Administrative Services
Mail Tips

Tips for First Class Mail Forwarding

When mail must be forwarded by US Mail to persons that are no longer at Yale, you know the basic steps to take: the old address must be crossed off, mark through the bar code and print up labels with the new address.  But how can you be sure the mail does not come back to you in the next days mail?

Only First or Second Class mail may be forwarded.  You must put postage on Presort Standard mail for it to be forwarded.  Don't assume just because there is a stamp on it that it is first class.  Read the small print to be sure.  Presort Standard stamps can look just like first class except for the wording.

When forwarding mail, keep these tips in mind:

  • Placement of Label - Remember those labels you printed up for forwarding mail?  They should be placed under the name but over the old address so that the address's name can still be read but not the old address.
  • Bar Codes - One line through with a pen is not enough!  USPS Sorting machines can read the bar code if it is not adequately crossed off.  If you can see it, you can be certain the sorting machines can still read it.  A china marker (available from Corporate Express, #CEB51130, $4.12/dozen) is suggested for this as the sorting machines are unable to read through it.  Remember that the numbers to the left of a bar code are part of the code and must be crossed off as well.
  • Back of Envelope - Check the back of the envelope for bar codes.  There is usually one but could be as many as two.  These also need be completely crossed off.
  • Campus Mail - Campus envelopes can not be forwarded.  Any campus materials should be transferred to a US Mail envelope.  Don't forget postage!
Taking a few extra seconds to check mail will ensure that you don't have to handle it again the following day.