Postal code

A postal code is a series of letters and/or digits appended to a postal address for the purpose of sorting mail.

The vast majority of the world's national postal services have postal code systems. A few do not: Ireland and Hong Kong, for example, do not have postal codes1, while New Zealand's post code system is only used for the presorting of mail in bulk, not for addressing individual items.

Postal services often have their own distinctive formats and placement rules for postal codes. (Service areas, as a rule, are defined by national borders.) In most English-speaking countries, the postal code goes after the name of the city or town, whereas in most continental European countries it goes before it and is sometimes prefixed with a country code (ISO 3166-1 alpha-2).

Although postal codes are usually 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.


Alphanumeric postal codes

Most postal codes are numeric. The few using alphanumeric postal code systems (with letters and digits) are:

Postal zone numbers

Before postal codes as described here were used, large cities were often divided into postal zones (or postal districts), usually numbered from 1 up within each city. The newer postal code systems often incorporate the old zone numbers, as with London postal district numbers, for example. Dublin, Ireland still uses postal district numbers, as postal codes are not used in the country at all. (An Post relies on OCR analysis of the entire address instead.) In New Zealand, Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch were also subdivided into postal zones, but these have fallen into disuse.

See also

External links


1 Irish postal district/zone numbers (see above) are used for Dublin only. Confusingly, these postal zone numbers are sometimes also called postal codes—which could be seen as technically incorrect. In addition, at the time of writing Ireland is currently in the processing of creating a Postcode system for theПощенски код cs:Poštovní směrovací číslo da:Postnummer de:Postleitzahl eo:Poŝtkodo fr:Code postal is:Pstnmer it:CAP hu:Irnytszm nl:Postcode ja:郵便番号 nn:Postnummer pl:Kod pocztowy pt:Clera sv:Postnummer wa:Limero del posse zh:邮政编码


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