With today’s day and age, we only communicate through phone calls, texts, emails, and social media. However, nothing beats the lasting, tangible message written within a letter. Filling out letters isn’t a forgotten skill, but many of us need quick reminders to refresh our memories. If it’s your first time writing and addressing a letter, it isn’t as intimidating or complicated as you think. There are several guidelines that you need to follow before sending your letter. We’re here to tell you how to address an envelope the right way. 

The Importance of Filling Out a Letter Correctly 

Blindly writing on an envelope may cause you a lot of problems, so it’s important to learn how to do so correctly before sending it off. If you don’t, you may be faced with the following scenarios: 

  • You’d likely experience a delay in delivery 
  • Your envelope may be returned back as undelivered, or worse, get lost in the mail.
  • Your letter may be delivered to the wrong person. 
  • The intended receiver of your letter will have a hard time understanding who it’s from 

Our mail delivery company goes to great lengths to ensure your mail is delivered properly. Let’s not make a postman’s job difficult because of easy-to-avoid mistakes, and you’ll be rewarded with quick and easy delivery!  

Also Read: How To Fill Out a Check

USPS Requirements When Addressing an Envelope

Before we start addressing our envelopes, here are some important USPS requirements and guidelines that you must follow: 

  • Addresses should be written in ink rather than in pencil as pencil rubs off easily. 
  • Write everything in uppercase. 
  • Don’t use any punctuation on your envelope.
  • Make sure to write down the recipient’s full legal name.
  • Use simple fonts.
  • As much as possible, use black ink on white or light paper.
  • It’s preferred to use abbreviations for streets, apartments, states, etc. 

Also Read: How To Write a Check in 7 Simple Steps

A Step-by-Step Guide on How To Fill Out a LetterA Step-by-Step Guide on How To Fill Out a Letter

You’ve written your letter, and you’re ready to have it sent. Carefully follow these steps to avoid the risk of having your letter returned or lost before it reaches your recipient. 

Step 1: Write a Return Address 

The return address refers to your own address. It’s commonly written on the top left corner on the front of your envelope. You can alternatively write the return address on the back of the envelope, right in the middle of the flap. 

It should look a little like this: 

  • 1st line: Your full name and title, if appropriate
  • 2nd line: Business name or apartment number  
  • 3rd line: Street address 
  • 4th line: City-state and zip code

The return address is important just in case your recipient’s address is inaccurate or unclear. If such a thing happens, the envelope will be returned for you to fix and resend. Writing a return address isn’t always necessary, but it is recommended.

Step 2: Write the Recipient’s Address

Once you’ve written your address, the next step is to write the address of your recipient. You’ll need to write it in the middle of the envelope, at the back. 

For Personal Envelopes

  • 1st line: Recipient’s full name and title, if appropriate
  • 2nd line: Building name or apartment number  
  • 3rd line: Street address 
  • 4th line: City-state and zip code

For Business Envelopes

  • 1st line: Recipient’s full name and title, if appropriate
  • 2nd line: Company name
  • 3rd line: Building name (optional) or street name 
  • 4rd line: Floor number
  • 4th line: City-state and zip code

For Overseas Military Installations

When sending a letter to a person stationed overseas, you’ll be using the same guidelines for personal letters with a few simple additions. 

  • 1st line: Recipient’s full name and rank
  • 2nd line: Unit or squadron number  
  • 3rd line: Location where the recipient is stationed (APO or FPO), followed by the abbreviation of the region and full postal code

For Other Countries

The same instruction applies to addressing an envelope to a different country. The only difference is that you’ll need to write the name of the country you’d like to deliver it to in all uppercase at the end of the letter. Beneath your return address, you should include “U.S.A”. 

Sample Letter

The end product of your letter, whether it be personal or otherwise, should look a little like this:

DR JOHN SMITH

APT. 4

123 OCEAN AVE

LOS ANGELES, CA, 12345

ATTN. EMMA JONES  

SMITH & CO. 

456 WEST STREET  

FLOOR 10  

ROCHESTER, NYC, 65322

 

Step 3: Stamping the Envelope

Before you send your letter, you’ll need to get a stamp. The stamp goes in the upper right corner on the back of your envelope. Without a stamp, your letter will be sent back to you at the return address, or it will be delivered to its addressee, who’s subject to postage fees. 

If the recipient refuses to pay for postage, the mail will be held by the post office as an unclaimed letter for some time, before it’s destroyed or used to fund the USPS. 

The stamp you’ll need depends on the following: 

  • Size and shape of your envelope. 
  • Where you want to send your letter. 
  • How fast you want it to be delivered. 

For domestic deliveries, one stamp is sufficient for a letter that doesn’t exceed more than one ounce in weight. If it does, you will need to add an additional stamp.

Postage rates change quite frequently, so if you haven’t sent a letter in a while, the old stamps you may have stashed in the back of your cabinet may not be sufficient. To avoid such a thing, it’s best to buy Forever Stamps

Forever Stamps are a great thing to have as its cost doesn’t change, regardless of the annual price increase. Currently, Forever Stamps cost 55 cents for one ounce, and an additional 15 cents thereafter. 

Step 4: Mailing the Letter 

Once you’ve written your return and recipient address, and made sure you’ve added a stamp, you’re now ready to deliver your envelope! Just simply leave it in your mailbox and wait for your mail carrier to pick it up. 

Alternatively, if you’re worried about speed or security, you can drop it off at your local post office or into any blue USPS box. 

Conclusion

Once you’ve learned how to address an envelope, you can mail just about anything! 

As long as you follow the above steps, your mail is guaranteed to be delivered safely to its destination. 

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