Sending tips and size and weight guidelines
What are you sending?
An Post divides mail into four categories to determine the cost of its delivery:
Once your item exceeds the size or weight limit of any category, it automatically moves to the next category of post.
Get more information on:
Letters and postcards
The letter/postcard rate of postage applies to items no larger in size than C5, the size of an envelope containing a folded A4 sheet of paper. Most letters, postcards, bills, statements and greeting cards fall into this category.
To qualify for this rate of postage, items must weigh no more than 100g and meet the following size requirements:
- Minimum: 140mm long, 90mm wide, 0.18mm deep (with a tolerance of 2mm)
- Maximum: 235mm long, 162mm wide, 5mm deep
Small items must be inserted into an envelope of at least the minimum dimensions to meet regulations or they may be charged at the parcel rate.
The large envelope rate of postage applies to flat items, such as an A4 sheet of standard paper. Documents, brochures, magazines, CDs and DVDs fall into this category.
To qualify for this rate of postage, items must weigh no more than 500g and meet the following size requirements:
- Minimum: 140mm long, 90mm wide, 0.18mm deep (with a tolerance of 2mm)
- Maximum: 400mm long, 300mm wide; 25mm deep
To qualify for the packet rate of postage, items must weigh no more than 2kg. Gifts, books, product samples, posters and prints in cylindrical tubes will usually fall into this category. They must meet the following packet size requirements:
- Minimum: 100mm long x 70mm high x 25mm deep
- Maximum: a combined length, height and depth of 900mm (no individual dimension can exceed 600mm, with a tolerance of 2mm)
- Tube form: the length plus twice the diameter must be less than 1040mm with no one dimension exceeding 900mm (with a tolerance of 2mm)
The parcel rate of postage applies to items weighing up to 20kg. Large, boxed items such as electrical goods, components and irregularly-shaped and cylindrically-shaped items such as large posters fall into this category. The following are the maximum dimensions:
- Length 1.5 metres
- Length + girth 3 metres (where the girth equals 2 x [depth + width])
Large but light parcels, such as a box of pillows, may be charged according to their dimensional weight to reflect the full cost of their transport.
To calculate the dimensional weight, multiply the length in centimetres by the width by the depth and divide by 6,000. For example, the dimensional weight of a 10kg item, which is 62cm long, 49cm wide and 39cm deep is (62x49x39)/6000 = 19.75. This is rounded up to 20, giving a dimensional weight of 20kg.
It is important to know how much your item weighs so you can attach the correct postage. The only way to be sure you have entered the correct weight is to weigh your item.
The Weight Guide below gives indicative weights for many common food items which you can use to help gauge the weight of your item.
If you send an item with insufficient postage for its weight, it will be returned to you with the loss of the original postage.
|Packet of crisps
|Roll of toilet paper
|Box of 80 teabags
|Small jar of jam
|Can of soda
|Tin of baked beans
|Packet of pasta
|Box of cornflakes
|Bag of sugar
|Bottle of wine
|Two litres of milk
|Big bag of dog food
Ten tips for sending your post and parcels
You've put a lot of thought and care into what you are sending so follow these ten tips to make sure your item is delivered on time:
- Choose the service that best matches your needs, be they cost, speed or security
- Ensure the destination address on your item is current, correct and complete
- If posting to Dublin, include the postal district number, for example Dublin 3, and add the Eircode
- Put a return address in the top left hand corner so undelivered mail can be sent back
- Attach the correct postage for the size and weight of your item and its destination
- Seal the envelope or secure the parcel to ensure deliveries arrive intact and on time
- Attach the correct labels, such as Airmail or customs labels to items going abroad
- Check your packaging to make sure it’s strong enough and mark fragile items
- Do not send prohibited items such as liquids outside of Ireland
- Keep your receipt, with the number that allows you to trace trackable items, until you know they have been safely delivered
Prepare your parcel for postage
To make sure your parcel arrives safe and sound, follow these general tips on packing and wrapping:
- Check that the address is complete, correct and legible and includes a full post or zip code where applicable
- Fill out and attach the appropriate customs forms for parcels going overseas. These are available from your local post office
- An Aviation Security Declaration must be attached to any parcel or packet sent within the EU, excluding Northern Ireland
- Mark your parcels with appropriate labels such as Fragile, Do Not Bend or Heavy for parcels that weigh more than 5kg
- Attach the parcel service label to the centre on top as parcels are machine processed on their largest, most stable side, usually the base
- Use plenty of protective packing material, such as bubble wrap or polystyrene chips, to protect your items and fill all spaces so the contents of the package don’t move
- Use strong tape along all openings and edges and put keys, coins or loose materials in a jiffy or padded envelope
How to speed up your post
Did you know that the colour, size and the weight of your envelope can dictate how soon your post gets to its destination?
We use Optical Character Recognition (OCR) mail processing equipment which can sort through 40,000 pieces of mail per hour. To speed up your delivery and get the most out of OCR, read our Speed up your post (PDF, 2000KB) guide which includes the following advice:
- Always use block capitals when hand writing addresses and avoid colour, italics and underlining if typing it
- Do not include punctuation marks in the address
- Choose light-coloured envelopes as those with dark backgrounds such as red, blue or green are unreadable
- Items to be sent outside Ireland should be marked with an Air Mail label, which you can pick up at your local post office and attach to the left of the postage area
- Do not use staples, metal or plastic clips on the envelope
New US Customs Clearance rules
If you wish to send mail to destinations outside the EU, we aim to help you by ensuring that you are fully aware of customs clearance requirements.
The US government is now enforcing new regulations for mail received from all other countries, including Ireland:
- You must now supply an Electronic Advance Customs Declaration (EAD) before sending any item that contains any type of goods to the US. There is no exemption for commercial samples or gifts of any kind, regardless of the value
- Items of correspondence such as letters, cards, invoices and other documents are exempt as long as they do not have a commercial value (e.g. books or vouchers)
- We also need to be able to provide an electronic version of the Customs Declaration to the US authorities, on your behalf, before we can accept your postal item and send it to the US
These new US rules are beyond our control and apply equally to all companies involved in the transport and delivery industry worldwide.
You need to comply with these regulations to prevent your post from being unnecessarily delayed or rejected and returned on arrival in the USA. There are several ways we can help you to provide the necessary information:
- Visit anpost.com and use our Click & Post service. You can organise your post online, enter all the relevant information, then just bring your post to your local post office as you would normally
- Bring your post to your local post office, complete a physical Customs Declaration form as normal and attach it to your item. Once that is done, one of our counter staff will enter the data electronically for you and help you complete your post
- If you’re a business customer who regularly posts a large number of items to the US, we may be able to help you to streamline the process through one of our account- based options. We have a long- standing relationship with the US Postal Service and other delivery agents in the US, and are in a strong position to help you and your business evolve to deal with this change. Contact our Sales Department for further details.
While the US is the first foreign government to actually impose these new customs rules, similar rules will come into effect for many other destinations in the coming months. If you are a business customer and need any advice on how to update your systems to comply with these regulations, we are happy to help.