USPS Address Standards

I’m looking for help on USPS address standards.

Google finds this site, but it’s so broad in some instances that I can’t find the information I need.

Specifically, I’m looking for the format for addresses that contain “PO Box” or “Route.”

The aforementioned link is fairly helpful with defining PO BOX use, but the closest thing I can find for Route is “RR”, i.e., Rural Route. Is the same thing?

Should “Route 1 Box 123” be “RR 1 BOX 123?”

Anyone know of any other helpful websites?

If you enter an address here:

It’ll spit it out for you in standard format, and as a bonus will give you the ZIP + 4 number.

…AND the Delivery Point Code AND the checkdigit AND the LAC AND the eLOT AND the county AND the carrier route AND …

You can’t hide from the USPS. They’ve got your number.

We moved into a building that took up half the block. We had our address stated very clearly on the door. We filed a change of address card with the USPS.

Because this building had never been registered with the USPS, we could not get the mail delivered. It took us a month and a visit in person to the post office to get the problem solved,

Got your number? Hardly!

Beaurocracy is a bitch.

But the reason why it took some extra effort was you were requesting a new entry in the official database. It is to everyone’s benefit that the database be accurate and as up-to-date as possible. It makes possible the CASS certification of mailings lists, which means mailing services can be nearly 100% sure if an address can or cannot be delivered before sending it. This results in reduced rates to shippers and a lot less uncertainty in the world.

Heh. There is no home delivery where I live, and very little in the county that I work in. If you want mail, you must get a POB.

Nitpick: bureaucracy

Thanks for the replies, everyone.

I’m fairly certain that “RR” is the correct designation for “Route” (and any of it’s abbreviations, e.g., “Rt,” “Rte.,” etc.).

I installed two different Perl modules to pare addresses, but neither handles PO Boxes or “Route” very well.

Looks like I’ll be writing a slew of reg-exes.

Fun fun.

‘Rural Route’.

Don’t forget street prefix direction and street suffix direction.

‘N Main St’

‘Lake View Cir W’

RR is for Rural Route as you mentioned but it’s not the same as Route. I live on a Route (our street is Route ###) but it’s a number address along that Route, like 123 Route 456, not a RR address.


Okay, here are some examples of addresses with “Route:”

“Rt. 1 Box 123 Anywhere Rd.”
“Rt. 1 Anywhere Rd. P.O. Box 123”
“RFD 1 Hwy 123”
“RFD 1 Anywhere Road”
“RFD 1, Box 123”

Substitute “Rt” or “Rt.” for Route (and sometimes “Rte.”) and you have the bulk of the “Route” oriented addresses.

In the above cases, I’m not sure what kind of “route” is implied.


Anyone have suggestions for a good reference? How do I make the distinction? I’m certain in most of the cases above that “Route 1” is not the actual name of the road, rather, it’s a mail delivery route.

gigi, what does it mean in your case? Is “Route 456” the actual name of your street?

Join the club. I can get a PO box in the town I live in for free if I want to drive 5 miles out of the way, or I can get one in the town I drive through on the way home if I pay for it (which I do). When ordering stuff on-line it’s often not known how they’ll deliver it. If they deliver it by UPS to my PO Box (not in my town), I have to pay extra for the post office to hold it for me. If I put my physical address, USPS returns it to sender. I’ve gotten around it by giving my PO Box number at the end of my physical address like this:
1234 My Road, Box 567
Town My PO Box Is In, VT 89012
I suspect this only works because “My Road”, starts in “Town My PO Box Is In”

Back on topic, I grew up on a road with no official name. The address was RFD1 (Rural free delivery), then changed to RR1 (rural route). The same address was shared by several hundred households on the same postal route. The only addresses I’ve seen here using just “Route X” are actual physical addresses on State Route X. Here PO Boxes are at the post office, and if you were one of many mailboxes at 123 Route X, your address would be “123 Route X, Box 456” (Note: No PO). If you had a PO Box, your address would be “PO Box 567”.

So you’re trying to parse out a free form address into fields?

RFD – Rural Federal Deliver (same as Rural Route)

Not sure how your going to do this with out some knowledge of the structure of the address. And it can very pretty much.

For instance, here, the few (very few) that receive mail at home use the street physical address (for the most part, some use a random ‘box’ number assigned by the USPS [idiots]). And they don’t use RR, it would be something like ‘Blue River Route Box 123’

Also, at least here, we have county road numbers. CR 123.

The USPS puts out a street naming convention guide. I’ll try to find our copy and let you know.

(I work for the department in county government that assigns physical addresses.)

Same here, I could get a free box in a town I rarely go too. So I pay for mine in another town.

If it’s UPS or FedX, I have it delivered to work. My house is not in an incorporated area, and winter access is scetchy. Just not worth trying.

In my case, it is the actual name of my street. I could have home delivery but my landlord had me get a PO Box and like masterofnone, I use

PO Box 789
123 Route 456
Anytown, VT

when ordering on-line so that the USPS will hold at my PO Box, or UPS/FedEx will deliver to the house. I believe anything through USPS with the street address would probably be put in my PO Box, but I can’t swear to it.

The USPO also seems to prefer all upper case letters. Their address lookup and correction always returns an entered address such.

USPS Publication 28 - Postal Addressing Standards

If the name of the street is Route 1, it should be abbreviated *RTE 1. *cite

In case of a rural route, it should always be *RR *(not *RFD, *which stands for Rural Free Route, which the USPS doesn’t like). cite

If it’s a postal route that isn’t a rural route, I have no clue.

ISTR they prefer sans-serif fonts, too, but can’t find the cite. There are also lots of directions for exactly where on the envelope which parts of the address go, etc., to make it machine-readable.

So using the 911 address system is a local option? I thought it was nationwide. I didn’t know anyone used RR for addresses anymore.

How do emergency responders find you?

Not sure if this was ‘addressed’ to me, but I’ll give it a shot.

A few years ago, USPS started delivering to a few locations. Some got house delivery based on a made up ‘box’ number and ‘route’ for lack of a better word. Some got gang boxes in the subdivision. This may have changed, I don’t deal with the USPS too much.

Now, these houses do have a physical address and street name. In the past, when RFD first started this was not the case. So the contracted (usually) delivery person had a name and a RR #. Basically the good ol’ boy system. Doesn’t work when an area grows and people retire.

About 1/3 – ½ of the residences in the county I work for are second homes. So, to collect taxes, we have to know the physical address of the property, and the mailing address of the owner. Two completely separate addresses.

I’m getting off track…. In my county, all properties must have a proper street address for Emergency Services. That is what is tied to 911. Not the POB or RR.

There are a couple of big problems though. In the past, proper unique road names where not adhered too. Unique development names where not adhered to. We had no instrument to make them. Developers could name their streets and subdivisions anything they wanted prior to 1990. Towns didn’t get on board with this until 2 years ago.

Now the county has the authority to deny street and development names because of duplicates.

New developments are now required to go through the planning, building and GIS departments (not so 18+ years ago). It also has to be signed off on by emergency services. Street and development names where I work are approved through GIS. The final word is usually GIS and EMS/Communications.

Since many developers jump the gun and start their marketing campaign before the project is approved, we do run into problems.

Through some local towns with their own planning departments in the mix, a high number of vacation home rentals, and it becomes a real pain it the butt.