Contents Index


A000 Basic Addressing

A020 Alternative Addressing Standards


A020 specifies the conditions for use and treatment of mail bearing alternative addressing formats. These formats are the simplified address format (i.e., “Postal Customer” in lieu of specific name and address); the occupant address format (i.e., “Occupant” in lieu of specific name, followed by specific address); and the exceptional address format (i.e., “Jane Doe or Current Occupant,” followed by specific address).



Alternative addressing formats may be used as described in 2.0 through 4.0.

1.2Prohibited Use

Alternative addressing formats may not be used on:

a. Express Mail pieces.

b. Mail with any special service under S900.

c. Mail with any ancillary service endorsement under F010.

d. Periodicals intended to count as subscriber or requester copies to meet the applicable circulation standards.

e. Mail addressed to an overseas military post office under A010.6.0.


Mail with an occupant or an exceptional address format is delivered as addressed and is not forwarded. Such mail is treated as undeliverable only when the address is incorrect or incomplete or when the mail cannot be delivered for another reason related solely to the address (e.g., a vacant building), as shown in F010.Exhibit 4.1. Periodicals publishers are notified when mailpieces with the occupant or exceptional address formats are undeliverable for solely address-related reasons. Mail with a simplified address format is distributed to all deliveries on a route or to post office boxholders. Undeliverable mail with any alternative addressing format is disposed of as waste under F010.8.1.

2.0 Simplified Address

2.1UseRural and Highway Contract Routes, P.O. Boxholders

[4-1-04] The simplified address format (i.e., “Postal Customer”) may be used on mail only when complete distribution (except as provided for congressional mail under E050) is made to each family or boxholder on a rural or highway contract route at any post office and/or to all post office boxholders at a post office without city carrier service. A more specific address such as “Rural Route Boxholder” for mail intended to all boxholders on a rural route, followed by the name of the post office and state, may be used. The word “Local,” instead of the post office and state name, is optional.

2.2UseCity Routes, P.O. Boxholders

[4-1-04] When distribution is to be made to each active possible delivery on city carrier routes or to each post office boxholder at a post office with city carrier service, the addressee’s name; mailing address; and city, state, and ZIP Code may be omitted from the address only on pieces mailed as official matter by agencies of the federal government (including mail with the congressional frank prepared under E050); any state, county, or municipal government; and the governments of the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and any U.S. territory or possession listed in G011. The requirement for distribution to each stop or post office boxholder may be modified for congressional mail under E050. The following also applies:

a. Only these forms of address may be used instead of the addressee’s name and address:

(1) “Postal Customer” (delivery desired at all addresses).

(2) “Residential Customer” (delivery desired at residential addresses only).

(3) “Business Customer” (delivery desired at business addresses only).

b. At least 10 days before the mailing date, the mailer must submit a sample mailpiece and the following information to the entry office postmaster (in response, the mailer receives a mailing schedule that must be followed):

(1) Proposed mailing date.

(2) Total number of pieces being mailed.

(3) Method of postage payment.

(4) Names of all city delivery post offices to receive any of the mailing and the number of pieces for each.

2.3Mail Preparation

All pieces must be prepared in carrier route or 5-digit carrier route or carrier routes containers; 3-digit carrier route or carrier routes containers are not allowed. All flat-size pieces must be prepared in carrier route or 5-digit carrier route sacks. All pieces for the same carrier route must be tied in bundles of 50, so far as practicable, and each bundle must bear a facing slip showing desired distribution (e.g., 5-digit ZIP Code and route number). If the pieces are tied in quantities other than 50 each, the actual number must be shown on the facing slip. Delivery statistics for routes may be obtained as described in A930. Pieces in such mailings also must meet the following standards:

a. All pieces must be in the same processing category.

b. Pieces must be marked according to M012.

c. Letter-size pieces must be prepared in trays, and flat-size pieces must be prepared in sacks under M220 or M620, as applicable.

d. If selective distribution is desired, enough pieces must be presented to cover the route or routes selected.


[4-1-04] Postage must be paid with permit imprint, meter indicia, precanceled stamps, or other authorized methods not requiring cancellation, according to the standards for the class of mail.

2.5Address Designation

Only the address designations in 2.1 or 2.2 may be used. Other designations (e.g., “Food Buyer,” “Voter”) are not permitted.

3.0 Occupant Address

The occupant address format (i.e., “Postal Customer” or “Occupant,” “Householder,” or “Resident”) may be used to address mail selectively to a rural route and box number, a specific street number, or a specific post office box number without using the addressee’s name:


WASHINGTON DC 20008-5036

4.0 Exceptional Address


The exceptional address format (i.e., “Jane Doe or Current Resident” or “Jane Doe or Current Occupant”) may be used on any mail except mail types listed in 1.2. The word “Current” is optional. The order of the words may be reversed (e.g., “Current Resident or Jane Doe” rather than “Jane Doe or Current Resident”).


The exceptional address format must be placed in the address block, with the following exceptions:

a. If all the current resident/occupant information cannot be placed on the first or second line of the address, the exceptional address format may be placed no more than 3/4 inch above the address block.

b. If an optional endorsement line (OEL) is used, the mailer may elect to place the exceptional address format above the OEL. In these cases, the exceptional address format must be at least 1/2 inch, but not more than 3/4 inch, above the optional endorsement line. If a window envelope is used with an OEL, the exceptional address information may be printed either in the area on the insert showing through the window or on the envelope above the window.

DMM Issue 58 Updated 12-9-04