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  Postal Explorer Home
  A Customer's Guide to Mailing
  What Are You Mailing? Domestic
  What Are You Mailing? International
  Choosing a Service for Mailing
  Adding Extra Services
  Examples of Smart Choices
  Addressing Your Mail
  Preparing Packages
  Tips and Tools for Measuring Letters and Large Envelopes
  Tips and Tools for Measuring Packages
  Flat Rate Quick Reference
  Sending and Receiving Mail
  Other Products and Services
  Tips for Frequent Mailers and Small Businesses
  Printer Friendly PDF



Addressing Your Mail

The accuracy of the address affects the speed and handling of your mail.

Return Address
Print or type your address in the upper left corner on the front of the envelope.

Extra Services
Place labels for extra services above the delivery address and to the right of the return address, or to the left of the postage.

Use stamps, a postage meter, or a PC Postage system to affix the correct amount. You can calculate postage online at

Recipient Name

Name of Organization

Street Address
Use a Post Office box or street address, but not both. If the address also has a directional (for instance, NW for Northwest), be sure to use it. There may be more than one Main Street.

Apartment or Suite Number
The correct apartment or suite number helps to ensure delivery to the right location.

City, State, and ZIP Code
To find the correct spelling of a city name or to find a ZIP Code, visit or call 1·800·ASK·USPS. Using the correct ZIP Code helps to direct your mail more efficiently and accurately.

Letters, bills, greeting cards, and other documents can be sent in standard white, manila, or recycled paper envelopes. Items needing extra protection can be sent in bubble-lined, padded paper, or waterproof envelopes. These envelopes, along with stationery and prepaid First-Class Mail postcards and envelopes, can be purchased at the Post Office.

Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail envelopes are available at your Post Office or visit You must use the USPS-produced address label for Priority Mail Express.

Online Shipping Labels
You can print and pay for your Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail postage labels online using Click-N-Ship. USPS Tracking is provided free for domestic Priority Mail. International labels with postage may be purchased online for Global Express Guaranteed, Priority Mail Express International, Priority Mail International, and First-Class Package International Service using Click-N-Ship. You can arrange for free Package Pickup online. Learn more about Click-N-Ship at

Print the delivery and return addresses on the same side of your envelope or card. The addresses should be written parallel to the longest side.

Type or print clearly with a pen or permanent marker so the address is legible from an arm’s length away. Do not use commas or periods.

Return Address
A return address is required on most mail.

Priority Mail Express®
For Priority Mail Express, you must use a USPS-produced address label provided by the Post Office.

Military Mail
Military addresses must show the full name with middle name or initial and the PSC number, unit number, or ship name. Replace the city name with APO, FPO or DPO, and the state with AA, AE, or AP, and include the ZIP+4 Code.

A list of commonly used state, street, and other abbreviations is available online.