Poste restante

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Poste restante (French pronunciation: ​[pɔst ʁɛstɑ̃t], "remainder post"), also known as general delivery in North American English, is a service where the post office holds the 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]


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. 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 thus:

Recipient's Full Name
c/o Poste Restante
GPO Adelaide
SA 5001

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.


bpost uses the term Poste Restante (French), Postliggend (Dutch) or Postlagernd (German) which needs to be indicated on the post together with the name, optionally the first name, full name of the post office, postal code and city. The recipient has one month the time to collect the post after which it will be sent back to the sender. A special tax applies valued at the price of one stamp of value 2. As of 1 March 2018 this price is 1,74 €. This tax is usually paid by the recipient but can also be paid by the sender.

Name of the recipient
Poste Restante
Full name of the post office
B-1234 City

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
12345 City


In Cambodia, mail is addressed to POSTE RESTANTE, which is written after the full name of the recipient. Parcels and letters should contain a phone number, but recipients are more likely to get notified by phone for a parcel.

Name of recipient
Postcode #####
Province Name
Tel +855 ### ### ###


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 methods of delivery (such as post office boxes) are not available.

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


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.


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
12345 City

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

Czech Republic[edit]

In the Czech Republic, mail can be addressed to the post office if "POSTE RESTANTE" and the full name of the recipient is included. The recipient gets the letter (or package) if he or she has a valid ID (ID, passport, driving licence). The mail Will be retained for only 15 days.

Name of the recipient
Details (such as - summer camp etc.), or leave blank


Mail is held for 14 days.[1]


Poste restante is offered only in 17 selected post offices in Finland.

From 1 March 2019 onwards picking up Poste restante mail costs 3,10€ per handover.

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

In Finland letters received to poste restante address are kept in post office for 14 days after arrival.[3]

The Poste restante service is not available at other service points or cities than the 17 listed here. [4][5]

The address is entered using the following format:

The official name of recipient
FI-12340 City

Here 12340 represents the postal number of the post office. For example, Helsinki main post office is 00100 Helsinki. An item mailed with an address is redirected to a Posti outlet matching the postal code from where it can be picked up.


In France, La Poste offers the service for letters at an additional cost of 0.85, to be paid by the receiver. Packages are €4.00 each upon collection.[6] Letters are kept for 15 days. The service is offered at any post office. The only requirement is to add 'Poste restante' after the recipient's name.[7]


Deutsche Post offer the service for all mail items under the Postlagernd[8] (General Delivery) service. Domestic items may make use of a passphrase instead of the recipients name if preferred. As a general rule, the item should be addressed to the Hauptpost (main post office) of the location.

Address Format:

Recipient Name
Kennwort: <passphrase> (optional)
Post Office address
Post Office postcode/town

The phrase Kennwort: (Password) in front of the passphrase requires the consignee to specify the passphrase at time of collection. Items may be collected from the designated post office upon production of valid identification (e.g. Passport) and the passphrase.

It is important to use the term Postlagernd in preference to, or in conjunction with, Poste Restante to prevent returned mail.[9]


In Greece you can send small parcels under 2 kg to the Greece post office.

Address Format:


<Your Name>

<Post office address>

<Post office zip code >



To collect your mail if it is addressed and stamped to you by bring your passport and ID with you.

Hong Kong[edit]

In Hong Kong, Hongkong Post is responsible for handling the mail and mail can be sent to General Post Office only. [10]

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.


Hungarian post requires poste restante ("postán maradó") delivery to be addressed to specific post offices.[11] Additionally, the postal service provides a "pick-up" service for web-based businesses where a business can ship to a pick-up point.[12]


India Post offers a Poste Restante service of up to two months at various post offices throughout the country. Mail is addressed thus:

Mr./Mrs. SURNAME First name
Poste Restante
GPO [for General Post Office]
City name
State name

Carry a passport or some other form of national identification to pick it up.

In India, letters are said to be held for around a month, up to two in larger GPOs, before being returned; so ask the senders to add their return address, or to use your own home address for it.


In Ireland An_Post *Address Point* is ″A fixed address for those without a fixed home.″ [13]


In Italy, writing "fermoposta" together with the full name of the addressee and postal code will activate general delivery at the relevant post office. Letter post is retained for 30 days[14]; parcel post is normally retained for 15 days, with an exceptional period of 1 month.[15]


In Japan, the term Yuubinkyoku-dome (郵便局留め) indicates a Poste Restante mail.

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

山田太郎 様
(TEL 090-xxxx-xxxx)

For international mail,

Mr. Taro Yamada
Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo-to 163-8799 JAPAN
(TEL 090-xxxx-xxxx)

where “163-8799” is the postcode of the post office, “Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo-to” is the address of the post office, “Shinjuku-Yuubinkyoku” is the name of the post office, and “-dome” means “keep it there”.

A poste restante mail will be kept in the post office for 10 days, identification is required for pickup.


In Lithuania, the words "Poste restante" or "Iki pareikalavimo" (used locally in Lithuania) should be made bold.[16]

For local mail:

Name of recipient (in dative case)
Iki pareikalavimo
Name of post office
12345 City
Mob. tel.: 86xxxxxxx and/or (optional mobile number for notifying with SMS message about received registered mail) (optional e-mail address for notifying about received registered mail)


MaltaPost offers Poste Resante service from a post office in the capital Valletta for up to three months, after which mail is returned to sender. Prior to using the service, the person must inform MaltaPost via email, and a means of identification needs to be provided when picking up the mail. Mail should be addressed as follows:[17]

Name of recipient
Poste Restante
Valletta Boxes
75, Old Bakery Str
VLT 1000


PostNL offers Poste Restante service for up to one month, after which the mail will be returned to the original sender (if provided). This service is provided by all Dutch post offices. Mail should be addressed thus:[18]

Last name of recipient
First name of recipient
Poste Restante
Name and address of post office
The Netherlands

New Zealand[edit]

New Zealand Post offers a Poste Restante service of up to two months at various post offices throughout the country. Mail is addressed thus:

Poste Restante
Town, Postcode
New Zealand


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[19]:

Name of recipient
Name of post office
Post office’s address
Post office’s postcode and place


Mail should be addressed according to the following format:[20]

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, parcels and money orders, can be sent to poste restante.


In Portugal, CTT provides the Poste Restante service ("Posta Restante") in all post offices. The mail will be kept in the post office until the last day of the following month after it was received. Mail is addressed according to the following format:[21]

Name of recipient
Posta Restante Loja XXXXXXX (name of the post office)
Address of Post Office
Postcode and place

The recipient has to pay from 0,98€ up to 3,01€ tax in the act of receiving the mail depending on the weight.


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
1234 City

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


Mail can also be received at Spanish Post Offices.[22] There is normally no charge for the service. Poste Restante letters should be addressed Lista de Correos, followed by the address of the post office (including the postcode, town and province). Put your surname in capitals. An example Lista de Correos address is:

Lista de Correos
Pl. Rosa dels Vents 9
46730 Gandia

To find the address of the Correos nearest to you check at Click on the Oficinas link for the Localizador de Oficinas.

When collecting mail from the post office you will need to show some form of identification such as a passport or photo driving licence. Specify that you are collecting a Lista de Correos item as these are stored separately from the other stored mail. The Lista de Correos mail is filed alphabetically and it may be worth asking them to check if an expected package was filed under your first name if they cannot find it under your surname. Post offices vary in how long they will hold your mail.

When addressing mail for Spain, always ensure there is a return address on the parcel or packet.


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.[23]


In Switzerland, all post offices offer poste restante for free for up to one month. Addressing takes the following format:

Name of recipient
Poste restante
[street/n° of the preferred post office]
1234 City

Here, 1234 represents the postal number of the post office. The correct street address can be found online.[24]


In Thailand, Only a destination post office with a storage facility for poste restante will offer this service. Sender should write Poste restante at ______ Post Office or Poste restante at a destination Post Office (the second instance will place your mail at the distributional Post Office nearest to the recipient's address) after the name of the recipient. For example.

Mr. Meedee Khonthai (Name of recipient must match Official ID or Passport)
Poste restante at Phasi Charoen Post Office, 10160


Mr. Meedee Khonthai (Name of recipient must match Official ID or Passport)
Poste restante at a destination Post Office,
Bang Khae Nuea, Bang Khae
Bangkok, Thailand 10160

There is a small amount of storage fee (1-2 Thai Baht) when picking up the mail or parcel. Keep in mind that the recipient must track the delivery status by themself via Tracking number provided. So it is recommended to deliver using Registered mail or EMS. Since regular mail delivery service does not provide a tracking number.[25]


For Istanbul, the main parcel and post restante office is in Sirkeci, a few minutes walk from the Sirkeci tram stop.

Name of recipient as appears on Passport or Official ID
Post Restante(in large and clear letters)
PTT Baş Müdürlüğü,
Hobyar Mahallesi,
Yeni Postane Caddesi No.25,
Sirkeci, Istanbul


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
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[27]. Some small branches do not offer the poste restante service.

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,[28] whereas mail posted from abroad is normally held for one month.[28] If the recipient is at sea however, it will be held for two months.[29] 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. Mail for general delivery to recipients in the United States is addressed in the following fashion:[30]

WASHINGTON, DC  20090‑9999

General delivery is normally available at only one facility under the administration of a post office with multiple facilities. Post offices that hold mail for general delivery may hold such mail for up to 30 days.[31] When sending to general delivery, the optional add-on code is -9999.[30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Poste Restante, from PostNord
  2. ^ "Itella Posti standardizes Poste Restante services to comply with international standards". Archived from the original on 25 October 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  3. ^ [1]. Archived 16 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine [Frequently asked questions]
  4. ^ "Mail delivery and postal codes - Posti for Private Customers". Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  5. ^ Helsinki 00100 Helsinki pickup at Kasarmikatu 19, 00130 00150 Helsinki (Vallila) Sturenkatu 21 00880 Helsinki (Herttoniemi) Linnanrakentajantie 4 Vantaa 01300 Vantaa (Tikkurila) Tikkuraitti 13 Espoo 02100 Espoo (Tapiola) Länsituulentie 4 Lahti 15100 Lahti, Saksalankatu 4 Turku 20100 Turku, Eerikinkatu 19 Pori 28100 Pori, Yrjönkatu 6 Tampere 33100 Tampere, Tullikatu 6 Jyväskylä 40100 Jyväskylä, Vapaudenkatu 48 Kouvola 45100 Kouvola, Kauppamiehenkatu 4 Mikkeli 50100 Mikkeli, Raatihuoneenkatu 12 Lappeenranta 53100 Lappeenranta, Kauppakatu 29-31 (shopping center Armada) Vaasa 65100 Vaasa, Hovioikeudenpuistikko 23 Kuopio 70100 Kuopio, Kauppakatu 40 Oulu 90100 Oulu, Hallituskatu 36 Rovaniemi 96100 Rovaniemi, Koskikatu 27 B The Poste restante service is not available at other service points in cities mentioned above.
  6. ^ Principaux tarifs au départ de France Métropolitaine à compter du 1er avril 2017
  7. ^ Recevoir un envoi en Poste restante - La Poste
  8. ^ "Der Service "Postlagernd"".
  9. ^ McLachlan, Gordon (2004). The Rough Guide to Germany (6th ed.). New York: Rough Guides. p. 47. ISBN 184353293X. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Letter Post Compendium — Italy" (PDF). Universal Postal Union. 13 June 2018. p. 5. Archived (PDF) from the original on 5 September 2018. Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  15. ^ "Parcel Post Compendium Online — Italy" (PDF). Universal Postal Union. 27 July 2018. p. 3. Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  16. ^ "Taisyklingas adresavimas | Lietuvos paštas". (in Lithuanian). Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  17. ^ "Poste Restante". MaltaPost. Archived from the original on 14 November 2017. Retrieved 9 June 2018.
  18. ^ Post NL.
  19. ^ "Poste restante". Posten Norge. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  20. ^ Poczta Polska
  21. ^ "Posta Restante". CTT. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  22. ^ "Receiving letters and parcels in Spain". Travelling, living and working in Spain. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
  23. ^ [2]
  24. ^ - Post restante consignments
  25. ^ "ระบบรอจ่าย ณ ที่ทำการ". Thai Itabags (in Thai). 6 February 2018. Retrieved 4 January 2019.
  26. ^ [3]
  27. ^ "House of Commons Written Answers". HC Deb. (vol.460) c.956. 18 May 2007. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  28. ^ a b "Poste Restante - Pick up your post whilst in the UK". The Post Office. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  29. ^ "Royal Mail: poste restante". Royal Mail Group Ltd. 8 January 2010. Archived from the original on 1 August 2010. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  30. ^ a b United States Postal Service (January 2013). "Publication 28 - Postal Addressing Standards". Section 261. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  31. ^ United States Postal Service. "Domestic Mail Manual 508". Section 6. Retrieved 18 January 2017.