Address Verification

Following the UK Mailing Address Format Correctly

By 27 March 2024April 16th, 2024No Comments
uk mailing address format

Following the UK Mailing Address Format Correctly

The 21st century! And electronic media has taken over our daily lives. Well, it was slow initially!

But yes!

All of us today are dependent on different types of communication channels- agree?

Looking back in time, Ray Tomlinson started the revolution with email in the ARPANET program, followed by Shiva Ayyadurai, who popularized email for the masses, and Mark Zuckerberg, who helped negate the need for physical mail.

uk mailing address format

Although it is virtually obsolete, the postal service is still required to verify documents and send parcels & packages. Today, nobody has time to verify and correct the UK shipping address format or protocols before sending urgent packages or even a letter.

Well, thanks to our busy schedules.

Again, just as we said above, it is crucial to know how to write a mailing address correctly to facilitate clean sailing and successful mail delivery.

Here is a guide to help you get familiarized with everything and clear all your doubts on how to write an address on a letter UK.

Let’s get to it!

Why Is It Important to Use the Correct UK Address Format?

Just as we keep telling our clients, address verification is a crucial element of any direct mail campaign. A wrong address results in a delivery, which causes customers to experience frustration, and for businesses, it may lead to a loss of sales opportunities.

Address verification tends to bring noteworthy benefits to your business, a few of them are:

  • It helps increase the number of marketing materials that helps you reach new customers.
  • It saves you time, money, and effort you put into returned mail items.
  • A Correct address format provides you with better data analytics and reports.
  • Improved customer support.
  • Boosts the lead generation and effectiveness of your direct mail campaign.

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If you want to send something overseas, you should follow the guidelines of the destination country. The same rule applies while mailing something to the UK. You just have to write your complete mailing address as per the standard UK address format.

Also, Royal Mail has laid down several guidelines that can help you standardize your UK mailing addresses correctly. These guidelines can help you in the following ways:

Reduce Mail Returns

One of the prime reasons to write a UK address the right way is to make sure your mailpiece reaches its destination.

But, often, some people do not pay attention to the address format and make mistakes like

  • Misspellings
  • Spacing and capitalization errors
  • Incorrect postcodes
  • Missing details, etc.

These mistakes can lead to failed deliveries and mail returns, leading to huge losses.

Avoid Delivery Delays and Maintain Brand Image

Delivery delays are as bad as returned mail items. For example, suppose you tell a UK client that the parcel will reach them by a specific date. But what if a slight formatting error causes a delay? It can upset your clients and also lead to a bad reputation.

The postal service depends on the mailing address you write to complete a delivery. If you don’t do your part right, the post office cannot deliver your mail to the correct address. Hence, proper formatting is crucial to help the post office transport and deliver your mail items accurately.

Save Resources and Effort

Reshipping international orders is expensive and can take a lot of effort. Yet, you may have to reship the returned items.

Also, you need to spend extra on printing, packaging, and mailing, causing a lot of waste. So, apart from the extra effort, it also costs you tons of money and resources.

Using the correct United Kingdom address format can help you skip such troubles and mail to the proper mailing address the first time.

Complete Orders On-Time

On-time deliveries can help companies improve customer satisfaction and increase credibility. Once a customer receives their order by the estimated delivery date, there is a good chance they will order again.

But, all these things are possible only when the item reaches them at the right time. Here, learning how to write an address UK can be very beneficial to businesses.

How to Format a UK Address?

The British address format is very different from the US address format. For example, the city, state, and ZIP codes are all written on the same line here. But, in the UK, postcodes are always written separately on the last line.

It is just one example of how the two address formats differ. We have listed some steps below to help you understand how to write UK addresses without getting caught up in these variations.

Place the Address on the Bottom-Left of Your Envelope

Unlike US addresses, the correct address format UK recommends placing the address on the bottom-left corner of the envelope. Make sure that the mailing address always appears on the front side.

Write the Recipient’s Full Name

Start with writing your recipient’s full name even if you have an informal relationship with that person. It helps your letter or parcel reach the right person without any misinterpretations. Also, it is a must while mailing to a company where more than one person can have the same name.

Furthermore, it is advisable to add a salutation before the name on formal letters—for example, Dr. John Dankworth. Other titles include Mister, Miss, Mr., Ms., Mrs., Esq, etc.

Leave enough space at the bottom of the envelope to add the full address below the name.

Add the Company Name

If you are mailing a commercial address, add the company name on the second line. It helps the postal workers locate the address more quickly.

However, sometimes the business name is different than the parent company name. For example, the company Vinters Engineering Limited is owned by Rolls-Royce Holdings plc. So, naturally, there are two offices at separate locations for both of these organizations.

In such cases, you have to consider where exactly your mail is going before writing the business name in your address.

Write the Property Number and Street Name

The following line is also called the delivery address line. It consists of the property number along with the street name—for example, 12 Notting Hill.

Sometimes, there are many different variations of this line, and some of them are:

  1. If your address has a building or house name, mention it on this line and shift the street name to the next.
  2. To send something to a P.O. box, write its number instead of the street name and house number.

Mention the Locality Name

The address writing format UK suggests writing the locality name immediately below the street address.

Please note: Locality names help the postal service reach the right street where your address is located. For example, suppose there are two streets in the town of Bakewell named ‘Church Street.’ If you don’t mention a locality name, it is difficult for the postal workers to identify the right street.

Write the Town or City Name

Write the town or city name on the line below. If you didn’t mention the locality name, place this line below the street address.

For clarity, write the town or city name in uppercase letters.

Add the Postcode

Mention the postcode on the following line. Make sure to write complete and correct postcodes to avoid confusion and mistakes.

If you are unsure of your postcodes, you can find them here.

Write the Country Name on the Last Line

If you are in the UK and mailing to someone within the country, you can skip this line. But, for sending mail to the UK from the USA, you should mention the country name on the last line in capital letters.

Find below a London address example to get a better understanding of the above steps:

Ms. Naomi Davies
Gaze Media Inc
1 Carnaby Street
LONDON
W1F 9PS
ENGLAND

Best Practices to Use the UK Mailing Address Format 

Identify the Premise 

One must use at least one premise of the following in the address format; 

  • Company Name 
  • Building Name 
  • Building Number 
  • Sub Building Name 

Avoiding these elements in the address format can lead to failed or delayed deliveries. Postal workers may need clarification while sorting the mail. 

Must-Have Components in the Address

There are specific mandatory address components you can’t ignore while sending mail or parcels in the UK.  

  • Your mail must have an addressee/ recipient name. 
  • Every mail must include a premise identifier—E.g. Building number, name, or company. 
  • The address format must contain a post town. 
  • A valid postal code is also necessary to send mail. 

Things You Don’t Need 

Unnecessary additional information can confuse instead of helping postal services. Professionals will need to process more information while sorting mail. Extra details also open more scope for mistakes. 

  • There’s no need to add county information in your mail. It does not help postal services in routing. Royal Mail suggests that adding county info can create more confusion than bringing clarity. 
  • Postal experts suggest refraining from adding village, city, borough, or town names while writing an address. You only need to specify post town and Postcode. 
  • Including the country name when you are sending domestic mail is unnecessary. Royal Mail only recommends mentioning the country when you are sending international mail. 

Additional Notes

  • It is possible to have addresses only with an organization name, Postcode, and post town. Users should always keep this information while writing the address on a mail piece or collecting data. 
  • Professionals should try to use county names for identifying a premise.   

What does a Proper UK Address look like? 

You should follow these suggestions to represent your address for a perfect, smooth delivery; 

  • Users should avoid using full stops or commas. 
  • Every UK address should left aligned, not centered. 
  • You must not wrap two elements over two lines. 
  • The Postcode is present with upper case and correct spacing. 
  • Avoid leaving any blank lines while writing addresses. 
  • There should be no spacing above 5mm between words. 

The Type of Font 

Royal Mail also provides some recommendations on the font you use for fonts. These guidelines are necessary to make the address more readable for humans and machines. Here’s what you need to do; 

  • Users must avoid using any fancy fonts (for example, handwriting). 
  • One shouldn’t bold or underline the text. 
  • It would help if you did not use serif fonts. 
  • The postal services give preference to non-proportionally spaced fonts. 
  • Maintain consistent font color and size on the mail or parcel. 
  • There must be a minimum character width of 2mm. 
  • Ensure a minimum character height of 7mm. 
  • Keep decent contrast between the font and printing medium. 

What is Royal Mail? How Does it Serve the UK? 

UK’s Royal Mail has a history of over 500 years. It could be one of the oldest postal systems still in existence. 

The system had the original purpose of only serving the King and the Court. There was a constant exchange of letters between London and Edinburgh to maintain control and peace over England and Scotland. 

Royal Mail today is an international postal service that covers 44 countries and territories worldwide. Over 162,000 employees are working the service, managing and delivering around 13 billion letters annually. 

The postal company works six days a week throughout the year with few public holidays. 

How Post Codes Work in the UK? 

The postal codes came out as a pilot program on a trial basis in Norwich. National implementation took place between 1965 to 1974. There are over 1.8 million unit postcodes in use in Britain. Each code covers around 15 properties in a region. 

These postcodes consist of two parts: the Inward Code and the Outward Code. Each of them has a space. 

Let us define each of these codes to understand their purpose; 

Inward Code 

These codes help sort mail in a local area delivery office. The number signifies the sector in the postal district, and the letter is one or more properties in an industry. 

Outward Code 

An outward code contains an area and district where the mail will go. It enables delivery workers to sort the mail to the correct local area for smooth delivery. 

The first two letters signify the county, and the number shows the postcode district. One can learn about the delivery office where the mail will go. Postal workers can better optimize their routes with these codes. 

The Evolution of Postage and Stamps in Britain

The postal service was available to the general public back in 1635 by King Charles. The receivers of these letters had to pay while receiving them. Senders were able to avoid paying for postage until 1840. 

Sir Rowland Hill introduced the world’s first adhesive postage stamp in 1840. These stamps are still relevant in the postal world even after centuries. Yet, stamps are more complicated than in the early days of their inception. 

How to Determine the Price of Postage? 

The prices depend on various factors, such as; 

  • The weight and size of your mail or parcel. 
  • The speed of the delivery. 
  • Tracking an item or receiving a delivery confirmation is possible. 

Types of Envelope Sizes in the UK 

You will find envelopes of different sizes, materials, and styles. One can buy them online, at local stationery, or the post office. The ideal envelope size depends on the mail you are sending. Envelopes are available in multiple color choices. Yet, white and manilla ones are the most common envelopes.

Your choice of envelope must show the recipient’s name and address clearly. You can also stick white labels and use dark ink to make the postal address more visible. 

These are common types of envelopes popular in the UK;  

C4 Envelopes 

These envelopes are the most common business envelopes that can fit A4 sheets. Professionals and businesses prefer sending letters and documents in this format. 

C5 Envelopes 

These envelopes are smaller than the C4 ones. Yet, it can still accommodate half-folded A4 sheets. They have the dimensions of 22.9 cm in length and 16.2 cm in width.      

C6 Envelopes 

They are half in size of C4 envelopes with dimensions of 16.2 cm in length and 11.4 cm in width. These mail require a smaller letter stamp for postage.   

C7 Envelopes

People use these small envelopes for sending invitations and cards. They have the dimensions of 11.2 cm in length and 8.3 cm in width. These envelopes also need small letter stamps for posting mail.  

Write the Return Address and Post Your Mailpiece

Include the return address on the back of your envelope towards the bottom-right corner. Add the words “Return Address” on the first line and then start writing it.

Some people write their return address on the opening flap of the envelope. So, you can also opt for this method too as it is a common practice in the UK.

But is it necessary to add a return address to my mail?

Well, you don’t have to add it if you don’t want to. Yet, it is recommended by Royal Mail as it helps you get your mail back in case the delivery fails.

If you don’t add a return address, the post office holds the item instead of delivering it back to you. If you don’t show up to collect your returned mail in a few days, the items are discarded.

Sometimes, the post office discards returned mail without a return address even before waiting for someone to collect it. So, always remember to mention a deliverable return address if you want your items back.

Find below the steps to write a return address on your envelope and mail it:

Step 1: Write the Address Using the US Address Format

Since the return address is a US address, you should follow the USPS address format. Follow all the guidelines in the same way as you would for a mailing address.

Below is an example of a return address:

RETURN ADDRESS
THEO HELBERG
45 AZTEC DR
ARIZONA CITY AZ 10418
USA

Please note: The country name ‘USA’ is written on the last line because the mail is returning from the UK (international). For domestic mail, you can skip this line.

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Step 2: Buy Global Forever Stamps

You can send letters weighing up to 1oz using one Global Forever stamp. Currently, the rate for one stamp is $1.30. The best part is that you can buy these stamps now and use them any time you want as they never expire.

If your mail item weighs more than 1oz, you will need more than one stamp.

Step 3: Post Your Letter

If you are sending mail from the US, you can drop your items in a mailbox around you.

But, sometimes, it is difficult to determine the number of stamps you need or the amount of postage you need to pay. Hence, it is advisable to take your items to the post office to weigh your mail and know the exact postage.

Furthermore, if you don’t know how to write the address on the envelope UK, they can help you.

Once you mail something, the item can take about one to two weeks to arrive in the UK.

How to Write London Addresses?

We have already discussed how to address a letter to England. But, this section is all about London addresses due to their postcodes.

All London postcodes divide the city into several geographic locations like

  • West London (W)
  • East London (E)
  • North London (N)
  • South London (S), and
  • Central London

These areas are further divided into

  • West Central (WC)
  • East Central (EC)
  • North West (NW)
  • South West (SW), and
  • South East (SE)

The postcodes of London start with these abbreviations. Some of the London postcodes are:

  • SW1A 2AA
  • SE1 0AB
  • NW1 0NT
  • EC2M 1DA

The extra numbers and digits in postcodes help in locating the street address. Most of the time, the first section of the postcode and the first number from the second section (for example, SE1 0) are enough. But, try writing the entire postcode for better clarity.

British Forces Post Office (BFPO) Addresses

The address layout for a BFPO address is as follows:

For service personnel:

Service Number, Rank, Name
Regiment or Unit
Operation or Location
RAF Station, Naval Ship, Barracks, or Camp (if applicable)
BFPO Number

For family:

If the recipient is dependent on serving personnel of HM forces, use the below format.

Name of dependent
C/O Service Number, Rank, Name
Regiment or Unit
Operation name
RAF Station, Naval Ship, Barracks, or Camp (if applicable)
BFPO Number

For non-service personnel:

Use the below format if the mail is for a Ministry of Defense (MOD) employee. You can also use it for employees of other official organizations who are supposed to use the BFPO.

Staff number (depending on availability)
Name
Department/Unit (school name)
RAF Station, Naval Ship, Barracks, or Camp (if applicable)
BFPO Number

If you are having difficulty finding the BFPO number, visit here.

Some more things to remember while writing BFPO addresses are:

  • Avoid mentioning the destination country
  • Seal all the edges of large packages and letters using adhesive tape
  • Avoid using the AIR MAIL sticker
  • Write using uppercase letters
  • You can use the BFPO postcode rather than the number, but it can cause delays

UK Address Examples

The address you saw above explains only one type of correct postal address format UK. Below are some more examples so that you know how to address a letter UK under any situation:

UK Address Format Example With a Dependent Locality:

Mr. Daniel Morgan (addressee)
Primrose Cottage (building name)
Park Road (street name)
Framingham Pigot (dependent locality name)
NORWICH (post town)
NR1 1QD (postcode)
ENGLAND (country)

In this example, the dependent locality is a large village that can help the postal employees reach the right street.

UK Address With PO Box Address Format UK

Ms. Rachael Williams (addressee)
PO Box 831 (PO box address)
LONDON (post town)
SWI9 2AA (postcode)
ENGLAND (country)

As you can see above, the PO box address completely replaces the street address line.

UK Commercial Address Format

Mr. Jacob Staincliffe (addressee)
Star Tech Company Ltd. (company name)
HR Department (department name)
34 Abbey Road (house number and street name)
LONDON (post town)
NW6 5JH (postcode)
ENGLAND (country)

As written above in the London address format, the department name should always be on the line below the company name. Though it is never mandatory to write the department name, it helps your mail reach the right person within a company.

UK Address Format With No Street Name

Mrs. Lily Scott (addressee)
The Gables (building name)
LONDON (post town)
NW1 2LG (postcode)
ENGLAND (country)

If you don’t have a street name, it is not a problem. But, make sure to write the building name at least. You cannot send out a mail item that neither has a building name nor a street address.

Comparison between UK and US Addresses

US Address Example UK Address Example
JASON SERRAO
84 BROADWAY AVE
Oswego NY 13126
Mr. Tom Watson
91 Armande St
SOUTHAMPTON
SO79 5PH
UK

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Please find below other differences in the United States and United Kingdom mailing address formats:

  • In US addresses, the entire address is in uppercase letters. But, it is not compulsory to write the UK address format line 1 and 2 in all caps. However, the last three lines (post town, postcode, country) should be in uppercase letters at all times.
  • There should be one space between the city name and state abbreviation in US mailing addresses. Also, there should be two spaces in between the state abbreviation and ZIP code. However, there are no spacing instructions in the envelope address format UK as you use separate lines for everything.
  • US addresses are placed in the center of the envelope, whereas UK addresses appear on the bottom left.

Despite these differences, many general rules are the same in both countries, like

  • Avoid using punctuation marks.
  • Align your address to the left.
  • Don’t leave blank lines within an address.
  • Leave generous margins around your address lines.
  • Use legible handwriting that is easy to read and understand.
  • Don’t overwrite anything because it can lead to confusion and misinterpretations.
  • Affix the correct number of postage stamps to the top-right corner of your envelope.
  • Avoid using telephone numbers, email addresses, and other private information on your address labels.
  • It is better to use black ink on white paper. But, even if you are using any other colors, make sure your ink is of a darker color.

Apart from these guidelines, find below some more points related to addressing fonts and printing:

  • Refrain from using fancy fonts like Lobster or Pacifico.
  • No underlined or bold text.
  • Avoid serifed fonts.
  • Maintain font color and size consistency.
  • The minimum height of your words should be 7mm.
  • Don’t let the distance between two words exceed 5mm.
  • Ensure that there is sufficient contrast between the printing medium and font.

These guidelines help you get your mail items delivered to the UK faster. By following the UK address format Royal Mail, you can ensure that the post office workers and their machines can read your address correctly. It will lead to fast sorting, processing, and deliveries.

Know more about Correct International or UK Address Format

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Using an Address Verification Tool to Format Address Correctly

If the above instructions are too much for you or you don’t have the time to follow them, consider using address verification tools. For example, PostGrid’s address validation API can help you standardize your addresses as per the letter envelope address format UK within seconds.

Our address validation API also has other features like

Hence, you can ensure that all your mail items reach their intended recipients, and you don’t have to stress over remailing.

Plus, PostGrid’s services are available for you at very competitive prices so that you can avail of high-quality services affordably.

Wrapping Up

Verifying your address and writing it down the right way is crucial before sending something to the UK. These steps can help you save a lot of effort, time, and money.

But, sometimes, it is impossible to standardize bulk addresses by yourself. Hence, PostGrid has brought a credible and effective solution for you. Our address verification API helps you verify your UK mailing lists in minutes hassle-free. You can always have access to updated data allowing you to mail abroad confidently.

Not just the UK address format, PostGrid can help you with other international address formats as well. Hence, you no longer need to worry about borders and can mail anywhere.

Also, try PostGrid’s print and mail API that helps you create, print, and send your mailpiece in an automated way.

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