Guide to Mailbox Regulations From Around The World
This is a question that is often asked. What are the mailbox or letterbox regulations where I live? In particular, what is the proper regulation for a mailbox height?
Knowing the required regulations for your mailbox is imperative if you want to adhere to the requirements set out by the postal bodies of your country.
Each postal carrier body has rules set in place to make the delivery of mail and parcels easier for federal employees as well as employees of private mail carriers.
They must adhere to the same standards as manufactured mailboxes to ensure that whoever is delivering your mail can access it easily and quickly.
Also, when you are unsure about the mailbox height for your DIY mailbox, the following are the guidelines to use to ensure that you construct one that is in line with the postal regulations in your country.
Mailbox Regulations and Guidelines in the USA
US mailboxes can be curbside, wall-mounted or a door slot.
A) Curbside Mailboxes Regulations
- The standard USPS mailbox height regulation is 42" from the bottom of the mailbox to the ground. The USPS mailbox height requirements are flexible, and they allow you to go somewhere between 41 to 45 inches.
- The front of the mailbox should be between 6 to 8 inches in from the back of the edge of the road or shoulder.
- Your house numbers should be clearly marked out on the mailbox using paint or stickers. Each number should be at least one inch high. Of course, if you are building a brick mailbox you would want to use a cast stone number block. Also, numbers should be on the side of the mailbox that faces the direction the mail carrier usually approaches from for easier visibility.
- The approach to the mail box must be clear of obstructions and conveniently located, so the carrier does not need to leave their vehicle. Otherwise, the postmaster might stop delivery of service.
- Make sure you indicate your full street address on the mailbox if your mail box is located on a different street from your home.
- Mailboxes must be placed at least two feet from the curb or side of the road to ensure that the carrier has enough room to park his vehicle without causing a traffic jam.
- Each mailbox must have a mailbox flag to make it easier for the mail carrier to locate it quickly.
- Each mailbox design should be delivered to your local postmaster for inspection and if s/he is satisfied that it meets the regulations, you will get the Postmaster General’s seal of approval and clearance to mount the mailbox in your house.
The Federal Highway Administration also recommends the following guidelines when installing a post:
- Mailboxes must be mounted on sturdy wooden posts; measuring at least 4” x 4” or steel or aluminum posts of at least 2” in diameter.
- These posts must be buried no more than 24” deep so it will yield in case a vehicle hits it.
B) Wall Mounted Mailboxes Regulations
- It is worth noting that wall mounted mailboxes do not fall under the jurisdiction of the USPS.
- The wall mounted mailbox should be easy to operate and get to with nothing in the way when opening or closing the lid.
- Nevertheless, it is important to check for any local bylaws and other regulations to ensure that you are compliant.
- You should also notify your local mail carrier of the existence of a mounted mailbox to make it easier for them to deliver your mail.
C) Door Slots Regulations
- The rectangular opening must be at least 1 - 1/2 inches wide and 7 inches long.
- When using an inside hood to provide better privacy, the hooded portion can not be under the bottom line of the slot in the outside plate if placed horizontally, or past the sideline of the slot in the outside plate nearest the hinge edge of the door if placed vertically.
- The hood must be at least 2-1/16 inches beyond the inside face of the door.
- The slot must have a flap with a hinge.
- The bottom of the slot must be at least 30 inches above the finish floor.
As you can see, those are some simple mailbox regulations to help you setup your mailbox height in the USA.
If you are interested, you can find the detailed regulations for all curbside mailboxes in the engineering standards specifications document from the United States Postal Service (USPS) or check the more general Official USPS guidelines.
The Federal Highway Administration also have very detail mailbox regulations.
Mailbox Regulations and Guidelines in Canada
Canadian mailboxes must adhere to Canada Post’s guidelines to ensure the safety of the postal service’s employees as well as customers, motorists, and pedestrians.
- Mailboxes must be strong enough to hold the weight of letters and parcels and must be constructed out of waterproof material.
- The opening on rectangular mailboxes should measure 17.5 cm in height and width, with an interior length of at least 45 cm. Cylindrical mailboxes should have a diameter of 25 cm with a length of 45 cm.
- The mailbox should be placed at least 100 cm above the ground, and it should not block or obstruct other mailboxes in the vicinity. It should not have obstructions like power/gas lines or water mains. You should make sure to enlist the help of a utility professional to help with this before you begin constructing your mailbox.
- The opening of the mailbox should be placed at its front, and have a sturdy door that is easy to open and close.
- Mail boxes need to be placed on the right side of the road facing the direction that the mail agent comes from. They should be near enough the road that the agent does not have to get out of his vehicle to insert letters or other mail into the mailbox. There should be enough clearance that the driver can ease back into the road or traffic without any difficulty.
- You need to have a "signal device" to tell Canada Post agents that there is outgoing mail.
- You are responsible for clearing any snow and ice that might be o the way to the mailbox.
Letterbox Regulations and Guidelines in Australia
The Australian postal service has put in place regulations governing the size, placement and even numbering of letterboxes.
Mail is only delivered to letterboxes of a particular size, which is correctly numbered and put in the right position, and big enough so it can accommodate the anticipated volume of mail.
The Australia Post terms and conditions of service includes an appendix detailing letterbox standards for size, numbering, and placement of your letterbox.
The following are the rules you need to follow to make sure your letterbox is well constructed and properly located so that your mail is delivered to you on time:
- Letterboxes must have internal dimensions of 230 mm in width, 330 mm in depth and 160 mm in height. This allows for the insertion of a standard A4 letter without bending or folding which may damage the contents in the envelope.
- The horizontal mail slots should be at least 230 mm by 30 mm and be a minimum of 130 mm above the base of the internal space.
- Vertical mail slots must measure 330 mm by 30 mm and be at least 40 mm above the internal base.
- Mail slots must be 900 mm to 1200 mm above the ground for a single mail box and 600 mm to 1600 mm above ground for a group of mailboxes.
- Australia post only delivers to approved residential or commercial addresses. Letterboxes must be placed on the boundary of property next to the footpath or road. The mail slot should face the road or path and be easy to access without any blockage from shrubs, trees or electric posts.
- Letterboxes must be clearly numbered with the street address or house and apartment number written on the side with the delivery opening.
- Letterboxes must be weather resistant and preferably be fitted with different slots for regular mail, newspapers, and other non-mail items.
There are other considerations to take into account like If you want to lock your mailbox, make sure there's the ability to install a lock on the access door.
Building your mailbox or letterbox
If you are looking to build your mailbox, check out the detailed instructions on how to build a professional mailbox that is available on our site.
You can also have a look at the detailed plan for brick mailbox construction.
Remember to consult your local postmaster with the plans you have for your mailbox to receive approval since all mailboxes must meet the postmaster general’s mailbox regulations before you can begin construction.
On this site, we also have a detailed article on building a brick mailbox like a professional if you are one of those DIY people. You should also check out the detailed plan for building a brick mailbox. If you decide to construct your mailbox, it must meet the same standards as manufactured boxes, so show the plans to your local postmaster for approval.