Discussion about Country Codes

There are areas which I would say fall into the sense of ‘country’ I was describing, which happen to be located in the sovereign state known as Russia. Obviously the exact senses of words can get fuzzy in certain contexts, and any discussion of countries can get political, so I do want to say that I am not taking sides on any controversial nationalist disputes in these posts; I am just trying to explore some of the nuance of the word from my point of view.

1 Like

Addressing this a year later… I honestly don’t know. I’ve noticed this only in Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian addresses.
When I added my address in postcrossing they added the FI to the postcode. When I share my address in tags etc I never add that and the mail still comes. So I’m also wondering if in Baltic addresses you actually wouldn’t need to add the two letters.
If my postcode was 00000, on the website it was changed to FI - 00000. You don’t need that! I don’t know why it is added, because I can’t change it off.

I do the same! I usually add CZ- before my postal code and other country codes before postal codes of others, just to distinguish that this is not domestic code.

I guess that postal sorting machine scans the postcard, looking for the postal code. If found it readable, it just process the postcard accordingly. But there is difference between 62100 in Czech Republic (my code - Brno), 62100 in France (Calais), 62100 in Lithuania (Alytus).

If some is really familiar with sorting process within post offices, could prove if I am right or wrong, please?

Sorting machines in outbound country look for destination country (last line) Sorting machines in inbound country (if it’s final point) checking postcode line.
In general adding two letters country code before postcode not giving any advantage. Still can be seen German addresses with DE before postcode.
Below you can see some additional info about this

The use of the country codes in conjunction with postal codes started as a recommendation from CEPT (European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations) in the 1960s. In the original CEPT-recommendation the distinguishing signs of motor vehicles in international traffic (“car codes”) were placed before the postal code, and separated from it by a “-” (dash). Codes were only used on international mail and were hardly ever used internally in each country.

Since the late 1980s, however, a number of postal administrations have changed the recommended codes to the two-letter country codes of ISO 3166. This would allow a universal, standardized code set to be used, and bring it in line with country codes used elsewhere in the UPU (Universal Postal Union). Attempts were also made (without success) to make this part of the official address guidelines of the UPU. Recently introduced postal code systems where the UPU has been involved have included the ISO 3166 country code as an integral part of the postal code.

At present there are no universal guidelines as to which code set to use, and recommendations vary from country to country. In some cases, the applied country code will differ according to recommendations of the sender’s postal administration. UPU recommends that the country name always be included as the last line of the address.

In the list above, the following principles have been applied:

  • Integral country codes have been included in the code format, in bold type and without brackets. These are also used on internal mail in the respective countries.
  • The ISO 3166 codes is used alone for countries that have explicitly recommended them.
  • Where there is no explicit recommendation for ISO 3166 codes and the codes differ, both “car codes” and ISO 3166 codes are listed, with the “car code” listed first.

Addressing this 6 months later … but funny enough I just pulled a Finnish address that didn’t have “FI” before the code! I had always wondered about that, too.


Some post numbers in Sweden and Finland are the same.
Like 90650 is on Oulu (Uleåborg), and also in Umeå.
Yes, there is the country, but for me no problem to make things little easier, if it’s the UPU guidelines to write address.

There were some updates but I can’t open these here (in UPU site).
Still it shows to write Finnish address with FI.


Belgium Post ( Bpost for short), explicitly asks in their guidelines for foreign mail NOT to put the country code in front of the postal code, but to write the country in blockletters in either Dutch, French, German (our 3 national languages) or English. So, I always leave out the FI when I get a Finnish address.

I don’t have FI in my address because I removed it a while ago. It’s not necessarily so I’d rather be without it.

1 Like

Someone wrote German asks the same. Still, I think you should write the address how it’s given. Finland is not Belgium :slight_smile: also some people (like me) keep different ways of writing address in different swaps, so it’s easier to track where it’s from. So if someone has it, I would write it, if not, I wouldn’t add it.

For me, some has changed the FI to SF, which makes it even worse, looking more like SE, which again is Sweden.

True, Finland is not Belgium. It is Belgian post that needs to send the mail to Finland. The mail has to go through our sorting system. So, in my opinion it is best to follow our instructions. Once the mail is in Finland, you no longer need the FI anyway before the postal code.

1 Like

Don’t they sort it by the country?
I don’t know how Belgian guides the writing, but German post tells to use UPU guidelines, so even when German post doesn’t ask the code for their address, the link went to the UPU, where the country code is used. So also from Germany, eventually they tell to use the FI when and if one reads all the info.

And if Finnish post asks to use it, I don’t know how Belgium can tell how Finnish should write their addresses?

Anyways I would write it the way you get it.
This is little annoying, when I have my name also changed (edit. I mention this, because someone might know someone with a little similar name, and think I can’t write my name, so they “correct” it, which had lead I didn’t get my own mail, and had to have it returned, so they could write it the correct way. Therefore, I write the address how it’s given, without adding or leaving anything out.)

Edit. Belgium post also link to UPU address writing site, but to some expired page.

1 Like

If the destination country is Russia, the destination country should be written in the second last line, that is the recommendation of the Universal Postal Unit (UPU).

I have never seen that, although I get a lot of mail from abroad. Deutsche Post asks to write the Postcode without the DE in front, for that can confuse the sorting machines and that is also the recommendation of the UPU for addresses to Germany, see “Postal addressing systems in member coutries and/or territories” on https://www.upu.int/en/Postal-Solutions/Programmes-Services/Addressing-Solutions

No. See their addressing sheet for Russia.

I think you are speaking of a different kind of state

(I copied from the internet)
“When the “s” of state is lowercase, it constitutes a part of a whole country, such as the different states of the United States of America. When the “S” of State is uppercase it signifies an independent country.”

I believe the post was about State not state. :wink:

Is the Royal mail the main organisation for distributing mail in all the UK countries? Do they all have the same stamps?
If yes, this may be one of reason to gather them all under UK

You mean on official site? I did it too, or I tried but after a while FI was back there, automatically… So keep an eye on your address :blush:


Good point!

1 Like

There was an address that I pulled in early July whose profile stated to the sender how to write their US address should their apartment number not fit in the same line as the main street address, per the USPS. They suggested to write it like this:

and not this:

How I was told/instructed, since I was a child, was to be the latter. Essentially all mail that I receive is formatted in this way, though there have been rare instances where I do see the unit number above the main street address. But that also brings up another curiosity:
About a year ago, I got a postcard in an envelope (from an American Postcrosser who, if I remember correctly, was a postal carrier). I don’t request postcards in an envelope, but I don’t mind if I receive them as so. In the envelope, in addition to the postcard, was a slip of paper where there user “corrected” my address and told me to use that corrected way from now on (I never did). This user essentially wrote my address backwards because that is per the USPS. As an example:

City, State, Zip
Unit X
100 Main Street
Jane Doe

A bit baffling since, if I had ever seen this formatting, it was with a few Russian addresses.

It seems lately what is up is down and what is right is left. I’m just continuing with what I know, and how I have formatted my address with Postcrossing. :grimacing:

Maybe they were new, and had been told how the address is read country first etc. like backwards, and they misunderstood it should be written like this?

My postal code is still without FI. I recommend you to try it and you may be surprised that it is possible :wink:

Yes the four nations of the United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland & Northern Ireland) have their post accepted and delivered by Royal Mail, and RM’s stamps are valid across all four nations.

An interesting topic we have had on the British Isles section is why the postcrossing ID is GB and not the UK

GB is Great Britain (the island of Britain, England, Wales, Scotland)

UK is Great Britain & Northern Ireland

Only recently has the UK government requested a change for everything to be labelled as UK and not GB.
So no more GB stickers on the back of our cars when driving in Europe, or no more GB labelling on food products, all should be UK now.

Things get complicated when the crown dependices and overseas territories get involved, they have their own country codes and own postal administrations.

On my address, I always have the ‘United Kingdom’ in the last line. Dispite living in England, I dislike it when people/postcrossers write ‘England’ in the country line.