How To Write An Address For International Mail?

According to the USPS:
215 Dual Addresses
Eliminate dual addresses on the output mailpiece, if possible, although mailer files may maintain both mailing and physical addresses. However, if dual addresses are used, place the intended delivery address on the line immediately above the city, state, and ZIP+4 Code. Normally, this is the Post Office Box address.

Image titled Write an Address on an Envelope Step 37

What is an address?

An address is a means to identify or locate a person, house, or organization. Any plot is defined by an address – which includes recipient name, house number, street name, landmark, and postal codes of the particular region. Sub-divisions of the town or block are also a part of an address, depending on the location and protocols.

Ron is planning to send a gift to his friend Jen, who lives a couple of thousand miles away. This is the first time they are spending a birthday apart, and he does not want to miss it this year too. He plans to send the gift through post, but unfortunately gets the recipient address wrong. He has to go over to the FedEx office to resend it with the right format. He missed half a day’s work to resolve the issue.

Writing Addresses

If you are writing an address, whether typed or handwritten, on an envelope to be mailed via the post office, the U.S. Postal Service recommends that you do not use any punctuation. Use all CAPS. Center the address on the envelope and use a flush left margin. Put room, suite, and apartment numbers on the same line as the street address.

I am glad to see that this is finally getting out there. While I was in an office position, I kept in close contact with the postal office. They taught me decades ago about not putting in any punctuations on the envelope that was going to be mailed. I thought I was the only one who knew, because nobody else seems to do that.

In addition to the NO PUNCTUATION rule, a rule of thumb for business that I teach is to type all of the information in ALL CAPITAL letters. This not only is quicker to type but more efficient for the Post Office to sort. Thank you for your invaluable information!

This is from the USPS site, Numeric street names, for example, 7TH ST or SEVENTH ST, should be output on the mailpiece exactly as they appear in the ZIP+4 file. Spell out numeric street names only when there are duplicate street names within a postal delivery area and the only distinguishing factor is that the one you matched is spelled out.

As we mentioned, the U.S. Postal Service will be happiest with you if you write the address exactly per their format in the Zip Code Lookup database, which most likely is going to be in a numerical format, For instance, we entered “Two Penn Center, Suite 1313, NY, New York” into the database. It returned:
2 PENN PLZ # 1313
NEW YORK NY 10121-0101

However, if either the addressee or the sender likes spelling out the number (and other abbreviations) because it looks fancier or more formal, we imagine the post office will faithfully deliver your letter.

Perhaps they were referring to the introduction of the zip code for United States mail. Zip codes were introduced in 1967 and were still being promoted as “new” in the 1970s. (Please note that there is no apostrophe in 1970s.)

Some people still use a hyphen to separate the number of the house or apartment from the name of the street (e.g., 602 – 32nd Street. Will you please tell me how long before or after World War II this practice ended? Thanks

Our blog Writing Addresses says, “If you are writing an address, whether typed or handwritten, on an envelope to be mailed via the post office, do not use any punctuation. Use all CAPS.” Therefore, a title would also be written without punctuation. Examples:

If you are simply returning an unopened envelope, you only need to write “Return to sender” on the envelope. If you are writing a letter in response to a letter received from a corporation, Inc. should be capitalized and include a period, but a comma is not required after the company name. Example: Weblinx Inc.

When I was first taught how to write my address, I seem to remember being instructed to put 2 spaces between the state and the zip code. Is that correct? I don’t follow that, but I just remembered that. Also, what’s more acceptable on the outside, to write the full state name or the abbreviation? What about in non-USPS standards?

On the outside of an envelope, we recommend using only USPS standards (DES MOINES IA zip code). If you are writing an address in the body of a letter, we recommend using punctuation and the full state name (Des Moines, Iowa).

There is a difference between a state’s abbreviation and its postal code. For instance, the abbreviation for Massachusetts is Mass., but the postal code is MA. Once upon a time, it was incorrect to use a postal code in a business letter (the letter itself, not the envelope), but abbreviations were acceptable. What is the rule now?

The Chicago Manual of Style’s Rule 10.28 says, “In running text, the names of states, territories, and possessions of the United States should always be spelled out when standing alone and preferably (except for DC) when following the name of a city: for example, “Lake Bluff, Illinois, was incorporated in 1895.” In bibliographies, tabular matter, lists, and mailing addresses, they are usually abbreviated. In all such contexts, Chicago prefers the two-letter postal codes to the conventional abbreviations. Note that if traditional abbreviations must be used, some terms may not be subject to abbreviation.”

We are not sure that we understand what you mean by “places” that do not allow for the backslash (you probably mean the slash [/] rather than the backslash [\]). It is possible that this is not a grammar question but a question for the postal service. If your address is 1234 1/2 Main Street, any “alternative” could result in misdirected mail.

However I called them up and gave them the information directly, and they did not blink. This seems like a case where the webmaster assumed too much about addresses and rejected what he considered invalid punctuation.

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How To Write An Address For International Mail?

Below, we discuss how to write an international address according to standards specified by Canada Post. Before we look at an example for an international mail address, you should know that the size of the address block can vary.

However, the number of lines in the address block can never exceed six. Canada Post delivers to practically every other country globally, and some addresses may be longer than others. Hence, it is worth remembering the number of lines you can use in the address block.

International Address Example

First Line

As you can see from the example, the first line of the international address is the addressee line, where you write the recipient’s name. The addressee can be a person or a company based on who you send the message to. Make sure to check if the addressee’s name matches the postal address in your database before writing the addressee’s name.

Second Line

Usually, the second line of the international address is the delivery address for your mailer. In the example above, the second line is “ 420 SKY ST” for an address in the UK. Like the US address format we discussed earlier, you also have essential information, such as the street name on the second line.

Third Line

The third line of the address block on an international mailer contains the municipality name, state, province, and postal code. Remember that the postal code can vary for different countries, and they go by many names.

Postal codes go by the name ZIP Codes in the US, whereas it is called postcode in the UK. In the UK, the postal codes are alphanumeric, like the one you can see in the example above. The postcode in the example above is “ N5V 1A3, ” an address in London.

Managing and storing postal codes of your business-related addresses can be difficult, and they are often prone to errors. Hence, most companies use an advanced address verification tool like PostGrid. It can provide accurate and verified postal codes for your international addresses.

Fourth Line

The address block’s fourth or last line is always for writing the country name. When writing the country name for your international mailer, you need to ensure that you don’t use abbreviations. In other words, you must always use the full country name for your international mailers.

Even in the example above, you can see that the country name is the “ UNITED KINGDOM” and not the “UK.” Similarly, it would be best to use the full country name for all international mailers. So, suppose you want to send business letters to the UAE. In that case, the country name should be the “ United Arab Emirates” and not the “UAE.”

You should provide the country name below any information, such as the municipality or city name and postal code. The last line of the address block should be exclusively for the country name. You should not include any other address element in it. Additionally, make sure to use capital letters for the country name.


May 17, 2022

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