Most of us first learned to use the US Post Office’s services via second-hand information from our parents or whoever raised us. Our letters typically arrive as intended and this is in large part to the resiliency of the USPS’ delivery process.
Whether your realize it or not, your letters can be delivered despite having countless errors such as missing, wrong, or illegible information. The issue of course is that when your letters are delivered, you are typically not made aware that there were any issues to begin with. However, the unintended side effect of course is that the delivery time for your mail is longer than it would be otherwise if it was properly formatted and free of errors.
How to Properly Format a Delivery Address*
- Use all capital letters
- Do not use punctuation
- One space between city and state
- Two spaces between state and zipcode
- Black ink on white paper or use a printer with 10pt font for best results
Here is an example:
123 CYBER ST
NEW YORK NY 10001-1234
Zip+4 Background and Explanation
The original 5-digit ZIP (Zone Improvement Plan) code was introduced in 1963 as a way to improve the efficiency of the mail delivery system and thus speed up delivery. Twenty years later, in 1983, the Postal Service expanded the zipcode by adding an extra 4 digits and calling it the zip+4.
Some other tips for speeding up delivery of your mail probably go without saying, but for the sake of being thorough, here they go. If you have enough free time, physically bring your letter to the post office and pay for your postage at the counter. They will weigh it and make sure that you do not have any delivery delays due to insufficient postage. They will also make sure it gets placed in the correct outbox. If relevant, you can also pay for premium postage to have your letter delivered overnight.
*For a full list of guidelines, the take a look at this guide published by the USPS.