The chances are good that if you’ve never sent anything to Canada through the mail before you’ve never thought that the process – or the postage – might be a little different than what it is here in the United States.
Sure, maybe you assumed it was going to be a little bit more expensive (but not much, considering they are our northern neighbors). But what about the whole process of sending mail to Canada?
Do you have to use different stamps?
Do you have to cover postage in the US and Canada separately?
Just how much money is it going to cost to cover postage to Canada, anyway?
Well, we cover all of that information (and more) for you in the rest of this quick guide.
Let’s get right into it!
Sending Mail to Canada
Straight out of the gate it’s important to know that sending mail and packages to Canada is (almost) as easy as sending mail clear across town, across the state, or across the country.
The process unfolds very similarly to what you’re used to already, with only a handful of very minor differences – differences that we breakdown for you in just a moment.
What you should know, though, is that every package and every envelope you sent to Canada is going to be considered an international delivery. That means you’re looking at international shipping rates, even if your envelopes or packages don’t have to go that far.
Yes, this means that you’re paying international postage even if you live near the Derby Line in Vermont – a small town in Vermont that (literally) shares a street as a border with Stanstead, Québec in Canada.
Derby Line homeowners have neighbors across the street that live in another country, and any mail traveling across that border is going to have to include postage charged out at international prices.
Let’s dig a little bit deeper into the importance of finding the right mail carrier to deliver your mail to Canada and then run through the different kinds of postage prices you might expect to pay (as of 2021, anyway).
Picking the Right Mail Carrier
Finding the right mail carrier to deliver your envelopes, packages, and parcels to addresses in Canada is particularly important, especially if you want your mail to arrive as quickly as possible.
The United States Postal Service is maybe the most affordable mail carrier of them all when it comes to delivering to international addresses, and they (obviously) have a rock solid reputation of taking care of their customers and guaranteeing delivery.
Both FedEx and UPS are also great options when you need to have mail or packages delivered to addresses in Canada, too.
The USPS does place weight limits on parcels that they are willing to carry into Canada (66 pounds). As soon as you get higher than this weight limit you’re going to need to start thinking about going with someone like UPS.
If speed is the number one factor, though, you really can’t go wrong with FedEx.
There’s a reason this company’s slogan is “when it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight” after all!
Letter Postage to Canada
Sending envelopes and letters to addresses in Canada is easily the most cost-effective solution, particularly when you send your letters via the USPS.
International postage (for first-class postage) starts at $1.20, covering the postage costs for up to 3 ounces of mail to be delivered to any address in Canada. Delivery times are generally between five business days to 10 business days (or so).
Global First Class Forever Stamps (priced at $1.20 as of 2021) or three US First Class Forever Stamps will cover your postage to addresses in Canada as well.
Just remember that only the first 3 ounces of your mail are going to be covered with these basic postage fees. Every additional ounce above 3 ounces will require you to pony up an extra $0.49 (as of 2021) in postage, too.
You also want to make sure that the letters you are sending are tucked inside of “standard” envelopes. Nonstandard envelopes – even if they meet the weight limits mentioned above – may require you to pay even more for postage.
Envelopes that can’t be processed by a machine, for example, are going to require an extra $0.21 in postage (as of 2021).
Package Postage to Canada
Package postage to Canada is going to be uniquely priced depending on both the size as well as the overall weight of the package that is being sent.
You’ll also have to factor in any specific shipping options (expedited shipping, insurance, etc.) attached to the shipments you are having delivered to addresses in Canada, too.
Luckily, though, if you are going to be sending your packages via USPS you’ll be able to calculate how much postage will be before you have to pay any money at all.
Simply jump on the USPS website (www.usps.com), navigate to the USPS Postage Price Calculator, and then enter “Canada” as the destination country option.
Insert information regarding your ZIP Code, choose the kind of shipping service you want to take advantage of, and then schedule the date and time of when you are going to drop your package off.
After that you are good to go!
You’ll be provided with detailed information about exactly how much postage to Canada is going to be for the specific package you’re looking to send.
Of course, if you want to eliminate a lot of the headache and hassle in trying to calculate shipping costs (especially international shipping costs) you could always choose to use USPS International Flat Rate Boxes.
You’ll be able to pay a single, flat rate as long as the item that you are sending fits in one of these preapproved envelopes or packages. It doesn’t get much easier than that, either.
Postcard Postage to Canada
Sending postcards to addresses in Canada is pretty inexpensive, just like it is here in the United States.
Obviously, the international postage to Canada prices on postcards are a little bit more expensive than they are in America. You’re looking at having to spend at least $1.20 in postage (though that can jump up to almost two dollars pretty quickly depending on the extra postcard delivery options you might be interested in).
It’s important, though, that you make sure that your postcard matches the dimensions handed down by the USPS even though your postcard is being sent to Canada. You need to be sending a card that is rectangular in shape and is between 3.5” x 5” and 4.25” x 6”.
As long as it fits those parameters you are good to go.
How Long Does It Take for Mail to Get to Addresses in Canada?
As highlighted above, delivery times to addresses in Canada are generally pretty quick – though you can expect at least five business days to pass between when you drop your letter in the post and when it arrives at its ultimate destination in Canada.
Traditional first-class mail being sent to addresses in Canada can take even longer than that, though most are going to be delivered between 7 days and 21 days. If your mail still hasn’t arrived after 21 days it’s a good idea to get a hold of the post office to see what’s happening.
Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express international options guarantee that your mail gets to Canada a little faster, though the postage is (understandably) going to be a little bit more expensive, too.
You can expect delivery anywhere between 6 days and 10 days with traditional Priority Mail to Canada and 3 to 5 days with Priority Mail Express.
Will My Mail Go Through Customs?
Anytime you are sending something to another country – even if it’s just an envelope filled with a letter – that piece of mail is going to be routed through customs.
Not only will the United States Postal Service handle their side of the US Customs process to release your mail into Canada, but packages (and some envelopes) are going to be screened by the Canadian Border Services Agency as well.
All kinds of information regarding customs declarations will be printed directly on the label of any packages that you are sending to Canada. Letters, however, usually do not have these kinds of declarations – and only really require them if something of real value is being sent over the border.
If you’re having a tough time filling out these declaration labels, though, don’t be shy about reaching out to your local post office or employees at FedEx or UPS for help.
This is the kind of thing they take care of all the time (maybe even every day). They’ll be able to give you the help you need faster than you would have thought possible!
Can I Track Mail When It Moves Through Canada?
You absolutely will be able to track your mail as it moves through Canada, almost always with the same tracking information that you were provided with when you first dropped your package, parcel, or envelope in the mail to begin with.
First-class mail sent via the USPS isn’t trackable (traditionally), though you can pay a little bit of extra postage to Canada for premium tracking services even on letters. Registered or certified mail may be a better (and less expensive) approach, though.
Packages are definitely going to be tracked every stop of the way, even after they crossed the border and going to Canada. You’ll be able to watch as your package moves from its originating address in the United States to its ultimate destination in Canada, too.
Are There Prohibited Items I Shouldn’t Mail to Canada?
Every single nation on the planet has a breakdown of things they prohibit from being sent over their borders, and Canada is no exception.
This is very important to remember. Plenty of people have just assumed that if they can send something safely throughout the United States they are going to be able to do so to other countries as well when nothing could be further from the truth.
A quick breakdown of some of the more common things that are not allowed to be shipped into Canada include:
- Live animals (though there are some small exceptions that exist)
- Tobacco items of any kind
- Different varieties of plants
- Any currency whatsoever, including US currency
- Any gambling related items, including lottery tickets
- Anything firearm or ammunition (or explosive) related
If you have any doubts or concerns about whether or not you are actually going to be able to send something to addresses in Canada it’s not a bad idea to talk to the post office before you seal things up and zip them along on their way.
Simplify Forwarding – and Receiving – Mail to Canada with US Global Mail
One of the biggest advantages of using US Global Mail and their virtual mailbox service (aside from being able to receive mail from any carrier under the sun, including Canadian mail carriers) is being able to forward your mail to almost any address on the planet at up to 80% off of traditional retail prices.
The virtual mailbox from US Global Mail provides customers with a 100% legitimate physical street address that they can receive mail, packages, and parcels at – but then can also forward that mail (including to addresses in Canada) without having to pay traditional shipping prices.
The ability to save so much money on postage to Canada is a huge benefit, especially if you are going to be spending a lot of time up north (or need to route packages, envelopes, and parcels that way every now and again).
Of course, there are a whole host of other benefits that the virtual mailbox service from US Global Mail brings to the table. There’s a reason why so many people have been using this service to modernize and simplify their mailbox for more than 20+ years.
For more information, specific details, and instructions about how to set up your own virtual mailbox, visit the US Global Mail website today!