Address Verification

Where to Write Return Address on Letter

By 27 March 2024April 17th, 2024No Comments
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Where to Write Return Address on Letter: Why Does It Matter?

Do you send letters, postcards, checks, business proposals, and other direct mailers via the Post Office? 

If yes, learning where to put the return address on the envelope can be a valuable skill for you and your team . It ensures that your envelopes and packages return to your address if they cannot be delivered by the Post Office.

address data management system

Not just that! 

You can protect yourself from lost mailers, misplacement, and security breaches by mentioning the return address on your mail. It instructs postal workers what to do with your items if the recipients refuse to receive them or are unavailable.

Let us take an example- 

Imagine you run a financial services institution and want to send bulk compliance notices to all existing clients. 

You may try protecting the client’s confidentiality by enclosing the mailers with sensitive information in secured envelopes. 

But what if you mention the incorrect delivery address on your envelopes? What happens when postal workers can’t trace you and lose your mail in transit? 

This situation can lead to a massive data breach and many other issues. And you can avoid it by mentioning the return address on letter envelopes to enable USPS to contact you if any problem occurs.

So do you want to learn- Do you need a return address on a letter and how to write it?

Well, this blog can guide you through the process and enable you to guarantee your mail finds its way back to you in case of delivery failures! 

We will also discuss how to write and place the return address correctly on your envelopes and packages! This information can help you send snail mail accurately and safely, saving time and money.

Let us get started!

Do You Have to Put a Return Address on Every Item?

PostGrid’s team frequently receives inquiries about return addresses from clients. Additionally, they want to know whether they should include their address on every piece of mail they send.

Here’s our answer-

Always include your return address, whether it's a postcard, letter, or well-crafted client agreement. It ensures mailing accuracy and safeguards you from unnecessary losses.

The reason? 

Well, there are many aside from protecting your mailers, like

Additional Branding

A valid return address on the envelope proves the mail is from a reputed company. Otherwise, your recipients might treat it as junk mail and toss it into the bin.

The address gives your letters, invoices, and other items a branded touch to let your clients, vendors, and third parties know they are from you. It also prompts them to pay attention to your message and reply faster.

HIPAA Compliance

The penalties for one HIPAA violation range between $100 and $25,000 per calendar year. Hence, try putting extra effort into avoiding data breaches and other HIPAA-related violations.

You may protect yourself from litigation by mentioning the return address on letter mailers. It proves you tried redirecting the envelopes to your office when a potential data leak occurred.

Better Client Relationships

Your customers can feel secure and confident when associating with you if you write your return address on a letter envelope. It signifies you strive to protect their data privacy and put adequate efforts into safeguarding their interests.

Let us consider our last example-

Your financial services company can maintain positive client relationships when you focus on their privacy protection. When recipients see the return address on the letters, they feel a sense of belonging and security. It makes them aware that the Post Office can return the mail to your office if they aren’t at home to receive the letters or another issue occurs.

Hence, our answer to “Do you have to put a return address” is always yes. Though you may skip writing it under some conditions like

  • Direct mail is something you do in-house and you'd like to save time.
  • You want to save money on ink.
  • Get rid of the mail returns.
  • You want to send mailers to house residents, not addressed recipients. There may be no mail returns.
  • You can afford additional and unnecessary waste and losses.

We are sure you want to take the better route, cut unnecessary expenses, and improve efficiency! Learning where to write return addresses on letter mail can assist you in achieving these goals hassle-free.

Where Does the Return Address Go on an Envelope?

The return address is only one element of your envelope’s front cover. It should have more details like

The Delivery Address

Your intended recipient’s delivery address should go in the envelope’s or parcel’s middle. Differentiate between your mailing and return address on a letter to help postal workers ship your items to the correct destinations.

Also, leave adequate white space between the two addresses to enable the postal equipment to read your recipient’s information without issue.

Use the standard USPS mailing address format to mail your clients or others as follows:

  1. Always start with the full name. Mention the person you want to ship your item to, not who owns the house (in case of B2C) or who manages the entire team (in case of B2B). Writing the concerned person’s name on envelopes enables you to reduce the communication gap and reach the correct person faster. Another tip—avoid adding titles in mailing addresses.
  2. Delivery addresses are similar to the return address on a letter, so you can mention the address with c/o line to differentiate.
  3. The second line should have the recipient’s room number and street address. Use correct directionals and names to limit confusion and speed up deliveries.
  4. The last line should comprise the city name, state or territory abbreviation, and ZIP code. Refrain from using two lines for this section when the city name is lengthy. It lets the USPS workers perform better sorting and deliveries.
💡 Related Article: How to Return Mail to Sender

Here is a sample

[Company’s name]
[Apartment, suite, floor, or unit number and street address]
[City, state or territory abbreviation, ZIP code]

Jenny Furtado
Krisp Entertainment Inc
81 NW 5th AVE

More Tips to Write Your Delivery Addresses

Mailing addresses are more crucial than a return address on a letter because they decide whether your intended recipients will get your messages. Here are some extra USPS guidelines you can follow to ensure mailing accuracy

  • Use capital letters for all addresses.
  • Avoid using punctuation marks because postal machines can’t read them.
  • Use dark colors on light backgrounds.
  • Leave one space between the city name and state abbreviation and two spaces between the abbreviations and ZIP codes.
  • Place the delivery address parallel to the longest side. It allows you to learn- Where does the return address go on the envelope or package?

The Return Address

Your return address must be legitimate and deliverable. Avoid writing it as a formality and understand the practicalities when shipping postal mail.

You can use the same delivery address format discussed above for return addresses. Hence, sending items with correct information about the mail’s origin becomes faster.

You may only write the origin Post Office with the ZIP code on the mailers. It allows USPS workers to redirect the items to your nearby postal office. And you can keep checking in with it every two to four business days to see if you received mail returns.

There are many shortcuts and loopholes you may try to keep yourself from learning- How to write a return address? But only one way can help you stay in the correct direction and improve internal productivity—writing a valid return address on every mailer.

Here is an example of a return address:

ABC Companies
Sales Department
510 Bridge ST
Ashland OK  74570

Place the return address on the top-left corner of your envelope or parcel label. Some shippers also write it on the envelope’s flap if the envelope does not have adequate space.

Other things to consider when learning to use the return address format are

  • Don’t use cursive handwriting because it can confuse readers and cause misinterpretation. Try printing the addresses instead of manually writing them to ensure the highest quality and clarity.
  • Use simple size-10 fonts to write return and delivery addresses. It ensures the details are visible to everyone and reduces the chances of manual errors. Use larger fonts when sending items with broader dimensions, like oversized envelopes and packages.
  • Always add a return address when sending Priority, Certified, and Registered Mail. Otherwise, USPS may store your items at the Post Office until you claim ownership.
💡 Also Read: USPS Return Receipt


Postage stamps are the third crucial element when sending letters, postcards, statements, and other items via post. They help you pay for your mailing and instruct the postal employees on your preferred shipping method and add-ons.

You can use a single Forever stamp ($0.63) for a 1-ounce postcard or letter. Place it at the top-right corner of your mail piece—on the same line as your return address on the letter!

Direct Mailing Automation: Your Key to Eliminating Manual Effort

So far, we have discussed how to write a return address and where to place it. We also learned its significance in shipping!

But do you believe remembering the format and using it daily is a pickle? 

Your staff may have many tasks, and you don’t want to burden them with logistics! 

We understand that you might want your team members to be more productive than instructing them to waste time on how to write addresses. 

So what can you do in this situation? 

You can use direct mailing automation to complete these tasks online and save time! 

PostGrid’s print and mail API enables you to prepare and ship your mailers via an automated platform. Our PDN (print delivery network) handles all the processes on your behalf, freeing up your staff’s time and helping you maintain better efficiency levels. 

You can mention the correct return address on letter envelopes without doing anything in-house.

Also, you can guarantee your mailers reach the intended mailing addresses without getting mail returns and dealing with lost items. 

Contact us for more information on how we can help transform your manual offline mailing activities into automated online workflows!

💡 Related Article: Postal Address Example

Get Started With PostGrid’s Print and Mail API

PostGrid offers all-inclusive direct mail solutions to help B2B and B2C companies send offline mail conveniently.

It allows them to burst the direct mailing myths like it is untrackable and expensive. 

You may download our direct mail automation software to upload contacts and templates via your device. Or integrate our API into your CRM or website to shorten the workflows, fetch data automatically, and send triggered mailings. 

It makes writing the return address on envelopes a breeze because your staff does not need to do anything in-house. The best part is you get a suite of high-tech features, like

  • Address verification: Cross-check your mailing lists beforehand to prevent getting mail returns. 
  • Intelligent Mail Barcodes (IMBs): Add IMBs to your mailers to track their movements throughout the USPS infrastructure. They help you stay updated about your items’ delivery statuses in real-time. 
  • Reporting: Get detailed campaign insights and analytics to check your mailing performance. You may use this data to improve upcoming programs and get better results. 

One of our clients recently commented, 

“PostGrid offers too many features to share with everyone in one go. We had bulk mailing requirements with a limited budget. But PostGrid ensured everything went well with its flexible rates and 24 x 7 support team. We are happy with our choice.” 

Do you want to get started with automated print and mail? Click here to get in touch and get more details on “Does a letter need a return address.”

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