USPS News & Information


Labeling Requirements for Acceptance of Outbound International Mailing of Packages Containing Lithium Batteries

On Nov. 15, 2012, Postal Service policies changed to allow specific quantities of lithium batteries — when installed in the equipment they are intended to operate — to be sent to many international destinations, including APO (Army Post Office), FPO (Fleet Post Office) and DPO (Diplomatic Post Office) locations when permitted by the destination or host country.

Items which can be shipped may include: cameras, video cameras, mobile/smart phones, Bluetooth headsets, laptop computers, shavers, portable DVD players, tablets, two-way radios, GPS devices and most other small electronic devices requiring lithium batteries to operate.

Lithium batteries are considered by international authorities to be within the class of “dangerous goods.” Items meeting the size and quantity restrictions may be mailed internationally; however, the packaging of the battery must comply with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) regulations to be mailable. Items must be packaged in accordance with Packing Instructions 967 (Lithium Ion or Rechargeable) or 970 (Lithium Metal or Non-rechargeable). Both Packing Instructions prohibit the use of the “Lithium Battery Handling” label or the “Class 9 Miscellaneous Dangerous Goods” label on the outside of the package for international mailing.

Business mailers presenting qualifying items in pre-printed packaging with the “Lithium Battery Handling” label or the “Class 9 Miscellaneous Dangerous Goods” label on the outside of their shipment for acceptance must completely cover or obliterate the pre-printed label.

Retail Associates and Business Mail Acceptance Employees must recognize nonmailable packaging and refuse such shipments.

The Lithium Battery Handling and Class 9 Miscellaneous Dangerous Good labels (images below) are NOT acceptable for international mailing, or when sent to or from APO, FPO or DPO locations.

The Lithium Battery Handling and Class 9 Miscellaneous Dangerous Good labels