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Troubleshoot: International addresses

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With customers from potentially hundreds of countries buying from your online store, it's no surprise that it can be hard to format international addresses. While purchasing postage online can greatly simplify the process, digitally generated Customs Forms are also subject to strict character limits from carriers. The combination of varying formats and character limits can make troubleshooting international address issues tricky. Fortunately, we have some resources to help!

  • Melissa DATA - ShippingEasy validates your international addresses through Melissa DATA, an international delivery validation tool, provided courtesy of our parent company Stamps.com. If your international address cannot be validated, you can use the Melissa DATA tool here for address suggestions. 

IMPORTANT: when formatting international addresses, consider the following.

  • Address formats can vary by country.
  • Each address line is subject to character limits and these vary by carrier. 
  • Some countries require a province. Learn more.
  • Military mail is subject to unique address formatting. Learn more.

 

Below are a number of other resources containing ideas, strategies, and additional information about formatting and abbreviating international addresses. Click to expand each section to learn more. 

Bitboost - International Mailing Address Formats

This site provides details about standard address formats, by country, and includes common abbreviations for those countries. Explore Bitboost's address formatting tools.  

Buyers

Customers can help verify their address too. When in doubt, it never hurts to check with your buyer to see if they can recommend any address changes.

Character counters

Character counters can be helpful to determine if an address line meets the carrier's character limit requirement. These limits vary by carrier. Find carrier-specific limits via the links below:

In order to meet character limits, it's best to abbreviate where you can. Many of the tools above provide suggestions on abbreviations for provinces and street addresses.

Then, use an online counter to verify if your edits meet carrier character limits. Some online counters include:

Search Engines

Search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, or Bing, are great resources, too.

  • Search a complete address to reveal format errors or elements that can be removed.
  • Search by province to find 2-letter abbreviations.
  • If shipping B2B, look up the company's website to verify the address on their contacts page.

Wikipedia

This general reference is an excellent resource to verify provinces, postal codes, and abbreviations. Here are some places to get started:

Universal Postal Union 

UPU is dedicated to collaboration between postal sector players. It has a number of resources on their site. For detailed descriptions of addressing systems, by country, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to the UPU Postal addressing systems page.
  2. From the Addressing Area menu, select the destination country.
  3. Then click the Display button.
  4. A new window will open with a detailed description of how addresses should be formatted for the destination.

Other useful tools on UPU include:


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