News and press releases

  • Royal Mail
    10 November 2017
  • Royal Mail announces latest Christmas posting dates for International Standard (air) mail, as well as International Tracked and Signature services
  • Royal Mail reminds customers that they should observe the latest international recommended Christmas posting dates if letters and parcels are to arrive in time for Christmas Day 
  • Customers can also help Royal Mail manage the bumper festive postbag by remembering to post early this year

Royal Mail announces its latest recommended international posting dates for overseas destinations to ensure that letters, parcels and cards arrive in time for Christmas 2017.

The first international recommended posting date is for mail to Africa and the Middle East, which should be sent by Saturday 2 December.

For those wanting to send cards or gifts to the United States and Canada, the last recommended posting date is Thursday 14 December.

For The Republic of Ireland and France, mail should be sent by Saturday 16 December.

Those wishing to send festive greetings to friends and family in Australia or New Zealand will need to make sure everything is good to go by Saturday 9 December.

Letters and parcels to the Denmark, Norway, Slovakia and Switzerland can be posted up to Friday 15 December to arrive in time for Christmas.

The last posting dates apply to both standard international services and those which have tracking and signature.

All latest recommended posting dates are detailed in the table below:

Last Posting Date Destinations
Saturday 2 December Africa, Middle East
Wednesday 6 December Cyprus, Asia, Far East (including Japan), Eastern Europe (except Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia)
Thursday 7 December Caribbean, Central and South America
Saturday 9 December Greece, Australia, New Zealand
Wednesday 13 December Czech Republic, Germany, Italy and Poland
Thursday 14 December USA, Canada, Finland, Sweden 
Friday 15 December Austria, Denmark, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway,  Portugal, Slovakia, Spain and Switzerland
Saturday 16 December Belgium, France, Republic of Ireland, Luxembourg


A History of Overseas Delivery by Air with Royal Mail

The world’s first scheduled service for transporting mail by air took place in the United Kingdom on 9 September 1911 and was called the Aerial Post. It celebrated the coronation of King George V, and saw cards and letters transported by air between Hendon in North London and Windsor in Berkshire. The airplane was flown by British aviation pioneer Gustav Hamel.

The first international scheduled airmail service took place on November 10 1919. A pilot from the airline Aircraft Transport and Travel flew from Hounslow to Paris in an Airco DH4A de Havilland biplane with a Royal Mail pennant proudly attached to its rudder.

The pilots were under some pressure to deliver the mail on time given the several variables that could lead to delays including high winds and inclement weather. With unheated, open cockpits and before the age of radio, pilots would rely on compasses for navigation as well as following landmarks such as railway lines to ensure they were on the right route.



Royal Mail Press Office:

0207 449 8246

Notes to Editors:

UK latest recommended posting dates for Christmas 2017 are:

  • Wednesday 20 December for Second Class mail
  • Thursday 21 December for First Class mail
  • Thursday 21 December for Special Delivery
  • Friday 22 December for Special Delivery Saturday Guaranteed

Further information is available at

About Royal Mail plc
Royal Mail plc is the parent company of Royal Mail Group Limited, the leading provider of postal and delivery services in the UK and the UK’s designated universal postal service provider. UK Parcels, International and Letters (“UKPIL”) comprises the company’s UK and international parcels and letters delivery businesses operating under the “Royal Mail” and “Parcelforce Worldwide” brands. Through the Royal Mail Core Network, the company delivers a one-price-goes-anywhere service on a range of parcels and letters products. Royal Mail has the capability to deliver to almost 30 million addresses in the UK, six days a week (excluding UK public holidays). Parcelforce Worldwide operates a separate UK network which collects and delivers express parcels. Royal Mail also owns General Logistics Systems (GLS) which operates one of the largest ground-based, deferred parcel delivery networks in Europe.