What Is a Postal Address?

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A postal address is the address at which a person receives mail. For many people, their postal address is where they live. Some people, however, live at a different address from the one at which they receive mail. The place where someone lives is called a physical address.

The United States Postal Service has specific guidelines for addressing mail. All addresses must include an addressee on the first line, called the recipient line. The next line is called the delivery address line and includes the street or road name as well as a house, apartment, suite or box number when applicable. For addresses that are excessively long, a second delivery address line can be added below the first. The last line must include the city, state and zip code to which a piece of mail is traveling. Although the postal service recommends the zip + 4 format, it accepts the simple five-digit zip code.