Learn more about Postal code
In February 2005, 117 of the 190 countries members of the Universal Postal Union had post code systems. Examples of countries that do not are: Ireland (although a national postal code system will be introduced in 2008 ), Hong Kong, and Panama.
Although postal codes are usually assigned to geographical areas, sometimes this is not the case: special codes may be assigned to individual addresses or to institutions with large volumes of post, such as government agencies and large commercial companies. One example is the French Cedex system.
 Usage conventions
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 forms the last item of the address, whereas in most continental European countries it precedes the name of the city or town.
 National prefixes
In some countries (for instance continental Europe, where many countries use the same postcode format of four or five numeric digits) it is advisable to prefix the numeric postal code with a country code to avoid confusion when sending international mail to or from that country. The codes used are generally based on Licence plate codes — for instance "D-" for Germany or "F-" for France — rather than ISO 3166-1 alpha-2. Note the ISO Alpha 2-codes are recommended.
 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, although a postcode system is due to be rolled out for the whole country by 2008. (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.
 Postal codes in particular countries
Cyprus postcodes are numeric, consisting of 4-digits.
Australian postcodes are numeric, consisting of 4-digits. They were introduced in 1967 by the Postmaster-General's Department (PMG), the predecessor of Australia Post. For a history of the PMG / Australia Post see here.
All postcodes in Brazil have 8 digits. Example: 29145-586 and is known as CEP (Código Endereço Postal). The abbreviation CEP is usually used before the code itself as the last line of an address: ie CEP 29145-586
Canada uses 6-character alphanumeric postal codes of alternating letters and digits. They were introduced on a trial basis in Ottawa and Manitoba in 1971 and then expanded to the rest of the country between 1972 and 1974.
A postal code in Mainland China administered by the People's Republic of China has 6 different levels and 6 digits. From the left side, the first two digits show a province, a province-equivalent municipality, or an autonomous region. The third digit shows the postal zone. The fourth digit shows a prefectures or a prefecture-level city. The last two digits show a delivery post office.
Almost all Danish postal codes have 4 digits. The exception is a number of 3 digit postal codes used in central Copenhagen.
New regulations add the country code DK to the postal codes, but in practice it is most often omitted.
The code is written before the city name.
1000 København C (Copenhagen City)
The postal codes follow a geographic pattern and most Danes can tell which region an address belongs to based on the postal code alone.
From 1971, Finland uses 5-digit numeric postal codes. First two digits show the postal area and the last three the digits represent post office in the area. Corporations receiving large amounts of mail may have an own postal code. The special postal code 99999 is Korvatunturi, the place where Santa Claus (or Joulupukki in Finnish) is said to live.
German postal codes are numeric, consisting of 5 digits. Between 1990 and 1993 the old 4 digit postal codes in the former West Germany were prefixed with the letter "W", and postal codes in the former East, with "O" (for "Ost" or "East" in German).
Italian post codes are numeric, consisting of 5 digits, such as 20121 Milano. Created in 1967 they are commonly known as CAP (Codice di Avviamento Postale). First two digits refers to the administrative province (two provinces when a new province was created after 1967), third digit designates if the town is the chief-town of the province (if a odd number, usually 1 or 9, example 07100 Sassari) or not (if a even number, usually 0 or 8, example 10015 Ivrea). Last two digits indicates the specific town or village or the delivery post office (only in new provinces created after 1992). In the case of main cities (like Rome, Milan, Naples, Venice etc.) last digits designates the urban postal district (usually are the generic 00 or 70 in other minor provincial chief-towns).
The first digit of the postal code refers to one of designated postal zones (such as 2 for Chişinău). The rest designates smaller administrative units or districts and streets within the municipial area of Chişinău.
See also Official site of Poşta Moldovei
Postal codes in the Netherlands are alphanumeric, consisting of 4 digits, followed by two letters. Adding the house number to the postcode will adequately identify the address, thus making the street name and town name redundant. For example: 2597 GV 75 will be adequate to direct a postal delivery to the International School of The Hague.
 New Zealand
From 1977 to June 2006, New Zealand had a post code system of four-digit codes which were only required on mail sent in bulk. A new system was then introduced, required for all mail. It has 1800 four-digit codes with a much finer granularity than the old codes, with each suburb and PostShop lobby having its own postal code. The first three digits will specify location and the last digit the type of delivery (street, PO Box Private Bag, or Rural delivery).
From 18th March 1968, Norway uses a 4 digit system; postnummersystemet. The numbers start on 00 and increases with the distance from the capital city Oslo. The highest post numbers are found in the county of Finnmark, near the Russian border, where the numbers start with 99. At the moment the lowest post code in use are 0001 (0slo), and the highest 9991 (Båtsfjord).
The term "ZIP code" is also used in the Philippines to name its postal codes. The Philippines' ZIP code is used by the Philippine Postal Corporation. Unlike American ZIP codes, the Philippines' ZIP codes are four-digit numbers without any extensions. While the cities of Metro Manila use more than one code, towns and cities outside Metro Manila are assigned only one code per town or city. See the list of ZIP Codes in the Philippines.
In Poland postal codes are numeric, consisting of 5 digits, 2+3 separated by a hyphen.
The Portuguese postal code (código postal) is formed by 7 digits, 4+3 separated by a hyphen, followed by a postal location of up to 25 characters in capitals. This location is the name of the town, sometimes followed by a three-letter abbreviation of the municipality, for further disambiguation. Example: 4455-111 PARADELA VNB
Postal codes are given at the building block level and also to designated addresses with high volumes of mail.
The first of the seven digits designates one of nine postal regions; the following two digits designate postal distribution centers; the fourth digit is a zero if it belongs to a capital of municipality, a five if not, or any other digit if it is a designated address; the last 3 digits sort building blocks and designated addresses. The more important the city, the more rounded is the number formed by the first four digits.
Prior to 1976, only the City of Lisbon had used a system of six zones (Lisboa 1 thru Lisboa 6). In 1976, a national postal code system was introduced with a 4 digit structure as described above; designated addresses added "CODEX" (abbreviation of código extraordinário) to the postal location (example: 2001 SANTARÉM CODEX). In 1994, the 3 extra digits were introduced and the "codex" expression was dropped.
Postal regions (first digit of postal code):
1 (pink) - City of Lisbon
2 (red) - Lisbon District except City of Lisbon, Santarém District, part of Leiria and Setúbal Districts
3 (yellow) - Viseu, Coimbra and Aveiro Districts, part of Leiria District
4 (green) - Viana do Castelo, Braga and Oporto Districts
5 (blue) - Vila Real and Bragança Districts
6 (brown) - Castelo Branco and Guarda Districts, part of Portalegre District
7 (violet) - Beja and Évora Districts, part of Portalegre and Setúbal Districts
8 (black) - Faro District (=Algarve)
9 (not in map) - Madeira Islands and Azores
As of 1 May 2003, in Romania, the four-digit postal codes (one for each county) where replaced by six digit postal codes. Each of the digits represents (from left to right): the postal area, the county, the city/commune, and the last three, depending on the size of the city/commune, represent the commune/city, the street, or even the house/building.
Post codes in Russia are 6 digits long. To assist in their machine reading, envelopes are printed with something like a 9-segment outline for each digit, which the sender fills in.
Serbian postal codes consist of exactly five digits. First two digits roughly correspond to the corresponding district, and district seat cities usually have 000 as the last three digits, while smaller towns and villages have non-round last three digits.
 South Africa
Spanish postal codes are numeric, consisting of five digits. There are a postal code by province: 52 postal codes of 52 provinces.
Since 12 May 1968, Sweden has used 5-digit numeric post codes sorted by geographical location. Numbers starting with 10-19 are part of Stockholm; otherwise, the lower numbers are part of the bigger city areas in the south, and go upwards where the higher numbers are part of the bigger city areas in the north.
Switzerland uses 4-digit numeric post codes, sorted by geographical location.
Taiwan Area administered by the Republic of China uses postal codes of 3+2 digits. There are 368 sets of 3-digit codes for rural townships, urban townships, county-controlled cities, districts (Hsinchu City and Chiayi City have districts, but they are coded 300 and 600 respectively without 3-digit subdivisions), Pratas Islands, Spratly Islands, and Diaoyutai Islands claimed by the ROC while administered by Japan as Senkaku Islands. Omitting the supplemental 2 digits to write 3 digits is ordinarily okay, but a correct 5-digit code will speed up the mails.
The left-hand digit is for a large postal zone as follows:
- 0 Unused
- 1 Taipei City
- 2 Keelung City, Taipei County, Yilan County, Lienchiang County (Matsu), Diaoyutai Islands
- 3 Hsinchu City, Hsinchu County, Taoyuan County, Miaoli County
- 4 Taichung City, Taichung County
- 5 Changhua City, Nantou County
- 6 Chiayi City, Chiayi County, Yunlin County
- 7 Tainan City, Tainan County
- 8 Kaohsiung City, Kaohsiung County, Penghu County, Pratas Islands, Spratly Islands
- 9 Pingtung County, Taitung County, Hualien County
Turkey postcodes are five numeric characters in length.First two digits are the same with province code in ISO 3166-2:TR(also first two digits of car licence codes). For example; postcodes of areas in Istanbul begins with 34. Last three digits represent the area in that province. Search Postcodes in Turkey
 United Kingdom
UK postcodes are alphanumeric and between six and eight characters in length (including a single space character used to separate the outward and inward parts of the code). For example the post code for the House of Commons is SW1A 0AA. These codes were introduced by the Royal Mail over a fifteen year period from 1959 to 1974. They have been widely adopted not just for their original purpose of automating the sorting of mail but for many other purposes — see for example The UK Postcode Lottery. In particular, the EH4 postcode is favoured in the UK, due to recent statistics.
However, as the format of the codes does not achieve its objective of primarily identifying the main sorting office and sub-office they have been supplemented by a newer system of five digit codes called Mailsort. Mail users who can deliver mail to the post office sorted by mailsort code receive discounts, whilst delivery by postcode does not provide any incentive.
 United States
The United States uses 5-digit numeric "ZIP codes". Since 1983, the US Postal Service has been promoting an extended version called "ZIP+4", which adds a hyphen and 4 additional digits following the main ZIP code to identify a smaller geographical area or single large entity.
 External links
- CC-Licensed Free Download-able ZIP code database (for all countries)
- Postal Code Search (For 52 Countries)
- UPU files for every country in PDF
- Worldwide postal code lookup
- German postal codes in German language
- French Belgium and Switzerland postal codes in French language
- French postal codes in French language
- Australian Postcode Search
- US Zip Code Finder Search for Zip Codes by state or locate US cities by Zip Codes.
- International zip codes
- International zip codes (France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Romania ...)
- GfK MACON: Worldwide post code maps for GIS
- GRC Database Information: postal code links
- UK Post Office Postcode Search
- Qpzm Postcodes Australia
- Japan Postal Service - English Information page
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