Have customers overseas that you keep in regular touch with? Or send annual journals to? Meet their needs efficiently with our International Flats service. It’s ideal for sending magazines, newsletters and journals plus there’s more than one option to present your publishing mail and a choice of delivery speeds. Choose from:
Comes with two different delivery speeds - Priority or Economy. Simply count and separate your items by service speed and document what you send.
Offers further cost savings when you divide your mail into two selections - European Union and Rest of the World.
Sort and present your mail in country order to benefit from country specific pricing.
- What is a ‘Flat’?
- What mailing service options do I need?
- How fast does it need to get there?
- How do I correctly address my mail?
- How should I present my mail?
- How will my mail be collected?
- What can and can’t be sent?
A Flat is:
- over the size of 245mm x 165mm
- under 381mm x 305mm
- no more than 20mm thick
- less than 500g.
You have three different options to choose from:
- Unsorted (just hand your Flats over to us and we’ll do the rest)
- Zone Sort (zone meaning either EU or Rest of World)
- Country Sort (sorting and presenting your mail in country order).
Comparison table for mailing service and zones Service Delivery Speed Sorting required? VAT applied Documentation required? Machine-readable? Minimum volume per posting Unsorted Priority None Worldwide Sales order Optional None Economy None Worldwide Sales order Optional None Zone Sort Priority None EU Sales order Compulsory None Economy None EU Sales order Compulsory None Country Sort Priority EU / Rest of World EU Sales order Optional 500* Economy EU / Rest of World EU Sales order Optional 500*
* Unless combined with a UK pre-sorted service when the minimum quantity is 10.
Delivery speed comparison table Western Europe Rest of Europe Rest of World Priority 3 - 5 days 3 - 5 days 5 - 7 days Economy 5 - 10 days 10 - 15 days 6 - 12 weeks
There are two options available for Flats: Priority or Economy. You will need to segregate your Flats by service speed. To find out more about delivery speeds, see our International Flats user guide.
Make sure you address your mail correctly. Find examples in our International Flats user guide
Using a return address
Include a return address to ensure undeliverable items can be returned to you free of charge. You’ll need to put your UK return address on each item ideally at the edge at right angles to the delivery address and ensure there is a company identifier such as your logo or company name. We recommend that you put a UK return address on every item and you must use a UK return address if you’re sending more than 1,500 items to one country over a two-week period.
If you are sending an item to a destination outside the European Union, it will need a customs label if it is:
- an item of commercial value
- an item containing goods or gifts
- printed paper (advisable but not mandatory).
Find out more about Customs
Prepaid Postage Impression (PPI) & Airmail Indicators
Every item must have a Royal Mail approved PPI in the top right hand corner.
The design you choose must be one of those available on our PPI page. It must include the words: POSTAGE PAID, your licence number and GB.
If you are sending an item through the Priority service it must have either:
- an Airmail indicator, or
- an Airmail sticker.
You may also create your own indicator with the words Airmail, Par Avion or Prioritaire. This should be positioned as closely as possible to the top left hand corner of the front of the item.
Traying your Flats or using bags
The standard method of despatching Flats is to use trays. However, some items can be too big for our trays, in which case standard mailbags should be used.
For further details refer to the International Flats user guide
Once you have prepared and labelled your packets, you’ll create and print out a sales order from the Online Business Account (OBA) system. There are specific instructions, so for their details, refer to the International Flats user guide
In addition to the sales order from OBA, there a few more pieces of paperwork required for High Volume mailings. They are a computer planning report and a line listing. Production of these can be easily facilitated by the OBA Data Generator so for further information, refer to the International Flats user guide
Unsorted, Zone Sort and Country Sort Low Volume postings can be collected at the same time as your normal mail collection and are taken to your local mail centre.
High Volume postings are initially handled by our Regional Distribution Centres before being routed to Heathrow Worldwide Distribution Centre.
What you are prohibited from sending varies from country to country and can sometimes include apparently ordinary things. If you are unsure about anything, please visit our Countries A to Z (see bottom of this page) or call us on 08457 950 950
To qualify for all of our International Flats services you will need to spend in excess of £5,000 per annum across the International Contract Services portfolio.
To use International Flats you'll need to have an account with Royal Mail. You’ll also need to spend over £5,000 a year across our International Contract Services portfolio.
Need to set up an account?
If you don’t already have one, you can contact us on 08457 950 950.
Many of our customers have Account Managers
If your business has a Royal Mail Account Manager, contact yours and find out more about how choosing to use International Flats can save you money in your international mailings.
Already have an account?
If you already have an account, call us on 08457 950 950. We’ll tell you how to add International Flats to your account. It will speed things up if you can have your Royal Mail account number to hand when you ring us.
Search help for more answers...
Are magazines with cover mounts machine-readable?
Unfortunately these items cannot be processed by our machines, therefore they should be despatched using the base rate service.Back to top
How do I work out the costs in advance of a posting?
We’ve created a pricing calculator for you.Back to top
Is there any technical support to help me combine UK bulk postings with overseas mailings?
Visit International Mail Technical.Back to top
When using Country Sort can I send mixed weight mailings?
Yes, you can send mixed weight items, as long as all of the items meet the flats format criteria.Back to top
What do you mean by forecasting?
For us to provide you with the highest levels of service we need you to notify 48 hours in advance by email at email@example.com if in a single posting there are: More than 10,000 flats being sent worldwide or more than 5,000 flats being sent to a single country.Back to top