Questions about the format of addresses

post edited by moderator:

If you have any question about the format of addresses feel free to ask here.

But keep in mind that if you received an address through Postcrossing, you should write it exactly as it was given to you, because it has already been formatted according to the UPU guidelines.

Original Post:
People may have questions about foreign addresses, how about a thread?

Russian addresses always contain a line like this:

ul. Kolychnaya, d. 5, kv. 68
g. Berezersk

What are the ul, d, kv and g?


Thank you linos203, that’s interesting.
So it could be (the English way round)
Flat 68, House 5, Kolychnaya Street
Berezersk. :slight_smile:

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Ideally, if the recipient provided the address written in their local writing system (Cyrillic script, Chinese characters, etc.), you should write them down if you can (or print it out if possible) to speed up the process at destination country.

Using the English address could complicate the delivery of cards in countries that does not uses Latin script. In case of China (where Chinese characters are used), a letter/card with English address will be held at postal exchange pending translation until release, which delays the arrival. Romanized Cyrillic is fine but could be problematic for rural addresses.


Will the Chinese translation be written next to the exisiting address (for example as handwritten note or as a printed label)? What I’d like to know is if it’s reasonable to leave a clear space next to the address for a translation into Chinese characters or will the address I’ve written pasted over by a label anyway?
Same question for Cyrillic and other translations.

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I’ve been told by a Chinese postcrosser that the post office sticks a label on with the translation.


To illustrate, here’s an example (From Rotterdam, NL to Nanjing, CN):

image with address removed by moderator. Please read this post, and re-post the picture with the disclaimer, if you’d like.

I wrote my address entirely in English, the postal exchange wrote the Chinese address at the bottom of the card for the mailman.

Edit: They will only write on card if there’s enough space. If there’s not enough space, a sticker will be used.


Does this explain why most of my cards to China fail to arrive?


Yes, but translating the words would most likely confuse the mailmen, who might not know English at all, and have difficulties enough understanding the transcribed address in Latin letters :slight_smile:

Quoting @Chieusa, in the old forum:
The “Universal Postal Union” help to fill correctly the address of each Country:
Click on the left frame or Scroll down for “Postal Addressing Systems (PAS)”
Select a country under Postal addressing systems in member countries

If you select Russia for instance, you’ll find all those abbreviations there, as well as other information related to address writing.

Well, I think the English address only slows the mail down.


In order to Send a postcard to Brazil, you should write the adress in the order of the lines as above (PS. line c - the neighborhood - is not always necessary).

Even brazilian people sometimes didn’t know the exact rules,and show you in a different order, but they are:

Line A - Complete Name of the person
Line B - Adress as Street Type + Street Name + Lot Number + Complement (if any… as number of the apartment)
Line C - Name of the Neighborhood or District of the city (it’s not really necessary)
Line D - Locality Name (Name of the City) + Acronym of the Federation Unit (two capital letters)
Line E - Zip Code (with the format 00000-000)

Don’t write the word CEP on zip code, Don’t insert dots on zip code.


Ah. In Japan addresses are written vertically.
So writing it horizontal:

The first line become the last.

Most Japanese postcrossers convert their addresses into English pretty well and the post office there will do their best to look for the zip code, anyway.

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As long as there is some space to write the translated address, most of my postcards with address written in English will arrive like the picture shows, the red circle one is the Chinese translation of my address.
Here in China the post code is important in my opinion, at least it will lead to the town/city where you live in, so the translation for which road and number of your living place is enough.

I believe the only way to have chinese address on a card, is by printing it. I wouldnt dare to write it by hand without knowing chinese, as most probably handwritten caracters differ from the computer script. I know this is the case with russian handwriting and arabic handwriting. I think my card would arrive even later if someone had to translate my chinese to normal chinese!

What I find interesting and I keep changing in addresses, is the postal code being put after the country. That looks so wrong in my eyes, and Im 99% sure that the country should always be the last, as the post employ in the senders country doesnt care about ANYTHING other than the country. So it has to be clear even written in my own language, so it ends up in the right country, above all. Putting the code last (instead of the city or county) makes sense in domestic deliveries in my opinion.

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It doesn’t really matter if you can’t write cursive Chinese — writing the regular “computer” script makes them easy to read. :slight_smile: Just make the address large enough on your computer screen and copy them one by one to the postcard. The characters will look like they were written by a child perhaps, but it the address will be super legible and faster to sort!


good to know! when i was learning russian we were always scold by the teacher if we used the computer script instead of the handwriting! so i was really hesitant with chinese! thanks @meiadeleite !


This is not true for Russian addresses. The Zip Code is last. If you’re unsure you may always check the Addressing Solutions by Universal Postal Union.

yes i know about the russian format. But for example the greek post service wont get confused having the number last instead of the country? (as this is the format we are asked to use in international mail, with the country last) Im not sure, just worried… I guess I would love to ask a greek postal officer about how they deal with international mail, etc.

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The reason for having the country at the bottom line (or the postcode in case of Russia) is that postal sorting machines can recognise the address more easily. They start reading from the bottom-up. If a human reads the address and sorts the mail, it is not so important, because humans are more flexible.

In February I sent out two cards from Greece to Russia, they arrived both safely, postcode on the bottom line.

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thank you! it is a new information for me that a machine would read them (i live in the 80’s pretty much!). So i may even delay my cards by writing the code over or on the same line as the country…

All addresses should be formatted according to the UPU. There is a list containing every country :slight_smile:

I write all addresses by hand. When it comes to Chinese, I just copy what I see, like drawing an image. All the cards have arrived to their destinations, so it does work. (And it is fun, too)