USPS Non-Machinable Surcharges | Overview

ShippingEasy wants to help you learn about the e-commerce industry. This article describes service requirements determined by the United States Postal Service (USPS).

The USPS is a separate organization from ShippingEasy. For more information about USPS services, visit your local Post Office or go to

The USPS Non-Machinable Surcharge is applied to letters and envelopes when they cannot be automatically processed. Essentially, you are charged for the use of certain machines to assist with the sorting and separating. Being larger than the machine is able to sort into the appropriate pile means your package will be bumped up to the next class of letter or package, which often costs more money.

If you are sending an odd-shaped package (too large or with variable shapes) you will want to use the proper postage so you do not get charged additional fees.

USPS Machinable Criteria

Some of the main criteria you want to watch out for are:

  • The aspect ratio (length divided by height) must be correct.
  • The package must be kept in the proper shipping container (often boxes, letters, or envelopes)
  • The package should not have any pieces dangling off it such as rope, clasps, or locks.
  • The package typically must be of uniform size (Flat Rate boxes are great examples of this).
  • The delivery address must be put in the appropriate place. Learn how to address a USPS package.

Learn more about Non-Machinable Surcharges at

By avoiding these points, you save the USPS time which in return can save yourself money!

Will my Package Incur a Non-Machinable Surcharge Fee?

If you can answer “Yes” to any of the following questions, you may have a non-machinable package that will incur an additional fee.

  • Is the package a strange shape?
  • Does this package have improper postage or is the shipping address in a hard to see location?
  • Is the package in an odd container?
  • Can anything on my package get caught or tangled on other things?

Look up USPS's specific guidelines for commercial letters, flats, and parcels.

As of January 2021, USPS Non-Machinable Surcharges:
  • First-Class Mail letter: $0.20
  • First-Class Package Service parcel: $0.25
  • First-Class Mail International letter: $0.21

Learn how ShippingEasy helps you save even more money on USPS rates.

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How do you have a page titled: "What are USPS non-machinable surcharges?" then not list the surcharges?????


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Hello Paul and thank you for posting to our Support Center.

This is a great question and we appreciate your feedback.
As of January 22nd, 2017, USPS non-machinable surcharges for First Class envelopes is $0.21. We have updated this article to reflect that information for future shippers and provided a link below to the USPS price list that includes non-machinable surcharges.
If you are shipping a non-First Class envelope that you think may be non-machinable, we recommend contacting your local US Post Office for the current and most accurate surcharge rates. These rates can vary depending on the type of item you are shipping and also your package's destination.
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