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Addressing Mail


  1. Campus Mail
  2. Domestic Mail
  3. International Mail
  4. Using One Shields Ave
  5. Forwarding Mail

Addressing Campus Mail

The campus mail delivery system is based upon department names. To ensure accurate and timely delivery, address all your campus mail using the department name, not a room number or building name.

  • When confusion is likely (e.g. the School of Medicine and the School of Veterinary Medicine have similarly named departments) the school or college name should be included.
  • Smaller units within a department must include the main department name in their address.
  • Abbreviations should not be used to address campus mail.

Examples of properly addressed campus mail:

Jack Jones
Theatre & Dance

Joyce Doe
Surgical & Radio Sci
Sch of Vet Med

Examples of how not to address campus mail:

Mary Jones
Everson Hall

Joe Shmoe
Rm 103A
University Svcs Bldg

See also Preparing Campus Mail.


Addressing Domestic Mail

There are many factors that affect the efficiency of mail delivery, but the most common cause of a delay in delivery is improper addressing. By following a few simple rules, you can eliminate needless delays.

How Addresses Are Read

The Mail Services and the Postal Service read addresses from the bottom up. If an address has both a street address and a Post Office Box, the U.S. Postal Service will deliver to the address closest to the bottom.

On mail addressed to locations within the United States, the bottom line should contain the city, state and Zip Code + 4. To find the right zip code, use the USPS lookup.

Abbreviations are common in addressing, but it's important to make sure that you only use abbreviations accepted by the USPS. They provide online lookups for official abbreviations in these categories: street suffixes, states and secondary units (e.g., suite).

Use Only One Label

There should be only one address label on each package. Remove or black out any old addresses.

Addressing for Automation

The Postal Service has automated letter sorting equipment which uses an Optical Character Reader (OCR) to electronically read the address and print a bar code on your letter. The bar code allows high-speed sorting machines to route your letter rapidly. By placing your address within the designated area, the OCR can read the address. The OCR can only read the address if it is written by machine or typed. It is requested that all addresses be printed in capital letters without punctuation for accurate OCR reading. The guidelines which follow are encouraged by the U.S. Postal Service but are not required. OCR processed mail may be delivered more quickly and accurately than manually processed mail.

Return Addresses

All mail except interdepartmental mail must have a return address. There are many ways that return addresses are written on campus, but there is only one way that will receive the highest level of service from the U.S. Postal Service and the Mail Services:

DAVIS, CA 95616-5270

Any other format may result in a delay. It is important to note the line "ONE SHIELDS AVE" and its placement directly above the bottom line "DAVIS, CA 95616-5270." This is the equivalent of our street address. Mail addressed this way will be delivered directly to the university from the Sacramento Sectional Center Facility. If any other line is second from the bottom, the mail will be delivered first to the Davis Post Office where it is forwarded to Mail Services. This typically results in a one day delay in delivery.

Include your ID number in the return address. All outbound Postal Service and United Parcel Service mail must include a valid 4-digit account number that has been approved by Mail Services. It is preferred that this account number be adjacent to the department name in the return address. This information is needed so that Mail Services can accurately charge for postage and services.

UCDMC return address: The UC Davis Medical Center has many units in and around the Hospital complex. Many of these units have separate street addresses; however, all units at the Medical Center can have mail returned with the following address:

SACRAMENTO, CA 95817-2201


For most addresses there is a 4-digit extension that goes with the standard 5-digit zip code. The Postal Service calls this expanded number Zip+4. By including the Zip+4 number in addresses, the Postal Service can process mail more efficiently. You can find the full zip code for any address on the USPS Zip Code Lookup.

Address So That the Longest Side is Horizontal

It is always preferable to address mail so that the longest side remains horizontal. In some cases, the U.S. Postal Service will add a surcharge to mail that has the longest side vertical. Unless you are using an address label, the return address should be in the upper left corner and the address should be below and to the right of the return address.

See also Preparing Letters & Flats or Preparing Packages/Parcels.


Addressing International Mail

International mail has special addressing requirements that are important to follow:

  • Addresses must be in ink or typewritten.
  • Use Roman letters (A,B,C, etc.) and Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, etc.).
  • Write or type the address lengthwise with the longest side horizontal.
  • Include an address label inside all parcels.
  • The name of the sender and the addressee must not be in initials unless it is an adopted trade name.
  • A complete return address including Zip Code is required.

The bottom line of the address must show only the country name written in full in English, without abbreviations, and in capital letters. For example:

06570 ST PAUL


The exception is for Canada, where the Postal Code may be the bottom line. Either of the following are acceptable:


K1A 0B1

For more on International Mailing Services, visit the following:

Did you know there are restrictions and prohibitions for international mailings? Certain items are always prohibited. In addition, you should be aware of the size limits, special prohibitions and/or restrictions for the destination country.


Using One Shields Ave.

In 1997, a common street address was established for the entire campus. The address of One Shields Avenue was chosen as the official campus address in recognition of one of the campus founders, Peter J. Shields. This action satisfied U.S Postal Service addressing requirements and allowed publishers to continue economically mailing to the campus.

What does One Shields Avenue have to do with KFS and AggieBuy users?

When users establish organizational information in KFS and establish a customer profile in AggieBuy, they must designate billing and shipping addresses. Once established, these addresses are populated into various purchasing documents (i.e., Requisition, Purchase Order, etc.) in KFS and on AggieBuy orders. Incorrect address information presents several problems, including delaying invoices and incoming shipments.

KFS users need only enter the following information in the Edit Purchasing/Accounts Payable Info section of the Organization document:

Address Line Item Billing Address Format: Shipping Address Format:
Attention: Individual's Name Individual's Name
Address Line 1: Department Name Department Name
Address Line 2: University of California, Davis Building and Room Number
City: Davis Davis
State/Zip Code: CA 95616-5270 CA 95616-5270

The department name must be the full name, not acronyms, since many departments share the same acronyms. (Note: These formats only apply to departments physically located on the Davis campus.)

UCD Buy users should refer to the Setting Your Customer Profile help resource in UCD Buy for information on properly entering a shipping location.

Why is there such an emphasis on address information?

The United States Postal Services has continued to automate the vast majority of its mail processing equipment. The most recent Optical Character Recognition (OCR) equipment reads the address lines and within fractions of a second it validates the address to a national database for a match. If a match is not found, the mail is moved aside for manual processing, which results in delays.

How does incorrect addressing impact my incoming mail deliveries from Mail Services?

Absent an official department name and proper address format, incoming U.S Mail is slowed because a laborious internal process must be used to locate a valid address. Recent figures indicate that approximately 300,000 pieces of misaddressed mail were delayed due to improper address format. If the recipient cannot be located in the campus database or phone directory, the mail will likely never reach its target.

How does the One Shields Ave address impact inbound shipments?

Incoming orders are frequently addressed solely to One Shields Avenue. These deliveries are delayed because there is no department name, which may be a result of the organization's shipping address in KFS. Delivery drivers spend a considerable amount of time driving around campus trying to locate a specific delivery point for One Shields Avenue.


Forwarding Mail

Each department is responsible for the forwarding of mail it receives. To forward mail for individuals who have moved, write "Forward To" and the forwarding address next to the old address. To ensure proper handling, the bar code must be totally blacked out. Mail that has been opened cannot be forwarded.

UPS does not usually forward mail; if you wish to forward UPS mail, it must be arranged directly with the UPS driver.

The U.S. Postal Service does not handle change of address orders for UC Davis. When a forwarding order is mailed to the post office from UC Davis, it is returned to the department.