Shipping Batteries to the U.S.
Some batteries are considered hazardous materials by carriers. Certain types of batteries require to be clearly identified on the packaging so that carriers know the packages contain such materials and can handle them appropriately.
Lithium and nonspillable wet batteries sent through USPS can only be shipped via USPS Parcel Select Service. They are strictly prohibited from being shipped via USPS First Class or Priority Mail Services.
Please note, any hazardous materials, such as batteries, being shipped via USPS Parcel Select must also be labelled with a Surface Transportation Only sticker on the package. This helps to further ensure the safety of the handlers and the proper transportation of the package.
- If a lithium battery is not installed in the equipment it powers it may only be sent by ground mail (i.e. USPS Parcel Select).
- If a lithium battery is installed in the equipment it powers it may be sent by air or ground mail.
Except as provided above, individual lithium metal (or lithium alloy) and lithium-ion (or lithium polymer) batteries (without equipment) are mailable in limited quantities via surface transportation only, provided the batteries are in the originally sealed packaging, and packaged and marked as described in 349.221 and 349.222, as applicable. These batteries must be marked with the corresponding ID numbers:
- Lithium-ion Battery, UN3480.
- Lithium Metal Battery, UN3090.
- Lithium-ion Battery contained in equipment, UN3481.
- Lithium-ion Battery packed with equipment, UN3481.
- Lithium Metal Battery contained in equipment, UN3091.
- Lithium Metal Battery packed with equipment, UN 3091.
Required Packaging for Lithium Batteries
- Except for mailpieces containing button cell batteries properly installed in the equipment they are intended to operate, mailpieces containing mailable lithium metal or lithium-ion batteries must be rigid, sealed, and of adequate size, so the lithium battery mark can be affixed to the address side without the mark being folded.
- Packaging must be strong enough to prevent crushing of the package or exposure of the contents during normal handling in the mail.
- The use of padded and poly bags as outer packaging is permitted only when the mailpieces contain button cell batteries meeting the classification criteria in 349.11d, the batteries are properly installed in the equipment they are intended to operate, and the batteries are afforded adequate protection by that equipment.
Markings for Lithium Batteries
Lithium metal batteries properly installed in the equipment they are intended to operate:
- Except for mailpieces containing button cell batteries installed in equipment (including circuit boards), or no more than 4 lithium metal cells or 2 lithium metal batteries installed in the equipment they operate, mailpieces containing lithium metal batteries must bear a DOT-approved lithium battery mark applied to the address side of the mailpiece.
- For surface transportation, the parcel must be plainly and durably marked on the address side with “Surface Only” or “Surface Mail Only” and “ORM-D,” immediately following or below the proper shipping name (e.g. Consumer Commodity).
- The mark must indicate the ID Number of the battery.
- The mark must also include a telephone number for those who need to obtain additional information.
- May only be sent by ground mail (i.e. USPS Parcel Select).
A nonspillable wet battery containing liquid electrolyte is permitted to be mailed only if the battery casing is completely sealed to prevent the liquid corrosive from spilling during Postal Service handling. Nonspillable batteries with UN2800 are prohibited in international mail but may be sent as domestic mail via surface transportation.
- The nonspillable battery must be capable of withstanding the vibration and pressure differential tests cited in 49 CFR 173.159(f) (1) and (2).
Absorbent and Cushioning Material
- The nonspillable battery must be protected from short circuits with protective or cushioning material.
- A noncombustible material that is capable of absorbing all liquid in case of leakage must surround the primary receptacle.
Required Packaging for Nonspillable Batteries
- The nonspillable battery must be securely packaged in a strong fiberboard box.
- Only one nonspillable battery is allowed per mailpiece.
- The total weight of a single mailpiece cannot exceed 25 pounds.
Markings for Nonspillable Batteries
- The outer packaging must be plainly and durably marked on the address with the text “NONSPILLABLE BATTERY, UN2800.”
- For surface transportation, the parcel must be plainly and durably marked on the address side with “Surface Only” or “Surface Mail Only” and “ORM-D,” immediately following or below the proper shipping name (e.g., Consumer Commodity).
Labels and Stickers
USPS provides Surface Transportation Only labels that must be adhered to packages that contain lithium or nonspillable batteries.
Chit Chats branches have labels on hand to easily identify your packages so that when we cross the border we are compliant with U.S. customs and our carriers.
If you’re unsure or have questions, contact us today.