Using an Indicia to Pay Postage for USPS Bulk Mail

Scott HochbergScott Hochberg

If you are sending a large amount of mail, especially bulk mail, it's a lot more convenient to print a "postage paid" box on your envelopes or cards than to put a stamp on each one. That box is also called an "indicia" or a "permit imprint". They all mean the same thing.

There is specific wording that goes in the indicia. We have a handy tool for that below.

Postage Saver software makes postal bulk mailing easy

You need to know:

More details below:

red dotHow do I create an indicia?.
red dotWhat wording goes in an indicia?.
red dotWhere does the indicia go?.
red dotHow do I apply?.
red dotWhat is the fee for applying?.

How do I create an indicia?

Usually, whoever prints your materials will include the indicia as part of the print job, if you tell them you need it when you give them your copy.

If you're printing the material yourself, with software like Word or InDessign, then you just need to make a box with the wording in it. You normally print the indicia directly on the mail piece, but it can also be printed on a label.

What wording goes in an indicia?

Here's a quick tool that will show you what to put in the indicia.

What kind of bulk mail are you sending?
Marketing Mail - commercial
Marketing Mail - nonprofit
First Class Presort
Bound Printed Matter - fewer than 300 pieces
Bound Printed Matter - 300 or more pieces
Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) - Retail What is the city for the post office where you have your permit?

What is the state?  

What is your permit number?  

If you have been authorized by USPS as an eVS (Electronic Validation Service) mailer, then replace the city and state with the "company abbreviation" that you've been assigned by USPS, and put the word "eVS" by itself on the bottom line instead of "Permit No. 1234".

There are also special rules for indicias on official mail sent by U.S. government agencies.

This is the simplest of several allowed layouts. You may see an indicia look differently on mail you receive. For examples of other acceptable layouts, please see the USPS rules for indicias.
Postage Saver software makes postal bulk mailing easy

Where does the indicia go on the mail piece?

The indicia replaces a postage stamp, so you can think of where you'd put a stamp when you design mail the has an indicia. Here are the four places where USPS allows you to print the indicia:

How do I apply to use an indicia?

To use an indicia, you must apply for a "permit imprint authorization". You would normally do that when you apply for your bulk mailing permit, though you can do so afterwards if you did not do it originally.

You can apply for permits and permit imprint authorization online, or you can apply in person at the post office where you will be mailing your bulk mail, using USPS form 3615.

What is the fee for applying for an indicia?

There is a $240 one-time fee for a permit imprint authorization, if you are mailing:
There is no fee for a permit imprint authorization for parcels other than Marketing Mail parcels. The fee is waived if you are eVS (Electronic Verification Service).

For Marketing Mail, this permit imprint authorization fee is charged even if your annual mailing fee is waived for using full-service barcoding.

Need more detailed infomation on indicias?

Here's the current USPS permit imprint (indicia) rules.