dutiable packages prepaid at the letter rate. A customs declaration (Form 2966) may be enclosed. No other shipping documents are required.
It is permissible also to enclose in small packets” an open invoice reduced to its essential terms and a simple copy of the full name and address of the sender and of the addressee. As with commercial papers, “printed matter,” and sample post, “small packets” may not contain any letter, note, or document having the character of actual personal correspondence, and they must not be sealed.
"Small packets” may contain articles liable to foreign customs duty and upon arrival in the country of destination will be subject to the customs regulations of such country. However, “small packets” (registered or unregistered) may not contain coins, bank notes, paper money, or any values payable to the bearer; platinum, gold, or silver, manufactured or unmanufactured; precious stones, jewelry, or other precious articles.
The country of destination is authorized to collect a special fee not exceeding 5 cents for the delivery of "small packets" and a fee not exceeding 10 cents for their customs clearance.
EIGHT-OUNCE MERCHANDISE PACKAGES
Several countries accept packages of merchandise weighing up to 8 ounces at a special (lower) rate of postage (current list to be obtained from the local post office).
This service is not parcel post. The packages must not have customs declarations (Form 2966) attached; and they must not be sealed except when addressed for delivery in Canada, and marked “This may be opened for postal inspection if necessary" or when sent c. 0. d. to Mexico.
This service may be used for transmitting small parcels of dutiable samples which cannot go by sample post to any country. It also is especially recommended (where available) for sending such packages to countries that prohibit dutiable articles in letter mail.
INTERNATIONAL AIR MAILS
The facilities for air transport for mails other than the parcel post are increasing throughout the world. Use of air transport often means the saving of many days in the delivery of mail. Documents relating to steamer shipments may leave the United States by air mail for South and Central America several days after the vessel sails and stiil arrive ahead of the merchandise.
Mail planes are now plying on regular routes between the various important cities of Continental Europe; from London to the Continent, to northern and eastern Africa, to the Union of South Africa, and to India; from Paris to northern and western Africa; from Amsterdam across Europe and Asia to the Netherlands Indies; on various Mexican domestic air-mail routes; and in many other countries for various kinds of mail.
American mail for oversea destination may be despatched by domestic air-mail service to the port of steamship departure. Such packages or letters should be marked "By air to New York," "By air to the Pacific coast," etc., according to destination.
When use is to be made of air-mail service after landing abroad, further fees are required to cover air transport there. Such mail matter should bear the legend (in addition to the one noted above, if sent by domestic air mail in the United States) “Par avion-By air mail” and “London to Delhi,” “By air mail in Australia,” “By air mail from Amsterdam,” etc., according to destination and route.
One additional fee only is collected for air mail from the United States to any of the countries of the Western Hemisphere to which airmail service has been inaugurated.
Inasmuch as routes and services available are subject to change, particulars of the various foreign air routes, fees, etc., have not been set out in this bulletin. The United States Post Office Department keeps local American post offices currently advised in regard to such changes, and persons interested in air-mail rates and the routes in operation at any given time may obtain these details by consulting their local postal officials.
Although parcel-post packages to most foreign countries may now weigh as much as 22 pounds (to a number of destinations even more), there still are important areas to which the weight is restricted to 11 pounds, notably Japan and the larger British dominions (though to Canada and Newfoundland the limit is 15 pounds, and to British India 20). The exact limits of weight may be obtained from the local post office.
The general postage rate on international parcel-post shipments (outside of the delivery fee in the country of destination) is 14 cents à pound or fraction of a pound. On packages for certain countries (mostly colonial areas) where there is no direct mail route, there is also a transit charge, varying with the weight of the parcel and the place of destination or the route by which it is sent.
Parcel-post packages may be insured to only a few countries. They may be registered (but not insured) to a considerably larger number of countries, but there are still a number of areas to which parcel post can be neither registered nor insured. Insurance can be effected in practically all instances through private insurance companies.
SEALING AND EXDORSING OF PACKAGES
In some countries the sealing of parcel-post packages is prohibited, in others it is permissible, while in still others it is compulsory. The situation has varied so widely from time to time, in the same country, that a definite statement on sealing requirements is not given here. It is best to consult local United States post offices to ascertain whether or not, at the time of forwarding, the package must or must not be sealed. Sealing, when required, may be done with wax, lead seals, or other similar device.
Every package for transmission through the international (foreign) parcel post must be marked conspicuously "Parcel Post." The name and address of the sender and of the addressee must be legibly and correctly written on the parcel itself, when this is possible, or on a label gummed thereto; and should also be written on a separate slip, such slip to be inclosed in the package.
HANDICAPS ON PARCEL POST
There are certain Latin American countries where parcel-post packages are at a distinct disadvantage because of delay in notification of arrival, tedious formalities in clearance of such packages, and heavy fees, often out of proportion to the value of the package, in addition to the regular import duties. Argentina is outstanding among such countries in all three respects. For this reason parcel post is not advised as a means of transportation, particularly of samples and advertising matter, which should be sent, if possible, by sample post or as prints, respectively. Tho U.S. Postal Guide, published annually, with monthly supplements, is an official reference book containing up-to-date information concerning the use of the Postal Service.