Skip to main content
NIH Logo NIH Logo

Office of Research Services

Serving the NIH Community

Preparing Permit Imprint Mail

​​Use of NIH Permit Imprint numbers for any purpose other than official government business is strictly prohibited. Authorization to use Permit Imprint numbers must be given to contractors performing mail services for NIH IC’s. Each piece of mail prepared and dispatched to the USPS must contain “The National Institutes of Health” and the required Penalty Statement “Official Business Penalty for Private Use, $300” in the return address. NIH ICs should obtain mailing documentation from contractors. Permit Imprint mailings must contain a minimum of 200 pieces or 50 pounds.

All Permit Imprint mailing must be faced (address facing in the same direction) and meet the preparation standards for the rate claimed. Mail must be deposited and accepted at the post office that issued the permit. ICs or their contractors should contact the Mail Customer Services Branch during the design stage and prior to depositing mail at the post office.

Most commonly used types of Permit Imprints by NIH:

Mail Type USPS Required Form
First-Class MailPS Form 3600-FCM
Priority MailPS Form 3600-PM
Presorted StandardPS Form 3602-EZ or 3602-R
Parcel PostPS Form 3605-R
MediaPS Form 3605-R
LibraryPS Form 3605-R
  1. A completed PS Form 3615 should be presented to the Post Office (accompanied by the appropriate 3600 series form and mailing) when using the permit number for the first time at that location.

  2. If depositing multiple mailings of different classes and weights at the Post Office it is recommended that a completed GPO Fm 712 and PS Fm 3602-G be presented in lieu of various PS Forms.

Preparing Permit Imprint Mailings

  1. A return address and the Penalty Statement “Official Business Penalty for Private Use, $300” must be placed on each piece bearing the NIH Permit Imprint number prior to depositing mail at the Post Office

  2. Typed or computer-generated address labels should be used

  3. The Permit Imprint must be legible and of a color that contrasts sufficiently with paper and background colors for machine readability

  4. Whenever possible, place correspondence of five pages or less in regular business envelopes

  5. Avoid the use of rubber stamps for Permit Imprint numbers and the indicia. The ink used for these stamps may be smeared. We recommend printing the Permit Imprint directly on the mail pieces.

  6. Permit Imprints cannot be typewritten or hand-drawn.

  7. Permit Imprints on mail pieces and labels must be aligned parallel with the return address and placed in the upper right corner of the address side or address label, as appropriate.

  8. Presorted permit imprint mailings must be prepared in accordance with USPS regulations and be accompanied by standardized documentation produced by USPS approved software appropriate for the class of mail and rate claimed.

  9. Please contact DMMS Mail Customer Service Branch to receive information on mail presort requirements

Permit Imprint Content and Format

The example formats on the next page are provided for the most commonly used Permit Imprints for NIH. It is extremely important that ICs and their contractors coordinate large Permit Imprint mailings with the Mail Customer Service Branch during the design phase and prior to depositing at the post office.

Examples of Permit Imprint Formats for NIH Official Mail

First-Class Official Mail

Mail 2  

Standard Official Mail

  Standard Official Mail

Package Services Official Mail

Package Service Official Mail