Sending Postmarking Request from Oversea

As a frequent organiser of giveaways / lotteries that involves sending mails from Japan, I who am based in Canada have often been asked how I manage to do so while staying in Canada. Many people don’t seem to know that generally, a foreigner can send qualified items to a local post office in another country for postmarking, and this service for the majority of countries in the world is free of charge. In this thread, I will use my experience dealing with Japan Post to illustrate how we can request a postmark from oversea.

Sending Postmarking Request from Oversea

Here is how I usually proceed with Japan Post:

(1) Prepare your items with sufficient return postage stamp(s).

(2) Mail your request to a Japanese post office that offers the postmark you want with a written instruction, preferably in Japanese. Make sure that on the envelope you indicate clearly that the mail is intended for post office staff by inscribing after the name of the post office (XXX郵便局) a phrase such as:

  • XXX郵便局(風景印押印依頼在中) = (request of pictorial postmark therein)
  • XXX郵便局 風景印押印ご担当者様 = (to the person in charge of the pictorial postmark)

And that’s it!

Postmarking qualified items is free of charge, so all you need to worry is how to get enough of Japanese mint stamps to make up the required postage.

Let me share my written instruction template for requesting a post office’s pictorial cancel (called ‘fukei-in’ in Japanese) with you.

こんにちは、リンダ【your name】と申します。カナダ【your country】のコレクターです。

貴局の風景印が欲しいです。押印希望日は MM 月 DD 日です。【Or if any date is OK with you – replace the phrase highlighted in bold with 「どの日付でも大丈夫です」.】

当日、切手の隣に、風景印をカードの表面の記載の指示に従って押してください。そして、カードを封筒に入れて、カナダに送ってください。【if you want them to post directly the card, replace the phrase highlighted in bold with 「カードを直接送ってください」.】


my email
my Canadian phone number with +1

Roughly translated:

Hello, my name is Linda. I am a Canadian collector.

I would like to obtain this post office’s pictorial cancel. The date of cancellation I want is [date-month]. [or ‘Any date of cancellation is OK’.]

On that day, please apply the pictorial cancel next to the stamp by fellowing the written instruction on the card’s surface. Once done, please put the card into the envelope I prepared and mail it to Canada [or ‘please post the card directly’].

Thank you very much,

Be careful if you use some kanji that (you think) means ‘next to’ but in Japanese that has a direction: If you use 「横」, the postmark will be applied on the horizontal direction, either on the left or the right side of the stamp. If you use「縦」, it will be applied on the vertical direction, either on the top or at the bottom of the stamp. 「隣」which means ‘in the neighbourhood of’ is a better word to use, but I strongly recommend that you attach a post-it note on the item with a drawing, clearly stating where you want the postmark to be placed. For example:

My note indicates that the postmark should be applied to the lower left corner of the stamp.

If I request the postmark on a particular day, I usually add a phrase explaining the significance of that day to reinforce the clerk’s impression, but this is not necessary.

I also tend to include a picture (found online) of the fukei-in / kogata-in in my instruction, like this:

If on the outer envelope you sent to the post office you only wrote the name of the post office (XXX郵便局), chances are some of the staff would think that the mail is intended for someone else who will come this post office to pick it up but you forgot to write the recipient’s name, and they would not dare opening it to see what’s inside. If they have no way of contacting you by phone, they will keep the mail unopened until the delay for pick up passes, then return the mail back to you.

This has happened to me a few times while I was travelling in Japan. I had a Japanese phone number but no fixed Japanese address, so on the backside of the envelopes I sent to Japanese post offices to request fukei-in, I usually inscribed my Japanese phone number. And I did get a few phone calls from some of those post offices trying to clarify who the recipient of my mail was and if they were allowed to open it. Although it’s long to write, it’s best to address clearly your envelope to the post office staff:

  • XXX郵便局(風景印押印依頼在中) = (request of pictorial postmark therein)
  • XXX郵便局 風景印押印ご担当者様 = (to the person in charge of the pictorial postmark)

In English, you can specify that your mail is intended for the ‘Postmaster’ or ‘Post Office Staff’.

From Japanese post offices, I had received domestic phone calls while travelling in Japan, but never any email or international call when I am staying in Canada. I suspect that domestic phone call is the only way Japan Post staff are allowed to use to communicate with the customers. This will vary by country, as I had received an email from a Polish post office clerk explaining how their postmark worked after I had sent them my request.

Buying Return Postage Stamps

With this said, all you need to worry about is how to get sufficient postage stamps for your items to be qualified for postmarking. With Japan Post, sadly there is no easy (or ‘cheap’) solution – Japan Post not only does not ship oversea, it doesn’t even accept foreign credit card. So buying mint Japanese stamps is tricky.

Most of Japanese mint stamps are traded on Yahoo! Japan Auction (not eBay because Japanese people don’t really use eBay for auctioning), which requires a Japanese phone number and a Japanese address to register an account. For most of foreigners, this means that we have to bid through a proxy, which increases the overall cost.

However, like most of modern items that are mass-produced, old (let’s say from post-1950 onward), modern mint stamps are not that worthwhile as collectibles. So just like US or Canadian modern stamps, every now and then, you can find a large lot at a discount price on Yahoo. In Japanese, these lots are often marked with ‘まとめ売り’ (meaning ‘bulk sale’) and end up being sold at a price that is lower than the total facial values of those stamps in the lot. So with additional shipping and service fee, you don’t lose too much.

On eBay, for Canadian and American stamps, these large lots are often marked as ‘discount postage stamps’, and allow you to pay less for more stamps. Be careful with counterfeit though – while you don’t need to worry too much about Japanese or Canadian stamps – American philately is known to suffer from mass circulation of illegal counterfeit that is not usable (mails posted with these counterfeit stamps will be returned to the senders). So when a deal looks ‘too good’ to be true – especially if it involves a large quantity of the same stamp – it probably is too good to be true!

Additional Info per Country

There is already a thread that lists many official online shops administrated by each country’s postal agency, I have just added two pieces of information to it: namely, whether a given shop accepts foreign payment methods and ships to oversea addresses. Below I will list the information that doesn’t perfectly fit into the existing thread.


Danmark Filatelist Forbund Webshop accepts foreign credit cards but I am not sure if they do international delivery. For my Stamp Out War project, I bought the stamps from their webshop and have the stamps delivered to their philatelic centre directly for postmarking. Also, Danish post offices no longer do hand cancellation. You need to send your request to the philatelic division Danmarks Filatelist Forbund (


Stempel und Informationen


Please see this post.


Filatelia, see ‘calendario marcofilia’ section.


Japan Post’s official (incomplete) repository of fukei-in and kogata-in. On Postcrossing, @mooseontheloose has started a nice thread on fukei-in.


Lietuvos paštas’ online shop accepts Lithuanian payment methods, and ships within Lithuania only. However, they have a contract with WOPA+ who sells Lithuanian postage stamps at the same prices.




Postmark bulletins


Comunicati emissioni e Marcofilia

Postmarking Service that Requires a Small Fee

Not all postmarking service is free of charge. Sometimes, particularly the service that involves special postmarks offered at a philatelic centre / shop, it can require a small service fee to obtain them in a certain way.

Canada's National Philatelic Centre in Nova Scotia

The National Philatelic Centre holds the special first-day-of-issue cancels for all Canadian stamps. We have one year starting from the date of issue to request these special cancels. They also have 18 major Canadian cities (St. John’s, Halifax, Charlottetown, Saint John, Fredericton, Quebec, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary, Edmonton, Victoria, Vancouver, Whitehorse, Yellowknife and Iqaluit) cancellations that can be used for special dates or current date. All cancellations must be on or after the issue date of the stamp being cancelled.

Foreigners can send a cover to the National Philatelic Center in Antigonish, NS, with a cheque for the cost of any stamps you’re purchasing from them, plus a small service fee listed below. If you are purchasing a stamp to be affixed to your cover, you have to pay the price of the least format in which the stamp is being sold. For example, if an US customer wants to ask them to buy and affix only one stamp on the cover he prepared, and this stamp comes in a booklet of 6 stamps of ‘permanent’ value (which as of 2023 is $0.92 CAD), then

$0.92 × 6 for the stamp booklet + $0.20 affix-and-cancel fee + $1.30 for sending item back to the US

For Canadian nationals, the payment can be made by giving credit card information on the phone.


  • Cancellation only - $ 0.15 per cover
  • Affix and Cancel - $ 0.20 + price of stamp
  • Supply Blank Cover, Affix and cancel - $ 0.25 + price of stamp

The National Philatelic Centre
133 Church St. Unit 1
Antigonish, NS
B2G 2R8 Canada

Telephone Toll Free (Canada and US): 1-800-565-4362
(Other countries): 902-863-6550


Maybe @nocsiz and @Tetsuko can add some information regarding Dutch and German philately.


I am unable to double check the up-to-date information on the online shops of a number of countries, because my credit card is dead and I am waiting for my salaries to come in to unfreeze it :rofl:

Also, I just want to add that sending postmarking request from oversea is not that difficult, so long as you can sort out the return postage. For Western countries, I think instruction written in English would work sufficiently well, or you can ask help from the regional subforum of a given country; I have received many helps from other Postcrossers who edited the text I had composed and translated using Google Translate.



Awesome, thank you so much for awesome info,
I do send cards to other indian post offices and they get Postmarked:)
Few of the Postmarks for your reference:

There is a website, I’ll share link later



This is website by @Praneeth_C

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Very interessting. Where did you find those information. I often use circle stickers or also if I have a special place where the postmark should be put I draw like you a little scetch. I never had to pay any fees. But lately I didn’t use the second way with the scetch. Maybe in the years I use that service they might have been changes.

An important thing are the “stempel und Informationen” brochure. It can be found here:

it shows all the new issued postmarks and when they are issued (you can then add the 4 weeks to know how long they are available) and you also see where you have to send your mail to get the postmark. Most are in Berlin or Weiden.

some help to find out what all the parts of info in the bulletin mean.

  1. Place where the postmark is issued + date of issue
  2. Postmark nummber - needs to be stated in order to get the right postmark
  3. image of the postmark
  4. Type of postmark (FDI, special postmark…)
  5. Reason of issue of the postmark
  6. if it is a postmark for a special event (like stamp fair) it is stated there, often you can also get at that place also the postmark if you go there yourself. But you can’t send there stamping requests.
  7. customer (person who let the special postmark being issued)
  8. form of the postmark (oval, round, rectangle…)
  9. any text that is on the postmark
  10. a description of the postmark image
  11. who designed the postmark
  12. who created the stamp for the postmark
  13. address you need to send your mail to in order to get the postmark
  14. anything else that might be interessting.

And very very very important! with FDI postmarks only the corresponding stamp can be stamped! Only one special postmark possible per item! If you like the card being sent directly. Only postage on the site of the address count as sufficient postage for sending the piece of mail. Only stamps are stamped! it is not possible to get the postmark on a blank sheet of paper!

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Italy and Vatican :it: :vatican_city::

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I saw this information in the last page of this document:

Isn’t the bottom right table ‘Sonderwünsche’ related to the small fees associated with special postmarking locations?

No I don’t think that is in account for getting special postmarks. I think that on refers to odering prestamped stamps. You can order newly issued stamps in Germany as an Abo so you get them delivered automaticly to you each quater year. And in these Abos you can decide if you want to get the stamps mint or postmarked. and I think these “Sonderwünsche” refere to the postmarked new issues abo. And if you there have special wishes where the postmark is supposed to be it will cost a small fee. But I will try it out the next time I will send an “order” to get maximum cards postmarked ^^


Thank you for clarification!

Thanks a lot for this huge amount of information. I knew it could be done within your country, using your own post offices, but I didn’t know it was possible with a postal service from a foreign country and free!

Really interesting… although I don’t know if the officials in my country would place the postmark at the angle I told them to. I think Japanese education does not exist in other post offices.

Here my small contribution to this interesting thread: The postmarks used by the Spanish postal service this 2023.


Thank you all for your contribution. I have just added the pertinent information you provided to the original post.

I should like to ask a question to the moderator team:

Some countries’ postal agencies have official partnership with certain stamp dealers to serve foreign customers. To my knowledge, Denmark’s PostNord has a contract with Nordfrim (see the screenshot below), and Lithuania’s Lietuvos paštas has a contract with WOPA+ who sells Lithuanian postage stamps at the same prices (according to a private email correspondance to me). In the presence of these partnerships, these stamp dealers are not ‘merely’ commercial philatelic sites; they are to some extent ‘endorsed by the government/postal agency’ of the country. Are we allowed to list these ‘exceptions’ on the forum?

Another question for Danish philatelists:

What kind of organisation is ‘Danmarks Filatelist Forbund’ exactly? As I was told by a Danish philatelist, Dannish post offices no longer do hand cancellation, and any postmarking request must be directed to Danmarks Filatelist Forbund, so I have always thought this organisation as some sort of the ‘philatelic division’ of PostNord. But given the facts that they have their own webshop that serves foreign customers, and that PostNord is in parternership with Nordfrim to serve foreign custormers, I am guessing that they do not belong to the same authority. Is Danmarks Filatelist Forbund ‘official’? Under whose authority are they allowed to postmark philatelic / postal items?

Norway :norway:


France and dependencies: :fr: :andorra: :monaco: :french_polynesia: :french_guiana: :french_southern_territories: :st_pierre_miquelon: :reunion: :new_caledonia:

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Sorry to bring this up. Can anyone on the admin / moderator team (@meiadeleite maybe?) answer my first question regarding what shop / organisation that sells stamps count as ‘official’?