Poste restante

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This PostShop in Wellesley Street, Auckland, New Zealand, has poste restante service.

Poste restante (French: post remaining) or general delivery is a service where the post office holds mail until the recipient calls for it. It is a common destination for mail for people who are visiting a particular location and have no need, or no way, of having mail delivered directly to their place of residence at that time.

By country[edit]

Australia[edit]

Poste Restante is a long-established service within Australia run by the national postal service, Australia Post, which allows you to have your post sent to a city-centre holding place.[1] There your post will be held for up to 1 month and you can go in and collect it by providing a proof of identity, such as a passport.

For example for the Adelaide GPO (General Post Office, i.e. the main post office in the city of Adelaide) you would address the letter or parcel to your recipient thusly:

Recipient's Full Name
c/o Poste Restante
GPO Adelaide
SA 5000
Australia

The recipient would then need to go to the Adelaide GPO at 141 King William St., Adelaide, SA to collect it when it was due to arrive or shortly afterwards.

Bosnia and Herzegovina[edit]

In the Bosnia and Herzegovina, mail is addressed to POSTE RESTANTE, which is written after the full name of the recipient (as appears on the identification to be presented ID document or a passport, if abroad).

Name of recipient
POSTE RESTANTE
12345 City

Canada[edit]

Canada Post uses the term “general delivery” in English, and “poste restante” in French. Travellers may use the service for up to four months, and it is also used in circumstances where other free methods of delivery (such as post office boxes) are not available.

The Canada Post guidelines for addressing of letter mail stipulate that general delivery mail should be addressed in the following fashion:

Mr. John Jones
GD STN A
Fredericton NB
E3B 1A1

where “GD” is the abbreviation for “general delivery” (alternatively "PR" for “poste restante” in French), and “STN A” is the station or post office (in this case, “Station A”). When the mail is to be delivered to a retail postal outlet, then the abbreviation RPO is used, and in French the station is indicated by “SUCC” for “succursale,” or retail postal outlet by "CSP" for “comptoir postal”. In the above example, the French version of the address would use “PR SUCC A” for the second line.

Croatia[edit]

In Croatia, mail is addressed to POSTE RESTANTE, which is written after the full name of the recipient (as appears on the identification to be presented ID document or a passport, if abroad).

Name of recipient
POSTE RESTANTE
12345 City

In Croatia letters received to poste restante address are kept in post office for 30 calendar days.

Finland[edit]

Poste restante is offered in all post offices in Finland.

The address is entered using the following format:

Name of recipient
Poste restante
12340 City

Prior to April 1, 2013, it was also possible to use a nickname instead of real name and without providing an ID.[2]

Here 12340 represents the postal number of the post office. For example Helsinki main post office is 00100 Helsinki.

In Finland letters received to poste restante address are kept in post office for three full calendar weeks and packages for two full calendar weeks in addition to the arrival week.[3]

France[edit]

In France, La Poste propose the service at an additional cost of 0.60 € to be paid by the receiver. Letters are kept 15 days.[4]

Hong Kong[edit]

In Hong KongHongkong Post is responsible for handling the mail and mail can be sent to any post office.[5] At the address side, mark the mail with "Poste Restante" or "存局待領" in bold.

The address format is like this:

Name of recipient
Name of post office (optional)
Hong Kong

The name of recipient must be real and in full. No initial or figure is allowed.

Japan[edit]

In Japan, the term yūbinkyoku-dome (郵便局留め lit. keep at the post office?) indicates a Poste restante mail.

The Japan Post Service guidelines for addressing of letter mail stipulate that general delivery mail should be addressed in the following fashion:

101-8799
東京都千代田区神田淡路町2-12
神田郵便局留め
郵便 太郎 様
03-XXXX-XXXX(Telephone number only for packages etc.)

Translation in English (Not the English format)

101-8799
2-12 Kanda-awaji-chō, Chiyoda City, Tōkyō
Keep at Kanda Post Office
Yūbin Tarō
03-XXXX-XXXX(Telephone number only for packages etc.)

where “101-8799” is the postcode of the post office, “2-12 Kanda-awaji-chō, Chiyoda City, Tōkyō” is the address of the post office, “Kanda Post Office” is the name of the post office, and “keep/留め” indicates “poste restante” in French.

A poste restante mail in Japan will be kept in the post office for 10 days, ID document and stamp is required for pick up.

International mail to Japan may also use the British addressing format.

Norway[edit]

In Norway, Norway Post provides the Poste Restante service in all post offices. Ordinary mail is returned to sender 3 weeks after arrival. Parcels and registered letters are returned to sender after 2 weeks. Valid foreign identification for obtaining mail is limited to passports and European Identity cards. Mail is addressed according to the following format:

Name of recipient
Poste Restante
Name of post office
Postcode and place

Poland[edit]

Mail should be addressed according to the following format:[6]

Name of recipient
Poste Restante
12-345 City 6

where 12-345 represents the zip code of the post office and 6 represents post office number within given city. (In Poland every post office is uniquely identified by city and number, e.g. "Warszawa 1" or "Kraków 35". These numbers are used only when the post office itself is the point of delivery, e.g. mailboxes or poste restante.) There is no address of a recipient on the envelope, and if no sender address is provided, mail is considered undeliverable after 14 days.

Every Poczta Polska office is valid target for poste restante delivery and the service is provided with no additional cost. All types of mail, e.g. letters, and money orders, can be sent to poste restante. Becareful, parcels cannot be send by Poste restante as it will be transport by private company even the website of the Polish Post Office say the opposite.

Slovenia[edit]

In Slovenia mail is addressed to POŠTNO LEŽEČE, which is written after the full name of the recipient (as appears on the identification to be presented ID document or a passport, if abroad).

Name of recipient
POŠTNO LEŽEČE
1234 City

In Slovenia letters received for a poste restante address are kept in post office for 15 calendar days.

Sweden[edit]

Not all post offices offer poste restante. The address is entered using the following format:

Name of recipient
Poste Restante
123 45 City

Here 123 45 represents the postal number of the post office. Post offices providing poste restante services can be located by searching for poste restante as "street address" in a given city (giving you a postal number) and then searching for post offices with that postal number.[7]

United Kingdom[edit]

In the United Kingdom, mail is addressed to POSTE RESTANTE (or TO BE CALLED FOR), which is written after the full name of the recipient (as appears on the identification to be presented e.g. a passport, if abroad), then the name and full address of the destination post office, thus:

Mr. John Smith
POSTE RESTANTE
Islington Post Office
116 Upper Street
London N1 1AE

If only addressed to a town name, for example “POSTE RESTANTE, LONDON”, mail will go to the closest main post office branch (there being more than a hundred crown offices – directly-managed post office branches – in London[8]).

The sender should also include their return address. In the United Kingdom, the Royal Mail will hold mail posted from within the UK for two weeks,[9] whereas mail posted from abroad is normally held for one month,[10] subject to local capabilities.[11] If the recipient is at sea however, it will be held for two months.[12] Where mail is not collected within that time, it will be returned to the sender, or if there is no sender indicated, will be treated as undeliverable. If the sender would like uncollected mail returned sooner, they can indicate this on the envelope. Timescales vary from country to country according to local practice.

United States[edit]

In the United States, the U.S. Postal Service uses the term “general delivery” and reserves the term “poste restante” for international mail sent to general delivery. Mail is addressed as follows:[13]

Mrs. Jane Q. Smith
GENERAL DELIVERY
Washington, DC 20090-9999

In the ZIP+4 code, the +4 code for general delivery is 9999. The main post office in a community will hold such mail for up to 30 days.[14] According to the USPS website, "In medium to large cities with multiple ZIP Codes, you’ll want to make sure senders use the ZIP Code for the area’s main Post Office."[15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]