Tips & Tricks

Everything You Need to Know About How to Send Mail

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Your envelope or Priority Mail® package may be sealed and ready to go, but is it addressed properly? You may not realize that incomplete, illegible or incorrect package addresses can prevent your mail from reaching its destination in a timely manner.
For that reason we are sharing a few back-to-basics mailing tips to ensure your packages are delivered to your recipients on time.

Mailing Tips

Envelopes, Boxes and Packaging

Letters, bills, greeting cards, and other documents can be sent in standard white, manila, or recycled paper envelopes. These envelopes, along with stationery and prepaid First-Class™ Mail postcards and envelopes, can be purchased at most post offices.

Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail envelopes are available at your Post Office or can be ordered online and delivered right to your door by visiting www.usps.com/store.

Larger items can be mailed using your own box, a box provided by the USPS, or Readypost® boxes available for purchase in post office lobbies.

Items needing extra protection can be sent in bubble-lined, padded paper, or waterproof envelopes. For most mailing needs, our Readypost® line of mailing products can resolve the most unique mailing issues and are available for purchase online and in our post offices.

Addressing for Success 

Recipient Address

Print or type your recipient’s name, including organization name if applicable.

Print or type the recipient’s street address. Use a post office box or street address, but not both.

Be sure to use a specific directional (for instance, NW for Northwest), if it is included in the address. There may be more than one Main Street.

Print or type the apartment or suite number (if applicable). The correct apartment or suite number helps to ensure delivery to the right location.

Return Address

Your return address lets the Postal Service and your recipients know where a mail piece originates. A return address is required in specific mailing circumstances. However, to ensure the proper handling of any return mail, it is recommended a return address be placed on your mail piece.

Preparing your envelope or package’s return address:

Print or type your return address in the upper left corner on the front of the envelope or package.

Print the delivery and return addresses on the same side of your envelope or card.

Type or print clearly with a pen or permanent marker so the address is legible from an arm’s length away. Do not use commas or periods.

If you are using a Priority Mail product, print or type your return address in the ‘From’ space of the box or USPS-provided address label.

Need a Label?

If you are not at a Post Office, you can print and pay for your Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail postage labels online using Click-N-Ship.

International labels with postage may be purchased online for Global Express Guaranteed, Priority Mail Express International, Priority Mail International, and First-Class Package International Service using Click-N-Ship. Some items may require Customs forms.

Learn more about Click-N-Ship at www.usps.com/cns.

Package Tracking

Need to follow the progress of your package? USPS Tracking is provided free for domestic priority mail items with a tracking number. You can elect to have updates sent by email or text message.

You can also set delivery instructions for incoming packages with tracking numbers using your free My USPS account.

In addition, you can arrange for free package pickup online for most packages.

Military Mail

Sending to a military address? Military addresses must show the full name with middle name or initial.

The delivery line (the second line from the bottom in the address) must show the word “UNIT”, “CMR” or “PSC” and number; and box number assigned.

Replace the city name with APO, FPO or DPO, and the state with AA, AE, or AP. Be sure to include the ZIP+4 Code.

Military mail that is sent to overseas stations may require Customs forms. Please see Military Guidelines.

City, State, and ZIP Code

Using the correct ZIP Code helps to direct your mail efficiently and accurately. ZIP Codes are a snap to look up online or with our mobile app. Simply visit USPS.com on your mobile device or download our app, USPS Mobile®.

Once there, you can find the correct spelling of a city name and other abbreviations for commonly used state and street names.

Remember, employees at your local post office are happy to assist you with your shipping needs.

Happy Shipping!

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