Got customers overseas that you send regular mailings to? Or are you sending one-off communications to new prospects? Meet both needs with our International Letters service. Ideal for sending DM and transactional mail.
There’s more than one option to present your standard letter size mail. Choose from:
- Unsorted – Comes with two different delivery speeds, Priority or Economy. Simply count and separate your items by service speed and document what you send.
- Zone Sort - Offers further cost savings when you divide your mail into two selections: European Union and Rest of World.
Country Sort - Sort and present your mail in country order to benefit from country specific pricing.
International contract prices calculator
Our international contract prices can be calculated yourself using our interactive spreadsheet.
Croatia joining the European Union
Croatia joined the EU on 1 July 2013, and as a result, mail to this country (parcels and letters) will be subject to VAT. Customers using our Zone Sort pricing option must sort to and select EU for mail to Croatia.
Before sending letters overseas you should consider the following:
- What are the dimensions of a letter?
- What mailing service options do I have?
- What delivery speeds can I choose from?
- How do I correctly address my mail?
- How should I prepare my letters?
- How will my letters be collected?
- What can and can’t be sent?
- over the size of 140mm x 90mm
- under 245mm x 165mm
- no more than 5mm thick.
- less than 100g.
You have three different options to choose from once you have sorted your mail by service speed:
- Unsorted (just hand your letters 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)
A summary of the options available are:
Service Delivery Speed Sorting required? VAT applied Machinable-readable requirement? Minimum volume per posting Unsorted Priority None Worldwide No None Economy None Worldwide No None Zone Sort Priority None EU Yes None Economy None EU Yes None Country Sort Priority EU/Rest
of the World
EU No 1000* Economy EU/Rest
of the World
EU No 1000*
* Unless part of a domestic pre-sorted mailing when the minimum is 50 per service speed.
A sales order is required.
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
Delivery speeds are in working days and exclude day of posting, Saturday and Sundays except where weeks are stated.
Make sure you address your letters correctly. Find examples within the International Letters User guide.
If you are sending an item to a destination outside the European Union, it will need a customs label if it is either:
- an item of commercial value
- an item contains goods or gifts
- printed paper (advisable but not mandatory).
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 information 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
- 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.
Include a return address to make sure undeliverable items can be returned to you free of charge.
You’ll need to put your UK return address on each item – ideally in the top left hand corner of the mailpiece on the same side as the address. Ensure there is a company identifier such as your logo or company name. We recommend that 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.
Traying or bagging your Letters
The standard method of despatching letters is to use trays - however, depending on volumes and therefore tray fill it may beneficial to use mailbags. Please feel free to discuss your requirements with us by calling 08457 950 950.
For further details refer to the International Letters 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 Packets user guide.
In addition to the sales order from OBA there a few more pieces of paperwork required, for Unsorted 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 Letters user guide.
Unsorted and 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.
Country Sort High Volume postings are initially handled by our Regional Distribution Centres (RDCs) before being routed to Heathrow Worldwide Distribution Centre (HWDC).
What you are prohibited from sending varies from country to country and can sometimes include apparently ordinary things. If you are unsure about anything visit our Countries A to Z or call us on 08457 950 950.
To qualify for all of our International Letters services you will need to spend in excess of £5,000 per annum across the International Contract Services portfolio.
To use International Letters 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 Letters 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 Letters 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...
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 letters format criteria.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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org if in a single posting there are: More than 10,000 letters being sent worldwide or more than 5,000 letters being sent to a single country.Back to top