How to Mail an International Letter: 6 Key Steps

We’re well into the 21st century, so do you really need to know how to send a letter internationally? A real, actual, physical letter? Hasn’t everyone learned how to send mail electronically at this point? 

The thing is, there are some perfectly good reasons for mailing international letters, even in the digital age. The country you’re mailing to might not sustain stable internet access, or you may want to send something tangible inside the letter, like a toy or a bookmark. Of course, it’s always possible you’d simply enjoy the novelty of learning how to mail an international letter because it’s fun.

How Mailing an International Letter Works

Mailing a letter overseas is similar in concept to mailing a letter to someone down the street, but there are a few more steps, especially if you plan on sending something more than just a paper letter or postcard. 

If you plan on sending toys, cards, cash, checks or other similar items, you will need to fill out a customs form. To see the rules of your destination country, check the U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS) Index of Countries and Localities.

To make the process easier, you can always rely on Print Bind Ship for sending your letters, packages, custom orders or other general order fulfillment needs. We know how to mail a letter internationally because we handle orders and deliveries on a global scale. Thanks to our extensive experience, we’re used to dealing with local laws and knowing what can be shipped where.

6 Steps for Mailing an International Letter

As for how to mail an international letter, you first need to examine why you’re looking to send a physical letter internationally. Why not rely on digital mail? Is there some reason you need to know how to send mail — tangible mail — to another country? 

The only reason we bring these questions up is that you need to be prepared for the letter to take some time to get to its destination. These six steps will let you plan ahead and get a physical letter to someone around the world exactly when you want them to have it.

Step 1: Choose Your Envelope 

If you’re only sending a postcard, you won’t need an envelope, but you will if you’re sending a regular letter. Print Bind Ship can help with custom designs and colors for whichever envelope size you’d like — especially if you’re passing on the USPS and choosing to ship with us.

Step 2: Check Size and Weight Restrictions

At up to 11½ inches by 6⅛ inches, USPS international letter envelopes can be large compared to what you’re used to. Their max weight limit is 3.5 ounces, and the envelope can’t be thicker than one-quarter inch. 

Postcards can be between 5½ inches by 3½ inches and 6 inches by 4¼ inches. The cost of sending either is the same, but if you’re shipping with Print Bind Ship, you’ll have a greater range of size and weight options.

Step 3: Choose Your Carrier

You can send your international letter through USPS, FedEx, UPS, and other carriers, but if you need to customize your package or letter, you’ll want Print Bind Ship. 

Not only are we familiar with international shipping and mailing rules, we also have designers who know how to increase your letter’s wow factor while staying within the rules. 

Step 4: Decide How Soon You Want It to Arrive

As a general rule, the faster you want something shipped, the more you’ll pay. This is true of both standard and international shipping. 

With USPS, the standard shipping method is by ship, but if you specify, you can have your letter sent by airmail. Usually, an international letter will take at least 10 business days to arrive, with a shipping cost of $1.40 using a First-Class Mail International Global Forever stamp. Extra weight or size costs extra. 

Shipping through Print Bind Ship offers greater options regarding shipping schedules and shipping speeds. The exact cost will depend on the country you’re planning to ship to.

Step 5: Send Your Files to Print Bind Ship

For ultimate flexibility in shipping large and small packages as well as letters internationally, you’ll need Print Bind Ship. Don’t worry. We’re responsible shippers, and you don’t even have to send us a physical letter for us to ship it.

If you send us your files, we can handle the printing and mailing processes on our end. That way, you still get a physical letter to someone on the other side of the world without needing to leave your house to buy an envelope, stamps or stationery.

Step 6: Monitor Your Tracking Number

Whenever you send a letter or package through Print Bind Ship, we provide you a tracking number so you can see exactly where it is at all points in its journey. We’ll also send you a confirmation once your letter has arrived at its final destination.

Print Bind Ship: How to Mail an International Letter in the 21st Century

Mailing a letter internationally comes with a few more steps and extra costs compared to mailing locally, but as long as you plan ahead, you can get your letter where you want it to go when you want it to. 

For ultimate control over shipping speed and package customization, you need Print Bind Ship. We ship and print worldwide, offering great flexibility and custom options no matter where you want your shipment to go. Ready to find out how to mail an international letter without the hassle? Contact Print Bind Ship today.


How heavy can a letter be for one international stamp?

One international stamp will allow you to send a 1-ounce letter. Sending a letter up to 3.5 ounces requires additional postage.

Can I use regular stamps for international mail?

Yes, as long as the letter weighs less than 1 ounce. If you don’t have any Global Forever stamps, you can use standard Forever stamps that add up to the same value as a Global Forever stamp.

Can I put an international letter in the mailbox?

Yes, international letters can be sent from a mailbox. They can also be dropped into a standard blue collection box or sent from a USPS location.

How many stamps for an international letter?

For an international letter, the number of stamps needed will depend on the destination country and the weight of the letter. Typically, an international letter under 1 ounce will require 1 or 2 international postage stamps, called Global Forever stamps in the US. Heavier letters may require additional postage.

How long does it take to mail a letter internationally?

International mail delivery times can vary greatly depending on the destination country. On average, a letter sent internationally by airmail can take between 1-3 weeks to arrive at its destination. However, mail to some countries can take over 6 weeks in transit. The postal service in the origin country will have estimates on delivery times based on where the letter is being sent. Tracking options can also provide expected delivery timelines.