Canada: size of postcards for international mailing

Hi Canadian postcrossers,

My local museum has many wonderful postcards for offer, but they are bigger than regular postcards. Many are 6" by 8.5" (15 cm by 21.5 cm or so). I checked the size for standard lettermail, and saw that it was maximum 15.6cm by 24.5cm so I happily mailed my postcard with a regular international stamp (2.71$).

Today, to my horror, I discovered that the size of standard international letterpost is different when it comes to postcards! According to this document, international standard sizes are:

  • envelopes: 15.6cm by 24.5cm
  • postcards: 12cm by 23.5cm

So now I want to cry! Does anyone know:
1 - Why would postcards need to be smaller than envelopes? This makes no sense to me as the price is the same.
2 - Is this actually strictly applied? I’ve heard that in the US there is a similar rule, but since lettermail costs the same internationally for letters vs postcards, you can send postcards that meet the size requirements for envelopes. Is it like that in Canada too? (I hope so!)

Thanks for you help. I really hope my postcard makes it to its destination, it was so pretty.

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I never noticed the size requirements were different - that doesn’t make sense to me either. But I wouldn’t worry about your card - I have sent at least a dozen cards to international locations that are about 23x15cm and they all arrived with no problem.

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Following this with interest – but I can’t answer your question!

However, I just mailed several postcards earlier today. One of the cards was oversize by this criterion, I now realize. However, the postal clerk said nothing and just hand-cancelled it along with the others.

My guess is that most Canada Post employees aren’t aware of this restriction (especially as they see so few postcards to begin with!), so will probably just treat larger postcards like smaller ones :wink:

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I have no idea why it says that, but I have sent multiple oversized postcards in the past with just one normal international stamp on them and they all arrived to their destinations without issues! So I think your postcard will be okay. I remember some of those postcards had the words “regular postage” written on them close to where you’d put the stamp which maybe addressed the issue, but they didn’t all have that.


Thanks everyone for your replies, I am much more hopeful now! I will let you know if the postcard gets to its destination.

Update: my card made it to its destination with the regular international stamp despite measuring about 6" by 8". All is good!

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