USPS Homepage Skip navigation     USPS Home | Postal Explorer Home
Section divider line

Quick Service Guide 602

Basic Standards for All Mailing Services


May 31, 2015
Printer-Friendly PDF


Section divider line

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

Section divider line

Placement and location: see 202.2.0 for letters and cards, or 302 for flats.

The placement of the address can determine mailability of the mailpiece and/or price and eligibility. For Periodicals, Standard Mail, Bound Printed Matter, Media Mail, and Library Mail flat-size pieces mailed at automation, presorted, or carrier route prices, the address must:

Complete Addresses (602.1.4)

Section divider line

The address must include:

The address on automation price mail must be sufficiently complete to enable matching the current USPS ZIP+4 File when using current CASS-certified address matching software (708.3.0). Standardized address elements are not required.

Return Address (602.1.5)

Section divider line

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. Preferred return address placement is the upper left portion of the mailpiece or the upper left part of the address area—on the side of the piece bearing postage. Mail qualifying for Nonprofit Standard Mail prices 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 (602.3.0)

Section divider line

Simplified addressing: The simplified address format, “Postal Customer” (see 602.3.2.1a. 602.3.2.1a.for optional formats), may be used when general distribution is requested to each boxholder or family on a rural route or highway contract route at any post office or to each Post Office boxholder at a Post Office without city carrier service. The simplified address format, “Postal Customer”(see 602.3.2.1b. for optional formats), may also be used for Standard Mail, Periodicals, and Bound Printed Matter flat-size mailpieces (including Standard Mail pieces allowed as flats under 602.3.2.1c.), and Standard Mail and Periodicals irregular parcels intended for distribution to a city route or to Post Office boxes in offices with city carrier service. Government agencies may also use simplified addressing for official matter being sent to all stops on rural or city carrier routes and Post Office boxholders at all Post Offices.

Occupant addressing: This format (“Occupant”) may be used to with a complete delivery address on mail intended for selective distribution.

Exceptional addressing: This format (“Or Current Resident”) may be used in addition to the addressee's name; it 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

Section divider line

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

Additional Resources:

Pub. 28, Postal Addressing Standards

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.


Back to Top