FRANK'S COMPULSIVE GUIDE TO POSTAL ADDRESSES

  Effective Addressing for International Mail

República Dominicana México Brasil Portugal Canada Cuba China Ireland United Kingdom New Zealand

SAVE THE POST OFFICE   •   SAVE THE BRONX GPO   •   A World Without the Post Office   •   Petition   •   APWU

Author:
Frank da Cruz
New York City
fdc@columbia.edu

Last Update:
Sun Nov 17 11:54:02 2013 Eastern USA time

Quick Access:
Go to the INDEX and click on a country name.

Nuevo para los latinoamericanos:
Buscar códigos postales

Listed in PC World's The 50 Most Useful Sites Ever (Feb 2003)

CONTENTS


Disclaimer:
MAINTAINANCE OF THIS DOCUMENT IS WAS A PUBLIC SERVICE OF the ex-KERMIT PROJECT AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY. It was was originally written for our own business purposes (international shipping of our software in the pre-Internet days) and does not claim to be definitive, complete, systematic, or unopinionated. All opinions and conclusions are those of the author (or the contributors or references cited) and not of Columbia University. Apologies for any inappropriate terminology, especially since this document aims to eradicate it. Format: handmade HTML with accented or non-Roman characters encoded in UTF-8, properly announced to allow inclusion of text in many languages and scripts. For more information about UTF-8 CLICK HERE and HERE.

Background:
This document started in the 1980s as a short tip-sheet, organized geographically, with sections for regions or specific countries. Then about 1990, everything changed – the breakup of the Soviet Union, the reunification of Germany, the breakups of Jugoslavia and Czechoslovakia. This document reflects the changes, rather than simply starting over, because at the time we were faced with a big address conversion problem. Such events will continue to happen as time goes on so it's useful to recall their impact, even on this tiny area of human endeavor. Hence the sections labeled The Former Soviet Union, The Former Jugoslavia, etc.

Updates:
The 14 November 2000 edition adds links to postal authorities in many countries, which are recapitulated alphabetically (in English) in the INDEX at the end. The 15 May 2001 edition adds ISO 3166-1 codes to the country list in Index; this is the familiar Internet top-level domain (TLD) for each country (in most cases), and these are also used on international mail containers, machine-readable passports, and in national currency identifiers. Lots of corrections and expansion in January 2003. The February 2003 version is much expanded, including new tables and sections for Africa, the Mideast, Latin America, and with each country name in the Index linking back to the relevant section of the main document. In June 2003, the tables of English, Scottish, and Welsh counties, which are no longer used in UK addresses, was moved out to a separate file and the UK section was modernized.

The UTF-8 conversion was done on 20 January 2003; the previous ISO-8859-1 Latin Alphabet 1 version, current as of that date, remains available HERE (but won't be updated). The UTF-8 version includes text in Greek, Cyrillic, Arabic, Hebrew, Hindi, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tibetan, Thai, Khmer, and other scripts that can't be represented in Latin-1 but are easily accommodated by UTF-8. Most of this text is in the COUNTRY INDEX. Anybody who can supply missing country names or other relevant items in native language and script is welcome to send them in; I'll be glad to add them (with credit, of course).

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 fdc@columbia.edu.

Acknowledgements:
Aleida Morel (Dominican Republic),
Mari Carmen Fonseca, Juan Castro, Patrick Decker, Andrew Leonard (México).
Fernando Cabral, Steve Slayton (Brazil).
Roberto Homs (Cuba),
Felipe Zapata Roldán (Colombia),
Josh Gross, Kevin Tarr (Costa Rica);
Johnny Franco Arboine (Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Ecuador);
Craig Hartnett, Doug Ewell (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.
Kjetil Torgrim Homme (Norway).
Xander Jansen, Gert Grenander, Abigail, Sjoerd Cranen, Reinier Olislagers, Ken Martin (The Netherlands).
John Klensin, Alexander Svensson, Alex Bochannek, Asmus Freytag, Otto Stolz, Claus Langhans, Clemens Gutweiler, Ralph Babel, David Krings, Jens Peter Hammer (Germany).
Christoph Päper (Liechtenstein, Lëtzeburg).
Marco Cimarosti, Peter J. Russell (Italy).
Александр Лысиков / Alex Lisikov (Russia).
Олександр Лисіков / Alex Lisikov (Ukraine).
Алег Гайко / Aléh Haikó (Belarus).
Peter Russell (Lithuania).
Klein Tamás Márton (Hungary).
Eduard Vopicka, Radovan Garabík (The Czech Republic and Slovakia).
Dustin Du Cane (Poland).
Marjan Baće, Sindi Keesan, David Vidmar, Bojan Milenkovic (The Former Yugoslavia).
Վաչէ Գունտաքճը / Vaçe Kundakçı (Armenia).
გიორგი ლებანიძე / Georgi Lebanidze (Georgia).
روزبه پورنادر / Roozbeh Pournader (Iran).
Sannidhya Misra, Stewart Evans, Yateendra Joshi (India).
Eric Nedervold, Dieter Walter (Nepal), Anthony Fok Tung-Ling, Stephen Yang, Tom Tschritter (China).
Paul Hastings (Thailand).
Graham Rhind, Arthur Marsh, Doug Moncur (Australia).
Elizabeth Eggers, Ken Westmoreland, Ben Arnold, Derek Sivers, Andrew Kerkham (New Zealand).
Peter Reynolds (Nigeria).
Ken Westmoreland (Kenya).
Eberhard W Lisse (Namibia).
Topi Linkala, Miikka-Markus Alhonen, Jarkko Hietaniemi, Era Eriksson (Finland).
Craig Hartnett (Zambia, Zimbabwe, Rhodesia, Nyasaland).
John Hagerson (Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Vietnam, Israel, Serbia, Egypt).
Mordecai Glickman (Israel).
Avery Yen (Taiwan).
Kenneth Joseph Vella (Malta).
Andy Bell (Hong Kong).
Samuel Dickey, “Agroni” (Kosovo).
Joshua Holman (St. Martin & St. Barthélemy; Diego García)
Fridjon Gudjohnsen (Iceland).
Gerben Vos, Ir. P. (Peter) Mazereeuw (the ex-Netherlands Antilles).
Pekka Pihlajasaari (Malaysia).
Giselle Vassallo Pitto (Gibraltar).
Darrell K. McKown, US Army Postal Operations, Germany (APO/FPO/DPO).
Gabriel Sroka, California State University.

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, Paul Black, Bernard Treves Brown, Greg Boettcher, Peter Kirk, Michael T. Farnworth, Andrew Leonard, Chris Woodhouse (Royal Mail), Philip Woods, John Marsh, Paolo Montanelli, Angela Watts, Gary Delaney, Kevin Tarr.

General information and corrections: Linda Beek, Dan Olsson, Peter Russell, Ken Westmoreland, Gert Grenander, Marcy Strawmyer, Mark Brader, László Kende, Tex Texin, Helgi Jonsson, Roozbeh Pournader, Tom Gewecke, Magda Danish, Stuart Brown, Noah Levitt, Herman Ranes. Miikka-Markus Alhonen, Marco Cimarosti, Kent Karlsson, Celvin Niklas Jojakin Ruisdael, Hans Schievelkamp, Pete Russel, Doug Ewell, Philip Newton, Jim Brent, Christian Rosner, Howard Laker, Cassandra Phillips-Sears, Austin Knight, G. Herbke, Joshua Holman, George Rhoten, Jay Davis, Tom Richards, Malik Kalfane, Jean-Christophe Deschamps, Chris Morris, Bettina Morton, Gregg Lobdell, the IBM International Components for Unicode (ICU) library, and the Web page Country names in various languages by Werner Fröhlich for several of the native-script country names (Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, etc).

Reference:
Law, Gwillim, Administrative Subdivisions of Countries, McFarland & Company (1999). Updates available on the Web at http://www.statoids.com. See this reference for states, provinces, or other subdivisions of any country.

Resources:

Issues:

INTRODUCTION

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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. But even this is a moving target as addressing guidelines and formats of each country are constantly revised.

The very term country can be controversial. Who decides what is a country and what isn't? The criterion used in this document is simple: if the USPS lists it in its Index to Countries and Localities, we treat it as a country. Thus some localities (such as Reunion Island) that are not distinct countries are listed, whereas other localities that consider themselves countries (such as Western Sahara) are not listed (but still discussed). Rationale: if you address mail from the USA to WESTERN SAHARA, the USPS won't know what to do with it. If you want to send mail to SAINT PIERRE AND MIQUELON (a part of France that is in Canada) from the USA, it doesn't make sense for the mail to go all the way to France and back.

Similarly, saying that a particular country is in Europe or Africa or Latin America or Asia or the Middle East can be controversial. Where does Russia go? Turkey? Egypt? The Falkland Islands (Malvinas)? I've made a few groupings like this for convenience, e.g. to keep the number of tables to a minimum and avoid duplications – these choices are purely logistical and not political or ideological.

The best international addressing strategy is one that is not only consistent and inoffensive, but that also achieves to whatever degree possible several potentially conflicting goals:

  1. The address complies with the addressing guidelines of the originating country (USA in this case) and is dispatched to the correct destination country without any delay caused by the address itself.

  2. The address complies with the addressing requirements of the destination country and is dispatched to the target address without address-related delay.

  3. The address fits your own organization's database and record-keeping needs, ideally allowing reports and selections by country, city, etc.

When this document was first written for internal use in the late 1980s, the United States Postal Service (USPS) had no published guidelines for addressing international mail – if it did, we'd have just used them. There were no standard or recommended names for countries. The situation has improved since then with the appearance of the USPS International Mail Manual (IMM), including an index of countries and localities, first discovered (by me) in 2000, newly available in HTML so we can link directly to it and to sections of it. The new HTML version also seems to be greatly expanded over the earlier versions, for example containing long lists of cities with postcodes for each country (e.g. Russia).

ISO International Standard 11180, Postal Addressing (1993) (withdrawn 15 Jan 2004), by the way, was no help at all, except that it contained a reference to the Universal Postal Union:

http://www.upu.int/

which provides tip sheets for addressing mail to each country. But there is no way to tell how authoritative or current the UPU guidelines are – they are not dated, and they give no references. But for some countries, the UPU provides the only guidance available. It should also be noted that addressing guidelines are incidental to the UPU's primary mission, which is creating standards for the description of postal addresses (that is, defining and naming the elements), not for their rendition, which is left to each country.

August 2006: The UPU's website has changed a lot since I wrote the previous paragraph. The addressing recommendations for each country, which are found HERE, now have dates, and have more information (e.g. lists of state/province abbreviations, additional examples), and there is a comprehensive page of links to postcode lookups for each member country HERE.

USPS Service Updates The United States Postal service delivers mail to most of the countries on earth, but there are some exceptions and restrictions owing to politics (Cuba), war (Gaza), natural disasters (Haiti), or other factors such as isolation (Pitcairn Island). To see the current list of affected countries, visit the USPS Service Updates page.

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

GENERAL PRINCIPLES

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As a basis for discussion, let's begin by looking at a typical international address:

JOE BLOGGS Person's name
COMPUTER CENTER Department (if any)
CURTIN UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY     Institution or Company (if any)
309 KENT STREET Street Address (or Post Office Box)
BENTLEY WA  6102 City Line (WA = Western Australia)
AUSTRALIA Country Name

It illustrates several points, all of which are discussed later in greater detail:

Order of Presentation
In the USA, we write addresses in minor-to-major order, with the most specific (smallest) item (e.g. person's name) at the top, proceeding to the most general (largest) item (i.e. country name) at the bottom. This order is not necessarily used in other countries (e.g. Iran, Russia), but since we are sending mail from the USA, it might be safer to use it in all cases because our own postal service must process the address first.

The Country Name
For domestic mail (mail within the USA), we omit the country name. For all other countries, we write the country name as the last line, by itself, in all CAPITAL LETTERS, with no accompanying notations such as postal codes, or hints as to which continent the country is on. We use country names consistently; they are listed in the Index. In the USA and many other countries, postal sorting machines read and sort by the country name. Thus within each country, the country name list must be well-known and standardized.

According to USPS officials that I interviewed in 2002: unless the country name is CANADA, the USPS does not read and does not care about anything that appears above it. International mail from the USA to any country but Canada goes to a single location in that country for sorting and separation. Thus when sending mail from the USA to any other country we are free to format the address according to the requirements of the destination country (for mail to Canada, the addressing requirements conform to our own; for details see the section on Canada).

I'm not sure it is still true (in 2004) that the USPS does not care about different destinations within a big country. Recent editions of the IMM seem to imply otherwise, e.g. by including long lists of cities in different countries, complete with postcodes. See the section on the Former Soviet Union.

The City Line
The line just above the country name shows the town, and sometimes the major subdivision of the country, known as the state, province, county, district, territory, land, shire, department, canton, prefecture, oblast, autonomous region, etc, depending on the country, and often a postal code to aid in automated sorting. We call this the City Line. Since the USPS does not read or care about this line (except in mail to Canada and (by some accounts) the UK), it can and should be formatted as required by the destination country.

A handful of national postal authorities now recommend writing postal code on a line by itself, above or below the city line (Ecuador, Ukraine, Hungary... and now also the UK). In such cases, the City Line occupies two lines. As far as I can tell, this is a recent development and is largely ignored in many of the countries that recommend it (e.g. Russia). In any case, it makes formatting and parsing international addresses all the more complicated, and might also cause addresses to exceed address-line limits, where they did not before (e.g. for postal scanners, databases, forms, or window envelopes).

While the United States might ignore the destination city in international mail, other countries do not necessarily do so. For example, mail from England to Los Angeles is sent directly to Los Angeles, whereas a letter to New York goes on a flight to New York. The journey of a letter from Nome (Alaska) to Provideniya (Siberia), if sent westward rather than east, could be 23,000 miles shorter if the USPS processed the city line.

The following table shows a sampling of City Line formats. Punctuation shown in the Format column is to be taken literally:

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

In the formats above, province stands for whatever each country calls its subdivisions (e.g. state in the USA), and often is abbreviated according to local postal standards. Here are some variables in City Line format, all of which are illustrated later in this document:

Upper and Lower Case
The postal authorities of the USA, Canada, UK, and many other countries recommend that the City Line (and preferably the entire address) be written in ALL UPPERCASE. In the UK, the City Line (Post Town) and postcode should use only capital letters, but the remainder of the address can (but need not) be in mixed case.

State/Province
In some countries (like the USA, Canada, and Australia) 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.

Punctuation
In some countries (like Ireland) punctuation must be used in the City Line, but in others (like the USA, Canada, and Australia), it should not be used.

Postal Codes
Postal codes, in countries that have them, are usually numeric, sometimes containing a space or a hyphen. European postal codes can have an alphabetic prefix, denoting the country, separated by a hyphen (such as DK-1234 in Denmark), but this seems to be going out of style (more about this in the section on Europe). Canadian, UK, and some other postal codes contain mixtures of digits and letters. Depending on the country, the postal code can go in the city line (left or right of the city), above it, or below it. In most countries where the postal code is on the right, we separate it by two (2) spaces (unless it is really a zone, like Dublin 4, and not a postal code).

For the lines above the city line, each country has its own standards, which are discussed to some extent in the sections on individual countries such as Cuba and México, but for details consult the postal authority websites of each country, which are accessible from the tables at the beginning of each main section of this document. For the purposes of international mail, the main thing is to get the country line right so the USPS sends it to the right country, and city line right so the main receiving depot in the country can route it to the right town or city, whose local post office will deal with the rest.

When sending international mail:

  1. The Country Line must be understandable by the USPS. Therefore, use the English name of the country (INDEX), 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 current and acceptable in that country, as we have done in the INDEX, 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 currently 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.

    CLICK HERE to see the current USPS list of country names. You will note that in some cases more than one name is accepted for a given country. You should pick one, as we have done here, for consistency in databases, sorting, etc.

  2. The City Line must be understandable by the postal authorities in the destination country. When the town or province has an English name different from the real name (such as Cologne for Köln in Germany, or Vienna for Wien in Austria, or Prague for Praha in the Czech Republic, or Copenhagen for København in Denmark, or The Hague for Den Haag in the Netherlands), you should normally use the local name since the USPS does not pay attention to the City Line in most cases. If desired, however, you can 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
    NETHERLANDS
    

    The form you choose depends on your own database and record-keeping requirements, for which is it always best to use consistent city names.

  3. The lines above the City Line must be understandable by the destination post office. 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 handles the street address.

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 (USPS guideline (d) below):

198156 САНКТ ПЕТЕРБУРГ
198156 SAINT PETERSBURG
RUSSIA

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.

For mail to México, Italy, France, etc, 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).

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.)

Americans should avoid referring to other countries' postal codes as Zip codes, and also should not call other countries' administrative subdivisions states. These are common errors 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.

The USPS lists the following general addressing guidelines (October 2013); most (but not all) of these points apply also to international mail. Actually the guidelines given here are from the 2003-2007 page, which has disappeared; the 2010 page is pretty sparse, and now there's a 2013 page. It seems that USPS now focuses on marketing its own "address management" software to put addresses into proper format, rather than explaining what that format is. Anyway, here are the former guidelines:

  1. Always put the address and the postage on the same side of your mailpiece.
  2. On a letter, the address should be parallel to the longest side.
  3. All capital letters.
  4. No punctuation (This does not necessarily apply to all countries; some countries require punctuation in their addresses).
  5. At least 10-point type.
  6. One space between city and state.
  7. Two spaces between state and ZIP (i.e. postal) Code (This applies to countries like the USA and Canada that place the postal code on the right; the USPS does not offer this advice consistently but other countries, such as Canada, are quite emphatic about the need for two – or more! – spaces, so we might as well use them for addresses in all countries that write the postal code on the right, barring explicit instructions to the contrary).
  8. Simple type (i.e. monospace, fixed) fonts.
  9. Left justified.
  10. Black ink on white or light paper.
  11. No reverse type (white printing on a black background).
  12. If your address appears inside a window, make sure there is at least 1/8-inch clearance around the address. Sometimes parts of the address slip out of view behind the window and mail processing machines can't t read the address.
  13. Keep the destination address reasonably near the center.
  14. If you are using address labels, make sure you don't cut off any important information. Also make sure your labels are on straight. Mail processing machines have trouble reading crooked or slanted information.

The following additional guidelines are given in Section 122 the IMM for addressing international mail:

  1. At least the entire right half of the address side of the envelope, package, or card should be reserved for the destination address, postage, labels, and postal notations.

  2. Addresses must be printed in ink or typewritten. Pencil is unacceptable.

  3. The name and address of addressee must be written legibly with roman letters and Arabic numbers, all placed lengthwise on one side of the item. For parcels, addresses should also be written on a separate slip enclosed in the parcel.

  4. Addresses in Russian, Greek, Arabic, Hebrew, Cyrillic, Japanese, or Chinese characters must bear an interline translation in English of the names of the post office and country of destination. If the English translation is not known, the foreign language words must be spelled in roman characters (print or script).

  5. Mail may not be addressed to a person in one country in care of a person in another country.

  6. The name of the sender and/or addressee may not be in initials except where they are an adopted trade name.

  7. Mail may not be addressed to Boxholder or Householder.

  8. The following exceptional form of address, in French or a language known in the country of destination, may be used on printed matter: the addressee's name or Occupant. Example: MR THOMAS CLARK OR OCCUPANT.

  9. The house number and street address or box number must be included when mail is addressed to towns or cities.

  10. The address of items sent to General Delivery (in French, Poste Restante) must indicate the name of the addressee. The use of initials; figures; simple, given names; or fictitious names is not permitted on articles addressed for general delivery.

  11. The last line of the address must show only the country name, written in full (no abbreviations) and in capital letters. For example:

    MR THOMAS CLARK
    117 RUSSELL DRIVE
    LONDON  WIP 6HQ
    ENGLAND
    
    MS C P APPLE
    APARTADO 3068
    46807 PUERTO VALLARTA JALISCO
    MEXICO
    

In the absence of more-specific guidelines, don't put more than six lines (including the country name) in an international address, nor more than 38 characters in any line (these are the requirements for France). 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, on the left or right according to the standard of the destination country.

Links (verified October 2013):

POST OFFICE BOXES AND GENERAL DELIVERY

This document considers mainly regular street addresses, but there are other classes of delivery, such as the post office box (where the addressee has a locked mail box is in the post office) and general delivery (where the post office holds the mail for pickup by the addressee). Different countries use different terminology and notation for these forms of delivery:

Country Term for post office box Term for General delivery
USA PO BOX GENERAL DELIVERY
United Kingdom PO Box POSTE RESTANTE
México, Spain, ... Apartado Poste Restante
France BP (Boite Postal) Poste Restante
Netherlands Postbus Poste Restante
Norway, Denmark, ... Postboks Poste Restante
Germany Postfach Postlagernd

For general delivery (poste restante – to be called for), the addressee's name must match the name on the proof of identity (such as a passport) that the addressee will show upon picking up the mail. In the United States, the +4 part of the ZIP+4 code for General Delivery is 9999, and for a Post Office Box, the last four digits of the PO Box number.

THE USA

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USA address format is:

town ST nnnnn-nnnn

where ST is the official USPS 2-letter state or territory abbreviation from the table below with no comma preceding it, followed by the ZIP or ZIP+4, for example:

JOHN DOE
ACME INC
123 MAIN ST NW STE 12
ANYTOWN NY  12345

in which ST, NW, STE, and NY are abbreviations recognized by USPS (for Street, Northwest, Suite, and New York, respectively). If ZIP+4 is used, the two parts of the ZIP code must be separated by a single dash (and no spaces). The state abbreviation and ZIP code should be separated by one or two spaces (depending on which recommendation you read). 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:

http://www.usps.com/

In cases where the street name and number might be too long (e.g. for a database field, or for an automatic reader), any part of this line that denotes a sub-part of the main address (e.g. an apartment or suite number) can or should be put on a separate line above the street name and number:

JOHN DOE
ACME INC
STE 12
123 MAIN ST NW
ANYTOWN NY  12345

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:

AAArmed Forces Americas
AEArmed Forces Europe
AKAlaska
ALAlabama
APArmed Forces Pacific
ARArkansas
ASAmerican Samoa
AZArizona
CACalifornia
COColorado
CTConnecticut
DCDistrict of Columbia
DEDelaware
FLFlorida
FMFederated Micronesia
GAGeorgia
GUGuam
HIHawaii
IAIowa
IDIdaho
ILIllinois
INIndiana
KSKansas
KYKentucky
LALouisiana
MAMassachusetts
MDMaryland
MEMaine
MHMarshall Islands
MIMichigan
MNMinnesota
MOMissouri
MPN. Mariana Islands
MSMississippi
MTMontana
NCNorth Carolina
NDNorth Dakota
NENebraska
NHNew Hampshire
NJNew Jersey
NMNew Mexico
NVNevada
NYNew York
OHOhio
OKOklahoma
OROregon
PAPennsylvania
PRPuerto Rico
PWPalau
RIRhode Island
SCSouth Carolina
SDSouth Dakota
TNTennessee
TXTexas
UTUtah
VAVirginia
VIUS Virgin Islands
VTVermont
WAWashington
WIWisconsin
WVWest Virginia
WYWyoming

Military addresses use APO (Army or Air Force Post Office) or FPO (Fleet Post Office for the Navy, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard) instead of the city name, and then the state name is AA (for Americas), AE (for Europe), or AP (for Pacific), e.g.:

SGT NICK FURY
HEADQUARTERS COMPANY
7TH ARMY TRAINING CENTER
ATTN: AETT-AG
UNIT 28130
APO AE  09114-8130

Or:

Mr Hiremm N Firem 
CMR 333 Box 2345
APO AE 09903-0024

Most overseas military addresses are loaded into the USPS Address management system (AMS) so if you dont know the ZIP Code for a particular PSC or CMR number you can look it up on USPS look up a ZIP code:

Leave the ZIP Code block blank and select submit.

Mail addressed to Overseas Military members must be addressed to a specific individual. Mail addressed to “Any Service member”, “Occupant” or similar type generic name will not be processed or delivered to the address listed on the mail piece.

As of 2009, certain diplomatic sites have DPO (Diplomatic Post Office) addresses, similar to APO addresses (DPO AA, DPO AE, DPO AP, followed by Zip or, preferably, Zip+4), as in this example for the US Embassy in Rabat, Morocco:

EMBASSY
Unit 9400, Box 0201
DPO AE  09718

DPO Addresses do not use PSC or CMRs in their addressing system. Diplomatic installations that don't have DPO addresses can be mailed to in care of the US State Department in Washington DC. All others require international mail.

APO/FPO/DPO addresses can be used only from the USA or other areas served by the US Post Office, or from other APO/FPO/DPO addresses. Mail from elsewhere to these locations must be addressed through the town, city, and country in which the military or diplomatic installation is located, e.g.:

Embassy of the United States of America
2 Avenue de Mohamed El Fassi
Rabat
MOROCCO

(That is the address given by the embassy, but it should have postal code.) You can always refer to the USPS Postal Bulletin (see References below) published every two weeks to see if APO/FPO/DPO zip codes are valid and refer to the restrictions or limitations on certain articles and sizes of articles that could be prohibited.

References:

Links:

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

CANADA

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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. Example:

SASKATCHEWAN WATER CORP
111 FAIRFORD STREET EAST
MOOSE JAW SK  S6H 2X1
CANADA

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 Inuktitut 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 ᓄᓇᕗᑦ
ON Ontario Ontario
PE Prince Edward Island Île-du-Prince-Édouard
QC (2) Quebec Québec
SK Saskatchewan Saskatchewan
YT Yukon Yukon

Notes:

  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).

  2. Prior to 1991 the symbol for Quebec 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, could still be used until 21 April 2003, now only NL is 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:

        
CALGARY AB  T2H 1M5
MOOSE JAW SK  S6H 2X1
ST LAURENT QC  H4N 1J7
MISSISSAUGA ON  L5K 1Z8
YELLOWKNIFE NT X1A 2P7
TALOYOAK NU  X0E 1B0
NORTH POLE NT  H0H 0H0    <-- ("Ho Ho Ho")

Doug Ewell has written a report on the semantics of Canadian postal codes; CLICK HERE for details.

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, the Inuit languages Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun are official languages, along with French and English; road signs are in both Roman and Inuit Syllabics – what about mail?

By the way, it turns out that even French town names with accents are stored internally in uppercase ASCII without accents, as you can see in postcode lookup.

Links (last checked: 12 January 2013):

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)

THE CARIBBEAN

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Here's a summary table of Caribbean localities showing the USPS country name (see INDEX for local, long, and other forms), ISO 3166 Alpha-2 Code, United Nations Car Code (these codes are explained in the section on Europe), postcode format (if any), and sample City line. As far as I can tell, neither ISO nor Car codes are used in Caribbean postal addresses. The right two columns are taken from the Universal Postal Union, when available (a surprising number are not). In the postcode format, n indicates a digit and L indicates an uppercase letter; italic words like town and island are to be replaced by actual town or island names. Country names link to the country's postal authority website, if known, or other relevant site, if any.

From Gerben Vos: “Since 10 October 2010, the Netherlands Antilles don't exist any more as a country. Curaçao and Sint Maarten have become countries just like Aruba and the Netherlands proper. The three islands Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (the "BES islands") have become "special municipalities" of the Netherlands.

I have not read anything official yet about what this means postally. In principle, it is not correct any more to address anything to the Netherlands Antilles, since that entity does not exist any more. Curaçao and Sint Maarten are easy: they are full countries now and mail can be addressed to them. Addressing mail for the BES islands to the Netherlands will probably mean the mail is going to take an enormous detour. The (semi-?)official collective name for these islands currently seems to be "Caribbean Netherlands" ("Caribisch Nederland" in Dutch). I think this will likely also become the international postal designation for these three islands, but I haven't heard or read anything official about this. However, postal stamps bearing the name "Caribisch Nederland" have already been issued (see this website). More about the BES islands here

One can expect that mail addressed to the Netherlands Antilles will be delivered correctly for the near future, though, especially since (as of late February 2011), the USPS IMM has not been updated about these developments and still has NETHERLANDS ANTILLES as well as NETHERLANDS WEST INDIES in its countries list.

 USPS Name ISO Car City Line Format City Line Example
ANGUILLA AI -- town AI-2640 THE VALLEY
ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA AG -- town St. John's
ARUBA AW -- town Oranjestad
BAHAMAS BS BS town NASSAU
BARBADOS (*) BB BDS town BBnnnnn Cheapside, Bridgetown BB11000
BERMUDA (*) BM -- town LL nn Hamilton HM 12
BONAIRE (*) BQ ?? ??? ???
BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS VG -- town, island, VGnnnn Road Town, Tortola, VG1110
CAYMAN ISLANDS (*) KY -- po-box
island
 KYn-nnnn
P.O. Box 123 SAV
Grand Cayman  KY1-1010
CUBA (*) CU C CP nnnnn town CP 10600 CIUDAD DE LA HABANA
CURACAO (*) CW ?? ??? ???
DOMINICA DM WD town ROSEAU
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (*) DO DOM nnnnn town 10902 SANTO DOMINGO
GRENADA GD WG town ST. GEORGE'S
GUADELOUPE (*) GP -- nnnnn town 97163 POINT À PITRE
HAITI (*) HT RH HTnnnn town HT6110 PORT-AU-PRINCE (*)
JAMAICA (*) JM JA town zone KINGSTON 10
MARTINIQUE (*) MQ -- nnnnn town 97246 FORT DE FRANCE
MONTSERRAT MS -- town OLD TOWNE
NETHERLANDS ANTILLES (*) AN NA town
island
WILLEMSTAD
CURACAO
PUERTO RICO PR -- Address through USA
SABA AN NA Address through BONAIRE (?)
SAINT CROIX (*) VI -- US Virgin Islands - Address through USA
SAINT EUSTATIUS BQ ?? Address through BONAIRE (?)
SAINT JOHN (*) VI -- US Virgin Islands - Address through USA
SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS KN -- town BASSETERRE
SAINT LUCIA LC -- town CASTRIES
SAINT MAARTEN (*) SX ?? ??? ???
SAINT THOMAS (*) VI -- US Virgin Islands - Address through USA
SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES VC -- town KINGSTOWN
TORTOLA VG -- town, TORTOLA, VGnnnn .. Address through BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO TT TT town
island
Port of Spain
Trinidad
TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS TC -- town Providenciales
VIRGIN GORDA VG -- town, VIRGIN GORDA, VGnnnn .. Address through BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS

Don't write ANTILLES, CARIBBEAN, LEEWARD ISLANDS, VIRGIN ISLANDS, WEST INDIES, BRITISH WEST INDIES, or BRITISH ISLANDS under the country name, despite advice to that affect that can be found elsewhere, since the USPS operates on country names, not on names of regions or areas. Notes:

  1. BARBADOS is installing a new postal code system, CLICK HERE for information. In the sample city line shown, Cheapside is a district of Bridgetown. The address of the postal authority itself is written this way.

  2. BERMUDA postcode is LL LL for post offices boxes; HM AX to HM NX (but no HM IX) in Hamilton, HB BX elsewhere. Postcode lookup has been discontinued (2004). Sample Bermuda addresses:

    56 Church Street                PO Box HM 100
    Hamilton HM 12                  Hamilton HM AX
    BERMUDA                         BERMUDA
    

    Anguilla has a single postal code, AI-2640 for everybody.

    See the Bermuda Yellow Pages website for a list of postcodes, as well as for the proper way to address a letter in Bermuda (27 June 2012).

  3. CUBA: See section on Cuba.

  4. DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: A system of five-digit postcodes covering the entire nation was announced in July 2004 (previously only the capital had postcodes). The Distrito Nacional has been split into two Regiones, Santo Domingo de Guzmán (postcodes 10700–11999) and (a smaller) Distrito Nacional (postcodes 10100–10699). Other regions have postcodes ranging from 21000 to 94999. Addresses in Santo Domingo and the Distrito Nacional should include the Sector (District) after the street address and before the City Line. Postcode lists for Santo Domingo are available HERE and for the rest of country HERE. A post office box is Apartado Postal. In order to choose the right postal code you have to know the zone where a given address is, and as far as I know, there is no way to look this up.

  5. GUADELOUPE and MARTINIQUE are full-fledged departments of France and use French postal codes and CEDEX delivery (see section on France). Until July 2007, ST. BARTHÉLEMY and the French side of ST. MARTIN were part of Guadeloupe. Now they are French Overseas Collectives, along with Polynesia, Wallis & Futuna, St. Pierre & Miquelon, and Mayotte. They will still be part of the French postal system but receive new postal codes in July 2008. References: [1] [2] [3] [4].

  6. HAITI... Mail delivery in Haiti is problematic with the massive disruption and displacement caused by the earthquake of January 12, 2010, the cholera epidemic, and the occupation. According to this page, since the 2010 earthquake mail sorting is done in a big tent, almost certainly by hand, i.e. no automation or scanning, and therefore no finicky rules of formatting. Just write all the information needed to locate the addressee: name, street and number if any and if known (or name of refugee camp, etc), town, municipality, district, department, written in French or Kreyol, followed by the country name HAITI. In the cases of well-known towns or cities such as Port-au-Prince, Ounaminthe, Gonaïves, or Jacmel, the municipality, district, and/or department are not necessary. Read this page before attempting to send anything other than a letter by post to Haiti. Links: News from Haiti Post (in French); Haiti Post Facebook page.

  7. JAMAICA: Zone numbers are used only for Kingston. A system of postal codes was devised some time back in which (for example) Kingston 1 would be JMAKN05 - the JM is for Jamaica, the A is one of the four zones (A-D) and KN is Kingston (KN05 would be easier to remember but would look too much like a Bermuda postal code). However, in 2007 Jamaica post announced: "POST CODE PROJECT SUSPENDED INDEFINITELY" (this news issue is still current as of October 2010, so it seems to be the official despite sites like this).

  8. NETHERLANDS ANTILLES no longer exists, the islands are now independent countries, addressed separately, e.g. (note: no accents should be used in country names, write CURACAO, not CURAÇÃO):

    US Consulate General
    J.B. Gorsiraweg 1               (street and number)
    Willemstad                      (town)
    CURACAO                         (island, i.e. name of country)
    
    NOTE: Although the Netherlands Antilles no longer exists, the USPS still uses it for addressing and delivery as far as I can tell. Check the IMM countries list to see if there has been some change since I wrote this on 22 Feb 2011 (checked again 22 May 2012, no change).

  9. US VIRGIN ISLANDS: Put the name of the island in the City Line, and put the town or city in the line above that:

    BUREAU OF VITAL RECORDS
    VIRGIN ISLANDS DEPT OF HEALTH
    CHARLOTTE AMALIE                (town)
    SAINT THOMAS VI  00801          (island VI  Zip)
    

  10. CAYMAN ISLANDS has published a Postcode Addressing Guide HERE (PDF). Two spaces are required between the island name and the postcode.

  11. SAINT MAARTEN (Sint Maartin), Bonaire, and Curacao (Cura&ccdeil;ão) became an independent countries on October 10, 2010.

LATIN AMERICA

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Here's a summary table of Latin American countries showing the USPS country name (see INDEX for local, long, and other forms), ISO 3166 Alpha-2 Code, United Nations Car Code (these codes are explained in the section on Europe), postcode format (if any), and sample City line. As far as I can tell, neither ISO nor Car codes are used in Latin American postal addresses. The right two columns are taken from the Universal Postal Union except where I had better information. In the postcode format, n indicates a digit and L indicates an uppercase letter; italic words like town and district are to be replaced by actual town or district names. Non-italic letters, spaces, and hyphens are to be taken literally (such as CP, which stands for Código Postal, Postal Code). Country names link to the country's postal authority website, if known, or other relevant site.

 USPS Name ISO Car City Line Format City Line Example
ARGENTINA AR RA LnnnnLLL town S3000ADQ SANTA FE
BELIZE BZ BH town BELIZE CITY
BOLIVIA BO BOL town COCHABAMBA
BRAZIL BR BR nnnnn-nnn town-LL 40301-110 SALVADOR-BA
CHILE CL RCH nnnnnnn town 6500709 SANTIAGO
COLOMBIA CO CO town BOGOTÁ
COSTA RICA CR CR nnnnn town 10104 SAN JOSÉ
CUBA CU C CP nnnnn town CP 10600 CIUDAD DE LA HABANA
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC  DO DOM nnnnn town 10902 SANTO DOMINGO
ECUADOR EC EC LnnnnL
town
P0133B
QUITO
EL SALVADOR SV ES CP nnnn district
town
CP 1120 MEJICANOS
SAN SALVADOR
FRENCH GUIANA GF -- nnnnn town 97300 CAYENNE
GUATEMALA GT GCA nnnnn-town 09001-QUETZALTENANGO
GUYANA GY GUY town GEORGETOWN
HAITI HT RH nnnn town 6110 PORT-AU-PRINCE
HONDURAS HN -- nnnnn town 11101 TEGUCIGALPA DC
MEXICO MX MEX nnnnn town, LL 02860 MÉXICO, DF
NICARAGUA NI NIC nnn-nnn-n
town
050-008-4
GRANADA
PANAMA PA PA town PANAMÁ
PARAGUAY PY PY nnnn town 1209 ASUNCION
PERU PE PE town LIMA 39
PUERTO RICO PR -- (Address through USA)
SURINAME SR SME town PARAMARIBO
URUGUAY UY ROU nnnnn
town
11000
MONTEVIDEO
VENEZUELA VE YV town nnnn state CARACAS 1010 DISTRITO CAPITAL

Buscar códigos postales en Latinoamérica y Norteamérica

En la Internet suele pasar que, al comprar en algún website como Amazon.com* te piden un "Zip code" o código postal, y en muchos de los países la gente no conoce lo suyo porque no se usa en los correos en la vida real. Sin embargo, hay que ponerlo en los formularios del Web. Aquí se busca.

País Estatus
ARGENTINA Buscar código postal
BELICE Administración nacional de correos
BOLIVIA Administración nacional de correos
CANADÁ Buscar en inglés o francés
BRASIL Buscar CEP en portugués
CHILE Buscar código postal
COLOMBIA Administración nacional de correos
COSTA RICA Buscar código postal
CUBA Al parecer, no funciona
ECUADOR Buscar código postal
EL SALVADOR Nada sobre códigos postales
ESTADOS UNIDOS Buscador en inglés
GUATEMALA Buscar código postal
GUYANA Informacin no autorativa
GUAYANA FRANCESA Se usa los códigos de Francia
HAITI Se busca códigos postales AQUÍ
HONDURAS Lista de códigos postales
MÉXICO Buscar código postal
NICARAGUA Buscar código postal
PANAMÁ Administración nacional de correos
PARAGUAY Códigos del Capital y por Regiones
PERÚ Buscar código postal
PUERTO RICO Lista de Zip Codes
REPÚBLICA DOMINICANA  Región Santo Domingo; Regiones Postales
SURINAM Administración nacional de correos
URUGUAY Buscar código postal
VENEZUELA Administración nacional de correos
Para buscar un código postal en algún país latinoamericano, haz clic en el nombre del país, si es un enlace, para accessar un sitio del correo del país (si lo hay). Fíjate en que las direcciones de Internet se cambian con una frequencia frustrante, de modo que un clic podría resultar en un error como "The page cannot be found" (la página ya no existe... el estatus es "desaparecido"). Además, no todos los países ofrecen listas o búsquedas de códigos postales.

Ésta es nueva sección del documento, todavía le falta mucho trabajo y averiguaciones. Al alcanzarme el tiempo voy a mejorarla, buscando nuevos enlaces para los países "desaparecidos" o sin enlaces. Mientras tanto si tienes mayor información favor de mandármela, gracias.

2011 / 03 / 01

__________________
Enlace: Amazon en español: Cómo usar Amazon.com. Cómo buscar productos, hacer pedidos, llenar la dirección, y realizar envíos internacionales.


Detailed sections on México, Brazil, Cuba, and Colombia follow this section.

When addressing mail to a Latin American country, don't write SOUTH AMERICA or CENTRAL AMERICA under the country name.

Venezuelan city lines include the city name, then the 4-digit postal code, then either ESTADO followed by the state name or else DISTRITO CAPITAL (formerly DISTRITO FEDERAL) for Caracas. The postcode might have a letter suffix:

CORO 4101-A ESTADO FALCÓN

You can address French Guiana through France; it's part of the French postcode and delivery system. You should also be able to address it directly too, thus avoiding the double ocean crossing.

Note that Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Uruguay (according to the UPU) write the postal code on its own line. As always, postcodes are in flux. The examples above (current as of January 2003) are contrasted with examples from our own database from just a few years prior:

Bahia Blanca 8000   ARGENTINA
Santiago 9          CHILE
Bogota              COLOMBIA
Nival 4             GUATEMALA
Asuncion 2968       PARAGUAY
Montevideo 11000    URUGUAY

The postal system of Costa Rica is notoriously quirky. A system of postcodes is being instituted in two steps, beginning in 2007. A video (narrated in Spanish) is available on the Correos de Costa Rica website explaining the steps. The first is 5 digit postal code (código postal) in which the first digit is the province (provincia), the second and third denote the county (cantón), and the last two the district (distrito) within the cantón. Then, since few Costa Rican streets have names and houses do not tend to have house numbers; a second step will create numeric codes for streets and addresses covering the whole country.

Links:

MÉXICO

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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:

03100 México, DF
10200 San Jerónimo, DF
62000 Cuernavaca, MOR
85100 Ciudad Obregon, SON

The states of México and their official abbreviations are:

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

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

Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales
Carretera Al Ajusco Km.13, Colonia Héroes de Padierna
Apartado 20-021, Delegación Alvaro Obregón
01000 México, DF
MEXICO

The 5-digit postal code goes on the left, then the town or city, a comma, and the state abbreviation. Authority: Universal Postal Union (the Mexican Postal Service site contains no guidelines or examples that I can find).

It is common to see the postal code written on the right, but I believe this is an old form (say, pre-2000):

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

Some terms and abbreviations included in Mexican addresses are listed in the table below. Of states, municipalities, and their subdivisions there is not a strict hierarchy; for example, a municipio may contain several cities, or a city may contain several municipios (similar to how New York City contains several counties).

Estado State
Municipio Municipality (major subdivision of estado, similar to a county)
Ciudad, Cd. City
Colonia, Col. Neighborhood of city
Localidad City or town within a municipio
Población A populated place (city, town, or village)
Delegación Administrative subdivision of a city, like a borough
Asentamiento   Subdivision of a municipio
Apartado   (Apartado Postal, Apartado de Correos, Casilla Postal) Post office box
Calle Street
CP Código Postal (postal code)

Links:

México Postal Service: http://www.sepomex.gob.mx/
Postcode lookup: There are tons of unofficial Mexican postal lookup sites; click here to search for them in Google. There is also an official site but it keeps moving. As of late September 2010 it is at the address shown on the right. A guide (in Spanish) to using it can be found (as of the same date) HERE. http://www.sepomex.gob.mx/ServiciosLinea/Paginas/ccpostales.aspx.
Mexico Postcode Format http://www.upu.int/post_code/en/countries/MEX.pdf
States of México http://www.tourbymexico.com/Pprisel/pprisel.htm

BRAZIL

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Brazilian addresses have states (estados) and a 5+3-digit postal code (CEP, Código de Endereçamento Postal) 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:

04103-000 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
AL Alagoas
AP Amapá
AM Amazonas
BA Bahía
CE Ceará
DF Distrito Federal
ES Espirito Santo
GO Goiás
MA Maranhão
MT Mato Grosso
MS Mato Grosso do Sul
MG Minas Geraís
PR Paraná
PB Paraíba
PA Pará
PE Pernambuco
PI Piauí
RN Rio Grande do Norte
RS Rio Grande do Sul
RJ Rio de Janeiro
RO Rondônia
RR Roraima
SC Santa Catarina
SE Sergipe
SP São Paulo
TO Tocantins

Noticed in July 2007: Brazil seems to have joined the countries that are putting the postal code as the bottom line, as you can see if you look at the current version of Formas de Endereçamento (link just below), although it seems the format described here is still accepted. Examples of the two formats (from the Brazil post website):

Marina Costa e Silva
Rua Afonso Canargo, 805
Santana
85070-200 Guarapuava - PR
Marina Costa e Silva
Rua Afonso Canargo, 805
Santana
Guarapuava - PR
85070-200

I suspect the first ("old") format is better for sending mail to Brazil from the USA, because USPS expects the see the city line just above the country name.

Links:

Correios Brasil Brazil Post http://www.correios.com.br/
Consulta de CEP Postcode Lookup http://www.correios.com.br/servicos/cep/default.cfm
Formas de Endereçamento Addressing Guidelines http://www.correios.com.br/servicos/cep/cep_formas.cfm

CUBA

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Monday, September 16, 2013, Reuters: The United States and Cuba sit down on Monday in Havana for a second round of talks on re-establishing direct mail services between the two countries after a 50-year ban.

Direct mail service between the USA and Cuba has been suspended since 1963. Mail addressed to Cuba from the USA or vice versa is routed through third countries such as Mexico and can take weeks to arrive. Starting in 2009 there have been preliminary meetings on re-establishing a direct postal link.

Mail other than first-class mail (letters) from the USA to Cuba is restricted by US law: parcels, gifts, materials of any kind; only certain things are allowed, as described in this USPS web page. Similarly, letters and postcards from Cuba will be delivered, packages probably not. Commercial package services such as Fedex and UPS do not deliver to Cuba.

Cuban addresses are written like this:

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

where:

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
CUBA

that is:

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

"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:

ProvinciaMunicipioCiudad or PuebloReparto or Barrio or Communidad

A reparto or barrio is a division of a city or town, whereas a communidad is an isolated zone ("oasis de casas dentro del campo desierto") outside of the town but which falls within its jurisdiction; for example in the municipio of Nuevitas is the town Playa Santa Lucía, and some 3km distant is the communidad Palmas de Lucía (meanwhile capital city of the municipio of Nuevitas is the ciudad of Nuevitas).

Note that the general 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 → MunicipioPuebloReparto or Barrio
Ciudad de La Habana → MunicipioReparto or Barrio

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

Municipio Especial Isla de la Juventud → Ciudad o PuebloReparto o Barrio

The Provincias, with their recommended abbreviations, are:

PR Pinar del Río CA Ciego de Ávila
CH Ciudad de La Habana CG Camagüey
HA La Habana LT (Victoria de) Las Tunas
MT Matanzas HO Holguín
VC Villa Clara GR Granma (Bayamo)
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.

Links:

COLOMBIA

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(This section by Felipe Zapata Roldán, 11 December 2005)   In Colombia, the postal code system has not been implemented yet, but there's a plan to do it in the near future (postal codes exist but they are not used). A standard mailing address (residential, commercial, or industrial) looks like this:

NAME
COMPANY
DEPARTMENT/DIVISION     (May contain the building and office number)
STREET ADDRESS
CITY, DEPARTMENT (Department = state, optional)
COLOMBIA

The format of the street address is:

STREET ###L $ ###-###, extra info

In which STREET field may be CALLE, CARRERA, AVENIDA, CIRCULAR, TRANSVERSAL; # of course are numerical digits (in groups of two or three); $ may be written '#' or 'No' and it stands for número and means crossing, usually, a CALLE crosses a CARRERA and vice versa. Which goes first depends on which face of the block the location is in; extra info may be the building name or number, apartment, block, story, level, etc.

Example:

Felipe Zapata Roldán
Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Sede Medellín
Escuela de Física
CALLE 59A 63 - 120
Medellín, Antioquia
COLOMBIA

Important: In Colombia, for natural persons, we use both father's last name and mother's maiden name... it's better if you know them... still, if you don't, there's no problem.

There's also a special kind of address, the Colombian P.O. Box, or Apartado Aéreo or A.A., meaning something like 'airmail post office box'; here's an example:

A.A. 3840 Medellin
COLOMBIA

No name, no company, no nothing.... that's all optional. All that is needed is a number up to 5 digits and the name of the city. Any citizen or company may open an A.A., and just like in many countries they have to pay a maintenance fee.

Links:

AUSTRALIA

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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, 2620-2914
NT Northern Territory 0900-0999 0800-0899
QLD Queensland 9000-9999 4000-4999
SA South Australia 5800-5999 5000-5799
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:

CANBERRA ACT  2614    AUSTRALIA
SYDNEY NSW  2000      AUSTRALIA

(Doug Moncur reports in 2012, "However some of your information for the ACT in Australia is wrong. Australia Post doesn't really believe Canberra exists so while a lot of suburbs have 26xx codes, some have 29xx codes. This used to be limited to Tuggeranong but they've started allocating 29xx codes to new outer north suburbs as well, eg Crace - see this site for a list.... And PO Boxes can be PO Box or LPO Box - LPO being a Local Post Office. Most times PO Box will do just fine, but here on campus they recommend LPO if you have a private box to make it clear you want to pick your mail up from the post office in the Student's Union building..."

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.

Links:

NEW ZEALAND

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

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

All this has changed. As noted on the New Zealand Post website:

The current postcode system has become outdated for mail sorting. The development of new suburbs, more apartment living and overall population growth has seen a 25% increase in delivery points in the last ten years. Added to this are a number of issues that present problems for efficient and accurate mail sorting and delivery. ... New postcodes will resolve these problems by creating a unique address for every delivery point in New Zealand Post's delivery network. ... The new postcodes will entirely replace the existing postcode system. All postcodes currently in use will be replaced. ... The postcode is [now] mandatory for all addresses.

The change took effect in June 2006. The old postcodes are invalid. The hard cutover took place in June 2008. must be used on bulk mail and the postcode can be omitted from regular mail. The new postcodes are now required on all mail. Examples showing the new and old postcodes:

123 Great South Road
Owairaka
Auckland 1051
NEW ZEALAND
(was 1003)
Mr Martin
Jollys Jewellery
P O Box 324
Wellington 6140
NEW ZEALAND
(was 6015)
3 Shortland Street
Auckland 1010
NEW ZEALAND
(was 1001)
John Brown
Jabid Electrical
Private Bag 39990
Wellington Mail Centre
Lower Hutt 5045
NEW ZEALAND
(was 6332)

Upper and lower case may be used in all parts of the address, but for the benefit of USPS, the name of the country, NEW ZEALAND, must be written in all uppercase. The former NZ Post requirement for lots of space between the town name and postal code has been dropped, one or two spaces are now sufficient.

References (all good as of 10 January 2007):

EUROPE

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

Europe is an imprecise term, especially as it relates to which countries are part of it and which are not. Geographical, political, and cultural definitions tend to disagree. Furthermore, countries such as Spain, France, Denmark, and the Netherlands that are indisputably European might include parts that are elsewhere. CLICK HERE for a discussion.

All European countries except Ireland have postal codes. They are almost always written on the left-hand side of the City line, before the name of the town or city. The format of the postcode itself varies from country to country: number of digits, grouping, and in a few cases an alphabetic part.

After World War II and up until the mid-1990s, all European postcodes included country-code prefixes. These were originally United Nations car codes (one, two, or three letters), kept in an annex, Car (Or Road) Distinguishing Signs, to the 1949/68 United Nations Conventions on Road Traffic, adopted in part by the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT). These codes were not accepted by the Universal Postal Union as a world standard, but were widely used anyway.

Beginning in 1994, car codes were supposed to be replaced by ISO 3166 Alpha-2 codes, but it seems this was not done to any great extent outside of Scandinavia. Thus for some decades (say 1970-1994) a letter to Sweden would have a City and Country line like the following (note: two spaces recommended after the postcode):

S-126 25  Stockholm
SWEDEN

Then in 1995 this became:

SE-126 25  Stockholm
SWEDEN

More recently in most European countries, the recommendation is to omit the country prefix for internal mail, but to use it for international mail. Many countries (not all) also recommend all uppercase letters for better automatic sorting results:

126 25  STOCKHOLM
SWEDEN

The situation is definitely confusing with postal standards, guidelines, and examples in flux and in conflict. The Universal Postal Union recommends that the ISO Alpha-2 Country Code be used for international mail, and that the country code prefix be omitted on domestic mail (e.g. within Italy), but of course the local standards of each country prevail, and to confound matters, Alpha-2 codes can change or (worse) be recycled; for example, Czechoslovakia was CS but when it split into the Czech and Slovak Republics in 1993 the codes became became CZ and SK, respectively; then in 2003 Serbia and Montenegro, which had inherited YU from Yugoslovia, had its code changed to CS (Crna Gora i Srbja), and then in 2006 Serbia and Montenegro split and received the codes RS and ME, respectively.

Postal addresses that appear in printed matter, databases, and on the Web can be found in all three formats. CEN (see Links at the end of this section) recommends in Annex C of EN 14142-1:2003 (a standard for addresses) that cross-border mail should be prefixed by the ISO 3166-1 Alpha-2 code where the postcode precedes the locality in the destination country.

Thus, depending on whose guidelines you read, the CEPT country code should be used, or the ISO code should be used, or there should be no country code at all. For example, the local standard of Germany might say something like "Under no circumstances should a country code such as D or DE be prefixed to the postcode", but the standard in (say) Switzerland for sending mail to Germany might call for a D or DE prefix. In any case, the prefixes should do no harm except perhaps to cause the mail piece to be rejected by automatic sorters in the source country, the destination country, or both, in which case they are handled manually. As far as I can tell, the USPS doesn't care about them.

Here's a summary table of European countries showing the USPS country name (see INDEX for local, long, and other forms), ISO 3166 Alpha-2 Code, United Nations Car Code, postcode format, and sample City line. The country-code prefix is omitted, as in the UPU examples, except where the UPU states explicitly that it should be used. In the postcode format, n indicates a digit and L indicates an uppercase letter; italic words like town and district are to be replaced actual town or district names. Non-italic letters, spaces, and hyphens are to be taken literally. Country names link to the country's postal authority website, if known, or other relevant site.

 USPS Name ISO Car City Line Format City Line Example
ALAND ISLAND (*FI AX AX-nnnnn town AX-22111 MARIEHAMN
ALBANIA AL AL town TIRANA (no postcodes)
ANDORRA AD AND ADnnn town AD500 ANDORRA LA VELLA
AUSTRIA AT A nnnn town 1010 WIEN
BELARUS BY BY
See The Former Soviet Union
BELGIUM BE B nnnn town 4000 LIEGE
BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA   BA BIH
See The Former Yugoslavia
BOSNIA / REPUBLIKA SRPSKA   BA BIH
See The Former Yugoslavia
BULGARIA BG BG nnnn town 1000 SOFIA
CROATIA HR HR
See The Former Yugoslavia
CYPRUS (*) CY CY nnnn town 1900 NICOSIA
CZECH REPUBLIC CZ CZ
See The Former Czechoslovakia
DENMARK DK DK nnnn town 1566 COPENHAGEN V
ESTONIA EE EST
See The Former Soviet Union
FAROE ISLANDS (*) FO FO nnn town 100 TÓRSHAVN
FINLAND (*) FI FIN nnnnn town 00550 HELSINKI
FRANCE (*) FR F nnnnn town 34092 MONTPELLIER
GERMANY DE D nnnnn town 35035 MARBURG
GREECE GR GR nnn nn town 101 88 ATHENS
HUNGARY (*) HU H town
nnnn
BUDAPEST
1540
ICELAND IS IS nnn town 110 REYKJAVÍK
ITALY IT I nnnnn town (LL) 00144 ROMA (RM)
LATVIA (*) LV LV
See The Former Soviet Union
LIECHTENSTEIN (*) LI FL nnnn town 9486 SCHAANWALD
LITHUANIA LT LT
See The Former Soviet Union
LUXEMBOURG LU L nnnn town 2998 LUXEMBOURG
MACEDONIA (*) MK MK
See The Former Yugoslavia
MALTA (*) MT M town LLL nnnn ZEJTUN ZTN 1000
MOLDOVA MD MD
See The Former Soviet Union
MONACO (*) MC MC nnnnn town 98000 MONACO
MONTENEGRO (*) ME ??
See The Former Yugoslavia
NETHERLANDS NL NL nnnn LL town 1098 SJ AMSTERDAM
NORWAY NO N nnnn town 0107 OSLO
POLAND PL PL nn-nnn town 00-940 WARSZAWA
PORTUGAL PT P nnnn-nnn town 1250-096 LISBOA
ROMANIA RO RO nnnnnn town 050000 BUCARESTI
RUSSIA RU RUS
See The Former Soviet Union
SAN MARINO SM RSM nnnnn town 47899 FIORINA
SERBIA (*) RS ??
See The Former Yugoslavia
SLOVAK REPUBLIC SK SK
See The Former Czechoslovakia
SLOVENIA (*) SI SLO
See The Former Yugoslavia
SPAIN (*) ES E nnnnn town 28070 MADRID
SPITSBERGEN SJ   Address through NORWAY
SWEDEN SE S nnn nn town 105 00 STOCKHOLM
SWITZERLAND CH CH nnnn town 8037 ZÜRICH
UKRAINE UA UA town
nnnnn
KIEV
01055
VATICAN CITY (*) VA V nnnnn town 00120 CITTÀ DEL VATICANO

When addressing mail to a European country, don't write EUROPE under or next to the country name.

Notes:

Links:

ITALY

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The Italian postal code system is called CAP (Codice di Avviamento Postale, Post Delivery Code). Italian postal codes have a prefix of I- (or IT-, or none at all, depending on where the mail originates) followed by five digits. The UPU advises leaving off the country prefix for internal mail and using the ISO Alpha-2 form ("IT") for mail to Italy, but the Car Code I is often seen. In practice, sometimes I is written in lowercase to avoid confusion with the digit 1, but I don't know whether or how this affects automatic scanning.

Italy is divided into 20 Regioni (regions) listed in the following table, which shows the region name in Italian (and German or French where applicable), then in English (if different), then an unofficial abbreviation (from the Gwillim Law book) for the region name used in the subsequent provincia table.

Abruzzo Abruzzi AB
Basilicata   BC
Calabria   CI
Campania   CM
Emilia-Romagna   ER
Friuli-Venezia Giulia   FB
Lazio   LZ
Liguria   LG
Lombardia Lombardy LM
Marche   MH
  
Molise   ML
Piemonte Piedmont PM
Puglia Apulia PU
Sardegna Sardinia SD
Sicilia Sicily SC
Toscana Tuscany TC
Trentino-Alto Adige / Trentino-Südtirol   TT
Umbria   UM
Valle d'Aosta / Vallée d'Aoste Valle d'Aosta VD
Veneto   VN

The regione is not used in the postal address, but the provincia is included as the 2-letter abbreviation of the province's capital. Thus in the following address:

GE Fanuc Automation Italia S.r.l 
Largo Brugnatelli - Angolo Via Volta
IT-20090 BUCCINASCO (MI)
ITALY

the town of Buccinasco is in the provincia of Milano; the regione of Lombardia is not included in the address.

The provincia abbreviation is called sigla automobilistica (automobile acronym), and is composed of the first letter of the name of the province's capital town, plus a second letter from the name. (The only exception is KR for Crotone: that is because when the Crotone province was established, all the possible regular combinations where already used: CR=Cremona, CO=Como, CT=Catania, CN=Cuneo, CE=Caserta. So, the acronym was based on the ancient Greek name of the town: Kroton.)

These acronyms are called sigle automobilistiche because, up to a few years ago, each province had its own registry of vehicles, and the car registration plates had this two-letter province abbreviation preceding the actual number. (This had the side effect that stranger cars could be immediately identified when traveling in other parts of Italy. As a consequence, Italian drivers always had to be very well informed about soccer matches, as it was not advisable to park a car with a Turin registration plate in Rome the day after Torino F.C defeated Roma A.C...)

Traditionally, the 2-letter provincia abbreviation was given in parentheses after the city, e.g.:

IT-00144 Roma (RM)
IT-57023 Cecina (LI)
IT-50016 S. Domenico di Fiesole (FI)
IT-20041 Agrate Brianza (MI)
IT-38014 Gardolo (TN)
IT-20064 Gorgonzola (MI)
IT-20010 San Pietro All'Olmo (MI)

Italian Post now recommends the parentheses be omitted for the sake of automatic scanning and sorting (but the parenthesized form is still widely used):

I-00144 Roma RM
I-57023 Cecina LI
I-50016 S. Domenico di Fiesole FI
I-20041 Agrate Brianza MI
I-38014 Gardolo TN
I-20064 Gorgonzola MI
I-20010 San Pietro All'Olmo MI

Strictly speaking, the provincia abbreviation is redundant, since it is also embodied in the postal code, which has three fields:

Here's a table of province, in which the first column is the provincia name, second the provincia abbreviation, third the first two digits of the CAP, and fourth the regione abbreviation keyed to the previous table.

Agrigento AG 92 SC
Alessandria AL 15 PM
Ancona AN 60 MH
Aosta / Aoste AO 11 VD
Arezzo AR 52 TC
Ascoli Piceno AP 63 MH
Asti AT 14 PM
Avellino AV 83 CM
Bari BA 70 PU
Belluno BL 32 VN
Benevento BN 82 CM
Bergamo BG 24 LM
Biella BI 13 PM
Bologna BO 40 ER
Bolzano / Bolzen BZ 39 TT
Brescia BS 25 LM
Brindisi BR 72 PU
Cagliari CA 09 SD
Caltanisetta CL 93 SC
Campobasso CB 86 ML
Caserta CE 81 CM
Catania CT 95 SC
Catanzaro CZ 88 CI
Chieti CH 66 AB
Como CO 22 LM
Cosenza CS 87 CI
Cremona CR 26 LM
Crotone KR 88 CI
Cuneo CN 12 PM
Enna EN 94 SC
Ferrara FE 44 ER
Firenze FI 50 TC
Foggia FG 71 PU
Forlì FO 47 ER
Frosinone FR 03 LZ
 
Genova GE 16 LG
Gorizia GO 34 FV
Grosseto GR 58 TC
Imperia IM 18 LG
Isernia IS 86 ML
L'Aquila AQ 67 AB
La Spezia SP 19 LG
Latina LT 04 LZ
Lecce LE 73 PU
Lecco LC 22 LM
Livorno LI 57 TC
Lodi LO 20 LM
Lucca LU 55 TC
Macerata MC 62 MH
Mantova MN 46 LM
Massa-Carrara MS 54 TC
Matera MT 75 BC
Messina ME 98 SC
Milano MI 20 LM
Modena MO 41 ER
Napoli NA 80 CM
Novara NO 28 PM
Nuoro NU 08 SD
Oristano OR 09 SD
Padova PD 35 VN
Palermo PA 90 SC
Parma PR 43 ER
Pavia PV 27 LM
Perugia PG 06 UM
Pesaro-Urbino PS 61 MH
Pescara PE 65 AB
Piacenza PC 29 ER
Pisa PI 56 TC
Pistoia PT 51 TC
Pordenone PN 33 FB
 
Potenza PZ 85 BC
Prato PO 50 TC
Ragusa RG 97 SC
Ravenna RA 48 ER
Reggio di Calabria RC 89 CI
Reggio nell'Emilia RE 42 ER
Rieti RI 02 LZ
Rimini RN 47 ER
Roma RM 00 LZ
Rovigo RO 45 VN
Salerno SA 84 CM
Sassari SS 07 SD
Savona SV 17 LG
Siena SI 53 TC
Siracusa SR 96 SC
Sondrio SO 23 LM
Taranto TA 74 PU
Teramo TE 64 AB
Terni TR 05 UM
Torino TO 10 PM
Trapani TP 91 SC
Trento TN 38 TT
Treviso TV 31 VN
Trieste TS 34 FV
Udine UD 33 FV
Varese VA 21 LM
Venezia VE 30 VN
Verbania VB 28 PM
Vercelli VC 13 PM
Verona VR 37 VN
Vibo Valentia VV 88 CI
Vicenza VI 36 VN
Viterbo VT 01 LZ

Here is a UPU example of an Italian address, in which the CAP lacks a country prefix (as required for internal mail and perhaps for mail from certain countries but definitely not for others):

Sig. Mario Rossi
Viale Europa, 22
00144 ROMA RM
ITALY

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 (as well as Italian CAP 22060), 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.)

Links:

THE NETHERLANDS

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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, nor (because of their associations with the German occupation during World War II) the combinations SA, SD, and SS. The NL- prefix is not used within the Netherlands, but can be used for mail to the Netherlands.

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

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 Apeldoorn, 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 Utrecht
Zeeland Zeeland ZLD  

Links (verified 8 Feb 2012):

Netherlands Post http://www.postnl.nl/
Postcode lookup http://www.postnl.nl/zoeken/
List of Postcode Regions .../streekpostcodes.aspx
Guide to Proper Addressing .../juist-adresseren/index.aspx

Diversion:

_______________________________
Reinier Olislagers says (Feb 2012): “Dutch actually means Dutch as well as German; it used to be the term Dutch/Low German speaking people used to identify themselves. The term would be 'Diets' in Dutch – but this is virtually unknown – and 'Deutsch' in German. See http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=Dutch. Our national anthem has a line on the Prince of Orange (the guy leading the rebellion against the enemy of the time, Spain) being 'van Duitschen/Dietsen bloed' (spelling varies) (of '***' blood) which a lot of Dutch people think means German, but I think it can actually mean Dutch, German or.. both/either, nation states being a recent invention...”

GERMANY

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German postal codes are five digits, possibly prefixed by DE- (for Deutschland, formerly just D). Prior to 1991 (the union of DDR and the Bundesrepublik), the prefixes for the 4-digit codes were D- (for the Federal Republic (West)), and DDR- (for the Democratic Republic (East)). Then, in the united Federal Republic, the prefixes were O- (for East) and W- (for West), to distinguish the conflicting 4-digit postcodes of East and West. Then on July 1, 1993, a new comprehensive Germany-wide 5-digit system took effect and all the German addresses in all the databases in the world had to be converted.

The country prefix (D- or DE-) is not used for internal mail, and should no longer be used for mail to Germany either, at least not according to the UPU, which says In items for Germany, on no account should a country code (D- or DE-) be written in front of the postcode. This could cause delay in processing the items as they cannot be sorted by the sorting machines (boldface from the original). The exception would be when sending mail from a country that requires country prefixes on postcodes in mail bound for other European countries. (Confused? When sending mail from the USA to Germany, omit the prefix.)

Alex Bochannek adds, As part of the 1993 PLZ [Postleitzahlen – Postal Codes] 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:

http://www.postdirekt.de/plzserver/

or in Frank's copy of the Deutsche Bundespost Postleitzahlenbuch ( onsite only :-)   You can convert pre-1993 4-digit postalcodes to current 5-digit ones here:

http://www.informatik.uni-stuttgart.de/dienste/plz.html

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

German Transcription Example
Vowel with Umlaut (ä ö üSame vowel followed by e (ae, oe, ueKöln → Koeln
German sharp s (ßTwo s's (ss) Straße (street) → Strasse

Sharp s is Scharfes s or Eszett in German; although it might look like a Greek beta (β), it is a ligature of long s (ſ) with s: ſs. Here is a German address with Umlauts and Sharp s and its transcription:

German Transcription
Herrn Jürgen Jemandem
Computer+Software GmbH 
Albrecht-Thär-Straße 22
48147 Münster
GERMANY
Herrn Juergen Jemandem
Computer+Software GmbH
Albrecht-Thaer-Strasse 22
48147 Muenster
GERMANY

Most street addresses have the street name first, then the house number. GmbH stands for Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung (company with limited liability), a corporate status designation similar to English Ltd. It is capitalized as shown. About the hyphenation of German street names, Otto Stolz writes:

In this example [i.e. the one above], the street name is a compound word, and the general rule is that a compound is either written in one single word, or else with hyphens between all of its (1st level) components, cf. http://www.ids-mannheim.de/service/reform/regeln2006.pdf, § 44 (p.45). Particularly, compounds starting with a proper name are always written with hyphens, cf. http://www.ids-mannheim.de/service/reform/regeln2006.pdf. (Unfortunately, the 2006 version of the official orthographic rules are in a monolithic PDF file without the possibility to link directly to the several sections.)

Note that all street names are not compounds: some comprise an adjective with a noun, as in Kurze Straße (in 13585 Berlin) or Livländische Straße (10715 Berlin); some comprise a preposition, an article, optional adjectives and a noun, as in In den neuen Gärten (12247 Berlin). A particular pitfal lurks in the -er suffix: normally, it signals an adjective as in Burgunder Straße (79104 Freiburg; from Burgund = Burgundy), but many proper names end in -er, these can constitute the 1st part of a compound, as in Burgunderstraße (70435 Stuttgart; from Burgunder = burgundy wine). The only sure way to tell these cases apart is to consult the Postleitzahlenbuch (or to know the local history ;-) (The Burgunder Straße vs. Burgunderstraße example stems from http://faql.de/typographie.html#bindestrich, though they present different evidence.)

Also from Otto Stolz:

There are two more types of addresses you may wish to mention:

Postfachadressen (PO Boxes):

Großkundenadressen (Large Customers):

The Postleitzahlenbuch covers only post codes for street addresses; for post office boxes, or Großkunden, you can consult the WWW page http://www.postdirekt.de/plzserver/. The easiest way, however, to find the correct post code is to look at the sender's address of the letter you are answering, or in the WWW homepage of the adressee.

Note that you must use the street address (with its particular post code) for parcels and for express delivery, e.g.:

An den Oberbürgermeister
Herrn Dr. Baganz
Stadt Mülheim an der Ruhr
Ruhrstraße 32–34
45468 Mülheim
GERMANY

Frau Renate Mustermann
Universität Konstanz
Universitätsstraße 10
78464 Konstanz
GERMANY

Some German cities have different names in English, such as Munich (for München), Cologne (for Köln), and Nuremberg (for Nürnberg). All mail from the USA to Germany passes through a single point: Frankfurt am Main, where it is scanned for delivery within Germany. The scanners are looking for German city names, not English ones. By the same token, American scanners do not look at German city names at all. Therefore you should use German city names in your addresses, not English names:

English Name German Name
BRUNSWICK BRAUNSCHWEIG
COLOGNE KÖLN
HANOVER HANNOVER
MUNICH MÜNCHEN
NUREMBERG NÜRNBERG
Example:
Lehrstuhl für Datenverarbeitung
Technische Universität München
Arcisstraße 21
80290 München
GERMANY

Before the end of the Second World War (and in some cases, the First), 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 similar fashion some East German cities have been renamed (or un-renamed) since reunification, such as Karl-Marx-Stadt (back) to Chemnitz.

Although Germany's borders have changed repeatedly, it has always been subdivided into states (Länder). German states are not used in postal addresses, but nevertheless sometimes we find addresses in which a state name is used instead of the country, e.g. Augsburg, Bavaria. Such addresses should be converted to omit the state name and to include a postcode, which can be looked up at sites in the Links at the end of this section or in the Postleitzahlenbuch. Germany's current states are shown in the following table. When the English name of a German state or city is different from the German name, the English name is shown in parentheses. PLZ is the approximate postal code range for reality checking. January 2013... This table now incorporates an update of the PLZs from Jens Peter Hammer. My original values are in bold; either these were not very accurate, or a once-simple system has become more complicated, or some combination:

 Name ISO 3166-2 PLZ Former Capital Some Other Cities
Baden-Württemberg BW 68-69xxx, 7xxxx, 88-89xxx, 97xxx West Stuttgart Baden Baden, Freiburg, Heidelberg, Karlsruhe, Ludwigsburg, Mannheim, Tübingen, Ulm
Bayern (Bavaria) BY 63xxx, 8xxxx, 90-96xxx West München (Munich) Augsburg, Nürnberg, Würzburg
Berlin BE 10-14xxx East/West Berlin  
Brandenburg BR 01xxx, 03-04xxx, 14xxx, 15-19xxx East Potsdam Cottbus, Frankfurt/Oder
Bremen HB 27xxx-28xxx West Bremen  
Hamburg HH 20xxx-22xxx, 27xxx West Hamburg  
Hessen (Hesse, Hessia) HE 6xxxx 60-61xxx, 63-65xxx, 68-69xxx West Wiesbaden Darmstadt, Frankfurt/Main, Fulda, Kassel
Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony) NI 2xxxx 19xxx, 21xxx, 26-31xxx, 34xxx, 37-38xxx, 48-49xxx West Hannover Braunschweig, Bremerhaven, Göttingen, Lüneburg, Osnabrück
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Mecklenburg-West Pomerania) MV 18-19xxx 17-19xxx, 23xxx East Schwerin Rostock, Wismar
Nordrhein-Westfalen (North Rhine-Westphalia) NW 4xxxx, 5xxxx 32-34xxx, 37xxx, 40-53xxx, 57-59xxx West Düsseldorf Aachen, Bonn, Dortmund, Essen, Köln (Cologne), Münster, Wuppertal
Rheinland-Pfalz (Rhineland-Palatinate) RP 5xxxx, 67-68xxx 53-57xxx, 65-67xxx, 76xxx West Mainz Bad Dürkheim, Kaiserlautern, Koblenz, Ludwigshafen, Trier, Worms
Saarland SL 66xxx West Saarbrücken  
Sachsen (Saxony) SN 0xxxx 01-02xxx, 04xxx, 07-09xxx East Dresden Chemnitz, Leipzig
Sachsen-Anhalt (Saxony Anhalt) ST 0xxxx 06xxx, 29xxx, 38-39xxx East Magdeburg Dessau, Halle
Schleswig-Holstein SH 23-25xxx 21-25xxx, 27xxx West Kiel Lübeck
Thüringen (Thuringia) TH 0xxxx 04xxx, 06-07xxx, 36-37xxx, 96xxx, 98-99xxx East Erfurt Eisenach, Jena

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:


http://web.archive.org/web/20061004234047/http://www.borderlandtv.com/photos_1.html
"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." Postage inside Andorra is free; there are offices and letterboxes throughout the country. (Also see the section on Italy for more countries or pieces of countries inside of other countries).

Otto Stolz lists several other places that are part of two countries' postcode systems (A for Austria, D for Germany):

A-6691/D-87491 Jungholz
A-6992/D-87568 Hirschegg
A-6993/D-87569 Mittelberg
A-6991/D-87567 Riezlern

« Parcels may be addressed to the A code, while letters may addressed to either. These four places are not really exclaves, as they are connected to the Austrian mainland – though in pathless mountain regions, whilst the roads go in from Germany. Particularily funny is the border around Jungholz: Jungholz's precincts are connected to the Austrian mainland in one single point, on top of the Sorgschrofen mountain. »

Reference:

Links:

FRANCE

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French addresses are straightforward. A typical example (from the UPU addressing formats guide) is:

Société DUPONT
Mademoiselle Lucie MARTIN
Résidence le Capucines
56 RUE EMILE ZOLA
BP 90432 MONTFERRIER SUR LEZ
34092 MONTPELLIER CEDEX 5
FRANCE

Lines from the street address down are supposed to be in all capital letters. The French also like to write surnames in all caps, as shown, and an address can include both a street name and number (56 RUE EMILE ZOLA) and a Post Office Box (BP 90432). The F- or FR- country code prefix is omitted from the postcode in this example, but is often seen in practice.

The example also shows how the town or city name can be followed by the word CEDEX (Courrier d’Entreprise à Distribution EXceptionnelle), which indicates a special delivery service for business mail; if this word is included in an address (possibly followed by a zone number, as in the example), do not omit it; it's part of the address. Conversely, don't add CEDEX unless you know it's part of the address.

France still owns a tiny piece of North America, the islands of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon (Michelon), just south of Newfoundland, the last remaining bit of New France. 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 (Vichy France) in World War II, until it was liberated by General De Gaulle (who some decades later also tried to liberate Québec :-)   SP&M is listed in the IMM and addressed is if it were a country:

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

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

Several other spots in the Western Hemisphere are also parts of France, and share the same postal codes. These include French Guiana in South America the islands Martinique and Guadaloupe. Each of these is treated by the USPS as a distinct country for addressing purposes. Ditto for French departments in the Pacific Ocean.

Links:

THE FORMER CZECHOSLOVAKIA

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[ Map of Czechoslovakia ] [ Map of Czech Republic ] [ Map of Slovak Republic ]

On New Years Day, 1993, Czechoslovakia (ISO 3166 Alpha-2 code CS) split into two countries: The Czech Republic (CZ, containing Prague, Brno, Plzn, etc), and the Slovak Republic (SK, 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?? ??

As you can see, the two countries share the same code space (i.e. their postcodes do not overlap).

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

CZ-602 00 Brno                  CZECH REPUBLIC
CZ-370 06 České Budějovice      CZECH REPUBLIC
CZ-547 01 Náchod                CZECH REPUBLIC
CZ-130 00 Prague 3              CZECH REPUBLIC
CZ-763 14 Zlín 12               CZECH REPUBLIC
SK-811 01 Bratislava            SLOVAK REPUBLIC

Recent guidance says to omit the country prefix from the postcode, as in this example for Slovakia:

Slovenská pošta, š.p.           (Name)
Partizánska cesta č. 9          (Street, number)
975 99  Banská Bystrica 1       (Postal code, city [zone])

Since the Czech name for Prague is Praha, you might want to use the double-city-line format when addressing mail there:

130 00 Praha 3
PRAGUE
CZECH REPUBLIC

Don't use the old German names for Czech and Slovak cities (Preßburg, Carlsbad, Budweis, etc); see section on Germany.

Links:

Czech Republic http://www.cpost.cz/
Slovak Republic  http://www.slposta.sk/online/hlpsc.htm

THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA

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Between 1990 and 2006, what had been the Federated (or Federal) Peoples Republic of Yugoslavia – a federation of six Republics (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia) and two Socialist Autonomous Regions (Kosovo and Vojvodina) – became the following countries (see INDEX for native-language, alternative, and former names). Prior to 1990, the ISO 3166-1 code for Yugoslavia was YU; after that each republic received its own code. From 1990 to 2006, the republics of Serbia and Montenegro were federated into a single country having code CS (which had formally belonged to Czechoslovakia); in 2006 they separated and received the codes shown below. As always, the spelling of country names for addressing purposes is the USPS spelling since, after all, it is the USPS that must recognize the country name.

KOSOVO declared itself an independent republic on 17 February 2008. The USPS International Mail Manual (IMM Issue 34, May 14, 2007 Updated with Postal Bulletin Revisions Through February 28, 2008) says:

International mail service to the province of Kosovo is currently under the administrative supervision of an interim United Nations (U.N.) mission. To ensure proper handling and transmission of postal items to Kosovo, the following addressing format must be used:

Name of Intended Recipient
Street Address
City or Town Name
KOSOVO (UNMIK)

(Note: The acronym UNMIK stands for United Nations Mission in Kosovo.)

I'm not sure if this actually applies to the newly independent Kosovo but it the only guidance we have at the moment. Nor is it clear what will happen to mail sent to Kosovo through Serbia, from which it broke away. Nor do we know what Kosovo will do, if anything, for postal codes (reported, April 2010, a set of postal codes has been created starting with 10000 for Priština).

 Country ISO Some cities or towns in the new country
BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA BA (MAP) Sarajevo, Pale, Banja Luka, Tuzla
CROATIA HR (MAP) Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Split, Rijeka, Osijek
KOSOVO ** (MAP) Priština, Prizren, Đurakovac, Štrpce, Vučitrn
MACEDONIA MK (MAP) Skopje, Kruševo, Medżitlija
MONTENEGRO ME (MAP) Podgorica [Titograd]
SERBIA RS (MAP) Belgrade [Beograd] (Serbia), Novi Sad (Vojvodina).
SLOVENIA SI (MAP) Ljubljana, Maribor, Novo Mesto, Litija, Slovenj Gradec
** (April 2010) The ISO assigns country codes to the UN members only. Kosovo has not yet applied for UN membership and it is not expected to. However, since Kosovo is de facto an international entity and has established diplomatic relations with 65 countries, Kosovo and other countries have been using KV as a two-letter country code and RKS as a three-letter country code.

Here's the regular-format table for these counties:

 USPS Name ISO Car City Line Format City Line Example
BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA   BA BIH nnnnn town 71000 SARAJEVO
CROATIA HR HR nnnnn town 10000 ZAGREB
KOSOVO KV RKS nnnnn town 10000 PRISTINA
MACEDONIA MK MK nnnn town 1000 SKOPJE
MONTENEGRO ME ?? nnnnn town 81000 PODGORICA
SERBIA RS ?? nnnnnn town 106314 BEOGRAD
SLOVENIA SI SLO SI-nnnn town SI-1001 LJUBLJANA

Slovenian Post requires the ISO Alpha-2 country code to be used on all items entering or leaving Slovenia.

"Bosnia-Herzegovina" (Bosna-i-Hercegovina) sounds like two countries but really is one, with two main parts: a Serbian part (Republika Srpska, which has its own postal website HERE, and the Bosniak/Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Federacija Bosna-i-Hercegovina); the latter also administers a separate district named Brcko in the northeast which is not part of Republika Srpska or the Bosniak/Croat Federation. (Note: Bosnian refers to nationality, Bosniak refers to the Bosnian-speaking population, as opposed to the Serbs and Croats). Bosnia-Herzegovina has 5-digit postal codes:

BA-71000 Sarajevo 
BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA

From September 2006, the country code for Serbia, including the autonomous regions, is RS:

RS-11000 BEOGRAD    (formerly YU-11000 BEOGRAD)
SERBIA

On January 1, 2005, Serbian Post introduced a six-digit address code for each Serbian postal address, to replace the previous 5-digit postal code. The website shows the following sample address:

Петар Петровић
Палмотићева 027 008
11000 Београд Реои:
             106314

in which the first line is the person's name (Petar Petrovich), the second line is presumably the street and house number (Palmoticheva 027 008), the third line is the postcode and code (11000 Beograd = Belgrade; I'm not sure what the small notation is to the right of Београд), and the fourth line shows the new address code at the bottom right. The site is not clear about the relationship of the postcode and the address code (the example shows both the postcode and the address code in the same address, but the text says Instead of the existing postal code, a new address code is introduced), but the Universal Postal Unions writes the same address like this:

Mr. Petar Petrovic
Palmotičeva 27 - 8
106314 BEOGRAD
REPUBLIC OF SERBIA

The USPS, however, still lists the name of the country as SERBIA-MONTENEGRO (IMM Issue 34, May 14, 2007 Updated with Postal Bulletin Revisions Through February 28, 2008).

You should be aware that Macedonia (Makedonija) is a controversial name, claimed also by Greece. For this reason, in some countries the official name is THE FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA. The USPS, however, uses MACEDONIA.

Also note the usage of the Cyrillic versus Latin alphabet. Croatian is always written with Latin letters (but see THIS); Serbian (spoken in Serbia, Montenegro, and part of Bosnia) can be written with Cyrillic or Latin (BELGRADE can be БЕОГРАД or BEOGRAD). Latin letters seem to be the rule in Bosnia and Kosovo but Cyrillic is also used; Cyrillic predominates in Macedonia. People of many nationalities besides Serbs, Croats, Bosnians, etc, live in these countries, including Hungarians, Romanians, Czechs, Slovaks, Albanians, Turks, and Gypsies. Reportedly, in Vojvodina the street signs used to be in six languages: Hungarian, Romanian, Ukrainian, Czech, Slovak, and Serbian/Croatian.

Links:

THE FORMER SOVIET UNION

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What was the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) until 1992 now consists of the new (or old) countries shown in the table below. Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, these countries have also been known – with decreasing frequency – as the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The country names shown are the ones recognized by the USPS (highlighted names link to postal authorities, or at least they did at the time this section was last updated but web addresses tend to change out from under us). See INDEX for long, local, and other forms of each country name. The ISO and Car codes are explained in the Europe section. The postcode formats and city line examples come from the Universal Postal Union except where noted.

 USPS Name ISO Car City Line Format City Line Example
ARMENIA AM ARM nnnnnn town 375010 YEREVAN
AZERBAIJAN AZ AZ nnnnnn town 370139 BAKU
BELARUS BY BY nnnnnn town(-zone) 220050 MINSK-50
ESTONIA EE EST nnnnn town 10001 TALLINN
GEORGIA GE GE nnnn town 0100 TBILISI
KAZAKHSTAN KZ KZ town
nnnnnn
ALMATY
480012
KYRGYZSTAN KG KS nnnnnn town 720001 BISHKEK
LATVIA LV LV town, LV-nnnn RIGA, LV-1073
LITHUANIA LT LT LT-nnnnn town LT-14269 Vilniaus r.sav.
MOLDOVA MD MD nnnn town 2012 CHIŞINӐU
RUSSIA RU RUS town
nnnnnn
MOSCOW
103375
TAJIKISTAN TJ TJ nnnnnn town 734025 DUSHANBE
TURKMENISTAN TM TM nnnnnn town 744000 ASHKHABAD
UKRAINE UA UA town
nnnnn
KIEV
01055
UZBEKISTAN UZ UZ nnnnnn town 700000 TASHKENT

Lithuania switched from a 4-digit to a 5-digit zipcode about 2005, and now offers an English-language postal website, http://www.post.lt/en/, including postcode lookup.

As you can see, the UPU says that Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Russia put the postal code on a line by itself under the city name. This is a rather new phenomenon, and it might be confusing for USPS postal sorters, which until about 2000 could always expect the name of the city to appear on the line just above the name of the country (the United Kingdom has adopted the same practice), and in any case does not seem to be the form used on most mail pieces.

In the 20th Century, most of these countries wrote addresses backwards from how we write them, e.g. with country name on top, the city line as the second line ("г." stands for "город", meaning town or city), the street line next, and finally the company or person, and the postcode was on the right:

РОССИЯ
г.Москва  125252
ул.Куусинена 21-Б
Междунродный Центр Научной и Технической Информации
Чичикову П.И. 

Reportedly, this form fell into disuse about 2000, at least in Russia and Ukraine, which have switched to the same minor-to-major top-to-bottom presentation used in most other places. In any case, 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, and of course write at least the City and Country lines in Roman letters. This form works best (the last two lines are, of course, omitted for mail within Russia):

Чичикову П.И. 
Междунродный Центр Научной и Технической Информации
ул.Куусинена 21-Б
125252 г.Москва
MOSCOW
RUSSIA

A transliterated version should work:

P.I. Chichikov
Mezhdunarodnyi Centr Nauchnoi i Tehnicheskoi Informatsii
ul.Kuusinena, 21-B
125252 Moskva
MOSCOW
RUSSIA

And an English translation should work too, but might result in delayed delivery since it requires re-translation of the local parts:

P.I. Chichikov
International Centre for Scientific and Technical Information
Kuusinena Street 21-B
125252 MOSCOW
RUSSIA

At present I do not know if translation or transliteration is more effective nor, if transliteration is preferred, which transliteration system is best.

Where should the postcode go? The examples just above (postcode left of the city name, no prefix) seem to show the prevailaing usage (in 2004), despite the UPU recommends of putting it on a line by itself. All of the following formats have been seen (by me):

125252 MOSCOW        RU-125252 MOSCOW 
125 252 MOSCOW	     RU-125 252 MOSCOW
MOSCOW 125252	     RF-125252 MOSCOW 
MOSCOW 125 252	     RF-125 252 MOSCOW

Russia, Ukraine, and other former Soviet Republics have subdivisions called (in the nominative singular): Область (Oblast = Region), Автономная область (Avtonomnaya oblast = Autonomous region), Автономный округ (Avtonomnyj okrug = Autonomous province), Город (Gorod = City), Край (Kray = Territory), Місто (Ukrainian: Misto = Independent city), or Республика (Respublika = Republic).

In Russia alone (the largest country on earth, by far), there are approximately 89 subdivisions. In Ukraine, 25; Belarus: 7, and so on. The subdivision (oblast, kray, etc) should be included when the mail is not addressed to a large city (regional center, capital of oblast, independent city, etc). In Ukraine, for example, mail being sent to Zaporozhye, Kharkov, Kiev, Chernigov or any other regional center (capital of oblast) does not require any indication of oblast (nobody addresses mail to Kiev, Kievskaya oblast or Vinnitsa, Vinnitskaya oblast, etc). However, if mail is being sent to, say, Pology, which is a district center within Zaporozhye oblast, there should be an indication of oblast (Zaporozhskaya oblast). Examples:

Latin Cyrillic
A.P. Federenko
P.O.Box 987
72319 Melitopol-19
Zaporozhskaya obl.
UKRAINE
А.П. Федеренко
а/я 987
72319 Мелитополь-19
Запорожская обл.
UKRAINE
A.P. Federenko
ul. Timoshenko, 26-17    
04212 KIEV-212
UKRAINE
А.П. Федеренко
ул. Тимошенко, 26 кв. 17
04212 Киев-212
UKRAINE

"ul." stands for úlitsa (улица) = street. There are no official abbreviations for subdivisions in Russia or Ukraine like those for states of the USA. However, shortening for some regions (oblast) are accepted and understood, e.g. Moskovskaya oblast - Mosk. obl. or MO. Postal codes are required everywhere.

Latin Cyrillic
Izdatelstvo Inostrannyi Yazik   
ul. Myasnitskaya, 10 str. 1
101000 MOSCOW
RUSSIA
Издательство Иностранный язык
ул. Мясницкая, 10 стр.
101000 Москва
MOSCOW
RUSSIA
Ivan Sidorov
ul. Prorizna, 29 kv. 6
01001 KIEV-1
UKRAINE
Иван Сидоров
ул. Прорезная, 29 кв. 6
01001 Киев-1
KIEV
UKRAINE

When addressing in Cyrillic, you should include the city name in English (e.g. MOSCOW, KIEV). I do not know for a fact that mail pieces from America to (say) Russia are flown to any destination besides Moscow, but just now I noticed that the latest USPS Internation Mail Manual includes a large table, Areas Served Within Russia, listing hundreds of cities by postal code! (Follow the link and then scroll down.) Furthermore, the IMM states HERE that "Addresses in Russian, Greek, Arabic, Hebrew, Cyrillic, Japanese, or Chinese characters must bear an interline translation in English of the names of the post office and country of destination. If the English translation is not known, the foreign language words must be spelled in roman characters (print or script)." The IMM, however, does not give any examples for Russia or other former Soviet republics, or define what it means by post office in the sentence just quoted (e.g. whether the oblast is included).

A piece of Russia, the Kaliningradskaya Oblast, or Kaliningrad Free Economic Zone, 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 main Baltic port. Today it is the Hong Kong of Russia. It is addressed like any other Russian city:

I.F. Shponka
City Hall
Pl. Pobedy 1
236040 Kaliningrad
RUSSIA

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 always had their own unique scripts.

Links:

ASIA

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Of course Asia also includes much of the former Soviet Union (Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Eastern Russia), but that has its own section.

 USPS Name ISO Car City Line Format City Line Example
AFGHANISTAN AF -- town KABUL
BANGLADESH BD BD town - nnnn DAKHA - 1340
BHUTAN BT -- town TIMPHU
BRUNEI DARUSSALAM BN BRU town LLnnnn BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN BB3510
CAMBODIA KH K town nnnnn PHNOM PENH 12203
CHINA CN RC town, province nnnnnn HANGZOU, ZHEJIANG 310027
EAST TIMOR (*) TL -- town  
HONG KONG (*) HK HK town KOWLOON
INDIA IN IND town-nnn nnn NEW DELHI-110 034
INDONESIA ID RI town nnnnn BANDUNG 40115
JAPAN JP J locality
nnn-nnnn
Bunkyo-ku, TOKYO
112-0001
KOREA KR ROK town nnn-nnn SEOUL 110-700
LAOS LA LAO nnnnn town 01000 VIENTIANE
MACAO (*) MO --    
MALAYSIA (*) MY MAL nnnnn town
state
88990 KOTA KINABALU
SABAH
MALDIVES MV -- town nn-nn MALE' 20-05
MONGOLIA (*) MN MGL nnnnnn town-zone 210152 ULAANBAATAR-52
MYANMAR (*) MM BUR town, nnnnn YANGON, 11181
NEPAL NP -- town nnnnn KATHMANDU 44601
NORTH KOREA KP -- town PYONGYANG
PAKISTAN PK PK town-nnnnn ISLAMABAD-44000
PHILIPPINES (*) PH RP nnnn town 1050 MANILA
SINGAPORE SG SGP SINGAPORE nnnnnn SINGAPORE 408600
SRI LANKA (*) LK CL nnnnn town 00100 COLOMBO
TAIWAN TW -- town nnnnn TAIPEI 10636
THAILAND TH T town nnnnn BANGKOK 10150
VIETNAM (*) VN -- town nnnnn HANOI 10000

Notes:

THE TWO CHINAS

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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). Recently (2004?) the ISO decreed its name to be TAIWAN, PROVINCE OF CHINA and it is listed this way in ISO 3166.

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 as in the examples below, which I have seen on actual letters. The full form is townprovince  postcode, except for Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, and Chongqing, which do not fall under the jurisdiction of any province-level administrative region. Recent UPU addressing recommendations are vague about the Chinese province and other address parts (such a prefecture); certainly it should be included if the postal code is not known, and I'm sure it can't hurt even when the postal code is included. In the absence of clear addressing guidelines, the more information the better.

WUHAN, HUBEI Postal code unknown
TAIYUAN, SHANXI (ditto)
310027 HANGZHOU, ZHEJIANG   Full address line
100081 BEIJING Big city
200052 SHANGHAI (ditto)

As in Japan (next section), Chinese addresses in Chinese are written major-to-minor, but for Roman transcription the USU gives the following example, which is not major-to-minor, but not exactly minor-to-major either:

13 West Chang An Street
Directorate General of Posts
100804 BEIJING
CHINA

When I last looked (May 2012) the China Post website did not furnish any addressing guidelines.

Taiwan does not appear in the USU listings, and Taiwan Post does not offer addressing advice. Addresses I have seen go like this:

TAIPEI  10636                HSIN-CHU  31015 
TAIWAN                       TAIWAN

Note that there was a big spelling reform (for Romanization of Chinese names) in Peoples China in 1979, but not in Taiwan. Thus Peoples China uses Pinyin transcription, and the ROC uses Wade-Giles. Some examples:

New (Pinyin) Old (Wade-Giles)
Beijing Peking
Sichuan Szechuan
Mao Zedong Mao Tse Tung
Yijing I-Ching

Native (Han) scripts also differ; Peoples China uses a simplified form, Taiwan uses the traditional form. It should be noted that Chinese (Han) writing is mostly language-independent, and therefore can be used all over China, where dozens of languages are spoken (to name just a few: Buyei, Gan, Hakka, Jinyu, Guanhua (Mandarin), Min Nan, Xiang, Yue (Cantonese), Hmong, Yi, Zhuang, Korean, Mongolean, Tibetan). However, Romanized transcriptions are based on a particular language such as Mandarin, and therefore lack the same degree of universality.

The Provinces and Autonomous Regions of Peoples China are listed in the following table, as they are used in addresses. Provinces are in regular type; autonomous regions are shown in italics. The Pinyin spelling is given on the left with the traditional English form on the right (often Wade-Giles, but not always). Use the Pinyin form.

Pinyin Traditional Pinyin Traditional
Anhui Anhwei Jilin Kirin
Beijing Peking Liaoning Liaoning
Fujian Fukien Nei Mongol Inner Mongolia
Gansu Kansu Ningxia Hui Ningsia Hui
Guangdong Kwantung Qinghai Tsinghai
Guangxi Zhuang Kwangsi Chuang Shaanxi Shensi
Guizhou Kweichow Shandong Shantung
Hainan Hainan Shanghai Shanghai
Hebei Hopeh Shanxi Shansi
Heilongjiang Heilungkiang Sichuan Szechuan
Henan Honan Tianjin Tientsin
Hubei Hupei Xinjiang Uygur Sinkiang Uighur
Hunan Hunan Xizang Tibet
Jiangsu Kiansu Yunnan Yunnan
Jiangxi Kiangsi Zhejiang Chekiang

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

Hong Kong (Xianggang) became a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the Peoples Republic of China July 1, 1997, but addressing conventions have not changed. Here's a sample Hong Kong address:

(Name)
(Company)
10/F Tower One,
Cheung Sha Wan Plaza
Kowloon
HONG KONG

Hong Kong is still listed in the USPS IMM, and in fact (as of May 2004, and checked again in June 2009) Hong Kong Post still lists its own address as:

HongkongPost Headquarters
2 Connaught Place
Central
HONG KONG 

Similarly for Macao (Macau, Aomen). According to the IMM, mail from the USA is still addressed to MACAO or MACAU.

Although postcodes are not needed for Hong Kong and Macau, a single postcode has been assigned to each region to satisfy the growing requirement for postcodes:

Hong Kong 999077
Macau 999078

Links:

China China Post   also see the UPU page on China
Taiwan Chunghwa (Taiwan) Post
Taiwan Zip Code (Postcode lookup)
Taiwan Taiwan English Postal Addresses (Dan Jacobson - use at your own risk)
Hong Kong   Hong Kong Post
Macao http://www.adminet.com/world/mo/
Shanghai http://www.sta.net.cn/

JAPAN

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Mail to Japan can be addressed in Roman letters, with address lines written top to bottom in minor-to-major order. These mail pieces are sorted by hand upon arrival to Japan, where postal scanners handle only Kanji and Kana addresses written in major-to-minor order. A typical romanized address looks like this:

Mr. Taro Tanaka Person's name
Fujitsu Limited Company name
Optical Network Systems Development       Department
4-1-1 Kamikodanaka Street
Nakahara-ku "ku" = Ward
Kawasaki-shi "shi" = City
Kanagawa-ken "ken" = Prefecture
211-8588 Postal code
JAPAN Country

Other suffixes include -cho (district within a town), -chome (zone within a district), -ban (block within a zone), -go (house within a block) or -biru (large building). These subdivisions are numbered; the street address above means 4-chome 1-ban 1-biru. Tokyo is so big, it is called Tokyo-to and contains -shi of its own. The prefecture can be omitted for large cities, as can the -shi or -to suffix; thus the address above could also be written:

Mr. Taro Tanaka
Fujitsu Limited
Optical Network Systems Development
4-1-1 Kamikodanaka
Nakahara-ku, KAWASAKI
211-8588
JAPAN

Until a few years ago, the postal code was just three digits. Now the first three digits are the area and the last four are the district within the area; the 7-digit code denotes a post office.

Links:

SINGAPORE

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Singapore is a bit unusual in that it is a city that is also a country. And it has postal codes. (Vatican City is another such city/country.) Logically we would write Singapore addresses like this:

Person's Name
Dept of Info Systems and Computer Science
National University of Singapore
Lower Kent Ridge Road
SINGAPORE  119081

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

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.

Link:

INDIA

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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:

HYDERABAD 500 032
BANGALORE 560 012

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, which shows contradictory examples such as these:

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

Smt. Lakshmi Ramudu
21, Temple Street
BUKKAPATNAM PO
Anantapur District
Andhra Pradesh 515 144  
Modern Engineering Company
Post Box 3254
CHENNAI
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):

APAndhra Pradesh
ARArunachal Pradesh
ASAssam
BRBihar
CGChhattisgarh
GOA or GAGoa
GUJ or GJGujarat
HPHimachal Pradesh
HRHaryana
JKJammu and Kashmir
??Jharkhand
KRN or KAKarnataka
KER or KLKerala
MPMadhya Pradesh
 
MAH or MHMaharashtra
MNP or MNManipur
MEG or MLMeghalaya
MIZ or MZMizoram
NLDNagaland
OROrissa (now also called Odisha)
PU or PBPunjab
RAJ or RJRajasthan
SKM or SKSikkim
TNTamil Nadu
TRP or TRTripura
UPUttar Pradesh
UA or UKUttaranchal (now also called Uttarakhand)
WBWest Bengal

Plus the following union territories:

AN Andaman and Nicobar Islands
CHD or CG Chandigarh
DNH or DN Dadra and Nagar Haveli
DD Daman and Diu
DEL or DL Delhi
LKP or LD Lakshadweep
PDY or PY Pondicherry

Links:

THE MIDDLE EAST

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Here is a table of countries in the geographic Middle East (the Arabian Peninsula east of the Bosporus, south of Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan (which are listed in the Former USSR section), plus Iran, but not including Egypt, which is listed in the Africa section because most of it is on the African continent), showing the USPS name for each country, the ISO and Car codes (as in the table for Europe), the City Line format (L stands for an uppercase letter, n stands for a numeric digit, italic words such as town are to be replaced appropriately, and punctuation and non-italic characters are literal), and a sample City Line taken, in most cases, from the Universal Postal Union. For long and other forms of the country names, see the Index. Links from country names are to postal authorities, if known, otherwise to other postal information pages for the country.

 USPS Name ISO Car City Line Format City Line Example
BAHRAIN (*) BH BRN nnn town 317 AL-MANAMAH
IRAN (*) IR IR town nnnnn nnnnn TEHRAN 12345 67890
IRAQ IQ IRQ town BAGHDAD
ISRAEL (*) IL IL nnnnnnn town 61002 TEL-AVIV
JORDAN JO HKJ town nnnnn AMMAN 11937
KUWAIT KW KWT nnnnn town 54551 KUWAIT
LEBANON (*) LB RL town nnnn nnnn RIAS EL SOLH BEIRUT 1107 2810
OMAN OM -- nnn town 133 MUSCAT
PALESTINIAN TERRITORY (*) PS -- town GAZA CITY
QATAR QA QA town DOHA
SAUDI ARABIA SA SA town nnnnn RIYADH 11187
SYRIA (*) SY SYR nnnn town 0100 DAMASCUS
TURKEY (*) TR TR nnnnn town 06101 ANKARA
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (*) AE UAE box
emirate
P.O. BOX 111
DUBAI
YEMEN YE YEM town SANA'A

Notes:

AFRICA

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A table of countries of continental Africa and nearby island nations follows, showing the USPS name for each country, the ISO and Car codes (as in the table for Europe; these codes do not seem to be used in African postal addresses), the City Line format (L stands for an uppercase letter, n stands for a numeric digit, italic words such as town are to be replaced appropriately, and punctuation and non-italic characters are literal), and a sample City Line taken, in most cases, from the Universal Postal Union. For long and other forms of the country names, see the Index. Links from country names are to postal authorities, if known.

 USPS Name ISO Car City Line Format City Line Example
ALGERIA DZ DZ nnnnn town 16027 ALGIERS
ANGOLA AO -- town LUANDA
BENIN BJ DY nn BP nnnn
town
03 BP 1000
COTONOU
BOTSWANA BW RB town GABORONE
BURKINA FASO BF -- town nn OUAGADOUGOU 01
BURUNDI BI RU town BUJUMBURA
CAMEROON CM CAM town YAOUNDE
CAPE VERDE CV -- nnnn town
island
7600 PRAIA
SANTIAGO
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC CF RCA town BANGUI
CHAD TD TCH town NDJAMENA
COMOROS KM -- town MORONI
DJIBOUTI DJ -- town DJIBOUTI
CÔTE D'IVOIRE (*) CI CI BP nn.. town zone BP 37 ABIDJAN 06
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO   CD RCB town zone KINSHASA 1
EGYPT EG ET town
nnnnn
CAIRO
11511
EQUATORIAL GUINEA GQ -- town MALABO
ERITREA ER -- town ASMARA
ETHIOPIA ET ETH nnnn town 1000 ADDIS ABABA
GABON GA GA nn town zone 05 TCHIBANGA 01
GAMBIA GM WAG town BANJUL
GHANA GH GH town ACCRA
GUINEA GN RG town CONAKRY
GUINEA-BISSAU GW -- nnnn town 1011 BISSAU
KENYA KE EAK town
nnnnn
NAIROBI
00100
LESOTHO LS LS town nnn MASERU 100
LIBERIA LR LB nnnn town zone 1000 MONROVIA 10
LIBYA LY LAR town TRIPOLI
MADAGASCAR MG RM nnn town 101 ANTANANARIVO
MALAWI MW MW town BLANTYRE
MALI ML RMM town BAMAKO
MAURITANIA MR RIM town NOUAKCHOTT
MAURITIUS MU MS nnnLLnnn
town
742CU001
CUREPIPE
MAYOTTE YT -- nnnnn town 97610 DZAOUDZI
MOROCCO MA MA nnnnn town 20050 CASABLANCA
MOZAMBIQUE MZ MOC nnnnn town 00300 MAPUTO
NAMIBIA NA NAM town WINDHOEK
NIGER NE RN nnnn town 8001 NIAMEY
NIGERIA NG WAN town nnnnnn ABUJA 900001
REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO CG -- town BRAZZAVILLE
REUNION (*) RE -- nnnnn town 97410 SAINT PIERRE
RWANDA RW RWA town KIGALI
SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE ST -- town RIBEIRA AFONSO
SENEGAL SN SN town 12524 DAKAR
SEYCHELLES SC SY town MAHE
SIERRA LEONE SL WAL town FREETOWN
SOMALIA SO SO town MOGADISHU
SOUTH AFRICA ZA ZA town
nnnn
CAPE TOWN
7945
SOUTH SUDAN (*) SS ?? (to be determined)
SUDAN SD SUD nnnnn
town
11111
KHARTOUM
SWAZILAND SZ -- town
Lnnn
MBABANE
H100
TANZANIA TZ EAT town DAR ES SALAAM
TOGO TG TG town LOME
TUNISIA TN TN nnnn town 1030 TUNIS
UGANDA UG EAU town KAMPALA
WESTERN SAHARA EH -- (Address through Morocco)
ZAMBIA ZM RNR nnnnn town 10101 LUSAKA
ZIMBABWE ZW ZW town HARARE

Do not write AFRICA next to or under the country name.

According to the Universal Postal Union, the following African countries write the postal code on a line by itself: BENIN, CAPE VERDE, EGYPT, KENYA, MAURITIUS, SOUTH AFRICA, SUDAN, and SWAZILAND, as shown in the table. This is OK with the USPS, but in case it conflicts with your record-keeping or database requirements, it is probably OK to include the postal code in the City Line.

Notes:

Links:

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

ATLANTIC AND PACIFIC

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The following table shows localities in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans that are listed in the USPS International Mail Manual as primary destinations. Those which lack an ISO code are not listed in ISO 3166, and therefore are not countries by the ISO's definition, but some that have codes (e.g. French Polynesia, New Caledonia) are not countries either, but parts or dependencies of other countries such as France. See INDEX for full and other country names.

Not listed are the following United States territories and possessions, which are addressed as if they were states of the USA: Baker Island, Eastern Island, Guam, Howland Island, Koror, Manua Islands, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Midway, Navassa Island, Northern Mariana Islands, Pago Pago, Palau, Saipan, and Tinian.

 USPS Name ISO Car City Line Format City Line Example
ASCENSION -- -- town
uk-postcode
GEORGETOWN
ASCN 1ZZ
AZORES -- -- nnnn-nnn town 9500-310 PONTA DELGADA
CANARY ISLANDS -- -- nnnnn town - island 35008 Las Palmas - Gran Canaria
FIJI FJ FJI town SUVA
FRENCH POLYNESIA PF -- nnnnn town - island 98714 PAPEETE - TAHITI
KIRIBATI KI -- town, island BAIRIKI, TARAWA
NAURU NR -- district DISTRICT YAREN DISTRICT
NEW CALEDONIA NC -- nnnnn town 98841 NOUMEA CEDEX
PAPUA NEW GUINEA PG PNG town nnn province BOROKO 111 NCD
PITCAIRN ISLAND PN -- post-office-box P.O. BOX N
SAINT HELENA -- -- town
uk-postcode
JAMESTOWN
STHL 1ZZ
SOLOMON ISLANDS SB -- town HONIARA
SOUTH GEORGIA GS -- town
uk-postcode
GRYTVIKEN
SIQQ 1ZZ
TONGA TO -- town NUKU'ALOFA
TRISTAN DA CUNHA -- -- town
uk-postcode
EDINBURGH
TDCU 1ZZ
TUVALU TV -- town FUNAFUTI
VANUATU VU -- town PORT VILA
WALLIS AND FUTUNA ISLANDS WF -- nnnnn town 98600 UVEA
WESTERN SAMOA WS WS town APIA

Don't write SOUTH PACIFIC, SOUTH ATLANTIC, or any similar hints under the country name (despite advice to the contrary from addressees in those localities).

Notes:

The Pacific islands are sometimes assigned to three groups: MELANESIA (Papua New Guinea, Bougainville, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Fiji), MICRONESIA (the Federated States of Micronesia – Pohnpei, Kosrae, Chuuk and Yap – plus Guam, Palau, Saipan, the Marshall Islands, Kiribati), and POLYNESIA (Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti, Hawaiʻi, Cook Islands, etc, and by some accounts New Zealand). The three groups together are known as OCEANIA. These classifications have nothing to do with postal addressing and should not be used in postal addresses.

New Caledonia and Tahiti are Overseas Territories of France, not Overseas Departments, and are slightly more autonomous. Hence the fact that they have their own postal administrations from La Poste, and issue their own stamps – French postcodes are comparatively recent introductions. They even have their own currency, the French Pacific Franc.

Also see:

BRITAIN AND IRELAND

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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:

Here's a summary table for the Islands of Britain and Ireland, the Crown Dependencies, and the British Overseas Territories. The notation and formats used are the very latest recommended by Royal Mail (except Ireland, which has nothing to do with Royal Mail). As always, links are to the appropriate postal authorities. British Antarctic Territory is not included because "you can't get there from here" (the USPS does not recognize it as a destination). Similarly for the British Indian Ocean Territory (Diego Garcia, etc), Akrotiri and Dhekelia (on Cyprus), etc, which are SBAs (Sovereign Base Areas) under British military jurisdiction, so use BFPO numbers. Akrotiri is BFPO 57 and Dhekelia BFPO 58. BFPO has assigned a number of 485 to Diego Garcia as a part of a numbering system for Royal Navy ships; the "ship" is Naval Party (NP) 1002. NP 1002 is not an actual vessel, but the the name for the group of Royal Navy and Royal Marines who run the civilian government on Diego Garcia. They are headed by a Royal Navy officer who represents Britain on the island. The US Navy describes the situation better here. The BFPO number is here.

 USPS Name ISO Car City Line Format City and Country Line Example
ALDERNEY GB GBA island
uk-postcode
ALDERNEY
GY9 3UX
CHANNEL ISLANDS
ANGUILLA AI -- town THE VALLEY
ANGUILLA
ASCENSION ?? -- town
uk-postcode
TWO BOATS VILLAGE
ASCN 1ZZ
ASCENSION
BERMUDA BM -- town LL nn Hamilton HM 12
BERMUDA
BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS VG -- town, island Road Town, Tortola, VG1110
BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
CAYMAN ISLANDS KY -- po-box
island
 KYn-nnnn
P.O. Box 123 SAV
Grand Cayman  KY1-1010
CAYMAN ISLANDS
ENGLAND GB GB town
uk-postcode
MANCHESTER
M8 8LG
ENGLAND
FALKLAND ISLANDS
(Las Malvinas, also claimed by Argentina)
FK -- town
uk-postcode
PORT HOWARD
FIQQ 1ZZ
FALKLAND ISLANDS
GIBRALTAR GI GBZ town IRISH TOWN
GX11 1AA
GIBRALTAR
GUERNSEY GB GBG town
island
uk-postcode
ST. PETER PORT
GUERNSEY
GY1 1FD
CHANNEL ISLANDS
ISLE OF MAN GB GBM town
uk-postcode
DOUGLAS
IM99 1PB
ISLE OF MAN
IRELAND IE IRL town, Co. county Tuam, Co. Galway
IRELAND
JERSEY GB GBJ town
island
uk-postcode
ST. HELIER
JERSEY
JE4 8NF
CHANNEL ISLANDS
MONTSERRAT MS -- town OLD TOWNE
MONTSERRAT
NORTHERN IRELAND GB GB town
uk-postcode
BELFAST
BT6 9HQ
NORTHERN IRELAND
PITCAIRN ISLAND PN -- post-office-box P.O. BOX N
PITCAIRN ISLAND
SARK GB GBG island
uk-postcode
SARK
GY9 OSF
CHANNEL ISLANDS
SCOTLAND GB GB town
uk-postcode
GLASGOW
G21 2LH
SCOTLAND
SAINT HELENA SH -- town
uk-postcode
JAMESTOWN
STHL 1ZZ
SAINT HELENA
SOUTH GEORGIA GS -- town
uk-postcode
GRYTVIKEN
SIQQ 1ZZ
SOUTH GEORGIA
TRISTAN DA CUNHA -- -- town
uk-postcode
EDINBURGH
TDCU 1ZZ
TRISTAN DA CUNHA
TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS  TC -- town Providenciales
TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS
WALES GB GB town
uk-postcode
CARDIFF
CF23 6DS
WALES

Also see:


ENGLAND

Mail to England proper, by the definition above, is sent to ENGLAND. Traditional 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
ENGLAND

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 (CLICK HERE for a table of counties, and to find out why Oxon is an abbreviation for Oxfordshire) 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 :-) (Apparently, it is also difficult for some Britons.)

Recently Royal Mail (the British postal service) has been updating its addressing standards and recommendations. The Royal Mail website includes an Address Management page (referenced below) that summarizes the new format. Since it is a web page, it is likely to disappear at any moment, so I've taken the liberty of reproducing its summary table, titled What Is a Correct Postal Address?:

Information Required? Example
Name of addressee (Title, initials, surname) As applicable Mr. A. Smith
Company/organization As applicable Acme Plc
Building name Yes (except if it has a number) Acme House
Number of building and name of street or road Yes 3 High Street
Additional locality information Yes (only where similar road name exists within a post town area) Hedle end
Post town (capital letters) Yes SOUTHAMPTON
County A County address isn't required, provided the post town and postcode are included. Hampshire
Postcode (capital letters) Yes SO32 4NG

Thus the example address given previously would now be written like this:

Person's Name
Eden Cottage
May's Green, Harpsden
HENLEY-ON-THAMES
RG9 4AJ
ENGLAND

…except that…... for our purposes (sending mail from the USA to these other places), we have to follow the guidelines of our own postal system, the USPS, which, as noted at the beginning of this document, prefers to have the City Line immediately preceding the country line:

Person's Name
Eden Cottage
May's Green, Harpsden
HENLEY-ON-THAMES  RG9 4AJ
ENGLAND

This can be seen in Issue 37, June 2010 (the current issue when this sentence was last edited) of the International Mail Manaual, Section 122, which shows this example:

MR THOMAS CLARK
117 RUSSELL DRIVE
LONDON W1P 6HQ
GREAT BRITAIN

(Recall that USPS treats ENGLAND, GREAT BRITAIN, and UNITED KINGDOM as synonyms.)

A source at Royal Mail comments as follows: "Your 'what is a correct postal address?' is a good find. In fact, I could be pedantic and point out that it's possible to have two levels of street information, and two levels of additional locality information. It's even possible to have two levels of building name, but that's rare indeed! All this might amount to information overload, but if you want the definitive list of bits that make up an address as far as Royal Mail is concerned, it goes:

Item Remarks
Name details In fact Royal Mail takes no interest in the name and keeps no record on its address database
Organisation Name  
Department Name  
Name of Building Possibly two lines thereof
Building Number and name of street or road There can be two street names, one so-called 'secondary thoroughfare' which, if present, comes first) Additional locality names (possibly two thereof, each on its own line)
Post Town ALL UPPERCASE
County Royal Mail doesn't recommend the use of county, and in addresses from Royal Mail including the database extracts we sell it is never used.
Postcode ALL UPPERCASE
Country ALL UPPERCASE

"There is also a different format of address when there is a PO Box. In such cases it is:

Item Remarks
Name details  
Organisation Name  
Department Name  
PO Box nnnnnn  
Post Town ALL UPPERCASE
Postcode ALL UPPERCASE
Country ALL UPPERCASE

"In both cases, the only mandatory elements of the address are Post Town and Postcode. Of course without some sort of street or PO Box details the address is incomplete and some of them must be present, but the rules for valid combinations are exceptionally complicated - as you imply with your wonderful 'where to find the most confusing addresses on earth' introduction."

Royal Mail's recommendation to omit the county from the address is not without controversy; some Britons prefer to keep it, and in fact insist on doing so.

The UK postcode system is shared by England, Scotland, Wales, the Crown Dependencies, and certain of the Overseas Territories. UK postcodes follow these patterns (A = Alphabetic Letter, N = Numeric Digit):

AN NAA
AAN NAA
ANA NAA
ANN NAA
AANN NAA
AANA NAA

Note that all start with a letter, have at least one digit in the first part, and all end with a space and then NAA. These are the rules, and the following are the exceptions that prove them:

GIR 0AA    Postcode for a national bank conceived in the 1960s/1970s called GiroBank.
SAN TA1    Postcode for Father Christmas at Reindeerland.
ASCN 1ZZ    Ascension Island
BIQQ 1ZZ    British Antarctic Territory
FIQQ 1ZZ      Falkland Islands.
STHL 1ZZ    Saint Helena.
SIQQ 1ZZ    South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

Here are some sample city lines using traditional English addressing (i.e. before about 2001, when counties were included in the address):

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

These are now rendered with the postal town in uppercase, the county omitted, and the postcode on its own line:

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

Here is your secret decoder ring for UK postal codes, courtesy of George D (which by now might be slightly obsolete).

  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. (prior to the introduction of postcodes in Glasgow, Scotland, the city had geographical postal districts, which were simply redesignated with the same boundaries. So W1 to W5 became G1 to G5; SW1 to SW5 became G51 to G55; S1 to S4 became G41 to G44 and so on, all plus the postman's walk.)

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

    Greg Boettcher offers a list of initial letter(s) of British postal codes in CSV format, which in all but 7 cases pinpoint the postal district. In the exceptional cases postal districts straddle the England/Wales or England/Scotland boundary; for these you have to consult the more detailed information at the end of the table. The fields are: British postal code, Main sorting office, Region. The table (version of 9 April 2003) is HERE.

  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 (e.g. 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 from George D)

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 [Ken Westmoreland says this is correct: Interestingly, in UK phone directories for Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Belfast, it is common to see the old zones used in addresses- previously they did have the full postcode; hence St Mary's University College in Belfast would be listed as 191 Falls Road, 12, not BT12 6FE.]. Similarly, I believe New York 22, N.Y. became NEW YORK NY 10022 [true but only for Manhattan]; I don't know about other US cities with postal zones. In Canada, all postal zones were obsoleted when postal codes came into use.

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.

Bernard Treves Brown adds (in April 2003) that “You might care to note that the post office has invented 'Virtual Post Towns'; thus my address is:

(street address omitted)
Whaley Bridge
HIGH PEAK
Derbys
SK23 7JG

“I use the old style, including the county, since HIGH PEAK will not appear on any list of towns, and you would need a detailed atlas to find Whaley Bridge. The postcode indicates that mail is delivered via Stockport, and indeed up to 6 years ago the HIGH PEAK line replaced STOCKPORT in the address. Since Stockport is some 17 miles away (different county &c.&c.) this regularly caused confusion. In HIGH PEAK we now use the name of an area, not the name of a large settlement. I say 'an area' because to everyone except the post office HIGH PEAK includes a number of large towns like Buxton and Glossop which are their own post towns.”

Links

Here are some links to Royal Mail and other official websites. Most of the links that were here before are defunct or have turned into commercials; c'est la Web. Starting in April 2003, the Royal Mail website began to require registration and login for some services (perhaps to restrict the number of address/postcode queries), and also to employ popup ads. As of 2006, the restrictions have eased a bit; you can make a certain number of inquiries without login, but you must log in to make more (marked * below). The address lookup service that was once online must now be ordered on CD.

Site Login Required Verified
Royal Mail No 2013-01-13
Postcode Lookup * 2013-01-13
Royal Mail A to Z No 2013-01-13
British Forces Post Office. No 2013-01-13
Street Maps No 2006-12-23

Other Links of Interest (verified 2013-01-13):

Quiz Question 3: What is the Flag of England?
SCOTLAND AND WALES

Scotland and Wales are separate countries within the United Kingdom, on the island of Britain. They use UK postal codes. You can write SCOTLAND or WALES as 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 reported in July 2001, 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). 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. I suspect, however, that this information is dated – I can't find any material on this at the Royal Mail site, which makes sense now that counties have been deprecated.

Links:

Quiz Question 4: Who is the queen of Scotland?


THE CROWN DEPENDENCIES

These include the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands (Jersey and Guernsey, where the cows come from, Sark and Alderney). None of these are part of the UK, but all of them are British Islands (strictly defined). According to IMM, the country names are CHANNEL ISLANDS and ISLE OF MAN.

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 begin as follows:

JEJersey
GYGuernsey, Alderney, and Sark
IM Isle of Man

Here is a sample Isle of Man address:

Communications Commission
Winchester Court
Second Avenue
ONCHAN
IM9 5DS
ISLE OF MAN

and a sample Channel Islands address – note in this case both the town and the island must be included:

Cheshire Guernsey Ltd
2/3 Rue du Pré
ST PETER PORT
GUERNSEY
GY1 3NZ
CHANNEL ISLANDS

More on the Isle of Man from Michael T Farnsworth (who lives there):

We do indeed tend to refer to the Isle of Man as being within the British Isles. Although unfortunately in these days of internet ordering and fill in boxes I find myself needing to go with an address like:

16 Woodbourne Sq    Address
DOUGLAS City
IM1 4DB Postal Code
ISLE OF MAN USPS Country Name

(Original address modified for mailing from the USA - ed.) Rather annoying, but some people (eg Network Solutions Inc) have been known to turn Isle of Man into IM when sending a letter. A letter I never got as a result, so it is better to play it safe.

The other difficulty is that with the Isle of Man administrating its own postcodes they aren't sold as part of the default database and some UK websites refuse to recognise them as valid as a result.

More info on the Crown Dependencies (all links OK as of 20 June 2003):

Jersey Government http://www.gov.je
Jersey Post http://www.jerseypost.com/home.html
Guernsey Government http://www.gov.gg
Guernsey Tourist Board http://www.guernseytouristboard.com/
Guernsey Post http://www.guernseypost.com/
Isle of Man Government   http://www.gov.im
Isle of Man Post http://www.iompostoffice.com/
Isle of Man Guide http://www.iomguide.com/
Isle of Man Tourism http://www.isle-of-man.com/

THE OVERSEAS TERRITORIES

The British Overseas Territories are Anguilla, Bermuda, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn, Saint Helena and its Dependencies, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Most of these are covered in the CARIBBEAN and ATLANTIC AND PACIFIC sections. Some of these territories (Saint Helena, South Georgia, the Falkland Islands) or their dependencies (such as Ascension Island) participate in the UK postcode system; Ken Westmoreland sends the following clipping from the Gibraltar Chronicle, 20 May 2003:

Residents of the Falkland Islands now have a postcode similar in format to those used in the UK. The new postcode is expected to help reduce delays in the direction of mail to the Islands. (Islanders have also found that many shopping websites refuse orders without a postcode.)

Falkland Islands inhabitants often find that their letters have transited the postal systems of places such as the Faroe Islands, Iceland or the most popular destination for lost Falklands mail, Falkirk in Scotland. The postcode should also make on-line shopping easier for Falklands residents, given that most Internet-purchasing services require a post or zip code before transactions can be completed. Postcodes are simultaneously being introduced today for South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, and British Antarctic Territory. Other UK Overseas Territories in the South Atlantic, namely Saint Helena and Ascension Island, have had postcodes since March 2002. The project was created with the help of the International Division of Royal Mail and the Universal Postal Union in Berne, Switzerland.

The following territories or dependencies have postcodes as of 2010:

Anguila AL-2640
Ascension Island ASCN 1ZZ
British Indian Ocean Territory BBND 1ZZ
British Antarctic Territory BIQQ 1ZZ
Falkland Islands FIQQ 1ZZ
Pitcairn Islands PCRN 1ZZ
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands SIQQ 1ZZ
Saint Helena STHL 1ZZ
Tristan da Cunha TDCU 1ZZ
Turks and Caicos Islands TKCA 1ZZ
The others don't (well, in 2010, the other one doesn't) and therefore have their own addressing conventions, or lack of them. Here's an example of each kind:

With postcode Without postcode
Upland Goose Hotel
20/22 Ross Road
STANLEY
FIQQ 1ZZ
FALKLAND ISLANDS
Gibraltar Chamber of Commerce
1 Gibraltar Plaza
P.O. Box 758
Imossi House
1/5 Irish Town
GIBRALTAR

Gibraltar

Gibraltar addresses might also contain a Suite as well as a PO Box number:

Guide Line Promotions Ltd.
Imossi House,
Irish Town,
Suite 6377
PO Box 561
GIBRALTAR

The 'Suite' is actually a Private Mail Box (PMB), but the local post office does not deliver mail directly to PMB addresses, meaning that the PMB number is often called a Suite number. To confuse matters further, the PO Boxes and Private Mail Boxes are just next door to one another on Irish Town. People say that postcodes and automated sorting aren't needed in a place only 2.5 square miles, but local mail in Gibraltar can often take several days to be sorted and delivered. Reportedly the Gibraltar Government is considering options to introduce a postcode system; see this discussion.

In February 2010 a reader offered the following clarification:

The 'City Line Format' should be blank in the case of Gibraltar. At just 3.5 square miles, Gibraltar is considered to be a single city [Although district/suburb names are sometimes (optionally) given, see below if interested.]

Now, given the example you have on the page, it is easy to see how the mistake migth have happened – 'Irish Town' is actually the name of a street in Gibraltar, not a town!

Valid (international) address for a place in Gibraltar would be: 213 Main Street, Gibraltar, 5 Europa Road, Gibraltar, 3 Scud Hill. etc. Or in this case say 13 Irish Town, Gibraltar. Domestic mail could simply be addressed 213 Main Street, 12 Tuckey's Lane, etc (although people will frequently write Gibraltar below even for domestic mail as they are far more acustomed to using the post in an international mail context).

Below is some extra explanation - if you have a sample address that 'appears' to disagree with the above!)

You do get addresses that are longer, but they are not towns in the postal sense. All falls within the street address strictly speaking, or is optional and unnecessary.

Firstly you simply get some roads where people sometimes give the names relative to others. E.g. 12 Example Lane, Europa Road - just to geographically place a very small street. Indeed, you will see examples given relative to streets with confusing names (such as 'Irish Town') which adds to foreign confusion!

Next you get developments and urbanisations. E.g. '23 Britannia House, Marina Bay, Gibraltar' where the Marina Bay is the name of a development to avoid confusion with other buildings with the same name elsewhere (which there are). However, in such addresses the development name forms part of the street element, although would generally be given on the next line.

[To confuse things, you get developments with streets in them, e.g. 12 Admiral's Walk, Marina Bay, Gibraltar. Also here the Marina Bay is technically not required because all the streets would be recognised postally. However it is convention to include them, as buildings would (generally) include them.]

Next you get districts and suburbs, etc: Again, these however are only used for descriptive clarity and have no official definition, etc. And although given after the street address, they are not required.

While convention is that examples such as 'Upper Rock' or 'South District' are less rarely given, others such as 'Europa Point' or 'Catalan Bay' are generally deemed as always part of the address. Indeed 'Europa Point' and 'Catalan Bay Village' are the closest things to towns in Gibraltar, as they are geographically distinct from the rest. They are given for geographical placing only, and are not postally towns. So should be viewed as a third line of street address.

Note: Some websites will erroneously say the capital of Gibraltar is 'Gibraltar town' or 'Gibraltar city' etc. But the whole of Gibraltar is Gibraltar and that always means the whole place. While there is a city centre, and slight geographical separation of Europa Point and Catalan Bay from the rest, they are still inside 'Gibraltar' (which is always the name of the country).

On international order forms we often have to write Gibraltar many times, but it is the country we are repeating upwards, not some fictional main town called Gibraltar city:

Street: 26 Main Street,
Town: Gibraltar, (in reality, name of country)
State: Gibraltar, (in reality, name of country)
PostCode: Gibraltar
Country: Gibraltar.

Indeed, even PO Boxes are numbered continuously in Gibraltar. So, PO Box 166, Gibraltar is a perfectly valid international address.

If optionally given along with a street address, a PO Box number would go after all parts of the address before the country (because it is the street address of the user of the postbox, not the PO Box itself. So, if you were optionally including a geographical area you might have 5 Example street, Catalan Bay Village, PO Box 789, Gibraltar.

Falkland Islands and Other Territories

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

Note that South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands is called simply SOUTH GEORGIA by the USPS (and apparently is treated as a synonym for Falklands, which is some 1300km distant). The USPS does not recognize the British Antarctic Territory as a destination at all.

The UK also has British Forces Post Office (BFPO) numbers. Gibraltar is BFPO 52, used when addressing armed forces personnel.

Links:

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


NORTHERN IRELAND

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).

Examples:

BELFAST
BT6 9HQ

CRAIGAVON, CO. ARMAGH
BT67 0EY

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).

The counties also have Irish names but I don't know if they can be used in North Ireland addresses. For reference, here they are:

English Irish
Antrim Aontroim
Armagh Árd Mhacha
Derry (Londonderry) Doire
 
English Irish
Down Dún
Fermanagh Fir Manach
Tyrone Tir Eoghain

David Gowdy writes (Oct 2000), “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.”

Counties are a much stronger and clearer concept in Ireland than in Britain; it is not clear to me the degree to which county names have been expunged from Northern Ireland addresses, as they have been elsewhere in the UK.


IRELAND

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:

IRELAND

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 but it lacks the accent so is misspelled). Note that there is no country called the Republic of Ireland; that 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. (I don't know, however, what would happen to mail addressed to, say, BELFAST, IRELAND.)

Ireland has never had postal codes (but Dublin – and recently also Cork -- have postal zones). The lack of postal codes makes Ireland unique among European countries. Implementation of postal codes for Ireland has been an on-again off-again project for years. This section previously contained discussion and links to announcements and de-announcements but all those links have gone stale. A 2009 announcement says a location-based postcode system will come into effect in 2011, such as the Loc8 Code (see launch announcement, 15 July 2010) Traditionally, an Irish city line looked like this:

town, Co. name-of-county

(where Co. means County), or for Dublin:

Dublin zone

Dublin postal zones are numbers 1-24 (odd numbers north of the River Liffey and even ones on the south), plus a special one, 6W. Examples:

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

(*) Tipperary Town means Tipperary, County Tipperary.

However, advice found at a now-defunct website in 2004 stated that for addresses outside of Dublin, the County should go on its own line as shown in these examples:

Ballincollig                Birr
Co Cork                     Co Offaly

You can write the county name in English or Irish. Presumably, should postcodes be instituted, they would go on the county line, as in this example from a GPS Ireland article (in which a PON Code is used):

The Village Inn
Partry
Claremorris
Co. Mayo KTQ 02F3
IRELAND

The 26 counties of Ireland are:

English Irish
Carlow Ceatharlach
Cavan Cabhán
Clare Clár
Cork Corcaigh
Donegal Dún na nGall
Dublin Baile Átha Cliath
Galway Gaillimh
Kerry Ciarrai
Kildare Cill Dara
Kilkenny Cill Chainnigh
Laois Laois
Leitrim Leitroim
Limerick Luimneach
 
English Irish
Longford Longfort
Louth
Mayo Maigh Eo
Meath Mi
Monaghan Muineacháin
Offaly Ua Fáilghe
Roscommon Ros Comán
Sligo Sligheach
Tipperary Tiobraid Arainn
Waterford Port Lairge
Westmeath Iarmhí
Wexford Loch Garman
Wicklow Cill Mhantáin

Here is a sample Irish address (minus the addressee's name) in Irish, with its English translation, which probably would not be used :-)

Cnoc na Sceiche
Leac an Anfa
Cathair na Mart
Co. Mhaigh Eo
ÉIRE
The Hill of the Thorn
The Flagstone of the Storm
The City of the Beeves
The County of the Plain of the Yews
IRELAND

The resident of this address (OK, it's Michael Everson) says:

Amazingly, some people have asked if they could write postcards to [the English] address. Of course such a postcard would never, ever, ever reach me. Though, since I am the only Everson in the country, you might as well write:

Michael Everson
IRELAND

It's your stamp.

The translation of [the Irish address], given above, is just exactly that, a translation. Irish placenames have had Anglicized forms since the Ordnance Survey went round respelling them, but those are not the English names, and when one asks what is that in English?, well, it is the wrong question, I'll just put it that way.

Maigh Eo is meaningful. It means The Plain of the Yews. A plain full of mature yew trees must have been an awesome sight, once upon a time. Mayo isn't meaningful, though it refers to the same place. And to a tasty sandwich condiment.

P.S. A beef is a slaughtered bovine carcass.

Irish mail delivery is modern and highly automated. The full address is scanned for routing and delivery. Postcodes are not used because they are not needed; all delivery points are in the postal database. In 2002 there was a plan to set up an Irish postcode system but it seemed to have been dropped (ComReg was for it, and An Post against), but then revived again in 2003.

Links:

COUNTRY INDEX

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The following list is keyed to the names in the USPS International Mail Manual (IMM). The ISO column shows the ISO 3166-1 Alpha-2 Code Element (which is also the Internet top-level domain, except GB, which is replaced by UK on the Internet). The third column shows full, native-script, alternative, and/or former names. Former names are in italics. While the IMM allows two or more names for certain countries (e.g. Netherlands and Holland; Taiwan and Formosa; Malaysia and Malaya, Iran and Persia), we should always use the same (and most current) name for each country, since country names can be used as database keys. Links from country names are to the relevant section of this document, where you can find postal code format, address information, examples, stories, and further links. For a list of country names in Spanish and English, CLICK HERE.

Name to Use (USPS) ISO Other or Old Names (don't use, even if correct)
AFGHANISTAN AF افغانستان, Afghānestān, Islamic State of Afghanistan
ALBANIA AL Shqiperia, Republika e Shqipërisë, Republic of Albania
ALDERNEY -- See: CHANNEL ISLANDS
ALGERIA DZ الجزاير, al Jaza'ir, الجزائر, al-Jazairiya, الجمهورية الجزائرية الديمقراطية الشعبية, Al Jumhuriya Al Jaza'iriya Ad Dimuqratiya Ash Shabiya, People's Democratic Republic of Algeria
AMERICAN SAMOA AS (Use USA address) (Also see WESTERN SAMOA)
ANDORRA AD Principat d'Andorra, Principality of Andorra, Andorra la Vella
ANGOLA AO República Popular de Angola, Republic of Angola
ANGUILLA AI Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saint Kitts and Nevis
ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA AG  
ARGENTINA AR República Argentina, Argentine Republic
ARMENIA AM Հայաստան (Hayastan), Հայաստանի Հանրապետութիւն (Hayastani Hanrabedut'yun), Republic of Armenia, Армения, Армянская ССР, Armenian SSR, Transcaucasian SSR
ARUBA AW  
ASCENSION AC  
AUSTRALIA AU Commonwealth of Australia, Oz, New Holland
AUSTRIA AT (Republik) Österreich (Oesterreich), Republic of Austria
AZERBAIJAN AZ Azərbaycan (Respublikası), Азәрбајҹан, Азербайджан, Azärbaycan, Азербайджанская ССР, Azerbaijani SSR, Transcaucasian SSR
BAHAMAS BS (Commonwealth of) The Bahamas, Lucayas
BAHRAIN BH البحرين, Al Bahrayn, دولة البحرين (Dawlat al Bahrayn), مملكة البحرين (Mamlakat al-Baḥrayn) Kingdom of Bahrain, State of Bahrain
BANGLADESH BD গণ পরজাতনতরী বাংলাদেশ, Gaṇa Prajātantrī Bā̃lādesh, People's Republic of Bangladesh, East Pakistan
BARBADOS BB  
BELARUS BY (Республика) Беларус, (Рэспублiка) Беларусь (Respublika Belarus), Republic of Belarus, Belorussia, Bielorussia, Byelorussia, Белорусская ССР, Belorussian SSR, White Russia
BELGIUM BE (Koninkrijk) België, (Royaume de) Belgique, Kingdom of Belgium
BELIZE BZ British Honduras
BENIN BJ République du Bénin, Republic of Benin, Dahomey
BERMUDA BM  
BHUTAN BT འབྲུག་ཡུལ། (Druk Yul), Kingdom of Bhutan
BOLIVIA BO República de Bolivia, Republic of Bolivia
BONAIRE BQ Bonaire, Saint Eustatius, and Saba; Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, en Saba; Boneiru, Sint Eustatius, i Saba; Netherlands Antilles
BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA BA (Federacije) Bosna (i) Hercegovina, Босна и Херцеговина, former Yugoslav republic
BOTSWANA BW Botswanaland, Republic of Botswana, Bechuanaland
BRAZIL BR (República Federativa do) Brasil, Federative Republic of Brazil
BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS VG Tortola, Virgin Gorda
BRUNEI DARRUSALAM BN نڬارا بروني دارالسلام, Negara Brunei Darussalam, Brunei
BULGARIA BG Република България, Republic of Bulgaria, Народна Република България, People's Republic of Bulgaria
BURKINA FASO BF Upper Volta, Haute Volta, French Sudan
BURUNDI BI Republika y'Uburundi, Republic of Burundi, Urundi, German East Africa
CAMBODIA KH ប្រទេស​​​កម្ពុជា, (Preah Réachéanachâkr) Kâmpuchéa, Khmer Republic
CAMEROON CM Camaroun, Republic of Cameroon, French Cameroon, Kamerun
CANADA CA Dominion of Canada
CANARY ISLANDS -- Las Islas Canarias
CAPE VERDE CV (República de) Cabo Verde, Republic of Cape Verde
CAYMAN ISLANDS KY  
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC CF République Centrafricaine, Bêafrîka, Ubangi-Shari, Central African Empire
CHAD TD (République du) Tchad, تشاد, Republic of Chad, French Equatorial Africa, French Kongo
CHANNEL ISLANDS GB Used for addressing ALDERNEY, GUERNSEY, JERSEY, and SARK.
CHILE CL República de Chile
CHINA CN 中国 (Zhonghua, China), 中华人民共和国 (Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo, Peoples Republic of China), Mainland China
COLOMBIA CO República de Colombia, Republic of Colombia
COMOROS KM جمهورية القمر الاتحادية الإسلامية, Jumhuriyat Al-Qumur Al-Ittihadiya Al-Islamiya, République Fédérale Islamique des Comores, Federal Islamic Republic of the Comoros
CONGO -- See: Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo
COSTA RICA CR República de Costa Rica, Republic of Costa Rica
CÔTE D'IVOIRE CI République de Côte d'Ivoire, Ivory Coast (1), French West Africa
CROATIA HR Republika Hrvatska, Republic of Croatia, former Yugoslavia republic
CUBA CU República de Cuba, Republic of Cuba; Cubao, Coabana, Nueva España
CURACAO CW Curação; Netherlands Antilles
CYPRUS CY Κύπρος (Kýpros), Kıbrıs, Κυπριακή Δημοκρατία (Kypriakḗ Dēmokratía), Kıbrıs Cumhuriyeti, Republic of Cyprus (Greek Cyprus). Also see: Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
CZECH REPUBLIC CZ Česko, Česká republika, Czechia, Èeská republica, Czech part of Former Czechoslovakia
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO CD République Démocratique du Congo, DROC, Congo/Kinshasa, Zaïre, Belgian Congo, Congo/Leopoldville
DENMARK DK (Kongeriget) Danmark, Kingdom of Denmark
DJIBOUTI DJ جيبوتي, (Territory of the) Afars and the Issars, French Somaliland
DOMINICA DM Commonwealth of Dominica, Leeward Islands
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC DO República Dominicana, Quisqueya, Santo Domingo, Saint-Domingue
EAST TIMOR TL Repúblika Demokrátika Timor Lorosa'e, República Democrática de Timor-Leste, (Democratic Republic of) Timor-Leste, Portuguese Timor
ECUADOR EC República del Ecuador, Republic of Ecuador
EGYPT EG جمهورية مصر العربية, Jumhuriyat Misr al-Arabiyah, مصر, Misr, Arab Republic of Egypt, United Arab Republic
EL SALVADOR SV República de El Salvador, Republic of El Salvador
ENGLAND GB United Kingdom, Great Britain, Britain, UK
EQUATORIAL GUINEA GQ (República de) Guinea Ecuatorial, Republic of Equatorial Guinea, Spanish Guinea, Guinea Española
ERITREA ER ኤርትራ, إريتريا, Dewlet Eritrea, (Hagere) Eretra, State of Eritrea
ESTONIA EE Eesti Vabariik, Republic of Estonia, Эстонская ССР, Estonian SSR
ETHIOPIA ET ኢትዮጵያ, Ityopia, People's (or Federal) Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Abyssinia
FALKLAND ISLANDS FK Malvinas
FAROE ISLANDS FO Føroyar, Faeroe Islands
FIJI FJ Viti, Republic of the Fiji Islands, Matanitu Tu-Vaka-i-koya ko Viti
FINLAND FI Suomen Tasavalta, Suomi, Republiken Finland, Republic of Finland, Карело-Финской ССР (2)
FRANCE FR République Française
FRENCH GUIANA GF Department of Guiana, Guyane
FRENCH POLYNESIA PF (Territoire de la) Polynésie Française, Borabora, Gambier, Hivaoa, Huahine, Marquesas, Moorea, Nukahiva, Raiatea, Rapa, Society Islands, Tahaa, Tahiti, Tuamotou, Tubai; Archipel des Marquises, Archipel des Tuamotu, Archipel des Tubuai, Îles du Vent, and Îles Sous-le-Vent; Oceania, French Oceania
GABON GA Gabón, Gabonese Republic, République Gabonaise, French Equatorial Africa, French Kongo
GAMBIA GM Republic of the Gambia, The Gambia
GEORGIA GE საქართველო (Sak'art'velo), საქართველოს რესპუბლიკა (Sakartvelos Respublika), Republic of Georgia, Грузния, Грузинская ССР, Georgian SSR, Transcaucasian SSR
GERMANY DE (Bundesrepublik) Deutschland, Federal Republic of Germany, Deutsche Demokratische Republik, East Germany, West Germany
GHANA GH Republic of Ghana, Gold Coast
GIBRALTAR GI  
GREECE GR Ελληνική Δημοκρατία (Ellinikì Dimokratìa), Ελλάς, (Ellas), Ελλάδα (Ellada), Hellenic Republic, Ἑλλάς (Hellas)
GREENLAND GL Grønland, Groenlandia, Kalaallit Nunaat
GRENADA GD  
GUADELOUPE GP Département de la Guadeloupe (France), French West Indies
GUAM GU (Use USA address)
GUATEMALA GT República de Guatemala
GUERNSEY GG Also see: CHANNEL ISLANDS
GUINEA GN République de Guinée, Guinée, Republic of Guinea, French West Africa, French Guinea
GUINEA-BISSAU GW República da Guine-Bissau, Republic of Guinea-Bissau, Portuguese Guinea
GUYANA GY Co-operative Republic of Guyana, British Guyana, British Guiana
HAITI HT République d'Haïti, Republik Haïti, Republic of Haiti, Ayiti
HONDURAS HN República de Honduras, Republic of Honduras
HONG KONG HK 香港 (Xianggang), 中國香港 (China Hong Kong), 中華人民共和國香港特別行政區 (Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo Xianggang Tebie Xingzhengqu, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the Peoples Republic of China)
HUNGARY HU Magyarország, Magyar Köztársaság, Republic of Hungary
ICELAND IS (Lýðveldið) Ísland, Republic of Iceland
INDIA IN भारत गणराजय, الهند, (Bhārat Gaṇarājya), Republic of India
INDONESIA ID Republik Indonesia, Republic of Indonesia, Dutch/Netherlands East Indies
IRAN IR جمهوری اسلامی ایران, Jomhūrīye Eslāmīye Īrān, Islamic Republic of Iran, Persia
IRAQ IQ الجمهورية العراقية, Al Jumhuriyah al Iraqiyah, العراق, Al Iraq, Republic of Iraq
IRELAND IE Éire, Poblacht na hÉireann, Éirinn, Irland, Eire, Irish Free State, Republic of Ireland, Hibernia
ISLE OF MAN IM Ellan Vannin
ISRAEL IL إسرائيل, ישראל, Yisra'el, מדינת ישראל, Medinat Yisra'el, State of Israel, Palestine
ITALY IT Italia, Repubblica Italiana, Italian Republic
JAMAICA JM  
JAPAN JP 日本, Nihon (Koku), Nippon
JERSEY JE Also see: CHANNEL ISLANDS
JORDAN JO المملكة الأردنية الهاشمية, Al Mamlaka al Urduniya al Hashemiyah, الأردن, Al Urdun, The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Trans-Jordan
KAZAKHSTAN KZ Қазақстан Республикасы (Khazakhstan Respublikasy), Казахская Республика (Kazakhskaja Respublika), Qazaqstan, Republic of Kazakhstan, Казахская ССР, Kazakh SSR
KENYA KE Republic of Kenya, British East Africa
KIRIBATI KI Republic of Kiribati, Gilbert, Canton, and Christmas Islands
KOREA KR 대한민국, Taehan Minguk, Republic of Korea, ROK, South Korea; Also see: North Korea
KUWAIT KW دولة الكويت, Dawlat al Kuwayt, الكويت, Al Kuwayt, State of Kuwait
KYRGYZSTAN KG Кыргызстан (Kyrgyzstan), Кыргыз Республикасы (Kyrgyz Respublikasy), Кыргызкая Республика (Kyrgyzskaja Respublika), Kyrgyz Republic, Киргизская ССР, Kyrgyz SSR
LAOS LA ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນ ລາວ, Sāthālanalad Pasāthipatai Pasāson Lāw, Lao Peoples Democratic Republic, French Indochina
LATVIA LV Latvijas Republika, Latvija, Lettland, Republic of Latvia, Латвийская ССР, Latvian SSR
LEBANON LB لبنان, Lubnan, الجمهورية اللبنانية, Al Jumhuriyah al Lubnaniyah, Liban, République Libanaise, Lebanese Republic
LESOTHO LS Kingdom of Lesotho, Basutoland
LIBERIA LR Republic of Liberia
LIBYA LY ليبيا, الجماهيرية العربية الليبية الشعبية الاشتراكية العظمى, Al Jumahiriyah al Arabiyah al Libiyah ash Shabiyah al Ishtirakiyah al Uzma, Socialist People's Libyan Arab Republic
LIECHTENSTEIN LI Fürstentum Liechtenstein, Principality of Liechtenstein
LITHUANIA LT Lietuva, Lietuvos Respublika, Republic of Lithuania, Литовская ССР, Lithuanian SSR
LUXEMBOURG LU Grande-Duché de Luxembourg, Lëtzeburg, Luxemburg
MACAO MO 澳門 (Aomen), 中國澳門 (China Macau), 中華人民共和國澳門特別行政區 (Zhonghua Renmin Gongheguo Aomen Tebie Xingzhengqu, Macao Special Administrative Region of the Peoples Republic of China), Macau
MACEDONIA MK (Република) Македонија; (Republika) Makedonija, Makedonia; поранешната Југословенска Република Македонија, (Former Yugoslav) Republic of Macedonia.
MADAGASCAR MG République de Madagascar, Malagasy Republic
MALAWI MW Dziko la Malaŵi, Republic of Malaŵi, Nyasaland, British Central Africa
MALAYSIA MY Negara Malaysia, Persekutuan Tanah Malaysia, Federation of Malaysia, نڬارا مليسيا, Malaya
MALDIVES MV ދިވެހި ރާއްޖޭގެ ޖުމްހޫރީޔާ, Dhivehi Rājjēge Jumhūriyyā, Dhivehi Raajje, Republic of Maldives
MALI ML République de Mali, French Sudan
MALTA MT Repubblika ta' Malta, Republic of Malta
MARSHALL ISLANDS MH (Use USA address)
MARTINIQUE MQ Département de la Martinique, Department of Martinique (France), French West Indies
MAURITANIA MR موريتانيا, الجمهورية الإسلامية الموريتانية, Al Jumhuriyah al Islamiyah al Muritaniyah, Islamic and African Republic of Mauritania, French West Africa
MAURITIUS MU Republic of Mauritius, Île de France
MAYOTTE YT Comoros
MEXICO MX México, Méjico, Estados Unidos Mexicanos
MICRONESIA FM Federated States of Micronesia (FSM): Pohnpei (Ponape), Chuuk (Truk) Islands, Yap Islands, and Kosrae: Use USA address.
MOLDOVA MD Republica Moldoveneasca, Moldavia, Moldavija, Republic of Moldova, Молдавия, Молдавская ССР, Moldavian SSR
MONACO MC Principauté de Monaco
MONGOLIA MN ᠮᠣᠨᠭᠣᠯ ᠤᠯᠰ, Монголия, монгол улс, Mongol Uls, Монгольская Народная Республика, Peoples Republic of Mongolia, Outer Mongolia
MONTENEGRO ME Црна Гора, Crna Gora.
MONTSERRAT MS  
MOROCCO MA المغرب, Al Maghrib, المملكة المغربية, Al Mamlakah al Maghribiyah, Kingdom of Morocco
MOZAMBIQUE MZ (Republica de) Moçambique, Republic of Mozambique, Portuguese East Africa
MYANMAR MM မ္ရန္မာ, (Pyidaungzu) Myanma Naingngandaw, Union of Myanmar, Burma
NAMIBIA NA Republic of Namibia, South West Africa, German Southwest Africa
NAURU NR Republic of Nauru
NEPAL NP नेपाल, नेपाल अधिराजय, Nepāl Adhirājya, Kingdom of Nepal
NETHERLANDS NL (Koninkrijk der) Nederland(en), Kingdom of the Netherlands, Holland
NETHERLANDS ANTILLES AN De Nederlandse Antillen, Dutch West Indies (dissolved 10 Oct 2010; see BONAIRE, CURACAO, and SAINT MAARTEN).
NEW CALEDONIA NC (Territoire des) Nouvelle-Calédonie et dépendances Territory of New Caledonia and Dependencies
NEW ZEALAND NZ Aotearoa
NICARAGUA NI República de Nicaragua
NIGER NE République du Niger, Republic of (the) Niger, French Sudan
NIGERIA NG Federal Republic of Nigeria
NORTH KOREA KP 조선 민주주의 인민 공화국, Chŏson Minjujuŭi Inmin Konghuaguk, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, DPRK
NORTHERN IRELAND GB United Kingdom, Ulster
NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS MP (Use USA address)
NORWAY NO (Kongeriket) Norge, (Kongeriket) Noreg, Kingdom of Norway
OMAN OM سلطنة عمان, Salṯanah °Umān, Sultanate of Oman
PAGO PAGO AS (See American Samoa)
PAKISTAN PK اسلامى جمهوري پاکستا, Islami Jamhuriya e Pakistan, Islamic Republic of Pakistan
PALAU PW Belau (Use USA address)
PALESTINIAN TERRITORY PS فلسطين, Falastin, السلطة الوطنية الفلسطينية, Al-Sulta al-Watanieh al-Filistinieh, الأراضىالفلسطينية, Palestinian Territories, Palestinian National Authority, Palestine
PANAMA PA (República de) Panamá
PAPUA NEW GUINEA PG New Guinea, New Ireland, New Britain, New Hanover
PARAGUAY PY República del Paraguay, Republic of Paraguay
PERU PE (República del) Perú, Republic of Peru
PHILIPPINES PH Philippine Islands, Republic of the Philippines, Republika ng Pilipinas
PITCAIRN ISLAND PN  
POLAND PL (Rzeczpospolita) Polska, Republic of Poland
PORTUGAL PT República Portuguesa
PUERTO RICO PR Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Borinquen, Borikén (Use USA address)
QATAR QA قطر, دولة قطر, Dawlat Qatar, State of Qatar
REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO CG République du Congo, Congo/Brazzaville, Middle Congo
REUNION RE (Département de la) Réunion, Reunion Island
ROMANIA RO România, Rumania, Roumania
RUSSIA RU Россия (Rossiya, Rossija), Российская Федерация (Rossiyskaya Federatsiya, Russian Federation), CIS, Soviet Union, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, СССР (USSR), Российская Советская Федеративная Социалистическая Республика (РСФСР, RSFSR), Рус (Rus), Muscovy
RWANDA RW Ruanda, Republika y'u Rwanda, German East Africa
SAINT CROIX VI See: US VIRGIN ISLANDS
SAINT HELENA SH  
SAINT JOHN VI See: US VIRGIN ISLANDS
SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS KN Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, (Federation of) Saint Christopher and Nevis
SAINT LUCIA LC  
SAINT MAARTEN SX Sint Maarten, San Martn; Netherlands Antilles
SAINT PIERRE AND MIQUELON PM Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon
SAINT THOMAS VI See: US VIRGIN ISLANDS
SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES VC  
SAN MARINO SM Repubblica di San Marino (inside Italy)
SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE ST (República Democrática de) São Tomé e Príncipe, Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe
SARK -- See: CHANNEL ISLANDS
SAUDI ARABIA SA السعودية, As Sa'udiya, المملكة العربية السعودية, Al Mamlaka Al Arabiya As Sa'udiya, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
SCOTLAND GB United Kingdom, Great Britain, Alba, Caledonia
SENEGAL SN République du Sénégal, French Sudan
SERBIA RS Srbije, Србија, Kosovo (Косово), Vojvodina (Војводина); Државна заједница Србије и Црне Горе, Državna zajednica Srbije i Crne Gore (State Union of Serbia and Montenegro); Србија и Црна Гора, Srbija i Crna Gora (Serbia and Montenegro); (Савезна Република) Југославија, (Savezna Republika) Jugoslavija, (Federal Republic of) Yugoslavia
SEYCHELLES SC Republic of Seychelles
SIERRA LEONE SL Republic of Sierra Leone
SINGAPORE SG 新加坡共和国 (Xinjiapo Gongheguo), Republik Singapura, சிங்கப்பூரா குடியரசு (Ciŋkappūrā Kuṭiyaracu), Republic of Singapore
SLOVAK REPUBLIC SK Slovenská republika, Slovensko, (Republic of) Slovakia. Czechoslovakia
SLOVENIA SI (Republika) Slovenija, Republic of Slovenia, former Yugoslav republic
SOLOMON ISLANDS SB British Solomon Islands
SOMALIA SO الصومال, Somali Democratic Republic, Soomaaliya, Italian Somaliland
SOUTH AFRICA ZA Republic of South Africa, (Republiek van) Suid-Afrika, Iriphabhuliki Igizimu Africa, Sewula Afrika, Afrika Borwa, Ningizimu Afrika, Afrika-Dzonga, Afurika Tshipembe, Mzantsi Afrika, Union of South Africa
SOUTH GEORGIA GS South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
SOUTHERN SUDAN SS (Previously part of Sudan)
SPAIN ES (Reino de) España, Kingdom of Spain
SRI LANKA LK ශෘිලංකා (Ṣrilãka), இலங்கை (Ilaŋkai), Sri Lanka Prajathanthrika Samajavadi Janarajaya, Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, Ceylon
SUDAN SD السودان, As-Sudan, جمهورية السودان, Jumhuriyat As-Sudan, Republic of the Sudan, Anglo-Egyptian Sudan
SURINAME SR Republiek Suriname, Republic of Suriname, Netherlands Guiana, Dutch Guiana
SWAZILAND SZ Umbuso weSwatini, Kingdom of Swaziland
SWEDEN SE (Konungariket) Sverige, Kingdom of Sweden
SWITZERLAND CH Schweiz, Suisse, Svizzera, Confœderatio Helvetica
SYRIA SY سوريا, Suriya, الجمهورية العربية السورية, al-Jumhuriya al-Arabiya as-Suriya, Syrian Arab Republic, United Arab Republic
TAIWAN TW 臺灣 (Taiwan), 台灣 (Taiwan), 中華民國, 中华民国 (Zhonghua Minguo), Republic of China, ROC, Formosa
TAJIKISTAN TJ Тоҷикистон, Таджикистан, تاجيكستان, Todhzikiston, Таджикская ССР, Tajik SSR
TANZANIA TZ Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania, United Republic of Tanzania, Tanganyika and Zanzibar
THAILAND TH ประเทศไทย, Prathet Thai, 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 Chuuk (See Micronesia)
TUNISIA TN تونس, Tunis, الجمهورية التونسية, Al Jumhuriyah at Tunisiyah, Regency of Tunis
TURKEY TR Türkiye Cumhuriyeti, Republic of Turkey
TURKISH REPUBLIC OF NORTHERN CYPRUS -- (Address through Turkey)
TURKMENISTAN TM (Республика) Туркменистан (Respublika Turkmenistan), Türkmenistan, Türkmenistan Jumhuriyäti, Republic of Turkmenistan, Туркменская ССР, Turkmen SSR, Turkestan
TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS TC  
TUVALU TV Ellice Islands
UGANDA UG Republic of Uganda
UKRAINE UA Україна (Ukrainian), Украина (Russian) (Ukrayina, Ukrajina), The Ukraine, Ukrainia, Ukrainian National Republic, Украинская ССР, Ukrainian SSR, CIS
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES AE الإمارات العربية المتحد, Al Imarat, دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة, Dawlat Al Imarat Al Arabiya Al Muttahida, Trucial Oman. The Emirates are: Abu Dhabi (أبو ظبي), Ajman (عجمان), Dubai (دبي), Fujairah (الفجيرة), Ras al-Khaimah (رأس الخيمة), Sharjah (الشارقة), and Umm al-Qaiwain (أم القيوين)
UNITED KINGDOM GB See: England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland
URUGUAY UY República Oriental del Uruguay, ROU, (Eastern) Republic of Uruguay
US VIRGIN ISLANDS VI (Use USA address)
USA US United States, United States of America, EEUU, США
USSR SU Союз Советских Социалистических Республик (СССР), Советский Союз, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Soviet Union. See: ARMENIA, AZERBAIJAN, BELARUS, ESTONIA, GEORGIA, KAZAKHSTAN, KYRGYZSTAN, LATVIA, LITHUANIA, MOLDOVA, RUSSIA, TAJIKISTAN, TURKMENISTAN, UKRAINE, UZBEKISTAN.
UZBEKISTAN UZ Ўзбекистон, Узбекистан, O'zbekiston (Respublikasi), Узбекская ССР, Uzbek SSR
VANUATU VU Ripablik blong Vanuatu, Republic of Vanuatu, New Hebrides
VATICAN CITY VA Holy See, Vaticanum, Santa Sede, (Stata della) Città del Vaticano
VENEZUELA VE República Bolivariana de Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
VIETNAM VN Viet Nam, Cộng Hòa Xã Hội Chủ Nghĩa Việt Nam, Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, Indochina, Annam
WALES GB Cymru, United Kingdom, Great Britain
WALLIS AND FORTUNA ISLANDS WF  
WESTERN SAMOA WS (Independent State of) Samoa Also see: AMERICAN SAMOA
WESTERN SAHARA EH Spanish Sahara, Spanish West Africa. Not recognized by USPS, address through Morocco.
YEMEN YE اليمن, Al Yaman. الجمهورية اليمنية, Al-Jumhuriya Al-Yamaniya, Republic of Yemen
YUGOSLAVIA YU (Федеративна Народна Република) Југославија (ФНРЈ); Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia; Federated (or Federal) Peoples Republic of Yugoslavia; Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. See: SERBIA-MONTENEGRO (2). Also see: BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA, CROATIA, MACEDONIA, SLOVENIA.
ZAMBIA ZM Republic of Zambia, Northern Rhodesia
ZIMBABWE ZW Republic of Zimbabwe, Southern Rhodesia, Rhodesia, Zimbabwe-Rhodesia

Notes:

  1. The USPS IMM lists the French name, CÔTE D'IVOIRE (complete with circumflex) and not the English name.
  2. The Finnish region of Karelia became the Finno-Karelian SSR, part of the USSR, in 1945. It is still part of Russia.

QUIZ ANSWERS

  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) (of course this is controversial).
  4. The flag of England is:       The Union Flag is:  
  5. The UK of course, and...? Ken Westmoreland sent the best answer so far: "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 Saint 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 (they do), 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." [Andy Bell points out from Hong Kong in 2008 that pre-1997 coins are still in circulation, as noted HERE (entry dated 19 February 2006.] Also: Belize banknotes and coins have the Queen's portrait. Somalia recently issued a 25 shillings coin with Queen Victoria's portrait. In January 2006, Mark Brown of Augusta State University reported that a definitive answer to this question, at least for banknotes, can be found in P.J. Symes' The Portraits of Queen Elizabeth II as they appear on World Banknotes.

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