What Is a Flat Package USPS?

Usps 8

The USPS Flat Package, also known as “flats” or “large envelopes,” is a shipping option offered by the United States Postal Service (USPS). It is designed for large envelopes, newsletters, and magazines that fall within specific size and weight restrictions. Whether you’re a small business owner looking to ship your products or an individual sending a gift to a loved one, understanding what a Flat Package USPS is can help you make an informed decision about your shipping needs.


A Flat Package USPS, also known as “flats” or “large envelopes,” is a shipping option offered by the United States Postal Service. It is designed for large envelopes, newsletters, and magazines that meet specific size and weight restrictions. The item must be somewhat bendable and no larger than 12 inches high, 15 inches long, and 3/4 inch thick. It also must weigh no more than 13 ounces.

What Qualifies as a Flat Package USPS?

To qualify as a flat, a mailpiece must meet the following size restrictions:

  • Have one dimension greater than 6-1/8 inches high OR 11-1/2 inches long (the side parallel to the address as read) OR 1/4 inch thick.
  • Be no more than 12 inches high x 15 inches long x 3/4 inch thick.
  • Weigh no more than 13 ounces.

In addition to these size restrictions, the item must be somewhat bendable, as specified in the USPS Domestic Mail Manual. For instance, a magazine or a large envelope can be considered a flat.

The postage cost for flats depends on the weight, with higher weights generally resulting in higher postage fees, especially for First-Class Mail.

Flat Package USPS vs. Other USPS Shipping Options

Flat Package USPS differs from other USPS shipping options such as Priority Mail or Priority Mail Flat Rate in terms of size, weight, and pricing.

Priority Mail is a shipping service that offers 1-3 day delivery for packages weighing up to 70 lbs. Priority Mail Flat Rate, on the other hand, provides fixed rates for each box size, regardless of the weight of the package (up to 70 lbs) or its destination within the US.

How to Send a Package Using Flat Package USPS

Sending a package using Flat Rate USPS is simple. First, choose the appropriate Flat Rate box or envelope from USPS. Pack your items, label the package, and take it to the nearest USPS office. Inform the staff that you would like to ship your package using USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate, and they will guide you through the process.

Benefits of Using Flat Package USPS

Flat Package USPS offers several benefits for both businesses and individuals:

  1. Cost-effectiveness: You pay one price regardless of the size or destination of your shipment, as long as it’s under 70 lbs.
  2. Simplified shipping process: Flat rate shipping eliminates the need to weigh packages or calculate shipping fees.
  3. Free shipping supplies: USPS provides free flat rate boxes and envelopes.
  4. Fast delivery times: Flat rate packages are shipped using USPS Priority Mail, which offers delivery within 1-3 days.
  5. Insurance coverage: USPS flat rate packages include $50 insurance coverage for each package.

International Shipping with Flat Package USPS

Flat Package USPS can be used for international shipping through services like Priority Mail International and First-Class Package International Service. With Priority Mail International, you can send packages up to 4 lbs using Flat Rate Envelopes and Small Flat Rate Boxes, and up to 20 lbs using Medium and Large Flat Rate Boxes. The delivery time for Priority Mail International is typically 6-10 business days.

In conclusion, Flat Package USPS is a cost-effective and convenient shipping option for businesses and individuals. By understanding the specifics of Flat Package USPS, you can streamline your shipping process, save money, and ensure your packages arrive safely at their destinations.

Frequently Asked Questions

What items are prohibited from being shipped in a Flat Package USPS?

As per USPS guidelines, items such as aerosols, alcohol, cigarettes, fresh fruits and vegetables, gasoline, nail polish, poisons, and any potentially hazardous, perishable, or prohibited items are not allowed to be shipped in a Flat Package USPS.

Can I track my Flat Package USPS?

Yes, USPS provides a tracking number for each shipment. You can use this number on the USPS website to track the status of your package.

How can I calculate the postage for my Flat Package USPS?

You can use the USPS postage price calculator available on their website to estimate the cost of your shipment. Just input the size, weight, and destination of your package.

What happens if my package exceeds the maximum weight limit for a Flat Package USPS?

If your package weighs more than the maximum limit of 13 ounces for a Flat Package USPS, it will need to be shipped as a Priority Mail or Parcel Select package.

Can I request a pickup for my Flat Package USPS?

Yes, USPS offers a free package pickup service. You can schedule a pickup online through the USPS website.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *