Information Resources and Technology Management


You are invited to read the definitions of terms used in this data standard.

Mailing Address
Address used by a Service organization for proper delivery of mail by the U.S. Postal Service. The mailing address shall include the organization's (1) mail delivery address, which can be a street address, post office box number, rural route number and box number, or highway contract route number and box number, with all required suffixes, directionals, and locators; (2) Post Office (city); (3) state alpha code; and (4) five-digit ZIP code or ZIP+4 code, if known. 
Type Mail Delivery Address:  Character Field

Post Office (city):          Character Field

State Alpha Code:        Alpha

ZIP Code:                     Character Field*

ZIP+4 Code:                Character Field*

* The "Character Field" data type is used to allow leading zeros in these data fields when required.

Syntax Mail Delivery Address:  Address lines, up to a maximum of 200 characters each, including the letters A-Z, the numbers 0-9, punctuation marks, and the forward slash (/) character.

Post Office (city):    Up to a maximum of 50 characters, including the letters A-Z and punctuation marks.

State Alpha Code:  AA, where each A represents a letter from A through Z.

ZIP Code:              NNNNN, where each N represents a number from 0 through 9.

ZIP+4 Code:          NNNN, where each N represents a number from 0 through 9.

Recommended Field Name Mail Delivery Address:   MAILADD1, MAILADD2, etc.

Post Office (city):           MAILCITY

State Alpha Code:          MAILSTATEABBR

ZIP Code:                      MAILZIP

ZIP+4 Code:                   MAILZIP4

For the most current information on mailing addresses, please contact the Chief Data Officer
Historical Data For information on past versions of this standard, contact the National Data Administrator, Geospatial and Data Services, Division of Information Resources and Technology Management.

Part 270, FW 6, Data Management and Standards, has been superceded by Part 274, FW 2, Establishing Service Data Standards.

U.S. Postal Service, Publication 28, Postal Addressing Standards - guidance on the most efficient means to output an address to a mailpiece. Publication 28 is available, free-of-charge, to external customers through the National Customer Support Center, Memphis, TN, 1-800-238-3150.

The U.S. Postal Service web site provides links to ZIP code look-up and address information, as well as a variety of publications, products, and services for addressing and packaging mail.

The Street Address Data Standard proposed by the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA), with the support of the National Emergency Number Association (NENA) and the U.S. Bureau of the Census, builds on USPS Publication 28 and the Address Data Content Standard previously proposed by the Federal Geographic Data Committee's (FGDC) Subcommittee on Cultural and Demographic Data. Version 2 and summaries of the proposed standard is available on the FGDC website.

ISO 11180:1993, Standard for Postal Addressing - provides general definitions and rules for mailing address structure, applicable to domestic and international mailings. A copy of the standard may be purchased online from the ISO Catalogue.

Use Instructions
As of the approval date, this data element will be used in any new automated system, data set, database, or information application, including new Geographic Information System (GIS) data and applications. This data element will also be used in any major modifications to existing systems or versions of these data-related items that includes the mailing addresses of Service organizations. 

Service staff are strongly encouraged to utilize this data element in existing systems, data sets, databases, and information applications. Where existing systems and data-related items are not in compliance, they should be modified to achieve compatibility and implement this data standard.

The mail delivery address, Post Office (city), state, five-digit ZIP code, and four-digit ZIP+ code will be handled as separate data fields, and will not be combined in a single data field.  Mail delivery address fields shall include the street address, Post Office Box number, rural route (RR) number and box number, or highway contract route (HC or HCR) number and box number, with all required suffixes (e.g., Avenue, Boulevard, Street) and directionals (i.e., N, S, E, W, NE, NW, SE, SW).  Secondary unit designators, such as Building, Room, or Suite, can be placed in the same delivery address field following the street address (e.g., 6950 College Street, Suite C), or in a separate data field. Abbreviations for street suffixes and secondary unit designators shall conform with the official Postal Service abbreviations in Publication 28, Postal Addressing Standards. The pound sign (#) should not be used in the mail delivery address, or as a secondary unit designator (e.g., # 342) if the correct unit designation (e.g., Room 342) is known. If the pound sign is used, there must be a space between the pound sign and the secondary number.

Dual Addressing:  When a street address and post office box number are both used in the mailing address, the intended mail delivery address (normally the Post Office Box address) should follow the street address (e.g., 16736 Highway 8 W, P.O. Box 1070). The ZIP code or ZIP+4 code must be the correct code used for the intended delivery address. For example, the ZIP+4 code for the Post Office Box number is 38902-1070, and 38901-9487 for the Highway 8 W street address. Refer to the instructions provided in the U.S. Postal Service Publication 28 for dual addressing. 

If the purpose of the database is to output a Service organization's address to a mailpiece, delivery address information shall be stored in the computer system within the recommended limits specified by the U.S. Postal Service in Publication 28, Section 1.12.121, List Maintenance. The delivery address shall have all the address elements necessary to allow an exact match with the current Postal Service ZIP+4 and City/State Files. A standardized Postal Service address is one that is fully spelled out, abbreviated by using the Postal Service standard abbreviations in Publication 28, or as shown in the current Postal Service ZIP+4 File. A private box number or Mail Stop Code cannot be used on the delivery address line. Refer to Publication 28, Section 2.28.284, Private Mailbox Addresses, for specific instructions.    

Approval Date
March 21, 2000
Validation Date
November 29, 2013
Data Steward
Chief Data Officer


Last updated: May 9, 2019