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Blog > How to speed up mail delivery time


Ever wondered if there is a way to speed up the delivery of the mail sent to you? Well, actually there is!

It’s quite an obvious fact, but is many times overlooked: writing your address in the most complete and correct way for your country helps a good deal on the speed of the delivery. However, each country has it’s own guidelines of how to write the address so, to help with this, the Universal Postal Union (UPU) has created guides for each country describing how to correctly write the address in that country. This not only insures that the mail is always delivered to you but also that it is done as fast as possible when all the mail is sorted and distributed on the postal services.

To help you find the guide for your own country you can go to your edit address section where you’ll find a direct link to it, or go to the UPU website for all the guides.

Oh, and also very important: if your country has a postal code system (most do), make sure you have your postal code in your address and that it is complete. That will also help the postcards arrive faster to you!

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11 comments so far

Geminiscp, Portugal

And a good handwriting helps too... ; )

InP, Finland

Good reminder! I guess everyone thinks they know how to write their own address, but it's worth it to make sure :)

(For instance, I didn't know to write the name of my town in CAPITAL letters in addition to the country name and the country code - a tip to fellow Finnish postcrossers! Capital letters help the automatic sorting of the post, speeding up the delivery.)

But considering sending cards, which is better: to trust the address given by the receiver, or make the address more correct (if necessary) by myself with the UPU guidelines?

sonataca, United States of America

Thanks...all my mail has been stuck since 3 weeks. :(
I will try to use the website above.

mikebond, Italy

Thanks for reminding this, Paulo! I've remarked that some postcrossers (especially from Russia and other former USSR countries) write their address in a different way than the one recommended by the UPU. When I find such addresses, I check the correct way in the UPU site and write them that way.

phuleshouse, Canada

Thanks I will check this out.

Peramuru, Finland

This is good info, thanks! :)

Should there be more instructions on the registration page, because so many people don't write their name in the address box at all... ( I have to take the name for the address from the "real name" part or send a card with the username...) I think that must slow things down, too?

yvi-1, United States of America

Peramuru: not all countries require a name for a letter to be delivered but I get your point because I think people do not realize that the address area should include everything needed to get an item to them.

InP: I have used the UPU guidelines instead of the address given to me and had no problems.

I have been using the UPU and Address Doctor to find the correct format for and verify the address for postcrossers that I have received. Additionally, I now print a label. Definitely, now postcards are getting places faster.

One thing people in the US do not realize is that the USPS does not want any punctuation in their addresses and they have standards for specific abbreviations. Apparently punctuation and wrong abbreviations confuse the optical readers. So if you live in 121 Park Avenue (new line) New York, NY 01155, it should read 121 PARK AVE (new line) NEW YORK NY 01155

What I have found is that most countries want capital letters for at least the city and country and many times also for the address. Some countries, just like the US, do not want any punctuation (including accents) on the address and country. This was surprising to me!

Anyhoo, the link Paulo provided gives you the standards for each country that is a member of the UPU. I find it quite fun to format the address.

cold_dead_bunny, Ukraine

Oh thats very interesting and handy! I will definatly use it in Postcrossing! Thanks!

mydecemberht, United States of America

This rocks..I had no idea there was a guide. I believe the guide is a bit incomplete though because I didn't see listings for every country. This will help me with my pen-palling too :). The info for Japan is REALLY detailed!! :)

Renessaince, Belarus

Thanks, very cognitive and useful info.

suzeroo, Canada

Keep in mind that these standards are set so that mail can be sorted by machines in most cases. Alot of the time those machines damage the mail so I add puffy stickers etc to keep them out of the machines. Just a thought from a postal worker 8)