How to address an envelope to a PO Box

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When addressing an envelope to a PO Box:

1. The recipient’s name should be on the front, centered on the envelope. Write the name on the first line, then write the PO Box number on the next line. If you are writing to an entity or a company, write the name directly after the recipient’s name.

2. Write the city, state, and ZIP code on the next line beneath the PO Box number. Do not include a street address when addressing a PO Box.

The order of lines in a mailing address is as follows:

1. Recipient’s name

2. Business name (if applicable)

3. A post office box number

4. The city, province or state, and ZIP or postal code

Here’s an example:

1. James Conan

2. Conan Innovations Inc.

3. PO Box 1944

4. Los Angeles, CA 30301

You want to ensure that your mail reaches its destination at the USPS and gets delivered to the correct person. The post office has a lot of information about addressing and sorting mail on their website, but sometimes there are special considerations.

Many more details are involved when addressing an envelope to a PO Box. Read on for more.

P.O. Box or street address

Should I include both the box number and the street address on the envelope? The answer is no. Don’t use both; use one or the other. However, if you decide to use both, let it be above the PO Box number. The United States Postal Service (USPS) always sorts from the last line of a mail address, remember the PO Box number is more important if you want your parcel delivered!

Periods and abbreviations

The Postal Service prefers that you leave out all periods and commas, and use normal abbreviations in the address block, so you just write it as “PO BOX” instead of “P.O. BOX.” The Postal Service doesn’t mind if you use the standard abbreviation in the address block, just no periods in the box number.

I used the word “prefers” because the address block on an envelope is optional. So, just follow their rules if you want to mail something via the United States Postal Service, but not required.

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Positioning each line in the address block

To move mail quickly through the postal system, put the address in the correct order in the mailing address block. The first line of an address should contain the addressee’s complete name, centered on the envelope. Underneath the name, include a business name (if applicable). Write the PO Box number or the street address on the next line. Write the city, state, and ZIP code on the last line.

The line that holds the city, state, and ZIP code is known as the delivery address or mailing address line. This address goes to the local post office first and then to a sorting facility, where it’s sorted by ZIP code and forwarded to a delivery area or route.

Using the P.O. Box number in the address block is the standard format for sending mail to a business or person using a post office box address. This format makes mail as legible and deliverable as possible and ensures U.S. Postal Service (USPS) delivers it correctly. The USPS specifies that the post office box number or rural route must appear on the line above the city, state, and ZIP code on the last line of the address block on an envelope.

Legibility and efficiency

A business owner’s mailing address says a lot about his business. It clearly shows where he’s located, but it also helps people find him. A handwritten address may not be easily readable to customers who don’t know the area or building layout, and it may or may not be legible to postal workers, depending on the clarity of handwriting.

If you have a lot of incoming and outgoing mail, consider using some sort of printing method (whether it’s a computer label or ink) to improve address legibility and streamline your workload. USPS does have a Click-N-Ship feature which you can use to print labels for priority mail.

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