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International Notes: Sending mail to other countries

Sending mail internationally can be tricky.  Mailing addresses are not consistent country to country, so it helps to do a little research before sending mail abroad.  In addition, certain kinds of mail may require additional documentation before they can be sent across borders.

One good resource for international address formats is Wikipedia’s Addresses page.  The page displays address formats and examples for 44 different countries.

International shipments may also be subject to customs examination in the destination country.  Generally, regular letters do not require the forms, though packages and unusual envelopes do.

To determine if you need to fill out a form, visit the USPS Customs Declaration Forms Usage page.  There are two common forms: form 2976 is for packages weighing less than four pounds, while form 2976-A is for packages weighing four pounds or over.

To ensure that your package arrives at its destination safely, it’s always best to double check the current regulations with the shipping or mailing service you are using.

Finally, allow sufficient time for your mail to reach its destination.  Some countries have less-than-reliable mail service, while others have strict customs regulations that can delay the arrival of a package.  Make sure to send time-sensitive materials out early!

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