How to Estimate How Long It Takes to Mail a Letter First Class

by William McCoy

Whether you're sending a holiday update letter to a family member across the country or have decided to go _old-school_ with a surprise love letter to your spouse, sending your correspondence via First-Class Mail is an approach many people take. With this mailing method, your letter should arrive in just a few days, depending on the distance.

First-Class Mail Times

The United States Postal Service reports that letters sent as First-Class Mail **should take between one and three business days** to reach their destination. This duration depends on how far your letter must travel to its destination. However, the one- to three-day arrival is an estimate, rather than a guarantee.

Other Method Times

First-Class Mail isn't the fastest way to get your letter to its destination, but it's not the slowest, either. Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail are the quickest domestic [options for USPS customers](https://www.usps.com/ship/welcome.htm) mail. Mail sent via the former option can be delivered the next day, depending on geographical considerations, while one to three days is the norm for the latter. It's important to note that for Priority Mail, the one- to three-day span is a guarantee, rather than an estimate. Mail sent by Standard Post and Media Mail arrives in an estimated two to eight days.

Size and Price

For your letter to qualify as First-Class Mail, you must place it in a rectangular envelope. The **weight restriction for First-Class Mail is 13 ounces**, which is important to consider if you're enclosing hefty items such as magazines or photographs in your envelope. As of May 2015, you can send a letter by First-Class Mail by buying a _Forever_ stamp, which costs 49 cents.

Other Information

First-Class Mail isn't just suitable for letters. It's also a viable option for **postcards and greeting cards and even light packages** that meet the 13-ounce weight limit. Businesses can often take advantage of this mailing option when they wish to send promotional materials; for example, to customers. The USPS offers commercial pricing for businesses that send more than 500 items at a time.

About the Author

Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.

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