Standards are necessary for effective postal operations and to interconnect the global postal network.
The UPU International Bureau manages the publication of UPU standards, coordinates standardization activities and provides assistance on standardization matters. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Compliance to UPU standards is also checked, with a dedicated UPU project. Check details in this page.
The UPU's Standards Board develops technical standards and EDI messaging specifications that facilitate the exchange of operational information between postal operators.
It also coordinates UPU standardization initiatives with those of other international standardization bodies, and works closely with postal operators, customers, suppliers and many international organizations to this end.
The Standards Board also ensures that coherent standards are developed in areas such as electronic data interchange (EDI) and mail encoding.
Documents & Publications
All standards that have reached a particular stage within the Standards Approval Process are published in either the UPU Technical Standards or the UPU EDI Messaging Standards publication.
A listing of all published standards together with a very brief overview of their content can be found in the Catalogue of UPU standards.
Many standards refer to code lists published in the standards code list management system (SCMS).
01.09.2023This is a catalogue of UPU standards. It contains a short description of each published standard.
25.02.2020This document details information on the standards development process.
This document defines a number of terms, acronyms, symbols and abbreviations which are used in other UPU standards.
UPU Technical Standards
The UPU Technical Standards publication gives an overview of all technical standards in the area of telematics that have been adopted through the UPU's standards approval process. It is produced and maintained by the Standards Board of the Postal Operations Council, and is constantly updated with the latest detailed specifications of all technical UPU standards.
The UPU Technical Standards publication includes:
- Bar code symbology standards (postal items, postal receptacles)
- Identification/codification standards (airports, air carriers, countries, offices of exchange, postal consignments, postal despatches, postal receptacles, postal items, item tracking events)
- Overview of EDI messages standards (format of message exchange, standard messages for consignments, despatches, items and transport)
- Standards for document exchange (word processing document exchange)
25.02.2020Form to order UPU Technical Standards.
UPU EDI Messaging Standards
The UPU EDI Messaging Standards publication contains a detailed description of the standard EDI messages that have been adopted through the UPU's standards approval process. It is produced and maintained by the Standards Board of the Postal Operations Council.
The UPU EDI Messaging Standards publication contains the following information:
- An overview of all defined EDI messages, with descriptions of the logical sequence of and the interaction that exists between the various EDI messages
- Detailed descriptions of all existing EDI messages, including:
- Postal item tracking messages
- Postal dispatch pre-advice/response messages
- Postal consignment pre-advice/response messages
- Carrier consignment pre-advice/response messages
- A complete Logical Data Model, giving a structured overview of all information elements that can be exchanged through EDI, including definitions and lists of allowed values for every individual data element
25.02.2020This document provides general information about postal EDI exchanges. It begins with basic details and progresses into more sophisticated concepts. It also describes common practices in EDI exchanges.
25.02.2020Form to order UPU EDI messaging standards.
International mail processing centres
International mail processing centres (IMPCs) are mail processing facilities that have significance for the processing of inter-operator mail, either because they generate or receive dispatches or because they act as transit centres for mail exchanged between other IMPCs. Each IMPC has a well-defined physical location, is operated by or under the responsibility of a single organization, and handles a specific set of mail flows.
Please refer to UPU Technical Standard S34 for detailed information.
The Standards Code List Management System (SCMS) provides for the maintenance (creation, modification or closure) of IMPC codes and related information.
International mail processing centre codes - usage analysis examines the general purpose and usage of international mail processing centre (IMPC) codes. It is not intended as a technical or detailed outline of IMPC codes. For such an outline, it is recommended that readers refer to UPU standard S34
SCMS user guide08.11.2022This is a general user guide to the Standards Code List Management System (SCMS) which provides for the maintenance and dissemination of all UPU code lists.
SCMS – International Mail Processing Centre (IMPC) codes – User guide08.11.2022
This user guide is specifically explains how to request the creation, modification or deletion of IMPC code registrations.
CARDIT V2.1 – guidelines for populating the applicable regulation information19.05.2023Guide to aid designated operators populate the applicable regulation information in CARDIT V2.1 (M48).
Mail subclasses and handling classes: purpose and usage06.07.2020The purpose of this document is to describe and clarify the current situation both for mail subclasses and handling classes.
Nesting of small packets in PREDES18.05.2020This document sets out the processes to enable the nesting of small packet item identifiers in a PREDES message.
Population of the PREDES message – mail sub-class and handling class codes11.11.2021This document sets out how to correctly populate the PREDES message with mail subclasses and handling classes for tracked delivery service, registered, insured and small packet letter-post items.
Timing and rules for exchanging PREDES messages14.06.2021This document sets out the ideal timing and logic as to when a PREDES message should be generated and sent via the EDI network.
25.02.2020This tool checks the validity of an S10, 13-character identifier by calculating the check digit in character position 11.
25.02.2020S18 ID-tagging of letter mail items.
25.02.2020PATDL is defined according to the W3C XML Schema specification and is used to formally express address rendering rules.
25.02.2020S48 Postal-4i: 4-state symbology and its user for the encoding of data on postal items.
29.07.2022M30 Electronic Data Interchange between postal handling organisations
M33 ITMATT V1
M42 eVN - Electronic verification notes
M43 CUSITM V1
M44 CUSRSP V1
M52 ITMATT V2
M53 ITMREF V1
M54 REFRSP V1
M55 CUSITM V2
M56 CUSRSP V2
M85 Data dictionary for messages based on UPU standard M30
S57 Statement of mailing submission
CEN TS 15523
Request form for mailing lists regarding updates to standard code lists. Please tick the code list(s) you are interested in:
By submitting this form, you will be kept up-to-date of modifications made to the UPU standard code lists that you have selected. The updates will be sent to you via e-mail to the address you have indicated above.