Sending via USA to restricted countries


Recently a fellow postcrosser from Sri Lanka advised me to add “via U.S.A.” after his address in order to bypass covid restrictions. He said he had luck before receiving cards this way.
Has anyone had any experience with this method, be it good or bad ones? From which to which countries have you done it? Would it work for another countries for which I have some postcards stuck to be sent from Brazil since June like Haiti, Dominican, Qatar, Peru, Chile, Indonesia, The Gambia?


I would assume that all this does is that the machine reads “USA” first and then sends cards there. In the USA, they will be officially rerouted to their destination country.

I wouldn’t call it a bypass of the system, it’s more like playing a trick on the automation process.


How that machin progress by algorithm

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As far as I know the postal sorting machines scan for a country in the last time of the address - if it says via USA, they will read USA instead of Haiti or whatsoever.

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most countries in the world do not use a sorting machine to direct their mail - done by human. only after it arrives in the usa, it would be re-sorted by machine (but would bet that it would be sent to a human at the american sorting office to re- direct the item to the correct destnation. many postcards i receive have a yellow label on it (by a human) to my mailbox. and this yellow label easily peel off.

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No. no. He is reffering another Postcrosser. Not me :joy:.

Recently, I have received a postcard (directly?) from Brazil. No missent mark. No “via” instructions. No other postmark except the Brazil postmark. Mailed in July and Received on Sep. 24.

Plus, I also received a postcard from you. As I remembered, the postal monitor indicated restrictions at that time, too.

Feel like the restrictions are not that much strict or the Brazil Post applying a via route by themselves :man_shrugging:.


maybe the restrictions are not too strict, but the problem is that at my agency here they refuse to forward the postcard when I hand it to them.
In any case, I’ve tried to send that postcard to Sri Lank with ‘via U.S.A.’, hopefully it will work :crossed_fingers:

I don’t know, but this doesn’t pass the smell test. I am really suspicious of people who try to skirt regulations. If they do it for this, what else might they do? Just because someone else said they did something doesn’t make it okay.

Instead of relying on hearsay, check the Postal Monitor and do it the right way:

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At one time it was commonplace to request a certain routing and the postal service knew what you meant. It was all fine and legal, and sometimes the rate would vary according to your choice. The reason people would do this was to choose the fastest route. However this was over a century ago, and there were limits.
Today, I’m not sure that “via country X” would work. I would suppose it might get to Country X and be rerouted as “missent”. The other thing is that the UPU does provide for “transit” service, whereby a third country provides mutual aid between two countries that do not have direct connections. For example, mail from Viet Nam to the USA was routed via Phnom Penh and then via Bangkok at one time. However this is done by UPU agreements and I highly doubt the sender can take the initiative.

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If you’re willing to go to the trouble and expense, you could buy United Nations postage online (choose Austria, Switzerland, or USA) and send it via their corresponding office in one of these countries.

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Did it work for you? Some Indonesian postcrossers including me have used “via Singapore” to send cards especially to Europe during the pandemic days until today because we haven’t opened airmail service there yet

I managed to send 2 cards so far to Germany, the rest I don’t know yet :joy: but hopefully they’ll reach their destination soon

Hi Octa,
I asked the guy if the card arrived, but he didn’t answer yet - will let you know if anything!

thanks for the tip! how does this work actually? how much should I pay say, if I want to send a card to Papua New Guinea from Brazil with an UN stamp?

Thank you , in Indonesian postcrosser group someone has tried to send a card to Canada “via USA” but it never arrived (or maybe hasn’t arrived yet). The other one who sent “via Japan” has managed to have the card sent to Canada. We don’t have airmail and surface mail service to Canada at the moment from Indonesia.

I think USA is a big country and the mail sorting is also, let’s say busy. There’s higher chance it’ll get stuck somewhere lol. Game of luck indeed

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Hi @matle To start, you would have to go to the website of the United Nations Postal Administration and buy stamps there. I don’t have the link anymore as the UN in New York City, which I live not far from, is grossly inefficient even before the pandemic so I no longer use UN stamps. The USPS dispatches same day for the same price. The UN post office just sits on it for days at a time (I posted one to myself and it took a month to travel 2km to my flat and another took two weeks). Besides USPS is the carrier that UN New York uses so I bypass the UN and deal direct with USPS since the UN does not care a whit about timely dispatch. Nor do they postmark anything carefully even before the pandemic (they used to apply collector quality postmarks). Today it is very haphazard.

I would recommend the UN offices in Geneva or Vienna as I have heard better things about them (I could be wrong). The UN Postal Administration website sells stamps for all three branches so you must buy the stamps for that specific branch. The rates should be the same as those charged by the host country. Restrictions and suspensions should also be the same as those of the host nation. Instructions on how to send a card via the UN will also be on the website as well the the postage rates and the addresses.

As I said, it will require trouble and expense on your part because:

  1. You must first purchase stamps for the UN office you wish to use (and all the trouble with currency exchange and shipping to your address). Check Postal Monitor first!
  2. Next you must affix the correct stamps to your card and then:
  3. Send cards in an envelope via your national post to the UN, or
  4. Visit the UN in person
  5. UN will forward card to its destination (check to make sure they can! Should be the same as the host nations’ postal services)
  6. It will obviously take time for your card to take this roundabout route, but at least you don’t have to take a chance with the sketchy “via X” method as it is all officially sanctioned

I hope this helps

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