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What is the proper way to format the mailing address?

The U.S. Postal Service has regulations that dictate which information goes on which line in a mailing address. Below, we give you some basic information about the proper way to type the mailing address for your mailpiece.

The information below will probably meet the needs of most people who use If your address is unusual in some way, or if you'd just like like some additional details about how to format a mailing address, refer to U.S. Postal Service Publication 28, Postal Addressing Standards. It is available on line at

The Different Pieces of a Mailing Address

The Postal Service breaks down a mailing address into pieces, like this:
  Non-address-data line         XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
  Information attention line    MR JOE SCHMOE
  Recipient line                SCHMOE CORPORATION
  Delivery-address line         3214 INDUSTRIAL DR
  City, state, ZIP line         ANYCITY NY 14522-5618
The "Non-address-data line" and the "Information attention line" are optional. The "Recipient line," the "Delivery-address line," and the "City, state, ZIP line" are required (that is, all mailpieces must have these three lines).

Here is some detailed information about what goes on these three lines:

Recipient line: This line must contain the name of the company or organization to which the mailpiece will be sent.

Delivery-address line: This line must contain the specific location to which the mailpiece is to be delivered within a city, town, village, etc. This is the line where you must put the street, road, boulevard, avenue, etc. If the mailpiece is to go to a Post Office Box, put PO BOX, followed by the box number, on the Delivery-address line. If there is a suite number or room number, etc., put the suite number or room number at the end of the Delivery-address line.

City, state, ZIP line: This line must contain the city, state, and nine-digit ZIP code. On a Business Reply mailpiece or Courtesy Reply mailpiece, this must be the last line of the mailing address. On an International Business Reply mailpiece, the city, state, and nine-digit ZIP code must be on the next-to-the last line of the mailing address; and the last line of the mailing address must say UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. (Note: if you forget to type UNITED STATES OF AMERICA on the last line of the mailing address for an International Business Reply mailpiece, will add it for you automatically.)

What about capitalization and punctuation?

In general, the Postal Service prefers that you use capital letters for the mailing address and that you omit punctuation. However, some Postal Service officials allow you to to use both capital letters and small letters and allow you to use punctuation in a mailing address on a Business Reply mailpiece, Courtesy Reply mailpiece, or International Business Reply mailpiece. If you don't want to use all capital letters, or if you want to include punctuation, check with your local Postal Service representative to see if it's okay.

(Note: although the Postal Service prefers that you omit punctuation marks such as periods, commas, and apostrophes; you MUST type a hyphen between the first five digits and the last four digits of the nine-digit ZIP code.)


Here are a few examples that illustrate how to format different types of mailing addresses.
  ATLANTA GA 30319-3412

  PO BOX 1288

  1249 JONES AVE
  PROVIDENCE RI 06218-5417

  1744 JENSON ST STE 9
  GREENFIELD NH 07734-6122

  BISCAYNE MARKETING GROUP      You'd put an address like
  988 GERARD AVE                this on an International
  WALTHAM MA 03288-4179         Business Reply Mailpiece

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