WHAT: An IRC is a coupon that can be redeemed for first class international postage.
WHERE: You can purchased or redeem and IRC at any post office within a country that is part of the Universal Postal Union. (List of countries here.)
WHY: If you are a non-US resident, you don't have access to US stamps. An IRC steps in to help you with that. If you are requested to send an SASE to a country outside your own, an ICR acts as your "stamps" to get the SASE back to you.
HOW: Ask your postal clerk for an IRC. Mail the IRC with your self-address envelope and that is it! It will magically come back to you with the proper postage needed to be mailed from the country you sent it to.
Above is what a IRC from Australia looks like. It is indistinguishable from IRCs from other countries, except for the fact that is says the country of origin on it. Some countries do not imprint the origin place on the coupon. When a member sends us one of these, I go to our post office and trade it for a first class international stamp, seen below the IRC in the photo.
So, if you are an international LWA member and want to participate in the Initiative Response project here is what you need to include with your request:
- An IRC and a self-addressed envelope.
- A money order or US$ with the total amount for the Initiatives you request
- A note letting us know which Initiative(s) you want to participate in and your member #
More than one Initiative can be sent back to you in one SASE, so no worries about including more than one SASE/IRC for multiple Initiatives.
You can read more about IRCs here and here. We are also happy to answer any other questions you have on IRCs ourselves! We hope this clarifies things for our international members and helps them participate in overseas postal projects!