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Quick Service Guide 602
Basic Standards for All Mailing Services

January 2006
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The delivery address specifies where the USPS is to deliver a mailpiece. The address must be legible and complete on the side of the mailpiece that bears the postage.


General Information

Placement and location: see 202.2 for letters and cards, or 302 for flats.

The placement of the address can determine mailability of the mailpiece and/or rate and eligibility.

See reverse for proper placement of an address block on letter-size pieces.


Complete Addresses (602.1.4)

The address must include:

  • Intended recipient's name or other designation.
  • Delivery address (including street number and name (predirectional, suffix, and postdirectional as appropriate), post office box number, rural or highway contract route and box number), and secondary descriptor and number (e.g., suite or apartment number, floor) if needed.
  • City and state.
  • ZIP Code or ZIP+4 code where required.

The address on automation rate mail must be sufficiently complete to enable matching the current USPS ZIP+4 File when using current CASS-certified address matching software (708.3). Standardized address elements are not required.


Return Address (602.1.5)

A return address tells the USPS where the sender wants the mail returned if it is undeliverable. A return address is required on certain types of mail. Mail qualifying for Nonprofit Standard Mail rates must have the name and return address of the authorized nonprofit organization either on the outside of the mailpiece or in a prominent location on the material being mailed (inside the mailpiece) (703.1.5).


Alternative Addressing Formats (602.3)

Simplified addressing: simplified address format ("Postal Customer") is used when general distribution is requested to each customer on a rural route or highway contract route or to each boxholder at a post office without city carrier service. Government agencies may also use simplified addressing for official matter being sent to all stops on city carrier routes and post office boxholders at post offices with city carrier service.

Occupant addressing: mailer may use "Occupant" (instead of a recipient's name) with a complete delivery address on mail intended for selective distribution.

Exceptional addressing: indicates that mailpiece should be delivered to the current resident if addressee has moved. Exceptional addressing may not be used on certain types of mail.


Addressing Guidelines

The following guidelines for addressing a mailpiece are in USPS Publication 28, Postal Addressing Standards:

  • Use simple sans serif type with uniform stroke thickness.
  • Type or machine-print in dark ink on a light background with a uniform left margin.
  • Left-justify every line in the address block.
  • Use two-letter state abbreviations.
  • Use one space between city and state, two spaces between state and ZIP+4 code.
  • Use appropriate ZIP+4 code (if unknown, use 5-digit ZIP Code).

Additional Resources:
Pub. 25, Designing Letter and Reply Mail
Pub. 28, Postal Addressing Standards

For the specific DMM standards applicable to this category of mail, consult the DMM sections referenced above and the general sections within each DMM module.


This graphic highlights the OCR read area.

1. For MLOCR FASTforward users, the name of the recipient must appear in the OCR read area.

Dark shaded area indicates "free space" for nonaddress printing.

Light shaded area indicates preferred clear zone to enhance readability.



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