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México Brasil Portugal Canada Cuba China Ireland United Kingdom New Zealand Australia

Frank da Cruz
The Kermit Project - Columbia University
New York City

Last update:
Sun Jan 19 15:55:09 2003

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Aleida Muñoz (Dominican Republic), Mari Carmen Fonseca, Juan Castro, Patrick Decker (México).
Fernando Cabral (Brazil).
Roberto Homs (Cuba),
Craig Hartnett (Canada),
Irineu de Assis (Bolivia, Paraguay, and Colombia),
Cord Wischhöfer, ISO 3166/MA-Secretariat (Europe & North Africa).
Gerhard Helle, First Secretary, Universal Postal Union, Berne.
Eduard Vopicka (The Czech Republic and Slovakia).
Xander Jansen, Gert Grenander, Abigail (The Netherlands).
John Klensin, Alexander Svensson, Alex Bochannek (Germany).
Peter J. Russell (Italy).
Marjan Baće (The Former Yugoslavia).
Stewart Evans, Yateendra Joshi (India).
Graham Rhind (Australia).
Elizabeth Eggers, Ken Westmoreland (New Zealand).
Peter Reynolds (Nigeria).
Ken Westmoreland (Kenya).
Topi Linkala (Finland).

Britain and Ireland: John Benton, Ross Chandler, Craig Cockburn, Peter Crabb-Wyke, David Levy, James Grinter, Ian Morrison, Shane Wilson, "George D", Hugh Dunne, David Goddard, Johannes Eggers, Christy Looby, Finlay Smith, Gerard Lardner, Robert Gormley, G.S. Sinclair, Chris Cooke, Colin Russ, Stewart Potter, Bill Bedford, Chris Harrison, P. Breathnach, Michael Everson, Mark Dyche, David Gowdy, Guy Burgess, Alan Berry, Ken Westmoreland, Jonathan Nigel, Peter Reynolds, Martin Spamer, Chris Davies, Benjamin Brundell, Mark Jolly, Liam McGee, William Wallace, Andy Paterson, Sarah Woodhouse, Mark Brader.

General information and corrections: Linda Beek, Dan Olsson, Peter Russell, Ken Westmoreland, Gert Grenander, Marcy Strawmyer, Mark Brader.

MAINTAINANCE OF THIS DOCUMENT IS PUBLIC SERVICE OF THE KERMIT PROJECT AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY. It was was originally written for our own business purposes (international shipping of our software) and does not claim to be definitive, complete, systematic, or unopinionated. Apologies for any inappropriate terminology, especially since this document aims to eradicate it. Format: handmade HTML 1.0 containing some bare Latin-1 characters (properly announced) plus NCRs for characters not in Latin-1. Some day I'll convert it to UTF-8, allowing addition of Cyrillic, Greek, and other writing systems.

The 14 November 2000 edition adds links to postal authorities in many countries, which are recapitulated alphabetically (in English) in APPENDIX II at the end. The 15 May 2001 edition adds ISO 3166-1 codes to the country list in Appendix II. Lots of corrections and expansion in January 2003. Minor updates from time to time as needed.

Periodic updates of any postal reference are necessary because countries change, provinces within countries change, postal codes change, addressing standards and recommendations change. 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. Thus any document like this is doomed to decay over time if it's not constantly maintained. The last update time is shown at the top. Feel free to report stale links, or send corrections, suggestions, or new information, by e-mail to

General Postal References:


This document tries to describe -- or invent when necessary -- conventions for addressing postal mail from within the USA to other countries that are both (a) effective (i.e. have a good chance of working), and (b) as inoffensive as possible when addressing choices might be controversial. Note that the general problem -- how to address mail from country A to country B, for all A's and B's -- is an n × n problem, of which this document attempts to address only one dimension: mail from the USA to elsewhere.

When this document was first written for internal use (in the late 1980s or early 90s), the United States Postal Service (USPS) had no special guidelines for addressing international mail -- if it did, we'd have just used them. This included standard or recommended names for countries.

ISO International Standard 11180, "Postal Addressing" (1993), was no help at all, except that it contained a reference to the Universal Postal Union:

which provides tip sheets for addressing mail to each country.

The situation has improved since then. A visit to the USPS website's "Postal Explorer":

turns up the International Mail Manual (IMM), including an "index of countries and localities", first discovered (by me) in 2000. Unfortunately a URL can't be given, since everything occurs within frames and PDF readers at this site. Full citation: United States Postal Service, International Mail Manual, Issue 28, January 2003 (or later; updated periodically).

Abbreviations and Acronyms:

IMMInternational Mail Manual (USPS)
ISOInternational Organization for Standardization
PDFPortable Document Format (Adobe Acrobat)
UPUUniversal Postal Union
USAUnited States of America
USPS  United States Postal Service


When addressing international mail, the most critical item is the country name, which must appear as the last line of the address, in all CAPITAL LETTERS, with no accompanying notations such as postal codes. In the USA and many other countries, postal sorting machines read and sort by the country name. Thus within each country, the country name list must be well-known and standardized. A list of standard country names is included below as Appendix II.

The second most important line is the one just above the country name, that shows the town, and sometimes the major subdivision of the country, known as the state, province, county, district, land, shire, department, oblast, autonomous region, etc, depending on the country, and often a postal code to aid in automated sorting. We will call this the "City Line".

Americans should avoid referring to other countries' postal codes as Zip codes, and also should not call other countries' administrative subdivisions states. This is a common error on address forms. Use "State or Province" and "Zip or Postal Code" on your address forms. It's not perfect, but it indicates that we understand that other countries can have their own terminology.

Each country has its own format for the City Line. Usually it is one of the following (punctuation shown in the Format column is to be taken literally):

Format Examples
town, province postalcode México, China, India
town province   postalcode USA, Canada, Australia
postalcode town-province Brazil
postalcode town (provincia)     Italy
postalcode town Most other European countries & ex-USSR
town   postalcode Israel, Thailand, Japan, Singapore
town, county Ireland (except Dublin)
town Hong Kong, Syria, Iraq

In the formats above, "province" stands for whatever each country calls its subdivisions (e.g. "county" in Ireland), and often is abbreviated according to local postal standards.

In some countries (like the USA and Canada) the province (state, county, etc) is necessary, in others it is omitted, and in others it is either optional, or needed in some cases but omitted in others. In some countries (Ireland) punctuation must be used in the City Line, but in others (like the USA, Canada, and Australia), it should not be used.

The postal authorities of the USA, Canada, UK, and other countries recommend that the City Line (and preferably the entire address) be written in all uppercase.

Postal codes, in countries that have them, are usually numeric, sometimes containing a space or a hyphen. Most European postal codes have an alphabetic prefix, denoting the country, separated by a hyphen (such as DK-1234 in Denmark). Canadian and UK postal codes contain mixtures of digits and letters. In most countries where the postal code is on the right, we separate it by two (2) spaces (unless it is very short, as in "Dublin 4" although, strictly speaking, that's a postal zone, not a postal code).

For the lines above the city line, each country has its own standards, which are beyond the scope of this document (consult the postal authority websties of each country for details). For the purposes of international mail, the main thing is to get the country and city lines right so the mail is sent to appropriate country and city, where the local postal system will deal with the rest of the address.

When sending mail within the USA, of course we omit the country name. For all other countries, we write the country name as the last line, all uppercase, by itself. We use country names consistently; they are listed in Appendix II. Postal codes never go on the country line (Authority: USPS National ZIP Code Directory, "International Addresses").

When sending international mail:

  1. The Country Line must be understandable by the USPS. Therefore, use the English name of the country (Appendix II), not the local name, e.g. use GERMANY, not DEUTSCHLAND. To be more precise, use the same name the USPS uses for the country in the IMM, e.g. GERMANY and not FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF GERMANY. The USPS IMM names are usually the common English names, but not always (for example, the USPS lists CÔTE D'IVOIRE, but not IVORY COAST). When more than one name is listed for the same country, you should use your knowledge of current events to choose the one that is most acceptable in that country, bearing in mind that the choice might be controversial (e.g. BURMA vs MYANMAR; each choice is likely to offend a different group of people, but MYANMAR is the official name of the country in English). In any case, use only one name for each country so you can produce reports by country, keep country-specific information in your database, etc.

  2. The City Line must be understandable by both the USPS and the postal authorities in the destination country. When the town, state/province/county/district, and/or country has an English name different from the real name (such as Cologne for Köln in Germany, or Prague for Praha in the Czech Republic, or Copenhagen for København in Denmark, or The Hague for Den Haag in the Netherlands), use the English name because English-speaking US Postal Service people are the ones who must read the address and decide which airplane to put the mail on. If desired, you can also write the name in local notation above the (English) City Line. Example:

    ABC Holding B.V.
    Marijkestraat 11
    NL-2518 BG Den Haag
    The Hague

  3. The lines above the City Line must be understandable by the post office of the destination country. So don't attempt to translate the more specific parts of the address. For example, in a Polish address, don't change "Ulica Piotrowa" in Kraków to "Peter's Street", since the Kraków post office is the one that cares about the street.

When sending mail to Russia, Israel, Greece, Armenia, China, etc, it is perfectly acceptable to write the lines above the City Line in the native script. According to the USPS IMM, it is also OK to write the City Line in the native script, but it must also be written in English below the native script and above the Country Line. Obviously if you don't have a way to write the address in Cyrillic, Hebrew, Greek, etc, it can be transliterated in whatever way is most acceptable at the receiving end. Most countries that use non-Roman writing systems can deliver letters that are addressed in Roman transliteration -- Russia, Greece, Israel, most Arab countries, Japan, Korea, and both Chinas among them.

If you can print accented Roman letters, all the better. If you can't, leave off the accents or transliterate according to language-specific rules (as in German "ä" to "ae" -- see section on Germany).

Write addresses with the most specific item on top (usually the person's name), proceeding to the least specific item (the City Line or the Country Line) on the bottom. This is how the USPS expects mail to be addressed, even though it is opposite of the conventions used in some countries like Russia, which does it the other way around.

Never put "ATTN: person's name" or any other notations such as apartment number below the City or Country Line. This interferes with automatic sorting and can slow down delivery. (Personally, I think bureaucratic notations like ATTN are useless -- if you have addressed your mail to a person, then of course it is for their attention.)

The USPS lists the following general guidelines for addressing domestic business mail at THIS WEBSITE (the link worked as of 16 Jan 2003; if it doesn't work for you, search the website for "addressing" or somesuch); most (but not all) of these points apply also to international mail:

In the absence of more specific guidelines, don't put more than seven lines in an international address, nor more than 40 characters in any line. Pieces that do not follow the guidelines are liable to be rejected by automatic sorting machines, slowing down their delivery.

Here's an example of a well-formed address for mail from the USA to Canada:

PROF FRED FOO            1. Most specific line at the top
DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY    2. Less specific...
MOUNT ROYAL COLLEGE      3. Less specific...
4825 RICHARD ROAD SW     4. Street Address
CALGARY AB  T3E 6K6      5. City Line
CANADA                   6. Country Line (not used in domestic mail)

It conforms to both US and Canadian postal addressing guidelines. It's printed in a fixed font with all capital letters and contains absolutely no punctuation. The lines go from most specific at the top to most general at the bottom. The City Line includes the official province abbreviation with no comma and two spaces before the postal code, which is the format recommended by Canada Post. The country line is at the bottom. The postal code goes in the City Line, not the Country Line.


USA address format is:

town ST nnnnn-nnnn

where ST is the official USPS 2-letter state abbreviation from the table below with no comma preceding it, followed by the ZIP or ZIP+4. If ZIP+4 is used, the two parts of the ZIP code must be separated by a single dash (and no spaces). Examples:

OSHKOSH WI  54901                      (5-digit ZIP)
FRANKLIN SQUARE NY  11010              (5-digit ZIP)
NEW YORK NY  10025-7799                (ZIP+4)
FORT RICHARDSON AK  99505-5700         (ZIP+4)

Uppercase is used, as recommended by the USPS, for ease of automatic scanning and application of bar codes. See the USPS ZIP Code directory or other relevant publications for additional addressing recommendations such as the format of street addresses, recommended abbreviations, etc, all of which help to keep your mail from being rejected by the automatic sorters. Some useful information on USA addresses can be found at the USPS Website:

Don't spell out state names or use old-fashioned state abbreviations for them like "Ala", "Miss", or "N.Y.". Here is the table of states and other postal entities of the USA with their official 2-letter abbreviations (source: USPS National ZIP Code Directory) that are recognized by the USPS and its postal sorters:

AL Alabama IN Indiana ND North Dakota
AK Alaska IA Iowa OH Ohio
AS American Samoa KS Kansas OK Oklahoma
AZ Arizona KY Kentucky OR Oregon
AR Arkansas LA Louisiana PW Palau
AA Armed Forces Americas ME Maine PA Pennsylvania
AE Armed Forces Europe MH Marshall Islands PR Puerto Rico
AP Armed Forces Pacific MD Maryland RI Rhode Island
CA California MA Massachusetts SC South Carolina
CO Colorado MI Michican SD South Dakota
CT Connecticut MN Minnesota TN Tennessee
DE Delaware MS Mississippi TX Texas
DC District of Columbia MO Missouri VI US Virgin Islands
FM Federated Micronesia MT Montana UT Utah
FL Florida MP N. Mariana Islands VT Vermont
GA Georgia NE Nebraska VA Virginia
GU Guam NV Nevada WA Washington
HI Hawaii NJ New Jersery WV West Virginia
NH New Hampshire NM New Mexico WI Wisconsin
ID Idaho NY New York WY Wyoming
IL Illinois NC North Carolina

For more about automatic sorting of US mail, see the Kermit News article, Kermit Helps Automate Mail Delivery.




The Canada address format is like the USA format:

town province  postalcode

No commas or other punctuation, postal code on the right separated by two spaces. Upper case is preferred but not required except in the postal code. Canada has 2-letter abbreviations for its provinces and territories, just like we have for our states, and which do not conflict with ours:

Symbol English Name French Name
AB Alberta Alberta
BC British Columbia Colombie-Britannique
MB Manitoba Manitoba
NB New Brunswick Nouveau-Brunswick
NL (3) Newfoundland and Labrador Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador
NT Northwest Territories Territoires du Nord-Ouest
NS Nova Scotia Nouvelle-Écosse
NU (1) Nunavut Nunavut
ON Ontario Ontario
PE Prince Edward Island Île-du-Prince-Édouard
QC (2) Quebec Québec
SK Saskatchewan Saskatchewan
YT Yukon Yukon


  1. On 1 April 1999, Northwest Territories split in two. The new (eastern) half is called Nunavut and the western half is still called Northwest Territories (not "Bob"). Until 12 December 2000 Nunavut's province symbol was NT; after that it became NU (but NT should still work, and in fact is still listed in many places as the official symbol for Nunavut). For further information on Nunavut see:

  2. Prior to 1993 or '94 the symbol was PQ.

  3. In December 2001, the province of Newfoundland was renamed to Newfoundland and Labrador. Effective 21 October 2002, NL is recognized as the symbol for the renamed province. The previous symbol, NF, can be used until six months after that, after which time only NL will be accepted. CLICK HERE for the news release; CLICK HERE for questions and answers; CLICK HERE for commentary.

Canadian postal codes are always LNL NLN (Letter, Number, Letter, Space, Number, Letter, Number). (In this context, "Number" means "Digit".) The first segment is the Forward Sortation Area; the second is the Local Delivery Unit. The postal code is placed two spaces to the right of the province/territory abbreviation. All letters in the City Line (and preferably the entire address) should be uppercase. Examples:

NORTH POLE NT  H0H 0H0    <-- ("Ho Ho Ho")

The city or town name must not be translated. If the official name of the municipality is French, it must be written in French including accents; if it is English, it must be written in English. Canadian postal policies emphasize equal treatment of English and French, but they do not mention other languages of Canada such as Inuktitut, Cree, Lakota, Micmac, Ojibwa, etc. I assume that locality names must be written in Roman letters and not Canadian Syllabics, although I could not find any statements to that effect at the Canada Post website. In Nunavut, Inuktitut is the official language of government and road signs are in both Roman and Syllabics -- what about mail?


Canadian postal humor: "Canada Post doesn't really charge 32 cents for a stamp. It's 2 cents for postage and 30 cents for storage." (Gerald Regan, Cabinet Minister, 31 Dec 1983 Financial Post)


For purposes of addressing mail from within the USA, the name of the country is MEXICO. In Spanish, the 'e' has an acute accent: México. In Spain and parts of Latin America, some people prefer the more phonetic spelling, "Méjico" (just as in the USA, some Texans might prefer to write "Tejas").

México has states (estados) like Jalisco, Sonora, etc, which are included in the address. The state for México City is DF (Distrito Federal = Federal District), similar to Washington DC in the USA or Canberra ACT in Australia (DF is divided into Delegaciones including México City, San Jerónimo, etc.)

Postal codes are 5 digits. Examples:

México, DF  03100                    (full form)
San Jerónimo, DF  10200              (full form)
Zacatenco  07000                     (state unknown)
Culiacan, SIN                        (postal code unknown)
Cuernavaca, MOR  62000               (full form)
Ciudad Obregon, SON  85100           (full form)

The states of México and their official abbreviations are:

AGS Aguascalientes MOR Morelos
BCN Baja California Norte NAY Nayarit
BCS Baja California Sur NL Nuevo León
CAM Campeche OAX Oaxaca
CHIS Chiapas PUE Puebla
CHIH Chihuahua QRO Querétaro
COAH Coahuila QROO Quintana Roo
COL Colima SLP San Luis Potosí
DF Distrito Federal SIN Sinaloa
DGO Durango SON Sonora
GTO Guanajuato TAB Tabasco
GRO Guerrero TAMPS Tamaulipas
HGO Hidalgo TLAX Tlaxcala
JAL Jalisco VER Veracruz
MEX México (Estado de) YUC Yucatán
MICH Michoacán ZAC Zacatecas

It is important to put "Calle" for Street and "Colonia" for District (when known) in Mexican addresses, for example:

(Person's Name)
Calle Ave. Castillo Chapultepec No.47
Colonia Cd.Chapultepec
Cuernavaca, MOR  62380

("Cd" is the abbreviation for Ciudad = City)



Brazilian addresses have states (estados) and a 5+3-digit postal code that goes on the left. The state goes on the right, separated by a dash. There should be no other punctuation. Example:

20071-003 Rio de Janeiro-RJ

If a postal code has only 5 digits (like our own ZIP without the "plus 4"), add "-000" to the end:

01000-000 São Paulo-SP

The state for Brasilia is DF (Distrito Federal), like Washington DC, e.g.:

70084-970 Brasilia-DF

Always use the exact spacing and punctuation shown above -- no periods, commas, etc. Never include "CEP" in the address; it just means "postal code". For example, if you have an address like:

Rio de Janeiro, RJ CEP 20071-003 

it should be written as:

20071-003 Rio de Janeiro-RJ

The states of Brazil and their official abbreviations are:

AC Acre PB Paraíba
AL Alagoas PA Pará
AP Amapá PE Pernambuco
AM Amazonas PI Piauí
BA Bahía RN Rio Grande do Norte
CE Ceará RS Rio Grande do Sul
DF Distrito Federal RJ Rio de Janeiro
ES Espirito Santo RO Rondônia
GO Goiás RR Roraima
MA Maranhão SC Santa Catarina
MT Mato Grosso SE Sergipe
MS Mato Grosso do Sul SP São Paulo
MG Minas Geraís TO Tocantins
PR Paraná



Cuban addresses are written like this:

Sr. Héctor García Marizá
Reina #35, apt. 4a, e/ Gervasio y Escobar
Ciudad de La Habana, CP 11900


Reina #35 = street and number
apt. 4a   = apartment number
e/        = between streets Gervasio and Escobar
CP        = Código Postal (postal code)

After this line may be the Reparto (zone) and Municipio; that is, minor divisions, for example:

Sr. Jorge Pérez Rodríguez
Calle Martí #24, apt. 4a., e/ Corombé y 26 de Julio
Rpto. Abel Santamaría, Aguacate
Palma Soriano, Santiago de Cuba, CP 22222

that is:

street / number, apartment, between streets
Reparto, Pueblo
Municipio, Provincia, Postal Code

"esq." (esquina, corner) can be used instead of "e/" (between) when the house is on the corner, for example:

Calle Martí #24, apt. 4a., esq. Corombé

In practice the CP is rarely used and mail, if otherwise properly addressed, can be delivered without it.

The divisions of Cuba are:

Provincia -> Municipio -> Ciudad or Pueblo -> Reparto or Barrio

Note that this scheme does not apply to Ciudad de La Habana, which is a Provincia. There are many Municipios without Ciudad or Pueblo; for example, Ciudad de La Habana has these general options:

Ciudad de La Habana -> Municipio -> Pueblo -> Reparto or Barrio
Ciudad de La Habana -> Municipio -> Reparto or Barrio

And for Municipio Especial Isla de la Juventud, the scheme is:

Municipio Especial Isla de la Juventud -> Ciudad o Pueblo -> Reparto o Barrio

The Provincias, with their recommended abbreviations, are:

PR Pinar del Río CA Ciego de Avila
CH Ciudad de La Habana CG Camagüey
HA La Habana LT Las Tunas
MT Matanzas HO Holguín
VC Villa Clara GR Granma
CF Cienfuegos SC Santiago de Cuba
SS Sancti Spíritus GT Guantánamo
IJ Municipio Especial Isla de la Juventud

Municipio Especial Isla de la Juventud is a special municipio; that is, not a provincia, but treated as a provincia.


Most other Latin American countries seem to (a) not require a state or province in the address, and (b) put the postal code (if they have them) on the right. Examples:

Bahia Blanca 8000   ARGENTINA
Santiago 9          CHILE
Bogota              COLOMBIA
Nival 4             GUATEMALA
Asuncion 2968       PARAGUAY
Lima 34             PERU
Montevideo 11000    URUGUAY
Caracas 1010-A      VENEZUELA



Australia uses the same address format as the USA and Canada. It has 4-digit numeric postal codes and the following states, always abbreviated in caps as follows:

Abbrev Full Name Postboxes and
Large Users
Street Addresses
ACT Australian Capital Territory  0200-0299 2600-2639
NSW New South Wales 1000-1999 2000-2599, 2640-2914
NT Northern Territory 0900-0999 0800-0899
QLD Queensland 9000-9999 4000-4999
SA South Australia 5000-5799 5800-5999
TAS Tasmania 7800-7999 7000-7499
VIC Victoria 8000-8999 3000-3999
WA Western Australia 6800-6999 6000-6799

NSW includes Norfolk Island; WA includes Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Island. Write Australian city lines as follows:

town state   postal-code

Use all uppercase letters, no punctuation, put two spaces before the postal code. Examples:


Within Western Australia lies a small area calling itself the Hutt River Province Principality, which seceded from Western Australia and the Commonwealth of Australia in 1970 over a wheat-quota dispute. Whatever its legal and international standing, it has no listing in the USPS International Mail Manual, so mail from the USA to that area must be addressed "via Northampton WA 6535" in Australia. For further info, search the Web for "Hutt River".



New Zealand, like Australia, uses 4-digit postal codes but they are relatively optional, used mainly for presorting bulk mail. New Zealand Post doesn't even show them in their own contact addresses:

Customer Service Centre
New Zealand Post
Private Box 39100
Wellington Mail Service Centre

Addressing guidelines for business mail are a bit unusual: Upper and lower case may be used (but the first letter of each address line must be upper case); province names, district, regions and nearby cities should not be used in the address; post codes must be three to six spaces right of the city name.

One peculiarity of NZ addresses is the use of "suburb name" in addresses in Greater Auckland, as in:

J.P. Smith
6-123 Great South Rd
Auckland   1003

(Owairaka is the suburb name.) Also note that "6/123" means Flat 6 at 123 Great South Road. The following address, however, is in downtown Auckland and so does not have a suburb.

NZI Life
3 Shortland St
Auckland   1001

New Zealand has Post Office Boxes, and they also have something special called "Private Bag" and "Private Box". If a Post Office Box is used, it must be abbreviated "P O" (space after P and after O):

Mr Martin
Jollys Jewellery
P O Box 324
Wellington   6015

Private Bag / Box addresses might or might not have a Bag or Box number. When there is a number, it must not contain any spaces or punctuation (example on the right):

Rt Hon Helen Clarke                    John Brown        
Leader of the Opposition               Jabid Electrical  
Parliament                             Private Bag 39990 
Private Bag                            Wellington   6332 
Wellington   6020                      NEW ZEALAND

Older addresses in large cities might show a single-digit postal zone:, e.g. "Wellington 1". This is an old form ("1" means central city, "5" denotes eastern suburbs, etc). Postal zones have been superseded by 4-digit postal codes, but might still be seen occasionally.

Rural Delivery routes, like Post Office boxes, require spaces as in the following example:

Mr C Campbell
Railway Road
R D 10
Palmerston North   5321

The last two digits of NZ postcodes denote the mode of delivery. To take Palmerston North as an example:

5301 Street Delivery
5315 P O Box
5320 Private Bag
5321 Rural Delivery



(The UK and Ireland have their own sections towards the end of this document.)

Most European countries write the postal code on the left, preceded by an alphabetic country code and a dash, and then the town/city on the right. Postal code formats are as follows (n means a digit, 0-9, L means a letter):

Austria AT-nnnn Iceland IS-nnn
Belgium BE-nnnn Italy I-nnnnn
Cyprus CY-nnnn (1) Luxembourg LU-nnnn
Czech Republic CZ-nnn nn Netherlands NL-nnnn LL
Denmark DK-nnnn Norway NO-nnnn
Estonia EE-nnnn Poland PL-nnn nn
Faroe Islands FO-nnn (2) Portugal PT-nnnn-nnn (3)
Finland FIN-nnnnn (7) Romania RO-nnnn
France FR-nnnnn (6) Spain ES-nnnnn (4)
Germany DE-nnnnn Sweden SE-nnn nn
Greece GR-nnn nn Switzerland CH-nnnn
Greenland DK-nnnn (2) Yugoslavia YU-nnnnn (5)
Hungary HU-nnnn


  1. Mail to northern Cyprus must be addressed to "Mersin 10, TURKEY", Mersin being the neighbouring Turkish province, with the "10" implying that Cyprus is its tenth county. Southern Cyprus can be addressed directly, e.g. "CY-1900 Nicosia".
  2. Faroe Islands / Faeroe Islands / Føroya postcodes are three digits and separate from those of Denmark, of which it is (officially!) part, hence "FO-100 Tórshavn". Greenland is still part of the Danish postcode system, hence DK-3900 Nuuk.
  3. New 7-digit codes replaced 4-digit codes in 2000.
  4. Spain controls five places of sovereignty (plazas de soberania) on or near the coast of Morocco - the coastal enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, which Morocco contests, as well as the islands of Peñon de Alhucemas, Peñon de Velez de la Gomera, and Islas Chafarinas. Mail from the USA to Peñon de Alhucemas can be addressed to ALHUCEMAS. For Gibraltar, see the the UK section. Spain also owns a town, Llívia, that is located inside France.
  5. This notation is being phased out; it is still used by ISO but the USPS calls this country SERBIA-MONTENEGRO.
  6. France still owns a tiny piece of North America, the islands of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon (Michelon), just south of Newfoundland. Mark Brader points out: "It's the only place I know of in North America where, if you go east from any part of it until you enter a different time zone, you put your watch back; certainly the only one where you put it back half an hour. SP&M uses zone -3; the island of Newfoundland, which has a southward peninsula east of SP&M, uses -3:30." Saint-Pierre and Miquelon was also one of the few parts of North America controlled by an Axis power in World War II, until it was liberated by General De Gaulle (who some decades later also tried to liberate Québec :-)   Postal access unknown, although I have seen addresses like this:

    Receveur du bureau de poste de Saint-Pierre
    BP 4330, Place du Général de Gaulle
    F-97500 Saint Pierre

    Quiz Question 1: What other parts of North America were controlled by Axis powers in World War II?

  7. From Topi Linkala: "The reason to use FIN- instead of FI- is that items posted outside Europe and North America tend to go to Fiji Island instead to Finland when FI is used. The post of Fiji Island forwards misrouted mail to Finland in excess of hundreds of kilos each day and this becomes very costly." Reference:

The country abbreviations originally used in postal codes were not ISO 3166 abbreviations, but rather "car (or road) distinguishing signs", from an annex to the 1949/68 United Nations Conventions on Road Traffic, adopted in part by the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT), applying to European countries and to some Mediterranean countries in Africa. These codes were not accepted by the Universal Postal Union as a world standard, but were widely used anyway. Since 1994, usage was supposed to migrate to ISO 3166 Alpha-2 codes, but reportedly has not proceeded to any great extent outside of Scandinavia.

Country ISO Alpha 2-Code CEPT-code Remarks
Austria AT A  
Belgium BE B  
Croatia HR HR HR = Republika Hrvatska
Cyprus CY ??  
Denmark DK DK  
Estonia EE EE  
Finland FI FIN See Note 7 above. Was SF (Suomi Finland).
France FR F  
Germany DE D  
Great Britain GB GB Not used in postal addresses
Greece GR GR  
Hungary HU H  
Ireland IE IRL Not used in postal addresses
Italy IT I  
Latvia LV LV  
Liechtenstein LI FL  
Luxembourg LU L  
Monaco MC MC Shares numeric codes with France
Netherlands NL NL  
Norway NO N  
Poland PL PL  
Portugal PT P  
Romania RO RO  
Russia RU RU  
Serbia-Montenegro  YU YU  
Slovak Republic SK SK  
Slovenia SI SI Was SLO
Spain ES E  
Sweden SE S  
Switzerland CH CH CH = Confœderatio Helvetica
Turkey TR TR  
Yugoslavia YU YU (See note 5 above)


For postal authorities of European and other countries, see APPENDIX II.


The Italian postal code system is called CAP (Codice di Avviamento Postale). Italian postal codes have a prefix of "I-" followed by five digits. In Italy the Provincia abbreviation, which denotes the nearest city or large town, goes in parentheses after the city as a 2-letter abbreviation:

I-57023 Cecina (LI)                 ITALY
I-50016 S. Domenico di Fiesole (FI) ITALY
I-20041 Agrate Brianza (MI)         ITALY
I-38014 Gardolo (TN)                ITALY
I-20064 Gorgonzola (MI)             ITALY
I-20010 San Pietro All'Olmo (MI)    ITALY

The Provincia notation is not actually needed for delivery (which is based on postal code) but is commonly used nevertheless so readers of an address can have an idea of the location. Also note that Province and Regioni are not the same. For example, in:

GE Fanuc Automation Italia S.r.l 
Largo Brugnatelli - Angolo Via Volta

the town of Buccinasco is near Milano, in the Provincia of Milano and the Regione of Lombardia. Regioni are not used in postal addresses. Here's a table of Province:

Agrigento AG Genoa GE Potenza PZ
Alessandria AL Gorizia GO Prato PO
Ancona AN Grosseto GR Ragusa RG
Aosta AO Imperia IM Ravenna RA
Arezzo AR Isernia IS Reggio di Calabria RC
Ascoli Piceno AP L'Aquila AQ Reggio nell'Emilia RE
Asti AT La Spezia SP Rieti RI
Avellino AV Latina LT Rimini RN
Bari BA Lecce LE Rome RM
Belluno BL Lecco LC Rovigo RO
Benevento BN Livorno LI Salerno SA
Bergamo BG Lodi LO Sassari SS
Biella BI Lucca LU Savona SV
Bologna BO Macerata MC Siena SI
Bolzano BZ Mantua MN Sondrio SO
Brescia BS Massa-Carrara MS Syracuse SR
Brindisi BR Matera MT Taranto TA
Cagliari CA Messina ME Teramo TE
Caltanissetta CL Milan MI Terni TR
Campobasso CB Modena MO Trapani TP
Caserta CE Naples NA Trento TN
Catania CT Novara NO Treviso TV
Catanzaro CZ Nuoro NU Trieste TS
Chieti CH Oristano OR Turin TO
Como CO Padua PD Udine UD
Cosenza CS Palermo PA Varese VA
Cremona CR Parma PR Venice VE
Crotone KR Pavia PV Verbano-Cusio-Ossola VB
Cuneo CN Perugia PG Vercelli VC
Enna EN Pesaro e Urbino PS Verona VR
Ferrara FE Pescara PE Vibo Valentia VV
Florence FI Piacenza PC Vicenza VI
Foggia FG Pisa PI Viterbo VT
Forli-Cesena FO Pistoia PT
Frosinone FR Pordenone PN

By the way, Italy surrounds at least two other small countries: Vatican City and San Marino, which are properly treated by the USPS as separate countries -- VATICAN CITY and SAN MARINO -- and by some accounts also a third, the Sovrano Militare Ordine Ospedaliero di San Giovanni di Gerusalemme di Rodi e di Malta, or Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM), consisting of a single building on a Roman street, the Palace of Malta in the Via dei Condotti 68 (you're probably better off using the Roman street address).

Not only are countries to be found inside Italy, but a piece of Italy can be found inside another country: Campione d'Italia in Switzerland on Lake Lugano. It chose to stay part of Lombardy, and hence Italy, when Ticino became a Swiss Canton in 1798. It uses the Swiss postcode CH-6911, the Swiss telephone code +41 91, and has Italian police driving in Swiss-registered automobiles. But it's Italy. (Also see the section on Germany, another country with a piece inside Switzerland.)



In the NETHERLANDS, a 2-letter delivery code follows the numeric part of the postal code -- this is not a state/province abbreviation, just an indication of a "subzone" within the area indicated by the number. The four-digit number never begins with 0; the subzone letters never include F, I, O, Q, U, or Y, or the combinations SA, SD, and SS. Examples:

NL-3514 BN Utrecht         NETHERLANDS
NL-3563 AW Utrecht         NETHERLANDS
NL-6500 HB Nijmegen        NETHERLANDS
NL-1098 SJ Amsterdam       NETHERLANDS
NL-3000 DR Rotterdam       NETHERLANDS

Don't refer to the Netherlands as Holland. Holland is only one part of the Netherlands. "Dutch" is another misnomer -- it really means "German", but in English we don't have any other word that REALLY means Dutch... Postbus means PO Box.

The provinces of the Netherlands are generally not used in postal addresses, but in case it's ever of any use, here is the list, also showing some well-known towns:

English Dutch Abbr Towns
Drenthe Drenthe DR  
Flevoland Flevoland FLD  
Friesland Friesland FR  
Gelderland Gelderland GLD Apeldorn, Arnhem, Nijmegen
Groningen Groningen GN  
Lemburg Limburg LB  
North Brabant Noord-Brabant NB Eindhoven, Breda
North Holland Noord-Holland NH Amsterdam, Haarlem
Overijssel Overijssel OV  
South Holland Zuid-Holland ZH Rotterdam, Leiden, Dordrecht, the Hague
Utrecht Utrecht UT  
Zeeland Zeeland ZLD  

Diversion: CLICK HERE to read about Dutch enclaves in Belgium, and Belgian enclaves in the Netherlands, Dutch enclaves inside Belgian enclaves, etc etc.



German postal codes are five digits prefixed by "DE-" (for Deutschland, formerly just "D"). Prior to July 1, 1993, East and West Germany had separate and conflicting 4-digit codes prefixed by "O-" and "D-" ("D-" became "W-" in the period between reunification and the new 5-digit system). All the German addresses in all the databases in the world had to be converted in 1993.

Alex Bochannek adds, "As part of the 1993 PLZ conversion, the trailing postal district number was dropped. For example, 1000 Berlin 20 covered part of the Berlin district of Spandau. After the 1993 conversion a finer granularity was possible and 13591 Berlin was assigned to an even smaller part of Spandau.

"Prior to conversion, trailing zeroes in the postal code were commonly omitted, so people would often write 1 Berlin 20 for 1000 Berlin 20. This was more obvious with large cities that had three zeroes, but even smaller cities with only one trailing zero could have that digit dropped. So you could say that while the postal code had four digits, they were written as one to four digits.

"While the first German postal codes date from 1943, the 4-digit codes in West Germany were introduced on March 23, 1962. East Germany followed suit soon thereafter, but did not use postal district numbers after the city name, but instead incorporated them into the postal code. Therefore, there was a 1000 Berlin in the west and 1XXX numbers for the eastern parts of Berlin.

"The postal district numbers (at least in the big cities that actually used them) had a certain sociopolitical connotation. In Berlin the famed (notorious?) district Kreuzberg used to also be known as SO36 (Süd-Ost [South East] 36) after their old postal district. I think the SO part actually predated the numbering and I suspect that it was probably used in parallel for a while, possibly to indicate mail distribution centers. But that is pretty much speculation on my part since I never actually saw the letter designation used on contemporary mail - only the digits."

You can look up German postal codes here:

or in Frank's copy of the Deutsche Bundespost Postleitzahlenbuch ( onsite only :-)

Also note the following transliteration rules for German, to be used in cases where you can't print the special German characters:

Vowel with Umlaut (like ä)  =>  Vowel followed by "e" (like ae), e.g. Köln => Koeln
German sharp s (ß)          =>  ss (e.g. Straße [street] => Strasse)

Before the end of the Second World War, parts of what are now the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Lithuania, Russia, and other countries were German. Old addresses referring to German town names such as Breslau (now Wroclaw in Poland), Danzig (now Gdansk in Poland), Preßburg (now Bratislava in Slovakia), Budweis (now České Budějovice in the Czech Republic), Carlsbad (now Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic), Königsberg (now Kaliningrad in Russia), etc, obviously must be adjusted.

In the postal oddities department, Ken Westmoreland reports on Germany's enclave in Switzerland: "Mail can be sent via Germany to D-78266 Büsingen, or via Switzerland to CH-8238 Büsingen:

"This must be the only place in the world that is part of two countries' postcode systems. Interestingly, while France and Spain operate postal services side by side in Andorra, neither have postcodes for the Principality." (Also see the section on Italy for more countries or pieces of countries inside of other countries).




As of October 1993, Czechoslovakia split (amicably) into two countries: The Czech Republic (containing Prague, Brno, Plzn, etc), and the Slovak Republic (containing Bratislava). The new postal codes are as follows:

CZ 1?? ??     CZ 3?? ??       CZ 6?? ??       SK 9?? ??
CZ 2?? ??     CZ 4?? ??       CZ 7?? ??       SK 0?? ??
CZ 2?? ??     CZ 5?? ??       SK 8?? ??

Prague and some of the other Czech cities also put district numbers after the city name. Examples:

CZ-602 00 Brno                  CZECH REPUBLIC
CZ-370 06 České Budějovice      CZECH REPUBLIC
CZ-547 01 Nachod                CZECH REPUBLIC
CZ-130 00 Prague 3              CZECH REPUBLIC
CZ-763 14 Zlin 12               CZECH REPUBLIC
SK-8?? ?? Bratislava            SLOVAK REPUBLIC



What was once Yugoslavia has broken up into the following countries, some of which continue to have tense relationships -- don't mix them up!

Country Code Some cities or towns in the new country
Bosnia-Herzegovina BA Sarajevo, Tuzla
Croatia HR Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Split, Medari
Macedonia MK Skopje
Serbia-Montenegro YU Belgrade, Novi Sad (Serbia); Kotor (Montenegro) Pristina (Kosovo).
Slovenia SI Ljubljana, Novo Mesto, Litija, Slovenj Gradec

"Bosnia and Herzegovina" sounds like two countries but really is one, since the war in Bosnia, with three parts: a Serbian part (Republika Srpska), a Croation part, and a Muslim part. It has 5-digit postal codes:

BA-71000 Sarajevo         BOSNIA-HERZOGOVINA

The Repupblics of Serbia and Montenegro together form a "super-country" which they call, controversially, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (or at least that's what they called it until recently), and which the USPS calls SERBIA-MONTENEGRO. Serbia, in turn, contains a Muslim part called Kosovo, but it is not addressed separately. As far as I know, the YU postal-code prefix is still used:

YU-11000 Belgrade         SERBIA-MONTENEGRO

Slovenia uses the SI prefix (although SLO has also been seen):

SI-61000 Ljubljana        SLOVENIA

Croatia uses the HR (Hrvatska) prefix:

HR-10000 Zagreb           CROATIA
HR-21001 Split            CROATIA
HR-55432 Medari           CROATIA

I don't know about the others.

Also, be aware that Macedonia is another controversial name, claimed also by Greece. And note that usage of Cyrillic versus Latin alphabet is in flux. Croatian in written with Latin letters; Serbian can be written with Cryillic or Latin. Macedonian was written in Cyrillic; I'm not sure if it still is.



Now consists of the following new (or old) countries:


These are the preferred names. See Appendix II.

Most of these countries write addresses backwards from how we write them, e.g. with country name on top, the city line as the second line, the street line next, and finally the person. When addressing mail to these countries, write addresses in the normal USA order, because the USPS looks at the bottom of the address, not the top, for the city line and country name.

A piece of Russia, the Kaliningradskaya Oblast', lies on the Baltic coast, about 500km west of "contiguous Russia", with Latvia, Lithuania, and Belarus in between, and sharing a border with Poland. The city of Kaliningrad is the former Königsberg, once capital of East Prussia and later part of Germany, and was incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1945, becoming the USSR's only Baltic port. It remains Russia's only Baltic port. Government addresses are listed as:

  Person's name
  City Hall
  Pl. Pobedy 1
  RU-236 040 Kaliningrad

However, since Kaliningrad is cut off from the rest of Russia, it is not clear to me how the mail is delivered, given the new difficulties with visas, access, etc.

Another piece of Russia, the villages of Sankova and Medvezhe, lies inside Belarus.


Although the Cyrillic alphabet was used throughout most of the Soviet Union, some of the former Soviet republics are converting to Roman or Arabic script. Georgia and Armenia each have their own unique script.


Don't mix them up. The Peoples Republic of China is the big one. The Republic of China (ROC) is the little one, also known as Taiwan or (a long time ago) Formosa (from when it was a Portuguese colony).

The USPS IMM lists only the short names, CHINA and TAIWAN. It does not recognize Peoples Republic or Republic as part of the country name. This appears to be a general rule (which is proved by several exceptions).

The Peoples Republic of China has provinces like Shanxi, and address are written like this:

Wuhan, Hubei                 CHINA (postal code unknown)
Taiyuan, Shanxi              CHINA (ditto)
Hangzhou, Zhejiang  310027   CHINA (full address line)
Beijing 100081               CHINA (big city)
Shanghai 200052              CHINA (ditto)

Republic of China addresses go like this:

Taipei  10636                TAIWAN
Hsin-Chu  31015              TAIWAN

The provinces of Peoples China include:

Anhui             Henan         Jilin         Sichuan
Fujian            Hubei         Liaoning      Xingjiang Uygur
Guangdong         Hunan         Qinghai       Xizang
Guanxi Zhuangzu   Jiangsu       Shandong      Yunnan
Guizhou           Jiangxi       Shanxi        Zhejiang

Note that there has been a big "spelling reform" (for Romanization of Chinese names) in Peoples China but not in the ROC. The provinces listed above are in the new spelling. Some examples:

Old: Peking          New:  Beijing
     Szechuan              Sichuan
     Mao Tse Tung          Mao Zedong

For postal purposes, Tibet is a province of China called Xizang, but this is a very touchy political issue.

The proper addressing for Hong Kong after July 1, 1997, is not yet known, but prior addresses should still work, e.g.:

10/F Tower One,
Cheung Sha Wan Plaza

Hong Kong is still listed in the USPS IMM, and in fact (as of January 2003) Hong Kong Post still lists its own address as:

HongkongPost Headquarters
2 Connaught Place



Singapore is a bit unusual in that it is a city that is also a country. And it has postal codes. Logically we would write addresses like this:

Person's Name
Dept of Info Systems and Computer Science
National University of Singapore
Lower Kent Ridge Road

But the USPS does not want postal codes on the country line, so instead we pretend that Singapore is the city name as well as the country name:

Lower Kent Ridge Road
Singapore  119081

Singapore postal codes were changed from 4 to 6 digits in 1995. All the street signs also had to be changed, since they had 4-digit postcodes on them. Under the new system, each building in Singapore has its own unique postcode.



Addresses in India have city lines like "town postalcode". The postal code (PIN, Postal Index Number) has six digits with a space in the middle:


India Post recommends using BLOCK CAPITAL letters for the postal town. The state names are not used. According to Yateendra Joshi of New Delhi, "State names are totally redundant and are not required in the address at all. The post code and the delivery post office go together, as in Hyderabad 500 032 or Bangalore 560 012. Nothing but a space, ideally a dash, should come between the two. If you need to specify the state, it should come after the postal code, as in Hyderabad 500 032 Andhra Pradesh (or AP)." This was explained in more detail at the Maharashtra Postal Circle site (now vanished), which showed contradictory examples such as these:

Shri Govind Singh
35 Mandir Marg
NEW DELHI 110 001
The Executive Engineer
Public Health Engineering Division- 1
Public office Building
Museum Road
Kerala 695 033

Smt. Lakshmi Ramudu
21, Temple Street
Anantapur District
Andhra Pradesh 515 144  
Modern Engineering Company
Post Box 3254
Tamil Nadu 600 002

Of course when addressing mail to India from the USA, write INDIA as the final line. For the record, India has the following states (postal abbreviation shown):

AP Andhra Pradesh MNP Manipur
AR Arunachal Pradesh MEG Meghalaya
AS Assam MIZ Mizoram
BR Bihar NLD Nagaland
?? Chhattisgarh
GOA Goa OR Orissa
GUJ Gujarat PU Punjab
HR Haryana RAJ Rajasthan
HP Himachal Pradesh SKM Sikkim
JK Jammu and Kashmir TN Tamil Nadu
?? Jharkhand
KRN Karnataka TRP Tripura
KER Kerala ?? Uttaranchal
MP Madhya Pradesh UP Uttar Pradesh
MAH Maharashtra WB West Bengal

(the blank spots are because the number of Indian states increased from 25 to 28; the new ones are Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Uttaranchal; I'll fix the formatting later) plus the following union territories:

AN Andaman and Nicobar Islands
CHD Chandigarh
DNH Dadra and Nagar Haveli
DD Daman and Diu
DEL Delhi
LKP Lakshadweep
PDY Pondicherry



The UK and Ireland are covered in the next section. In most other countries, addressing is straightforward. Here are sample city lines from mail that has been received here, showing the three common conventions. Postal code before the city:

27000 Mostaganem                ALGERIA
2 0142 Naishi                   KENYA

Postal code after the city:

Jerusalem  95501                ISRAEL
Kingston  10                    JAMAICA
Tokyo  107                      JAPAN
Amman  844088                   JORDAN
Seoul  134-701                  KOREA
Besiktas-Istanbul  80700        TURKEY
Bangkok  10400                  THAILAND
East Rand  1462                 SOUTH AFRICA
Garki Abuja  900001             NIGERIA (*)
Lusaka  10101                   ZAMBIA
Valletta  VLT 06                MALTA
Tehran  nnnnn nnnnn             IRAN (**)

No postal code (as far as I can tell):

Mosul                           IRAQ
Aleppo City                     SYRIA
Maputo                          MOZAMBIQUE
Ha Noi                          VIETNAM
Harare                          ZIMBABWE

(*) From Peter Reynolds, 30 Jan 2002:
Nigeria has had a postcode system since around the early to middle part of 2001. The phone-book sized directory is available (evidently free of charge to those who have a good use for it) from:

Nigeria Postal Service
PMB 12537
Garki Abuja 900001

A significant minority of Nigerian citizens are now quoting their postcode as part of their address. [But the Web link to NIPOST seems to be defunct, even though it is still listed on the Nigerian Government Directory].

(**) Iran
Prior to 1997 Iran had 5-digit postal codes; now is converting to 10-digit codes, details unknown.

Quiz Question 2: If a person from Nigeria is a Nigerian, then what do we call someone from Niger?


King George, You Have Mail!

Where to find the most confusing addresses on earth...

What should be the name of this section? THE UNITED KINGDOM AND IRELAND (as it was once labeled), while technically correct if IRELAND is taken as the name of the country and not the island, can easily be misconstrued. THE UNITED KINGDOM AND THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND would not be correct since there is no country whose name is REPUBLIC OF IRELAND. THE UNITED KINGDOM AND ÉIRE is correct (two non-overlapping countries) but it contains a mixture of languages. Hence BRITAIN AND IRELAND (two non-overlapping islands) -- perhaps not quite adequate either since it might not encompass the various associated outlying islands.

Let's begin by reviewing the terminology:


Mail to England proper, by the definition above, is sent to ENGLAND. It was traditionally addressed as follows:

town, county  postalcode

But more recently:

"The UK Post Office no longer uses county names in postal addresses. Since local councils have been mucked about with a lot since the mid 1970s it can be very confusing when people still try to use such names. UK postal addresses are at" (Peter Reynolds, 30 Jan 2002), meaning much of the following material is dated, yet worth keeping for historical reasons and for decoding "old" addresses.

England is divided into counties, like Berkshire, etc, similar (in some ways but not others) to our states. These are often abbreviated, like "Berks" for Berkshire, "Leics" for "Leicestershire", "Bucks" for Buckinghamshire, and are listed in Appendix I. When a county is included in a postal address, it refers to the post town, and not necessarily to the point of delivery.

English addresses tend to have lots of parts that we are not used to seeing, like:

Person's Name
Eden Cottage
May's Green, Harpsden
Henley-on-Thames, Oxon  RG9 4AJ

Eden Cottage (Name of House) is in May's Green, which is a Hamlet (or in Royal Mail terminology, a Double Dependent Locality Name: a collection of 5-20 houses) in the Village of Harpsden, which is served by the Postal Town, Henley, which is on the river Thames, in the County of Oxfordshire (Appendix I), and the Post Code is RG9 4AJ. The postal town should be written in uppercase and, as noted above, current practice seems to favor omitting the county, since counties are a moving target anyway. (It's difficult for Americans to comprehend the constant reshuffling of British counties, given the immutability of our own states, not to mention the fanatical cultural nationalism surrounding statehood :-) Thus the previous address might be written au courant as:

Person's Name

All sorts of whimsy might be encountered in the parts of the address above the postal town, like:

Spofforths, Snaggley Lane,
Popsworth Green, near Scumble, Worcs, WN3 7JP

According to the foregoing taxonomy, it probably OK to translate this to:


When an English address is hopeslessly confusing, most of the middle parts can usually be omitted. For residential addresses it is reportedly sufficient to include only the person's name, house name and/or number, and postal code (but don't do this -- if all else fails, visit the website listed below).

Some towns have the same name as their enclosing county, or are so big or famous that everybody knows where they are, and so, even prior to counties going out of style, were written without a county:

LONDON  postal-code
OXFORD  postal-code
CAMBRIDGE  postal-code (the one in Cambridgeshire)

England and the other countries of the UK (and several other places outside the UK) all share the same postal code system. A UK-style postal code follows these patterns (N = Digit, L = Letter):


Note that all start with a letter, have at least one number in the first part, and all end with a space and then NLL. Besides these, there is one oddity:


(i.e. LLL NLL) for a national bank conceived in the 1960s/1970s called GiroBank. Well, maybe two:

Father Christmas
Reindeerland  SAN TA1

Here is your secret decoder ring for UK postal codes, courtesy of "George D":

  1. The first letter or pair of letters identifies the city or town which contains the main sorting office for the area. The larger cities have one letter and the smaller ones have two (eg, G for Glasgow but EH for Edinburgh and AB for Aberdeen). See also the exceptions below.

  2. The next figure or pair of figures identifies the postal district (eg, G1 covers part of the centre of Glasgow, G2 covers a different part and so on).

  3. When you add in the next number, you get a postcode sector (eg, G20 6 or EH3 5). Each sector is served by a delivery office where the postal workers who actually deliver the mail get hold of it.

  4. Add in the next letter and you get what's called the "postman's walk" (eg, EH11 2A). One worker will deliver all of the mail to the addresses covered by this designation.

  5. Finally comes the full postcode (called the 'unit postcode') which on average contains 15-20 'delivery points', ie, letterboxes which the mail gets put through (eg, EH11 2AQ - my own unit postcode).

There are a couple of exceptions worth mentioning. London postal codes have starting letters which use the points of the compass (eg N4 6BQ for an address in the north of the city or SW1 4AB for one in the south-west). Also, what the post office calls large users have their own postcodes - mainly organisations which get 50+ items of mail per day - although these look like normal postcodes. (end quote)

Mark Brader adds, "There are 8 of these, but not the eight 45-degree points. S and NE are not used (and those codes were given to Sheffield and Newcastle instead); EC and WC (east/west central) are used."

Ben Watson adds, "The reason London postcodes 'areas' are based on points of the compass is not because the city is so large, but because postally, London has been divided this way for well over a hundred years. Around London, you can see that some of the very old street name signs have NW or whatever after or below the street name (modern London street signs state the full postal district - eg. NW1)."

Mark Brader observes that "the system has been extended twice -- from the original NW to NW1 in the first half of the 20th century, then to NW1 1AB in the second half as your other submitters have mentioned. Some of the street signs with 'NW1' would date from before there were postal codes."

Ben Watson continues, "As an aside, the numbering of districts within a postal area (at least in London) looks illogical, as NW1 may not be adjacent to NW2. However, there some sort of logic behind it! The district of the main office in an area is always 1, then the rest of the numbers were assigned sequentially to an alphabetically ordered list of the rest of the districts in the area..

"Related to this, another assumption of mine is that the reason the UK national postcode system is somewhat weird is that when they introduced postcodes across the country in the sixties, they basically adopted the London system as-is (or as-was) and expanded it across rest of the country."

Which is confirmed by Hugh Dunne: "When British postal codes were first introduced, they only covered London and were of the form W1, SE9, etc -- but this was in the 1800s. Thus 'London W1', although seen in literature, is archaic and should not be encountered in modern addresses."

Mark Brader states, however, that "This is wrong. There were no numbers back then. The term for notations like 'London NW1' and 'New York 22', where the coded part is meaningful only with respect to the particular city, is 'postal zone', not 'postal code'. In some places when postal codes were introduced they were designed to incorporate the existing postal zones, such as London. I believe some other UK cities had numbered postal zones and these became the numerical part of the postal code, e.g. Birmingham 2 would now have B2 as the first part of all its codes, but this is partly only my conjecture. Similarly, I believe New York 22, N.Y. became NEW YORK NY 10022; I don't know about other US cities with postal zones. In Canada, all postal zones were obsoleted when postal codes came into use."

Traditional English addressing (i.e. before about 2001, when counties were included in the address):

London  WC2R 1JP                     ENGLAND  (no need for a county)
Manchester  M27 2OO                  ENGLAND  (no need for a county)
Oxford  OX2 7DE                      ENGLAND  (no need for a county)
Colchester, Essex  CO4 3SQ           ENGLAND  (full form)
Canterbury, Kent  CT2 7NF            ENGLAND  (full form)
Coventry, West Midlands  CV6 5RW     ENGLAND  (full form)
Hayle, Cornwall  TR27 4LN            ENGLAND  (full form)
Harpenden, Hertfordshire  AL5 1PW    ENGLAND  (full form)
Harpenden, Herts  AL5 1PW            ENGLAND  (abbreviated)
Nottingham, Nottinghamshire  NG4 3AJ ENGLAND  (full form)
Nottingham, Notts  NG4 3AJ           ENGLAND  (abbreviated)

Updated examples, in which the Postal Town is uppercase and the County is omitted:

LONDON  WC2R 1JP                     ENGLAND
MANCHESTER  M27 2OO                  ENGLAND
OXFORD  OX2 7DE                      ENGLAND
COLCHESTER  CO4 3SQ                  ENGLAND
CANTERBURY  CT2 7NF                  ENGLAND
COVENTRY  CV6 5RW                    ENGLAND
HAYLE  TR27 4LN                      ENGLAND
HARPENDEN  AL5 1PW                   ENGLAND
NOTTINGHAM  NG4 3AJ                  ENGLAND

The British armed forces have their own mail delivery system and addressing conventions (British Forces Post Office), just as the US armed forces do (APO, FPO). See the links below.


More Links:

Quiz Question 3: What is the Flag of England?


Scotland and Wales are separate countries within the United Kingdom, on the island of Britain. They use UK postal codes. We can write SCOTLAND and WALES on the bottom line of the address, since these are country names recognized by the USPS (Authority: IMM Issues 23-28, July 2000 - January 2003).

According to Finlay Smith, "Scottish postal codes are based on postal towns: EH (Edinburgh) G (Glasgow) IV (Inverness) AB (Aberdeen) PH (Perth) PA (Paisley) KW (Kirkwall) DG (Dumfries) TD (Tweeddale) FK (Falkirk) and HS (Harris), which cover the whole of Scotland except a small part near the border which has a CA (Carlisle) postcode which annoys the locals (especially when they shut the local sorting office and their mail started to be franked with a Carlisle frank). These regions can cover vast areas and are not necessarily close to the named town." (Scotland also includes the Outer Hebrides, which also have UK postal codes.)

Ken Westmoreland adds, "Berwick-upon-Tweed in England is covered by the Scottish postcode area TD, much to the annoyance of locals there."

Although Scotland and Wales have counties just like England does (e.g. Clackmannanshire, Stirlingshire, West Lothian, etc, in Scotland), we don't necessarily write them. They are not essential for addressing, and in Scotland especially, using a county name might do more harm than good, since there are old and new county names and boundaries and much confusion about which town is in which county. From Chris Cooke in Scotland:

"The big thing to realise about counties is that in 1974, most English and Welsh counties were changed, and Scottish and Northern Irish counties were abolished completely. The Northern Ireland counties were later reinstated I think, but Scotland remained divided into "regions" (yeuch) until 1996, when they were all abolished and the counties reinstated - but with different boundaries to the pre-1974 ones! England kept its counties throughout, but in 1974 and 1987 (?) and 1996 there were quite a few changes."

As to Wales, Alan Perry reports, "Your information on Wales needs to be updated. There was yet another change to county names in Wales [in 1994]; places like Gwynedd and South Glamorgan etc no longer exist! The former 8 counties have been replaced by 22 county borough councils (and a few newly-named county councils)" (see Appendix I). Addressing conventions from the Royal Mail Postal Address Book for Wales indicates addresses should be:

Alan says, "Most folk use the full address for a county borough but often leave out the county council name in the second case. I don't know why."

Examples for Scotland and Wales:

CARDIFF  CF23 6DS          WALES

Quiz Question 4: Who is the queen of Scotland?


These include the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands (Jersey and Guernsey, where the cows come from, Sark and Alderney). None of these are part of the UK, although the Isle of Man is (perhaps arguably) part of the British Isles.

According to IMM, the country names are:




Ken Westmoreland reports: The Channel Islands and Isle of Man didn't have their own postal administrations until the late 1960s, when the UK let them set up their own ones. Previously they were covered by the UK's GPO, just as Puerto Rico, USVI, etc, are still covered by the USPS. Guernsey now has blue pillar boxes, the only British territory I know that does. Hence they didn't become part of the UK postcode system until the early 1990s. Channel Islands and Isle of Man postcodes are as follows:

JE Jersey
GY Guernsey, Alderney, and Sark
IM Isle of Man

Here is a sample Isle of Man address:

Communications Commission
Winchester Court, Second Avenue,

More info on the Crown Dependencies: (Jersey Government) (Jersey Post) (Guernsey Government) (Guernsey Tourist Board) (Guernsey Post) (Isle of Man Government) (Isle of Man Tourism) (Isle of Man Post)


Gibraltar and the Falklands have their own addressing conventions (or lack of them) and should be addressed as countries in their own right as GIBRALTAR and FALKLAND ISLANDS respectively.

Gibraltar Chamber of Commerce
1 Gibraltar Plaza
P.O. Box 758
Imossi House
1/5 Irish Town

The Falklands are also claimed by Argentina, who call them the Malvinas; a war was fought over these islands in 1982. About 2200 people live there plus lots of penguins. Gibraltar is claimed by Spain and negotiations are presently underway as to its future.

Ken Westmoreland says, "Bermuda has its own postcode system, totally separate from the UK. Its postcodes are alphanumeric like British ones (Hamilton HM12), and mail is collected from red pillar boxes, just like the UK, which is really quaint for American tourists, just like having to drive on the left. Cheer up, at least Bermudians watch American TV networks and use the greenback."

"Bermuda street and PO Box addresses are as follows:

56 Church Street
Hamilton HM 12

PO Box HM 100
Hamilton HM AX

"The UK also has British Forces Post Office (BFPO) numbers. Gibraltar is BFPO 52, but obviously unless you know anyone in HM Forces, that's academic."

Links: (Gibraltar) (Falklands) (Bermuda)

Quiz Question 5: Which countries have a picture of the Queen on their money?


Like England, Scotland, and Wales, Northern Ireland is a country of the UK that uses UK postal codes.

Northern Ireland has six counties. County names can be included, as in the country of Ireland (next section), in which case the word "County" (abbreviated "Co.") appears before the county name in the address. The county name is optional, however; usually just the postal town and postal code are sufficient, provided the postal code is on the city line.

Even though Northern Ireland is part of the UK, you should write its name as if it were its own country, rather than writing UNITED KINGDOM, to avoid offending those who oppose its current status (NORTHERN IRELAND can be offensive too, but this is the designation used in the USPS International Mail Manual so at least it gets US mail delivered to the right part of the island).


Belfast  BT6 9HQ                     NORTHERN IRELAND (No county needed)
Craigavon, Co. Armagh  BT67 0EY      NORTHERN IRELAND (full form)

The counties of Northern Ireland are Down, Antrim, Armagh, Londonderry, Tyrone and Fermanagh (6) plus Belfast as a County Borough. Derry -- the city -- is the principal town in Co. Londonderry but until recently it was also called Londonderry. Since the removal of "London" is a political issue an apolitical vernacular compromise name is now Stroke City (as in Derry / Londonderry).

Rural townland names predate modern postal thinking. In Fermanagh for many years the Council refused to allocate roadnames or postcodes and insisted in retaining these traditional names. Naturally these townlands also had little relationship to the road layout, and houses had no actual numbers -- the address was like:

Mr William Jones
Ballysomething (Bally meaning Townland of....)
Kesh (the nearest main village)
Co. Fermanagh

This approach supposes that the postman knows the people rather than their address, which would have been the case in low population rural areas until the 1950's.

By the way, contrary to popular belief, "Ulster" is not a proper name for Northern Ireland; it is a region (formerly a kingdom) containing all of Northern Ireland, plus Counties Cavan, Donegal, and Monaghan in Ireland (next section).


Ireland is an independent country completely separate from the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. Never write UNITED KINGDOM on an Irish address. For the country of Ireland, use, simply:


According to the Irish constitution, "The name of the state shall be Éire or, in the English Language, Ireland" (another form is Éirinn). We use the English-language name, as we do for all other countries, so our post office will recognize it (in fact, the USPS IMM lists EIRE as an alternative name, and EIRE appears on Irish postmarks). Note that there is no country called the Republic of Ireland (this name was once used, but was abolished long ago; now it is the name of a football team). I have received every assurance that mail addressed to IRELAND is always delivered, even if it should somehow arrive at London or Belfast, rather than Dublin or Cobh.

Addresses in Ireland are similar to those in Northern Ireland, except that Ireland has no postal codes (but Dublin has postal zones). Thus an Irish address looks like:

town, Co. name-of-county

Or for Dublin:

Dublin zone

Dublin postal zones are numbers 1-24, plus a special one, "6W". Examples:

Galway                               IRELAND (no county needed)
Dublin 4                             IRELAND (no county needed)
Dublin 6W                            IRELAND (no county needed)
Athlone, Co. Westmeath               IRELAND (full form)
Bandon, Co. Cork                     IRELAND (full form)
Ballyragget, Co. Kilkenny            IRELAND (full form)
Cobh, Co. Cork                       IRELAND (full form)
Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin            IRELAND (full form)
Monivea, Co. Galway                  IRELAND (full form)
Shannon Airport, Co. Clare           IRELAND (full form)
Tipperary Town                       IRELAND (*)

(*) Tipperary Town means "Tipperary, County Tipperary".

The 26 counties of Ireland are:

Carlow        Galway        Limerick      Offaly        Wexford
Cavan         Kerry         Longford      Roscommon     Wicklow
Clare         Kildare       Louth         Sligo 
Cork          Kilkenny      Mayo          Tipperary 
Donegal       Laois         Meath         Waterford
Dublin        Leitrim       Monaghan      Westmeath



The counties of England, including recent changes. County names no longer need be used in English addresses, so this table is mainly of historical interest, but might also be useful in decoding old-style addresses, which, although "deprecated", are still widely used. Sources:

In England, county names are not prefixed by the word "county" (as they are in Ireland), with one exception: County Durham, to distinguish the county from the city of the same name. The "shire" suffix is also used for this purpose, e.g. to distinguish the city of Nottingham from the county of Nottinghamshire, but in some cases the suffix is optional, e.g. Devon[shire].

Name Abbreviation Remarks
(Avon)   Defunct as of 1 Apr 96 => Somerset, Glos, and Bristol
Bedfordshire Beds  
Berkshire Berks  
Buckinghamshire Bucks  
Cambridgeshire Cambs  
(Cleveland) Cleve Defunct 1 Apr 96 => Durham and North Yorkshire
County Durham    
Derbyshire Derbys  
Devon   Or Devonshire
East Riding of Yorkshire    
East Sussex    
Gloucestershire Glos  
Greater Manchester    
Hampshire Hants (1)  
Hereford & Worcester   Split into Hereford and Worcestershire 1 Apr 1998
Hertfordshire Herts  
(Humberside)   Defunct 1 Apr 96 => Lincolnshire or East Riding of Yorkshire
(Huntingtonshire) Hunts Defunct => Huntingdonshire and Peterborough => Cambridgeshire
Isle of Wight    
Lancashire Lancs  
Leicestershire Leics  
Lincolnshire Lincs Lincolnshire is the former [South] Humberside
Middlesex Middx Defunct government unit still used for postal addresses
Northamptonshire Northants  
Northumberland Northumb  
North Yorkshire N. Yorks  
Nottinghamshire Notts  
Oxfordshire Oxon (2)  
Shropshire Salop (3)  
South Yorkshire S. Yorks  
Staffordshire Staffs  
(Sussex)   Now East Sussex, West Sussex
Tyne & Wear    
Warwickshire Warks  
West Midlands    
West Sussex    
West Yorkshire W. Yorks  
Wiltshire Wilts  
(Yorkshire) Yorks => Humberside, North Yorks, Cleve, Durham, South Yorks, Cumbria, ...


  1. Hants, from OE Hantum Scir -> Hamtunschire -> Hantescire; see,

  2. Oxon, from Latin Oxonia / OE Oxnaford.

  3. Shropshire came into existence as a unit of government in the early 10th century. The oldest known form of the name of the county is SCROBBESCIRE, the shire belonging to SCROBBESBYRIG, the Saxon name for Shrewsbury. After the Norman Conquest the county's new rulers adopted the forms SALOPESCIRE and SALOPESBIRY. The word SALOP, applying both to the county and the county town, survived from the middle ages as an alternative English form, having originally been abbreviated from the Norman French. A Latin form, SALOPIA, was commonly used in documents in the 16th century, and in subsequent centuries legal records refer to the County of Salop rather than to Shropshire. The new authority established in 1974 under the Local Government Act of 1972 was officially named Salop, but this was altered to Shropshire with effect from 1st March 1980

The counties of Wales, before and after 1994

In 1974 the former 13 Welsh counties were reorganized into eight. In 1994 the eight counties were split into 11 new counties and 11 county borough councils.

Former Counties
(prior to 1994)
Current Counties New County Boroughs
(since 1994)
Clwyd Denbighshire
Aberconwy and Colwyn
Dyfed Ceredigion (was Cardiganshire)
Carmarthenshire (Carms)
Pembrokeshire (Pembs)
Gwent Monmouthshire Blaenau Gwent
Gwynedd Anglesey
Caernarfonshire and Merionethshire
Mid Glamorgan   Bridgend
Merthyr Tydfil
Rhondda, Cynon, Taff
Powys Powys  
South Glamorgan Cardiff The Vale of Glamorgan
West Glamorgan Swansea Neath and Port Talbot

Liam McGee (formerly of Cardigan, in the county of Ceredigion) says, "Dyfed was indeed split in 1994 into the counties of Carmarthenshire (Carms), Pembrokeshire (Pembs) and Cardiganshire (no abbreviation, strangely). But the name 'Cardiganshire' lasted only a month or two (long enough to reprint all the letterheads), before being changed to 'Ceredigion', which is the current county name. Derived from the old Welsh name from the area, derived from the name 'Caradoc' from the word 'caredig' (caring).

"Non-Welsh-speakers often lose their nerve when addressing letters to Welsh destinations, believing that they have mis-spelled the address, especially when they include words like 'Cnwc', 'Bwlch' or, even better, 'Eglwyswrw'. In Welsh, 'w' or 'y' are regarded as perfectly acceptable vowels, and addresses with them in place of more familiar 'a's, 'e's and so on, are indeed correct." (Of course 'y' can be a vowel in English too.)

The Counties of Scotland

Here's an attempt at a list of the counties of Scotland. I have no idea which of these are current; will add that information eventually. The code is the Chapman County Code (I'm not sure what good Chapman codes are; they seem to be used mainly in genaeology; English, Welsh, and Irish counties have Chapman codes too). Like the counties of England and Wales, Scottish counties have been redrawn, renamed, converted to regions and back to counties, and so forth; thus this list is more a curiosity than of any particular use in postal addressing, other than historical. As Andy Paterson reports, "As regards overall postal usage, Scotland and the rest of the UK (GB + NI), including the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, could rely solely on the use of the house number and the postcode. Indeed, many companies ask you for only this information rather than your full address when phoning them."

County Code Status, Alternative Name, etc.
Aberdeenshire ABD  
Angus ANS Forfarshire
Argyllshire ARL  
Ayrshire AYR  
Banffshire BAN  
Berwickshire BEW  
Borders BOR  
Bute BUT Buteshire
Caithness CAI  
Central CEN  
Clackmannanshire CLK  
Dumfries-shire DFS  
Dumfries and Galloway DGY  
Dunbartonshire DNB Dumbartonshire
East Lothian ELN  
Fife FIF Kingdom of Fife (one of the 7 Pictish kingdoms)
Grampian GMP  
Highland HLD  
Inverness-shire INV  
Kincardine KCD  
Kinross KRS Kinross-shire
Kirkcudbrightshire KKD  
Lanarkshire LKS  
Lothian LTN  
Midlothian MLN  
Morayshire MOR  
Nairn NAI Nairnshire
Orkney OKI Orkney Islands
Peebles-shire PEE  
Perth PER Perthshire
Renfrewshire RFW  
Ross and Cromarty ROC  
Roxburghshire ROX  
Selkirkshire SEL  
Shetland SHI Shetland Islands
Strathclyde STD  
Stirlingshire STI  
Sutherland SUT Sutherlandshire
Tayside TAY  
West Lothian WLN  
Western Isles WIS  
Wigtownshire WIG  


The following list is our own internal standard, keyed as closely as possible to ISO 3166-1 and the USPS IMM. In the third column, former names are shown in italics. Note that the IMM allows two or more names for certain countries (e.g. Netherlands and Holland; Taiwan and Formosa; Malaysia and Malaya, Iran and Persia), whereas we should always use the same (and most current) name for each country, since they are used as database keys. Links are to postal authorities in each country, if known. The ISO column shows the ISO 3166-1 Alpha-2 Code Element (which is also the Internet Domain).

Name to Use ISO Other or Old Names (don't use, even if correct)
AFGHANISTAN AF Islamic State of Afghanistan
ALBANIA AL Shqiperia, Republika e Shqiperise, Republic of Albania
ALDERNEY -- Channel Islands, Address through Guernsey
ALGERIA DZ People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, Al Jaza'ir
AMERICAN SAMOA AS (Use USA address) (Also see Samoa)
ANDORRA AD Principality of Andorra, Principat d'Andorra
ANGOLA AO Republic of Angola, Republica de Angola
ARGENTINA AR Argentine Republic, República Argentina
AUSTRALIA AU Commonwealth of Australia, Oz
AUSTRIA AT (Republik) Österreich (Oesterreich), Republic of Austria
BAHAMAS BS The Bahamas
BAHRAIN BH State of Bahrain, Dawlat al Bahrayn, Al Bahrayn
BANGLADESH BD People's Republic of Bangladesh, East Pakistan
BELARUS BY Belorussia, B{i,y}elorus(sia), Belorussian SSR, White Russia
BELGIUM BE (Koninkrijk) België, (Royaume de) Belgique, Kingdom of Belgium
BELIZE BZ British Honduras
BENIN BJ Dahomey, Republic of Benin, République du Benin
BHUTAN BT Kingdom of Bhutan
BOLIVIA BO Republica de Bolivia, Republic of Bolivia
BOSNIA-HERZOGOVINA BA (Part of former Yugoslavia)
BOTSWANA BW Botswanaland, Republic of Botswana, Bechuanaland
BRAZIL BR (Republica Federativa do) Brasil, Federative Republic of Brazil
BRUNEI DARRUSALAM BN Brunei, Negara Brunei Darussalam
BULGARIA BG Republic of Bulgaria, Peoples Republic of Bulgaria
BURUNDI BI Republic of Burundi, Republika y'u Burundi
CAMBODIA KH Kampuchea, Khmer Republic
CAMEROON CM Republic of Cameroon, French Cameroon
CANADA CA Dominion of Canada
CAPE VERDE CV (Republica de) Cabo Verde, Republic of Cape Verde
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC CF République Centrafricaine, Ubangi-Shari, Central African Empire
CHAD TD Republic of Chad, (République du) Tchad
CHILE CL República de Chile
CHINA CN Peoples Republic of China, Mainland China
COLOMBIA CO República de Columbia, Republic of Columbia
COMOROS KM Federal Islamic Republic of the Comoros, République Federale Islamique des Comores
CONGO -- See: Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo
COSTA RICA CR Républica de Costa Rica, Republic of Costa Rica
CÔTE D'IVOIRE CI République de Côte d'Ivoire, Ivory Coast (1)
CROATIA HR Republika Hrvatska, part of former Yugoslavia
CUBA CU República de Cuba, Republic of Cuba
CURACAO AN Curação, Netherlands Antilles
CYPRUS CY Republic of Cyprus, Greek Cyprus (Mail to northern Cyprus must go through Turkey)
CZECH REPUBLIC CZ Česko, Česka Republika, Czechia, Czech part of Former Czechoslovakia
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO CD République Democratique du Congo, DROC, Congo/Kinshasa, Zaire, Belgian Congo, Congo/Leopoldville
DJIBOUTI DJ Territory of the Afars and the Issars, French Somaliland
DOMINICA DM Commonwealth of Dominica
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC DO República Dominicana, Quisqeyana
ECUADOR EC República del Ecuador, Republic of Ecuador
EAST TIMOR TL (Democratic Republic of) Timor-Leste, Timor Lorosae, Portuguese Timor
EGYPT EG Arab Republic of Egypt, Misr, Jumhuriyat Misr al-Arabiyah, United Arab Republic
EL SALVADOR SV República de El Salvador, Republic of El Salvador
ENGLAND UK United Kingdom, Great Britain, Britain, UK
EQUATORIAL GUINEA GQ (República de) Guinea Ecuatorial, Republic of Equatorial Guinea, Spanish Guinea
ERITREA ER State of Eritrea, (Hagere) Ertra
ESTONIA EE Eesti, Estonian SSR
ETHIOPIA ET Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
FAROE ISLANDS FO Faeroe Islands, Føroya
FIJI FJ French Polynesia
FINLAND FI Republic of Finland, Suomen Tasavalta, Suomi
FRANCE FR Républic Française
FRENCH GUIANA GF Department of Guiana, Guyane
GABON GA Gabonese Republic
GAMBIA GM Republic of the Gambia, The Gambia
GEORGIA GE Republic of Georgia, Sak'art'velo, Georgian SSR
GERMANY DE (Bundesrepublik) Deutschland, Federal Republic of Germany
GHANA GH Republic of Ghana
GREECE GR Ellas, Hellas
GREENLAND GL Kalaallit Nunaat
GUADELOUPE GP Departement de la Guadeloupe (France), French West Indies
GUAM GU (Use USA address)
GUATEMALA GT República de Guatemala
GUERNSEY GG Channel Islands
GUINEA GN Guinee, Republic of Guinea, République de Guinea, French Guinea
GUINEA-BISSAU GW Republica da Guine-Bissau, Republic of Guinea-Bissau, Portuguese Guinea
GUYANA GY Co-operative Republic of Guyana, British Guyana, British Guiana
HAITI HT République d'Haiti, Republic of Haiti
HONDURAS HN Républica de Honduras, Republic of Honduras
HONG KONG HK Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Xianggang, Xianggang Tebie Xingzhengqu
HUNGARY HU Republic of Hungary, Magyarorszag, Magyar Koztarsasag
ICELAND IS Republic of Iceland, Lýðveldið Ísland, Ísland
INDIA IN Republic of India
INDONESIA ID Republic of Indonesia, Republik Indonesia, Dutch/Netherlands East Indies
IRAN IR Islamic Republic of Iran, Persia
IRAQ IQ Republic of Iraq, Al Iraq, Al Jumhuriyah al Iraqiyah
IRELAND IE Éire, Eire, Irland, Irish Free State, Republic of Ireland
ISLE OF MAN IM Ellan Vannin
ISRAEL IL State of Israel, Yisra'el, Medinat Yisra'el
ITALY IT Italia, Repubblica Italiana, Italian Republic,
JERSEY JE Channel Islands
JORDAN JO The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Trans-Jordan
KAZAKHSTAN KZ Kazakstan, Kazachistan, Republic of Kazakhstan, Kazakh SSR
KENYA KE Republic of Kenya, British East Africa
KIRIBATI KI Gilbert, Canton, and Christmas Islands
KOREA KR South Korea, Republic of Korea, ROK; Also see: North Korea
KUWAIT KW State of Kuwait, Al Kuwayt, Dawlat al Kuwayt
KYRGYZSTAN KG Kyrgyz Republic, Kyrgyz Respublikasy, Kyrgyz SSR
LAOS LA Lao Peoples Democratic Republic
LATVIA LV Republic of Latvia, Latvijas Republika, Latvija, Lettland, Latvian SSR
LEBANON LB Liban, Lubnan, Al Jumhuriyah al Lubnaniyah, République Libanaise, Lebanese Republic
LESOTHO LS Kingdom of Lesotho, Basutoland
LIBERIA LR Republic of Liberia
LIBYA LY Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Al Jumahiriyah al Arabiyah al Libiyah ash Shabiyah al Ishtirakiyah al Uzma
LIECHTENSTEIN LI Fuerstentum Liechtenstein, Principality of Liechtenstein
LITHUANIA LT Lietuva, Lietuvos Respublika, Republic of Lithuania, Lithuanian SSR
LUXEMBOURG LU Luxemburg, Grande-Duché de Luxembourg, Letzeburg
MACAU MO Macao, Macão (Now part of China)
MACEDONIA MK Makedonia (also in Greece), Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
MADAGASCAR MG République de Madagascar
MALAWI MW Nyasaland
MALAYSIA MY Federation of Malaysia, Malaya
MALDIVES MV Republic of Maldives, Dhivehi Raajje, Dhivehi Raajjeyge Jumhooriyyaa
MALI ML République de Mali, French Sudan
MALTA MT Repubblika ta' Malta, Republic of Malta
MARTINIQUE MQ Departement de la Martinique, Department of Martinique (France), French West Indies
MAURITANIA MR Islamic Republic of Mauritania, Al Jumhuriyah al Islamiyah al Muritaniyah
MAURITIUS MU Republic of Mauritius
MEXICO MX México, Méjico, Estados Unidos Mexicanos
MOLDOVA MD Moldavia, Republic of Moldova, Republica Moldoveneasca, Moldavian SSR
MONACO MC Principaute de Monaco
MONGOLIA MN Mongol Uls, Peoples Republic of Mongolia, Outer Mongolia
MOROCCO MA Kingdom of Morocco, Al Maghrib, Al Mamlakah al Maghribiyah
MOZAMBIQUE MZ (Republica de) Moçambique, Republic of Mozambique, Portuguese East Africa
MYANMAR MM Union of Myanmar, (Pyidaungzu) Myanma Naingngandaw, Burma
NAMIBIA NA Republic of Namibia, German Southwest Africa
NEPAL NP Kingdom of Nepal
NETHERLANDS NL Kingdom of the Netherlands, (Koninkrijk der) Nederland(en), "Holland"
NEW CALEDONIA NC Territory of New Caledonia and Dependencies, (Territoire des) Nouvelle-Caledonie (et Dependances)
NICARAGUA NI República de Nicaragua
NIGER NE Republic of (the) Niger, République du Niger
NIGERIA NG Federal Republic of Nigeria
NORTH KOREA KP Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, DPRK
NORTHERN IRELAND UK United Kingdom, "Ulster"
NORWAY NO Kingdom of Norway, (Kongeriket) Norge
OMAN OM Sultanate of Oman
PAGO PAGO AS (See American Samoa)
PAKISTAN PK Islamic Republic of Pakistan
PALAU PW (Use USA address)
PALISTINIAN TERRITORY PS Palestine, West Bank, Gaza Strip
PANAMA PA República de Panama
PARAGUAY PY República del Paraguay, Republic of Paraguay
PERU PE República del Peru, Republic of Peru
PHILIPPINES PH Philipine Islands, Republic of the Philipines, Republika ng Pilipinas
POLAND PL (Rzeczpospolita) Polska, Republic of Poland
PORTUGAL PT Republica Portuguesa
PUERTO RICO PR Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Borinquen (Use USA address)
QATAR AQ State of Qatar, Dawlat Qatar
REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO CG République du Congo, Congo/Brazzaville, Middle Congo,
ROMANIA RO Rumania, Roumania
RUSSIA RU Russian Federation, Rossiya, Rossiyskaya Federatsiya, RSFSR, CIS
RWANDA RW Ruanda, Republika y'u Rwanda
SAINT CROIX VI (See US Virgian Islands)
SAINT JOHN VI (See US Virgian Islands)
SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS KN Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis
SAINT THOMAS VI (See US Virgian Islands)
SAMOA WS Independent State of Samoa, Western Samoa
SAN MARINO SM Repubblica di San Marino (inside Italy)
SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE ST São Tome e Principe, Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe, Republica Democratica de São Tome e Principe
SARK -- Channel Islands, Address through Guernsey
SAUDI ARABIA SA Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
SCOTLAND UK Alba, United Kingdom, Great Britain
SENEGAL SN République du Sénégal
SERBIA-MONTENEGRO YU (Federal Replublic of) Yugoslavia, (Savezna Republika) Jugoslavija, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo (2)
SEYCHELLES SC Republic of Seychelles
SIERRA LEONE SL Republic of Sierra Leone
SINGAPORE SG Republic of Singapore
SLOVAK REPUBLIC SK Slovakia, Republic of Slovakia, Slovensko, Slovenská Republica
SLOVENIA SI Slovenija, Republic of Slovenia
SOLOMON ISLANDS SB British Solomon Islands
SOMALIA SO Somali Democratic Republic
SOUTH AFRICA ZA Republic of South Africa, Union of South Africa
SPAIN ES Kingdom of Spain, España
SRI LANKA LK Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Ceylon
SUDAN SD Republic of the Sudan, (Jumhuriyat) As-Sudan
SURINAME SR Republiek Suriname, Dutch Guiana
SWAZILAND SZ Kingdom of Swaziland
SWEDEN SE (Konungariket) Sverige, Kingdom of Sweden
SWITZERLAND CH Schweiz, Suisse, Svizzera, Confœderatio Helvetica
SYRIA SY Syrian Arab Republic, United Arab Republic
TAHITI PF Polynésie Française, French Polynesia
TAIWAN TW Republic of China, ROC, Formosa
TANZANIA TZ United Republic of Tanzania, Tanganyika and Zanzibar
THAILAND TH Kingdom of Thailand, Siam
TINIAN MP (See Northern Mariana Islands)
TOGO TG République Togolaise, Togolese Republic, French Togoland
TONGA TO Kingdom of Tonga, Friendly Islands
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO TT Republic of Trinidad and Tobago
TRUK FM (See Micronesia)
TUNISIA TN Tunis, Al Jumhuriyah at Tunisiyah
TURKEY TR Turkïye (Cumhuriyeti), Republic of Turkey
TUVALU TV Ellice Islands
UGANDA UG Republic of Uganda
UKRAINE UA Ukrainia, The Ukraine, Ukrayina, Ukrainian National Republic, Ukrainian SSR, CIS
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES AE Al Imarat al Arabiyah al Muttahidah, Trucial Oman
UNITED KINGDOM UK See: England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland
URUGUAY UY República Oriental del Uruguay (ROU)
USA US United States, United States of America, EEUU, США
UZBEKISTAN UZ O'zbekiston (Respublikasi), Uzbek SSR
VANUATU VU Republic of Vanuatu, New Hebrides
VATICAN CITY VA Holy See, Santa Sede, (Stata della) Citta del Vaticano
VENEZUELA VE República Bolivariana de Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
VIETNAM VN Việt Nam, Socialist Replublic of Viet Nam, Indochina, Annam
WALES UK Cymru, United Kingdom, Great Britain
YEMEN YE Republic of Yemen
ZAMBIA ZM Republic of Zambia, Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland
ZIMBABWE ZW Republic of Zimbabwe, Southern Rhodesia


  1. The USPS IMM lists the French name, Côte d'Ivoire (complete with circumflex) and not the English name.


  1. Some of the Aleutian Islands, by Japan, as well as the French West Indies; in the period 1940-1943, Martinique's Vichy government was technically at war with the USA and its allies. This was the setting for the Howard Hawks / Humphrey Bogart / Lauren Becall film, To Have and Have Not, as well as the coming of age of Franz Fanon.
  2. Nigerien or Nigerois.
  3. Queen Elizabeth I (who is the same person as Queen Elizabeth II of England).
  4. The flag of England is:       The Union Flag is:  
  5. The UK of course, and...? Ken Westmoreland has the best answer so for: "Australia (on coins and perhaps certain notes), New Zealand (on coins), Canada (on coins and the $20 note). Fiji (on both even though it became a republic in 1987!!). Papua New Guinea, Kina, and Solomon Islands Dollar, at least on coins. Scottish and Northern Ireland banknotes don't; Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man ones do. Gibraltar, Falklands, and St Helena do and still use sterling (although they're considered 'foreign' by UK banks!). Bermuda (dollar on par with greenback since 1970). British Virgin Islands use US Dollar, other Overseas Territories in the region use Eastern Caribbean dollar; not sure if they have the Queen on their coins, although all except Dominica still have the Queen as head of state. Jamaica and Barbados still have the Queen as head of state, but don't have her on their money, although the Bahamas may do (like Bermuda, local dollar on par with greenback). All notes and coins with HM's portraits in Hong Kong were withdrawn from circulation before the handover in 1997." Also: Belize banknotes have the Queen's portrait (I don't know about coins).

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