Address Verification

Following the UK Mailing Address Format Correctly

By 23 August 2022No 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 a 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 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 on 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 on extra printing, packaging, and mailing, causing a lot of wastage. 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 itself.

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

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:


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 the 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)
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
Oswego NY 13126
Mr. Tom Watson
91 Armande St
SO79 5PH

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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 texts.
  • 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 verification 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 reshipping.

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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