Do policy envelopes require additional postage?

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With a flap that opens on the short end of the envelope, an open end policy envelope is a contemporary alternative to a standard # 10 envelope, which opens on the long end. The contemporary vertical orientation of policy envelopes often leads to the question: “What is the proper way to address policy envelopes & Do policy envelopes require additional postage?”

Policy envelopes can be addressed in a vertical or horizontal fashion, depending on personal preference. When you are choosing how to address your policy envelopes, note that envelopes addressed in a horizontal fashion do not require additional postage, where those addressed in a vertical fashion do.

Address envelopes vertically

Since policy envelopes have a vertical orientation, some feel inclined to address them in the same direction that they will be opened in. To address your envelopes in the vertical fashion, it works best to place the recipient’s address on the front of the envelope, and the return address on the back flap, as shown below. If you prefer, you could also place the return address in the upper left hand corner opposite the stamp. Just note that since the envelope is thin, this does not always look right with long return addresses.

policy envelopes address vertically with return address on the back flap

Why do vertically addressed policy envelopes require additional postage?

The United States Postal Service uses standard shape and size parameters to determine whether an envelope will require additional postage. The height and width of an envelope is determined by the direction of its addresses, as shown below. Essentially, if either the height or the width of your envelope falls outside of these measured parameters, it will require additional postage, regardless of its weight.

policy envelopes addressed vertically fall outside of the height parameters

Address envelopes horizontally

As shown below, you can also orient your addresses horizontally, as you would with a standard #10 envelope. Keep in mind that with this method, your addresses will not run parallel to the direction of opening. You also eliminate the option to place the return address on the back flap.

policy envelopes address horizontally

The USPS considers horizontally addressed policy envelopes to be of standard size because they fall within both the width and height guidelines, and are easily processed in sorting machines. Therefore, they do not require additional postage.

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