USPS Is Making New Changes to Your Mail, Starting Tomorrow

Customers will need to follow new rules when shipping certain packages.

If you've noticed your mail is costing you more money or you've found yourself waiting longer for packages lately, you're not alone. The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is in the middle of a major decade-long transformation that started back in 2021. With this initiative, the agency is trying to become a more efficient and financially healthy organization, but in order to do so, it has to make changes for customers. We've already seen higher prices and longer service standards—and now, the USPS is gearing up to make even more adjustments. Read on to find out what new changes the agency has in store for your mail, starting tomorrow.

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Mailing requirements for shipping to Europe are changing in March.

People waiting in line at a United States Post Office in Orlando, Florida where people are wearing face masks and social distancing,
Shutterstock

The new month is bringing new changes for postal customers. New customs rules for shipping packages to Europe are going into effect starting March 1, according to the Postal Service. These regulations will make it mandatory for you to list each item in your package with a "specific, accurate description" on the customs declaration form.

"Acceptable goods descriptions must include complete, detailed information, explaining the precise nature of the goods in plain language," the USPS explains on its website, adding that it must also give "an indication of what the goods are, what they are made of, and what purpose they serve."

The USPS says the new postal regulations apply to nearly 30 countries.

United States Postal Service truck on the road in the suburbs of Chicago transporting packages.
iStock

The new customs regulations will apply to any packages shipped to countries that follow European Union (EU) customs rules, according to the Postal Service. This covers nearly 30 different countries, including France, Italy, and Spain. Under the new regulations, you can't list broad descriptors like "clothes" or "medicine" on the customs forms for these countries.

"For each item's description: You can't just name a general category; your description must be specific. For example, you can't just say 'electronics'; you have to be specific about the type of electronics, like 'computer,' 'mobile phone,' or 'television,'" the USPS further explains.

The agency provides more examples of acceptable and non-acceptable descriptions on its website.

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Your package could be destroyed if you don't follow these rules.

signing for package delivery
ESB Professional / Shutterstock

This isn't simply a suggestion for those shipping to these European countries—there are serious consequences if you don't abide by the new rules.

"If you don't provide more-detailed content descriptions on your customs forms, your packages may be returned or refused," the USPS says.

And a returned item may be the least of your worries. Not following the rules can result in "delayed, discarded, or destroyed packages," according to the Postal Service.

If you run a business, you may also experience loss of international revenue and receive fines or penalties for noncompliance.

"Outbound U.S. shippers send tens of millions of packages to EU countries each year," the USPS said. "However, if you don't comply with new requirements in EU customs rules, your shipments will be at risk. Don't jeopardize your packages, revenue, and customer satisfaction!"

There's another shipping change happening this summer.

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The Postal Service is planning even more changes to your shipments after next month.

On Feb. 10, the agency filed a proposal with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to get rid of its First-Class Package Service (FCPS) shipping category and replace it with a new offering called USPS Ground Advantage.

"The filing streamlines and simplifies package shipping options for customers and enhances the Postal Service's ground product offering," the USPS explained, noting that Retail Ground, Parcel Select Ground, and First-Class Package Service will all be incorporated into this new shipping option.

USPS Ground Advantage "will feature two-to five day service standards for packages up to 70 pounds," according to the agency. In its filing, the Postal Service said it expects that its retail and commercial customers will all benefit from this consolidated ground package offering," starting July 9.

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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