USPS rules put limit for foreign gifts at $400

If your job requires you to travel internationally or regularly interact with foreign officials, keep in mind that the Postal Service has rules about accepting gifts from abroad.

Generally, recipients may keep gifts from a foreign government of “minimal value,” determined to be a U.S. retail value of $400 or less. The definition of minimal value is updated every three years.

If a gift has a retail value of greater than $400, you must refuse it — with two exceptions:

• If refusing the gift would cause offense or embarrassment, or

• If refusing it would adversely affect U.S. foreign relations.

If you think a gift may be worth $400 or more, submit it to the USPS Ethics Office for appraisal. When in doubt, let the Ethics Office check it out.

In addition, an employee must not request or encourage the offer of any gift or “decoration” — an award, medal, badge or the like — from a foreign government.

Management Instruction EL-660-2020-2, Gifts and Decorations from Foreign Governments, spells out what may and may not be accepted.

For more on ethics guidelines, check out the Ethics Blue page. If you have questions, email the USPS Ethics Office at ethics.help@usps.gov.


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