5 FAH-1 H-430


(CT:CH-31;   10-07-2013)
(Office of Origin:  A/LM/PMP/DPM)

5 FAH-1 H-431  GENERAL

(CT:CH-31;   10-07-2013)

a. Follow instructions in this section for preparing envelopes and using mail services in the Department and at post.  See 14 FAH-4 H-300, Pouch and Mail Handbook, for detailed guidelines regarding dispatching mail and pouch and mail channels.  Contact your organization’s central message center/mail room for additional information.

b. Official unclassified mail originating in the Department and posts must be metered (postage affixed according to weight by postage meters) for processing through the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) or the Military Postal System (MPS).

c.  Envelopes bearing the metered postage must be mailed through the Department's Central Mail Branch (DPM/U).

d. Official metered envelopes mailed at post are routed through the Department for accountability.

e. Envelopes containing classified mail must be properly marked.  Complete the proper forms to register classified items (see 5 FAH-1 Exhibit H-431, Form DS-112, Classified Material Receipt) and pouch mail (Form OF-120, Diplomatic Pouch Mail Registration—this form is not available on the A/GIS/DIR Web site and must be obtained from the General Services Administration (GSA) Federal Supply).  See 14 FAH-4, Pouch and Mail Handbook, for complete instructions for sending classified and pouch mail items.

f.  Envelopes containing Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU) information must be prepared as other “Unclassified” envelopes.  SBU packages must be registered on Form OF-120 with the unclassified marking.  See 14 FAH-4 for complete guidelines.

g. Message centers (mail rooms) are located throughout the Department.  Consult the message center that services your organization for further guidance.


5 FAH-1 H-432.1  Letter-Size Envelope

(CT:CH-18;   07-05-2007)

Letter-size envelopes must meet the U.S. Postal Service minimum size requirements of 5 inches long and 3 1/2 inches high with a thickness of .007 inches and not larger then 11 1/2 inches long and 6 1/8 inches high with a thickness of 1/4 inch (USPS Domestic Mail Manual).  A letter-size envelope (4 inches) is the approximate size of a folded letter.  Use the letter-size envelope for official correspondence whenever possible (fold material, if necessary).  See 5 FAH-1 Exhibit H-432.1.

5 FAH-1 H-432.2  Window Envelope

(TL:CH-4;   07-31-2002)

Use a window envelope (available only in letter size) for unclassified, routine or administrative mailings.  Use also for large informational mailings.  The addressee's name and address appears in the window from a letter or label.

5 FAH-1 H-432.3  Light Brown Envelope (Kraft)

(CT:CH-18;   07-05-2007)

Use Kraft envelopes (commonly referred to as Flat Mail) for unfolded or oversized material, such as multiple enclosures, pamphlets, etc.  Kraft (brown paper) envelopes are available in several sizes; however, length must be a maximum of 15 inches, height a maximum of 12 inches, and thickness a maximum of 3/4 inches.  Maximum weight is 13 ounces.  Flat mail must be flexible and may require manual sorting (which may delay delivery) and cost more to purchase and process than a letter-size envelope.  See 5 FAH-1 Exhibit H-432.3.

5 FAH-1 H-432.4  U.S. Government Messenger Envelope (Interoffice, Chain-type)

(TL:CH-4;   07-31-2002)

Use a messenger envelope to transmit unclassified, interoffice mail within the Department or post.  Reuse a messenger envelope by crossing out the last address in a block in the left or right column before turning it over to use the reverse side in the same order.  Do not use a messenger envelope to send mail through the regular postal service.  See 5 FAH-1 Exhibit H-432.3.


(TL:CH-4;   07-31-2002)

a. At post, mail to be dispatched through local or international mail requires host country postage.  Clearly indicate to mail room personnel the type of service desired and the nature of the contents.

b. Use a plain white bond envelope for mail to be sent through the host country or international postal facilities.  Place the complete post return address which includes name (initial and surname) and office symbol of sender, in the upper left corner of envelope.


(TL:CH-4;   07-31-2002)

a. Use an envelope with postage affixed by a postage meter (or an address label or reply card) preprinted with the Department's address to enclose with a letter to an addressee who is asked to provide information on behalf of the Government, but is not obligated to furnish the information.

b. When replying to a request from the private sector, do not use an enclosed postage stamp or self-addressed stamped envelope supplied by the addressee; reply in an official Department envelope.  Return the stamp or envelope to the addressee with the reply.

c.  For other information requests from the private sector where an unsigned form letter is used to accompany printed material, an address label sent by the individual or organization may be used on the Department's official envelope.


5 FAH-1 H-435.1  Return Address

(CT:CH-31;   10-07-2013)

a. For envelopes in the Department, show the office symbol, initials and surname of sender, and room number in the upper left corner directly below the printed return address.

b. At post, place the complete geographic location and post identification directly below the words "Official Business."

c.  Examples of proper addressing format can be found in 14 FAH-4 H-311.3.

5 FAH-1 H-435.1-1  From Post to Non-Government Addresses

(CT:CH-18;   07-05-2007)

Show the complete geographic return address of the post as follows:

Political Section—Room 555
U.S. Embassy
London, England JN2 34P

5 FAH-1 H-435.1-2  From Post to Department, Another Federal Agency, or Another Post

(CT:CH-31;   10-07-2013)

When using the postage paid envelopes, show the office symbol and refer to the examples in 14 FAH 4 H-311.

5 FAH-1 H-435.2  Addressee

(CT:CH-18;   07-05-2007)

a. Always use the complete address on envelopes.  Use block style, single spacing (if three or more lines) and open punctuation.  Double-space a two-line address.  Indent carryover lines two spaces.  Enter the town or city and State on the same line followed by the zip code or foreign country code number.  For international mail, place the country name on the last line.  If needed, place an "Attention" line in the lower left area of the envelope.

b. For international mail, enter the country in capital letters:


      Mr. John Doe
345 Morris Road
London JN2 34P

c.  Jerusalem is a special situation.  Do not designate a country for Jerusalem.  Direct specific questions regarding the correct name of a foreign city or country to the Department country desk or the Office of the Geographer (INR/GE).

d. For a local post address, consult the Department of State publication, Key Officers of Foreign Service Posts, which list posts alphabetically by country.  See also the Department's Telephone Directory.

e. Mail addressed to a military post abroad requires AA, AE, or AP numbers with the zip code.  The Military Postal Service (MPS) has aligned APO/FPO numbers based on the geographic location.  See 14 FAH-4, Pouch and Mail Handbook, for specific numbers.

5 FAH-1 H-435.3  Zip Codes

(CT:CH-31;   10-07-2013)

a. Always include the zip code in the address on mail sent through USPS channels.  Use the 9-digit zip code when available.  The Department uses a 9-digit zip code (20520-xxxx) for automated mail sorting, which must appear in the address block of all mail addressed to the Department in Washington, DC or at posts.  Addresses will be completed in all capital letters with no punctuations.

b. The first 5 digits of the zip code for the Department must be 20520.  The last 4 digits identify the room number.

c.  Use the zip code 20521 for mail addressed to post plus the last 4 digits to identify the post (see 14 FAH-4, Pouch and Mail Handbook).


      JOHN DOE
WASHINGTON DC  20521-2010


(CT:CH-18;   07-05-2007)

The Department provides several types of mail services.  Use the USPS for official correspondence to all U.S. addresses.  Send official mail through the messenger system for forwarding to the Department's mail room, where it will be entered into the USPS channels.  Follow the procedures in 14 FAH-4, Pouch and Mail Handbook, for further guidance.

5 FAH-1 H-436.1  Special Mail Services

(CT:CH-18;   07-05-2007)

For any of the following special services (not routine correspondence), hand carry the mail to the Central Mail Room (B-528) for processing.  See 5 FAH-1 Exhibit H-436.1 for sample forms to attach to the item when requesting special services:

(1)  Return Receipt—Use for proof of delivery;

(2)  Registered Mail—Use for SBU, Confidential, or Secret mail;

(3)  Certified Mail—Use for mail requiring a record of mailing, delivery, or return receipt;

(4)  Priority Mail—Use for mail and packages weighing more than 13 ounces to receive faster delivery compared to package service (note a higher rate); and

(5)  Express Mail—Use when mail must be delivered the next day within the United States.  Maximum weight is 70 pounds.  Include Department's control number (request from bureau or executive office) on each piece of express mail.  Hand carry mail to the Post Office before 3:15 p.m., Monday through Friday, for same day mailing.  The types of express mail are:

(a)  Post Office to post office service indicates that item can be claimed at the destination facility by 10:00 a.m. the next business day; and

(b)  Post Office to addressee service means that item will be delivered to the addressee within the delivery area of the destination facility by 3:00 p.m. the next business day.

5 FAH-1 H-436.2  Diplomatic Pouch Mail

(TL:CH-4;   07-31-2002)

a. The pouch mail system is reserved for international transmission of official U.S. communications between the Department and posts, between posts, and between other Federal agencies and their representatives serving under the jurisdiction of a U.S. diplomatic or consular post.  See 14 FAH-4, Pouch and Mail Handbook, for complete pouch and mail procedures.

b. Consult the pouch control officer in the Department or post for questions regarding pouch mail procedures or an up-to-date pouch schedule.

5 FAH-1 H-436.3  Messenger Service

5 FAH-1 H-436.3-1  Department Messenger Service

(CT:CH-31;   10-07-2013)

a. Mail circulating between offices and bureaus may be hand carried (without an envelope) by office personnel or bureau messengers, unless classified or controlled and going out of the building.  Form OF-41, Routing and Transmittal Slip, may be placed on top of mail carried by bureau messengers between offices in the same building.

b. Mail addressed to employees outside of the bureau or in another building is delivered by Office of Logistics Management, Diplomatic Pouch Division (A/LM/PMP/DPM) messengers.  Limited messenger service is available for delivery to other Federal agencies in the Washington, DC area.  Always use an envelope for A/LM/PMP/DPM messenger mail (classified or unclassified).  To ensure prompt delivery, include on the envelope the addressee's name, office symbol, room number, and building.  For another agency, include agency symbol (e.g., OMB) before office symbol (see 14 FAH-4).

c.  Request special courier service (automobile) to transport classified material and urgent messages to other Federal agencies within the area.  Use official envelopes for classified or administratively controlled (SBU) material.  Attach Form DS-112, Classified Material Receipt (see 5 FAH-1 Exhibit H-431), and messenger envelopes (see 5 FAH-1 Exhibit H-432.3) for unclassified mail.  Hand carry mail for courier service to the pouch mail room and flag it for courier service.

d. For other agency pickup service, bring items directly to the message center for fast delivery to other Federal agencies that have daily mail pickups.  See 14 FAH-4 for additional domestic internal message service procedures.

5 FAH-1 H-436.3-2  Post Messenger Service

(CT:CH-18;   07-05-2007)

For post messenger and mail handling services available, consult the administrative officer and/or information program center personnel at each post (see 14 FAH-4 for general and specific overall pouch and mail procedures).

5 FAH-1 H-436.4  Other Mail Channels from Posts

(CT:CH-18;   07-05-2007)

a. Posts provide international mail service, host country postal service, and U.S.  Military Postal Service where available (see 14 FAH-4, Pouch and Mail Handbook).  Use international and local postal facilities for unclassified mail only if approved by the principal officer.  Send all classified or administratively controlled (SBU) mail through the information program center for processing through the USPS.

b. Use one of the following special services available through channels from posts:

(1)  Airmail—Use airmail to expedite mail when the distance involved requires air transport to speed delivery.  Use airmail envelopes or mark the envelope or package "AIRMAIL" to ensure airmail service;

(2)  Special Delivery—If available locally, use this service if it is certain that special handling will expedite service; and

(3)  Registered Mail—Use to register mail according to local requirements, after the service is approved by the principal officer.


5 FAH-1 Exhibit H-431  
Form DS-112, Classified Mail Receipt

(TL:CH-8;   03-31-2004)


DS-112 Classified Mail Receipt

DS-122 Classified Mail Receipt, Parts 2 and 3

DS-122 Classified Mail Receipt, Part 4


DS-122 Classified Material Receipt, Part 5


5 FAH-1 Exhibit H-432.1  
Letter-Size Envelopes

(CT:CH-18;   07-05-2007)




5 FAH-1 Exhibit H-432.3  
Large Envelopes

(TL:CH-4;  07-31-2002)

Examples of large envelopes


5 FAH-1 Exhibit H-436.1  
Special Mail Forms

(TL:CH-4;   07-31-2002)

Special Mail Forms