How to Address an Envelope for an Apartment

by Contributing Writer; Updated September 26, 2017
Don't forget to add adequate postage.

Make sure that you know how to address an envelope for an apartment so that the letter does not end up in a post office's "dead-letter" pile. Also, save yourself the embarrassment of having to admit to the postman (or even a coworker) that you don't know how to address such an envelope. Make your mail count by making it more likely to get where you need it to go.

Items you will need

  • Sealed envelope with letter
  • Proper amount of postage
Step 1

Orient the envelope the correct way to address it. In the United States, this means that you will write both addresses on the same side. Turn the part of the envelope that seals closed so that it faces the table and is at the top of the envelope (the side farthest away from you).

Step 2

Stick the proper postage on the envelope at the top, right-hand side. If you are not sure of the proper amount of postage, see the Resources section for the link to the United States Postal Service (USPS). Stamps these days do not normally need to be licked before affixing them to the envelope.

Step 3

Write your name on the first line at the upper left corner of the envelope. Write your street address on the second line. This is followed by your city, state, and zip code on the third line separated by commas (though the post office now discourages this practice). This is the return address that will be used if the postal carrier cannot get the letter to the destination where you intend to send the letter. Make sure that this address is written cleanly and neatly in non-cursive plain lettering. Use this same lettering for the address where you intend to send the letter.

Step 4

Center the recipient's address at the center of the envelope. The top line should be the name of the person to whom you are addressing the envelope. The second line should be the street address, which is traditionally followed by a comma (though again, the USPS recommends no longer using commas). Then, write the apartment number or suite number, as "Apt. #" or "Suite #." The next line should be the city, state, and zip code. If the apartment number is too long, write it on the line above the address so that the address starts broad (city, state, zip code) and gets more specific until it names the individual to whom the envelope is addressed.

Step 5

Avoid smearing the ink used to write the address and allow it enough time to dry completely. The gel ink is a good choice since it is still possible for it to be readable, even if the envelope gets wet.


  • For clearest results, choose an envelope is durable and a high contrast white and use a pen with either black or blue ink.


  • No mail system is fool-proof. Make sure that you insure the contents or send it via certified mail if you truly desire to get the mail to the destination and have the letter signed for by the recipient.

Photo Credits

  • Photo courtesy of mconnors at morguefile.