Addressing Your Letter

This may be of use to those of you that send QSLs direct around the world. With the introduction of mail sorting machines in recent years, it has never been more important to address an envelope correctly. Hand writing an envelope increases the chance of your letter being rejected or wrongly routed by a sorting machine when in the past it would have been hand sorted and how the envelope was written would have been irrelevant.
I have experienced over the past couple of years many letters that have the correct address, but returned to me especially from the USA endorsed “Unable to forward” the only reason that I have found for this to have happened is that sorting machines in the destination country unable to route the letter correctly due to a sorting machine not able to recognise the format of the address on the envelope.
There is a page on the Royal Mail website Addressing Your Letter!  that shows exactly how the address for specific countries should be addressed, and printed using a computer is the best way to address a letter. 
I know I am bound to get emails now saying “well i have never had a problem” and dismiss this article as rubbish, but as a Royal Mail sorter I see a lot of foreign mail returned to sender for the reasons I have stated especially hand written envelopes. 
If you are sending a SAE, take some time to print your envelopes with your computer and CORRECTLY format the address to the suggested Royal Mail website list. this will make the routing of the sorting of your letter more accurate and also speed up the reply as it will not have to be hand sorted later when a problem arises. Many countries do not bother to hand sort errors but just return them to sender.
Other problems that I see with SAEs is from Latin America where the return address is covering the whole envelope, pretty useless as my Postage Paid imprint and the Air Mail sticker will cover your address. Envelopes from America that do not state the country of destination, you must write U.S.A. Always write your address in the LOWER MIDDLE of the envelope as in the sample here, with the coutry of destination at the bottom or your address in UPPER CASE letters.

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Tim Beaumont