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Postal Services

Post Offices – USPS

There are many U.S. Post Offices that provide stamps and local mailing services.   Stamps can be ordered online, free of charge, as well as shipping materials and these will be delivered to your house.  Offices are typically open 8.00-5.00pm Monday-Friday, and 10.00-2.00pm on Saturday.   The  postal system is very strict as to weight and package size for international mail – cards and letters that have insufficient postage will be returned to you.

Zip Codes

Post Codes are very important in the US, and mail will not be delivered without them, even if the rest of the address is correct.

Return Address

Ensure your return address is in the upper left hand corner on the front of letters.  For convenience, pre-printed labels can be obtained locally at a reasonable cost and charities may very well solicit donations by sending you sheets of personalised address labels.

Parcels

When mailing a parcel, write the name and address clearly on only one side, the same side where the postage will be placed.  The sender’s name and address should be on the upper left corner.  If going abroad, leave room for the Customs form to be attached.  Parcels should not be tied with string, but taped securely with parcel tape (Scotch tape and masking tape are not approved by the Post Office).

Mail in Mailboxes

There is one delivery daily, Monday – Saturday.  If you have letters or a standard size package with the correct stamps, mail will be collected from your own mailbox when a delivery is made.  Raise the little red flag to alert the mailman there is something to collect.

Courier Services

Mail within the US and Canada can be sent by courier.  There are services such as UPS (United Parcel Service) and similar companies. Check the Yellow Pages Directory under “Mailing Services”.  Packages can be dropped off at local stores  (such as a UPS Store) or in-home pickups can be scheduled online.

Putting Mail on Hold

When you go away, the post office will hold your mail for you – just go online to Hold Mail Service or fill out a yellow card (available from the Post Office) and put it in your mailbox. This will stop all US Postal mail, but not necessarily other mail deliveries.

Be aware that parcels sent via UPS (i.e. not USPS) are often delivered to your doorstep depending on how the sender mailed the box. If you are away, the box can sit there for a lengthy period of time and send a message to burglars that your home is empty. If you know you are expecting a box to be delivered through a means other than the US postal system, it is best to have a friend or neighbour look out for you so that they can remove it from your front porch.