A postal code is a series of letters and digits appended to a postal address for the purpose of sorting mail.
Every postal service (usually having their service area defined by national borders) has a different format and placement for the postal code.
In most Engish-speaking countries, the postal code goes after the name of the city or town, whereas in most European countries it goes before it.
Though usually postal codes are assigned to geographical areas, sometimes this is not the case: special codes may be assigned to institutions with large volumes of post, such as government agencies and large commercial companies. One example is the French Cedex system.
Here are some postal code formats:
- Key: Ds are digits. Ls are letters.
: known as the post code
: DDDD. In general, the first digit gives the state. 1 = Sydney
NSW PO Box and large users) (2 = NSW
, 3 = Vic
, 4 = Qld
, 5 = SA
, 6 = WA
, 7 = Tas
, 8 = (Melbourne
Vic PO Box and large users), 9 = Brisbane
Qld PO Box and large users), (0 = NT
: DDDD (the first digit denotes almost one of the nine provinces -- called Bundesländer
-- , the last the nearest post office in the area)
: DDDD (in general, the first digit gives the province) list of Belgian postal codes
: LDL DLD, the first letter is for a province or a region. (A=NL
, G=QC (E)
, K=ON(E), L=ON(S), M=Tor
: DDDDD, the first two digits give the département
- NB: In the case of Paris, you can determine the arrondissement of an address from its postal code. The last two digits of a Paris address give the arrondissement; 75018 is the eighteenth for example. The exception to this rule are addresses with the word "CEDEX" appearing in them. See Right Bank.
: DDDDD since 1993
. Before that date, it were only 4 digits.
: DDDDD. The first two digits identify the state
(or a part thereof), except for Nos. 00 to 16, which indicate delegaciones
(boroughs) of the Federal District
: DDDD LL
; New Zealand
: DDDD, the first two digits are for the geographical area, and the last two digits may indicate the mode of delivery in the case of cities and large towns, e.g in Palmerston North: street addresses - 5301 ; PO Box address - 5315; Private Bag - 5320; and Rural Delivery -5321. However, postcodes in New Zealand are intended for bulk mailing and are not needed for addressing individual items.
- 1001: the main sorting office
- 1002 to 1009: geographical area other than the main fortress areas
- 1010 to 1019: reserved for commercial purposes such as bulk mailing
- others: unallocated
: DDDDDD Each building has its own unique postcode.
; South Africa
: DDDD last two digits may indicate the mode of delivery in the case of cities and large towns, eig Cape Town: street addresses - 8001; PO Box addresses - 8000.
: DDDDD The first two digits are for the province, in alphabetical order, hence 08xxx is Barcelona
, 28xxx is Madrid
: known as the postcode
: LD DLL, LLD DLL, LDD DLL, or LLDD DLL but other variants are also used. In general the first letter(s) indicate the town, or area, or part of London. See London postal districts for more.
: known as the zip code
: DDDDD-DDDD (although for most personal mail, only the first five numbers are used). The first digit represents a region of the United States (0=New England, 1= New York, Pennsylvania, etc), the second and third digit represents the metropolitan distribution point (e.g. 432xx=4(Ohio/Michigan/Indiana) 32 (Columbus Ohio distribution point). The last two digits represents the area of the city (if in a metropolitan area), or a village/town (outside metro areas): 43209 (4=Ohio,32=Columbus,09=Bexley).
Universal Postal Union.