by including long lists of cities in different countries, complete with postcodes. The line just above the country name shows the town, and sometimes the major subdivision of the country, known as the state, province, county, district, territory, land, shire, department, canton, prefecture, oblast, autonomous region, etc, depending on the country, and often a postal code to aid in automated sorting. Since the USPS does not read or care about this line (except in mail to Canada and, by some accounts, the UK), it can and should be formatted as required by the destination country. As far as I can tell, this is a recent development and is largely ignored in many of the countries that recommend it (e.g. In any case, it makes formatting and parsing international addresses all the more complicated, and might also cause addresses to exceed address-line limits, where they did not before (e.g.
The Internet makes matters simultaneously better and worse: better because now we can link to the postal authorities in each country and to other relevant sites, worse because web addresses change out from underneath us constantly. August 2006: The UPU's website has changed a lot since I wrote the previous paragraph.
Thus any document like this is doomed to decay over time if it's not constantly maintained. Feel free to report stale links, or send corrections, suggestions, or new information, by e-mail to Aleida Morel (Dominican Republic), Mari Carmen Fonseca, Juan Castro, Patrick Decker, Andrew Leonard, Beth Espy (México). Roberto Homs (Cuba), بهاء عبيدات / Baha Obeidat (Palestine), Felipe Zapata Roldán (Colombia), Josh Gross, Kevin Tarr (Costa Rica); Johnny Franco Arboine (Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Ecuador); Craig Hartnett, Doug Ewell, Alexis Hunt (Canada), Irineu de Assis (Bolivia, Paraguay, and Colombia), Cord Wischhöfer, ISO 3166/MA-Secretariat (Europe & North Africa). The addressing recommendations for each country, which are found HERE, now have dates, and have more information (e.g.
person's name) at the top, proceeding to the most general (largest) item (i.e. This order is not necessarily used in other countries (e.g.
Iran, Russia), but since we are sending mail from the USA, it might be safer to use it in all cases because our own postal service must process the address first.
To see the current list of affected countries, visit the USPS Service Updates page.
Note: At some point USPS converted its website from to https:, but without forwarding the old URLs to the new ones, thus breaking every USPS link in this page, and in many other pages too, no doubt.
Gerhard Helle, First Secretary, Universal Postal Union, Berne. Xander Jansen, Gert Grenander, , Sjoerd Cranen, Reinier Olislagers, Ken Martin, Roland Witvoet, Richard Paul, Liza R (Netherlands). lists of state/province abbreviations, additional examples), and there is a comprehensive page of links to postcode lookups for each member country HERE.
John Klensin, Alexander Svensson, Alex Bochannek, Asmus Freytag, Otto Stolz, Claus Langhans, Clemens Gutweiler, Ralph Babel, David Krings, Jens Peter Hammer, Christian Asche (Germany). USPS Service Updates The United States Postal service delivers mail to most of the countries on earth, but there are some exceptions and restrictions owing to politics (Cuba), war (Gaza), natural disasters (Haiti), or other factors such as isolation (Pitcairn Island).
We use country names consistently; they are listed in the Index.
In the USA and many other countries, postal sorting machines read and sort by the country name.
I'm not sure it is still true (in 2004) that the USPS does not care about different destinations within a big country.