How to Write an Address (21+ Examples)

The art of writing an address might seem like a lost skill.

It’s not just about ensuring your mail arrives on time — it’s about accuracy, clarity, and understanding the conventions that make our postal system work seamlessly.

In this guide, you’ll learn the correct way to write an address in over 21 specific scenarios in the U.S. and abroad.

How to Write an Address: the Basic Format

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Colorful letters in a pile -- How to write an address
I made this image — How to write an address

Before we jump into the scenarios, let’s establish the basic format of a US address:

[Recipient Name]
[Street Address]
[City, State, ZIP Code]

This simple structure is the backbone of all address writing in the United States.

Adhering to this format ensures that your mail is processed efficiently by automated sorting machines and reaches its intended destination without delay.

21+ Ways to Write an Address

Now that you know the basic structure of how to write an address, let’s go over 21 of the most common address variations.

Standard Residential Address

The standard format works for most residential mail.


John Doe
123 Maple Street
Springfield, IL 62704

In this example, “John Doe” is the recipient, “123 Maple Street” is the street address, and “Springfield, IL 62704” combines the city, state abbreviation, and ZIP code.

Apartment or Suite Numbers

When addressing to an apartment or suite, include the apartment or suite number after the street address.


Jane Smith
456 Oak Avenue Apt 789
Lincoln, NE 68502

Here, “Apt 789” specifies the apartment number, ensuring the mail is directed to the specific unit within a larger building.

P.O. Boxes

For P.O. Box addresses, replace the street address with the box number:


ACME Corporation
P.O. Box 1234
Wilmington, DE 19801

This format directs the mail to a specific post office box rather than a street location.

Military Addresses

Military mail requires a unique format that includes the unit and box numbers and the APO/FPO/DPO designation.


SGT John Carter
Unit 1000 Box 456
APO AE 09012

This ensures that mail reaches military personnel stationed overseas.

Addressing to a Business

When sending mail to a business, include the company name and any department information.


Widgets Inc.
Attn: Customer Service Department
789 Elm St
Reno, NV 89501

The “Attn:” line directs the mail to a specific department within the company.

Rural or Highway Contract Routes

Rural or HC (Highway Contract) routes require the route number and box number.


Jane Doe
HC 2 Box 760
Page, AZ 86040

This format is essential for accurately delivering mail in rural areas.

Using Secondary Address Unit Designators

For more detailed addressing, such as differentiating between apartments, suites, or floors, use the appropriate unit designator.


John Smith
123 Main St Apt 101
Miami, FL 33101

“Suite” can be used for business addresses, while “Apt” is more common for residential locations.

Sending Mail to a University Dorm

When addressing mail to someone in a university dormitory, it’s essential to include the residence hall name and room number to ensure the mail is properly delivered within the campus mail system.


Alex Rivera
Dormitory Name, Room 204
University Name
123 College Ave
College Town, MA 02139

In this format, “Dormitory Name, Room 204” ensures the mail is delivered to the specific room within the larger dormitory building.

Dual Addressing for Temporary Locations

Sometimes, you may need to send mail to someone staying at a temporary location, such as a hotel.

In such cases, it’s helpful to include both the permanent and temporary addresses.


Sarah Chen
c/o Hotel Name, Room 456
789 Vacation Rd
Sunnyville, CA 94086
Permanent Address:
456 Home Street
Hometown, OH 43050

The “c/o” (care of) designation indicates that the recipient is temporarily located at the hotel address.

Addressing Mail to a Condo

Condominium addresses are similar to apartment addresses but might include the building and unit number.


Michael Johnson
Condo Complex Name, Building B, Unit 12
2345 Condo Blvd
Naples, FL 34102

This ensures the mail is delivered to the specific unit within the condo complex.

Rural Route Addresses

Rural areas might not have street names and numbers. Instead, they use route and box numbers.


Emma Lopez
RR 1 Box 112
Countrytown, KS 67005

“RR” stands for Rural Route, followed by the route and box number for mail delivery in rural locations.

Addresses With Directional Cues

In some urban areas, street names include directional cues (North, South, East, West), which are crucial for accurate delivery.


Carlos Martinez
678 West 10th Street, Apt 2B
Metro City, TX 75001

Including the directional cue ensures the mail isn’t sent to a similar address on the opposite side of the city.

Sending International Mail from the US

When sending mail from the US to an international destination, include the country name in all capital letters on the last line.


Maria Silva
123 International St, Apt 789
Capital City, Province 12345

This example uses “CANADA” as the destination country, clearly indicating that the mail is leaving the United States.

Writing to Someone in Prison

When sending a letter to an inmate, the address must include the inmate’s full name, ID number, the facility name, and its address.


John Smith, ID# 1234567
State Penitentiary
4567 Correctional Facility Rd
Anytown, CA 90001

This format ensures the mail is properly directed within the correctional system to the specific inmate.

Address to a Government Official

When writing to a government official, the title should precede the name, and the office or department should be included.


The Honorable Lisa White
United States Senate
123 Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Addressing to a Foreign Embassy

Addressing a letter to a foreign embassy in the US includes the embassy’s name, “Embassy of [Country],” and its location.


Embassy of France
Consular Section
4101 Reservoir Rd NW
Washington, DC 20007

Mail to a Recipient aboard a Ship

For someone aboard a ship, include the ship’s name, shipping line, and port address.


Captain John Doe
MV Sunshine
C/O [Shipping Line]
123 Harbor Way
Port City, FL 33132

Addressing Mail to a Religious Leader

Religious titles should be included in the address, respecting the formalities of the recipient’s position.


His Holiness, Pope Francis
Apostolic Palace
00120 Vatican City

For a Wedding Invitation to a Married Couple

Wedding invitations often include both partners’ names in the address.


Mr. and Mrs. Smith
678 Bridal Path Lane
Weddingtown, MA 02176

To a Family

For sending mail to an entire family, the family name can be used.


The Johnson Family
1234 Family Road
Suburbia, TX 75088

Mail to a Shared Residence

When multiple unrelated people share a residence, listing the names of all recipients ensures clarity.


Alex Johnson and Jamie Lee
4567 College Ave, Apt 12
University City, NY 10027

International Address to the UK

The UK address format includes the house number and street, city or town, county (optional), and the postcode.


Jane Doe
123 High Street

International Address to Japan

In Japan, addresses begin with the postal code, followed by the prefecture, city, and street, ending with the recipient’s name.


Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Marunouchi 1-2-1
Taro Yamada

International Address to Australia

Australian addresses include the unit number and street, suburb, state or territory abbreviation, and postcode.


Sarah Johnson
Unit 4, 2345 Kangaroo Way
Sydney NSW 2000

Addressing a Letter to Canada

Canadian addresses follow a similar format to the US, with the addition of a province abbreviation and Canadian postal code.


Michael Brown
789 Maple Leaf Rd
Toronto ON M4B 1B3

Addressing International Mail to Brazil

Brazilian addresses include the street, number, complement (apartment or suite number), neighborhood, city, state, and postal code.


Maria Silva
Rua dos Bobos, nº 0, Apt 101
Centro, São Paulo, SP

The Importance of ZIP+4 Codes When Writing an Address

Whenever possible, include the ZIP+4 code, an extension of the 5-digit ZIP code that helps further pinpoint the delivery location.


Diana Prince
4567 Justice Ln
Metropolis, NY 10001-2345

How to Write an Address on One Line

Writing an address on a single line is common in various contexts, such as email signatures, forms, or online orders.

The key is to separate each component with commas while maintaining the standard address format.


John Doe, 123 Maple Street, Springfield, IL, 62704

Here is a good video about how to write an address:

YouTube Video by Brittany D’Amico — How to Write an Address

How to Write an Address on a Package

On a package, the address should be clear and easy to read.

Write the recipient’s name on the first line. Below that, write the street address or P.O. Box. The next line should contain the city, state, and ZIP code.

If space allows, the return address goes in the top left corner or on the back.


[Return Address]
Jane Smith
456 Oak Avenue
Lincoln, NE, 68502

[Recipient Address]
ACME Corporation
P.O. Box 1234
Wilmington, DE, 19801

How to Write an Address on a Postcard

Begin with the recipient’s name at the top.

Below the name, write the street address or P.O. Box. The city, state, and ZIP code should be on the last line. The message goes on the left side, and the stamp is placed in the top right corner.


John Carter
Unit 1000 Box 456
APO AE 09012

Final Thoughts: How to Write an Address

Taking a few extra moments to verify and format an address correctly can save time and frustration by avoiding misdelivered or returned mail.

The art of address writing involves attention to detail and an understanding of postal conventions.

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U.S. Postal Service