Lob Help Center

International mail

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Info

Lob mail is originated in the US and mailed abroad by the USPS. If you have further questions about sending mail internationally, contact us.

General considerations

Form factors

  • Postcards, self-mailers, and letters created using the individual mail creation endpoints can be sent internationally
  • No checks can be sent (or cashed) abroad
  • Currently, any mailpiece created in Lob Campaigns (in dashboard & API) cannot be delivered abroad

Mailing class

  • Only USPS First-Class Mail is available for international delivery
  • Expect international mail to take additional 5-7 business days
  • Standard class (Bulk/Marketing Mail), Nonprofit stamps, or First Class Presort is not permitted in international mail and will be returned to sender

Destination address

  • Lob follows USPS standards for sending international mail
  • International address data is available in over 240 countries, and the complete list of countries and territories can be found in our global address coverage page
  • To pass country codes in the API, use the specific two-letter convention identified by the ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 convention (e.g., ‘US’ for United States of America, or ‘CA’ for Canada)
  • Lob follows USPS’s guidance on international service disruptions that affect First-Class Mail delivery abroad
    • Our Print & Mail API will be periodically updated to exclude country-specific mail delivery suspensions. If you attempt to send mail to one of these destinations below, you will receive a 422 error. 
    • We will also lift service restrictions in accordance with any USPS-provided guidance. 

List of countries with mail delivery suspensions

Last updated 7/13/2022

  • Afghanistan (AF)
  • Belarus (BY)
  • Bhutan (BT)
  • Brunei (BN)
  • Chad (TD)
  • Cuba (CU)
  • Laos (LA)
  • Libya (LY)
  • Mongolia (MN)
  • Papua New Guinea (PG)
  • Russia (RU)
  • Samoa (WS)
  • Solomon Islands (SB)
  • South Sudan (SS)
  • Syria (SY)
  • Timor-Leste (TL)
  • Turkmenistan (TM)
  • Ukraine (UA)
  • Yemen (YE)
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Non-Latin/non-standard character support

  • For the address box
    • Name and company will remain as-is within their respective character sets
    • If our Address Verification can validate and translate the address portion, it will return the address in English

      All international mail will not receive CASS processing beyond US borders by default, so be sure to have accurate addresses if sending with your respective character set 

  • For the content of the HTML body
    • For the content of the HTML body
    • Must be using a typeface (font) that supports the character set
    • Must include meta element with utf-8 charset: 
      <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8"/>

    • Example:
      <html>
      <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8"/>
      <body>
      <b>Chinese characters in UTF-8</b><br/>
      Simplified characters: 简体中文网页<br/>
      Traditional characters: 繁體中文網頁<br/>
      Korean characters: 빠른 갈색 여우가 게으른 개를 뛰어 넘다<br/>
      Arabic characters: الثعلب البني السريع يقفز فوق الكلب <br/>
      Vietnamese characters: Ăă
      </body>
      </html>

Return address

  • US-based return addresses are required on all outbound international mail, regardless of the mail service used
  • All outbound mailpieces (“to” address is international) must bear a complete return address in the country of origin (e.g. where you pay postage)
  • Since Lob mail originates in the US, the return must have a US-based address

Mail tracking

  • For international mailings originated in the US, tracking events will not appear and tracking data cannot be accessed via the USPS’s website beyond the final scan in the US, "International Exit" (event available starting mid-October 2022) 
  • On rare occasion, international mailings will receive an "In Transit" or "Process for Delivery" scan, indicating that the mail piece has been processed at the entry/origin facility outside of the US 
  • However, because delivery occurs in a foreign country outside the control of USPS, international mailings do not receive scans beyond that, and cannot be tracked through the mailstream 
  • In short, Lob is unable to provide updated scans reliably beyond US borders

Format-specific considerations 

Postcards

  • Per USPS, only 4x6" size postcards can be sent internationally via First-Class Mail 

Letters

  • File limit is 6 sheets single-sided or 12 pages double-sided (totaling 6 sheets)
    • PDFs that surpass the file limit will error
    • HTML that renders more pages than the file limit will be trimmed
  • While Registered Mail International service items also cannot be tracked, it does provide delivery status or attempted delivery information which can be obtained through USPS in three ways:
    • Go to www.usps.com. Select "USPS Tracking." By entering the tracking number shown on the mailing receipt into the lookup field, you can view the delivery status of the article
    • By calling the USPS Tracking telephone number found at Contact USPS
    • By bulk electronic file transfer for mailers who provide an electronic manifest to the United States Postal Service

Checks

  • Checks cannot be sent internationally, and the API will return an error if address_country is not the US.



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