Did you know that there are almost 200 countries in the world? So, there’s a fair chance that you have friends or family members living somewhere besides the United States.
If that’s the case, you may find yourself wanting to know more about USPS’ international mailing guidelines.
More specifically, you may be wondering how many stamps your internationally-bound item requires. We’ve put together a guide to help you navigate all of your international mailing needs, so keep reading.
How Many Stamps Do I Need for International Shipping at USPS In 2023?
Letters and postcards for international shipping weighing up to 1 ounce require 1 Global Forever stamp (in most cases) in 2023. Domestic Forever Stamps can be used when mailing items internationally, but this is often not the most cost-effective method. Items that are irregularly shaped, heavier than 1 ounce, or oversized are considered flats, and are priced according to the destination country.
If you’d like to learn even more about international shipping, then be sure to check out our guide.
How Many Stamps Do I Need for an International Letter?
Letters weighing 1 ounce* or less can be sent to more than 180 countries with a single stamp.
This stamp is called a Global Forever stamp. Like domestic Forever Stamps, the global version is non-denominational and never expires.
To put it another way, a Global Forever stamp will always cover the cost of postage for a 1 ounce letter sent abroad, even if postage gets more expensive.
These stamps currently retail for $1.30 each. You can buy single stamps at your local post office or stock up by purchasing a sheet of 10 online or in person.
Keep in mind that your envelope must conform to USPS’ size requirements in order to use a Global Forever stamp.
These requirements include:
- Be rectangular
- Not be less than 5 ½ inches long or 3 ½ inches high or 0.007-inch thick
- Not be more than 11 ½ inches long or 6 ⅛ high or ¼ thick
*For letters going to Canada, one Global Forever stamp covers envelopes weighing up to 2 ounces for no additional fee.
How Many Stamps Do I Need for an International Postcard?
USPS treats internationally-bound postcards the same way it treats letters. That’s to say that 1 Global Forever stamp covers postage for a postcard.
Can I Use 3 Forever Stamps for International Mail?
If you’re not in the habit of mailing things abroad, and don’t have any Global Forever stamps laying around, you may be wondering if you can pay for international postage using domestic Forever Stamps.
While you can use 3 Forever Stamps, it’s not recommended.
At the current rate, Forever Stamps cost $0.58 each, and international postage is $1.30.
That means you’d need 3 Forever Stamps to have enough postage for your international letter. In this scenario, you’d be paying $1.74 to mail something that only costs $1.30.
In other words, you’d be paying $0.44 more than you need to.
If you’re really in a bind and need to get your mail out the door, using domestic stamps is an acceptable option.
However, if you’re sending a lot of mail abroad or are budget conscious, then it’s worth getting your hands on some Global Forever Stamps.
How Many Stamps Do I Need for an International Flat?
If what you’re mailing is heavier than 1 ounce, is oversized, or has an unusual shape, then a Global Forever stamp won’t be sufficient to cover postage.
Rather, when it comes to large envelopes (also called flats), you must look at the destination country’s price group to determine your shipping costs.
Use USPS’ price list to determine how much postage is required for your mail’s destination.
Flats must meet the following criteria:
- Be flexible
- Have four square corners
- Have a uniform thickness
- Have one dimension greater than 6 ⅛ inches high, 11 ½ inches long, or ¼ inch thick
- Be no more than 12 inches high x 15 inches long x ¾ inch thick
- Weigh between 1 ounce and 15.994 ounces
Pricing for 1-ounce flats starts at $2.60 for all countries. Two Global Forever stamps are enough to cover postage.
In most cases, 1 Global Forever stamp is all you’ll need to send a letter or postcard to your loved ones abroad.
However, if you’ve got an oddly-shaped item, or one that’s a bit heavier, we recommend checking with the post office to find out your exact shipping costs.