Updated on April 26th, 2023

The United States Postal Services works extremely hard to drop mail and packages at their destination at the right time. However, from time to time, there may be errors that may affect the efficiency of their services. One of those errors is the incorrect differentiation between a residential and a postal address by citizens.

Many people need help differentiating residential addresses from postal addresses. Although these addresses can be used interchangeably, this is only sometimes the case. Depending on your circumstances, your mail and packages may never arrive if you use a residential address.

Therefore, it is essential to identify the differences between residential and mailing addresses. Understanding the differences and when to use these addresses minimizes stress and makes life a whole lot better.

This guide aims to uncover everything you need to know about residential and postal addresses. In addition, it will cover other types of addresses and the best time to use them.

You may have 99 sources of worry, but your mail never arriving should never be a part of it. Solutions, alternatives, and answers to FAQs on mailing and using the correct address will also be explored.

Let us dive into it!

What is A Residential Address

In the simplest term, a residential address is an address where you live or reside. For example, suppose you want to invite friends or family to your residence. A residential address is what you will give to them. This is the address they will look up on a map or input into a GPS to find their way. Therefore, a residential address can be defined as the house number, street, and city of your residence (where you live).

You cannot simply use the address of where you are at the moment as a residential address. A location can only qualify as a residential address if you live there for at least 183 days of the year. In addition, you must prove that you have lived in the location for the required period. It is common for individuals to have multiple residential addresses. For example, students may use two residential addresses based on their needs- school address or home address. When they are in school, it is expected that any package they receive be delivered to the school. Alternatively, the home address becomes their primary address at home. In this case, two residential addresses can be alternated to avoid confusion and to receive items in the correct location.

Furthermore, filling in the residential address is often required when registering for most services. For example, you must include your residential address when registering a vehicle with the DVLA (for UK residents).


What Is the Difference Between Residential and Physical Addresses?

A residential address is a physical address, but a physical address may not always be a residential address. No doubt, residential and physical addresses are similar. Before we dive into their differences, let us examine a physical address.

A physical address is the exact location of a house, which can be used for personal or business purposes. You can register businesses with a physical address and receive mail at the location.

In addition, a physical address may be for a business, religious center, recreational center, residential building, and more. This is where it differs from a residential address, which is used to describe a place where one lives.

Furthermore, a physical address falls within an administrative jurisdiction, which dictates taxes, zoning laws, and mortgage regulations. More so, the geographical location of a building determines access to social infrastructures like transportation, internet, sanitation, and security.

For example, a virtual mailing address is a physical address that is not residential. Alternatively, if you receive mail at your home, your residential address is also your physical address.


What is the Correspondence Address

A correspondence address is one that you may use to contact someone officially. However, it is essential to note that the correspondence address is not the individual’s home. Therefore, the correspondence address is not the same as the residential address.

Usually, an individual’s correspondence address is the location of their business or a vacation home. Some forms – either offline or online, may provide a space for the corresponding address. The purpose of asking for a correspondence address is to get the office address.

Suppose the residential and correspondence address was the same. This indicates that the postal address becomes a residential address. You must meet the PSD2 SCA requirements to register for correspondence. Always confirm if the correspondence address is required while filling out a form.


What is a postal address?

A postal address is an address where you receive your mail. Therefore, a postal address is a broad term for any address that can deliver mail. It includes different types of addresses, such as:

  • Residential address
  • Physical address
  • Home address
  • Mailing address
  • Correspondence address

Therefore, from a mailing approach, it is safe to conclude that every address can serve as a postal address depending on the situation and location.

At this stage, there may be confusion on whether the mailing address, postal address, and Correspondence address are the same. Although they are pretty similar, there are some notable differences.

 To identify the differences between these addresses, we need to understand them in detail.

Read More About: How to Get a Physical Mailing Address?

Home Address vs. Postal Address

As mentioned earlier, postal address includes all locations where you can receive mail, which includes your home address. However, the postal address does not necessarily describe the home address. For example, suppose you are trying to build a client network. There will be spaces for home and postal addresses when collecting client information. Alternatively, if you are building a client mail list, you will request their postal address- where they receive their mail.

All home addresses are postal addresses, but not all are home addresses.


Mailing Address Vs. Correspondence Address

Mailing addresses are very similar to correspondence addresses, such that many people misuse them. However, they cannot be used interchangeably as they have different uses.

A mailing address is similar to a correspondence address as they are the location for receiving mail. However, in most cases, a mailing address is the same as a physical address, which means it can also be a residential address. On the other hand, a correspondence address cannot be a residential address.

In addition, the mailing address can involve a PO Box address, which cannot be used as a correspondence address.


Residential address vs. Postal address

One common query regarding mailing is the difference between residential and postal addresses. The most significant difference is that all residential addresses can be used as postal addresses. However, not all postal addresses represent residential addresses.

Generally, a residential address is the same as a home address. While these two terms can be used interchangeably, they are some differences. The term “home “ is subjective so is the concept of home address. For example, an individual who travels a lot may use their parents’ house as their home address. On the other hand, a residential address is where a person resides, but only if it meets the requirements- living there for at least 183 days.

Postal address encompasses home address, residential address, corresponding address, mailing address, and home address. Therefore, it is easy to differentiate between residential and postal addresses.

The house you live in has an address, which translates to a residential address. For consistency and simplicity, many people use the exact location as their mailing address and residential address. Therefore, when you live at an address where you receive mail directly, your residential and postal addresses are the same.

It is a mailing address when you receive mail and packages at an address where you do not live. For example, you may receive mail at a PO Box, which is often located at the local post office. In this case, the PO Box is your mailing address, not your residential address, as you do not live there.

Another difference is that you use a residential address when you want something delivered to your doorstep. On the other hand, you use a mailing address when you want to receive something in your mail, which often is away from your house.

Residential Address

  • A physical address where you have lived for at least 183 days of the year.
  • Any services that involve your home may require your residential address.
  • This is the address you give to people who intend to visit you in your home.
  • It can also be the same as a mailing address if you receive your mail at home.

Postal Address

  • All addresses where you receive mail.
  • The postal address may include a Residential address, Physical address, Home address, Mailing address, and Correspondence address.
  • Postal address is used when privacy and security are being considered.
  • It cannot always be used in the place of a residential address, especially when you do not live there.


Why would you need a Mailing Address other than your Residential Address?

Suppose you have a business or a start-up. You may need a mailing address that is not your residential address. A small business run from home may not require a mailing address other than your residential address. However, getting another mailing address may be the best alternative for privacy, maintaining work-life balance, and avoiding confusion between personal and business mail.

Alternatively, big businesses often have dedicated space for their activities. Therefore, their residential address and mailing address can easily be the same. They usually have a dedicated part of the building for receiving, sorting and storing mail. However, a business with several branches may need a centralized mailing address. This is beneficial to avoid sending mail to the wrong location.

Another reason why you may need a mailing address other than your residential address is for business registration. The government may reject the registration of a business with a residential address. Other options for a mailing address include a PO Box address or a virtual office address. Small start-ups prefer a virtual office address because it serves as a workspace and meeting venue, which promotes integrity and professionalism.


What is a Commercial Address?

Has someone ever asked the meaning of commercial address, and you seem to be at a loss? You are in the right place, as we shall assist you in understanding the term. First, a commercial address is also known as a business address. Businesses often give this address to clients, shareholders, vendors, banks, or suppliers as a part of their contact information. In addition, it serves as the billing address for businesses. Choosing a business address is straightforward, as business owners have many options. They include:

  • Location of the office.
  • Location of the corporate headquarters.
  • The location where you use for shipping.
  • LLP’s contact information.
  • Private residence.
  • Member of the LLP’s office address.
  • Post office box.

Freight carriers describe commercial addresses as commercial locations. It is important to note that not all business locations qualify as business addresses. For example, any business conducted from an apartment, especially with other people living on the premise, is a residential address.


Residential Address vs. Commercial Address

A residential address is where you live and conduct your personal affairs. However, a commercial address is the contact location of a business. While they may seem like a “typical location,” they have different uses, especially regarding shipping.

Shipping might be more complicated than we can imagine. What qualifies as a residential address and commercial address may vary between different mail carriers. Usually, an address is defined as residential when people live on the premises. Therefore, any business operating from such a location is not defined as a commercial address. As a result, the cost of shipping may depend on the address. In addition, shippers may charge an extra fee if an address has been wrongly identified as commercial or residential.

Commercial addresses are usually situated in major cities, making it easier for mail carriers to deliver more packages in less time. As a result, the shipping fee for commercial addresses may be considerably lesser. On the other hand, residential addresses are usually far apart, covering several miles. Therefore, shipping may take more extended periods, ultimately increasing shipping fees.

Although all mail carriers work with two categories of addresses- commercial and residential addresses, they have different criteria for classification. Therefore, an address that may be defined as residential by USPS can be defined as a business address by a private mail carrier.

The United States Postal Service defines an address as residential or commercial based on the function of the location. The criterion for classification is whether the address is where people reside or conduct business. Irrespective of the address, the shipping fee is constant.

Private carriers classify addresses based on city zoning. Therefore, they need to be more specific about the purpose of the address, unlike the USPS. In addition, private carriers often charge more to deliver to residential areas than commercial regions. For example, suppose your business is in a residential zone, and you use private carriers. The shipping fee will be higher because the address is classified as residential.

Read More About: How to Register a Virtual Address for your LLC?

Can I use my Residential Address as my Correspondence Address?

Many people often ask if they could use the exact location as their residential address and correspondence address. To answer this question, we must understand the differences between both addresses. The most significant difference is that a residential address is where you live; the correspondence address is usually a location where you can receive and store mail- you do not need to reside there. Meanwhile, you must provide documents to prove that you have to stay in a location for at least 183 days of the year to qualify as a residential address.

A correspondence address can be within the country where you reside, unlike a residential address. Therefore, you can be in the United States of America and have a corresponding address in the United Kingdom. It can be a corresponding address if you have permission to use the location to receive mail during business hours. On the other hand, a residential address must be within the country and state you reside for at least 183 days of the year. Therefore, you cannot use a correspondence address as a substitute residential address.

However, you can use your residential address as a correspondence address if it meets the criteria. It is not advisable as the correspondence address may be public information, which means your residential address is also public. Using your residential address may be better for business purposes regarding security and privacy.


Residential Address vs. Home Address

Many people need clarification about a residential address and a home address. This is similar to the debate regarding postal addresses and home addresses. However, unlike the latter, there are no significant differences in the residential address vs. home address debate.

In a literal sense, the residential address is the same as the home address. Therefore, they can mean the same thing or be used in place of one another. Some may argue that the residential address has a broader scope than the home address. That debate may be optional, as it is highly subjective.

For example, some people prefer to use “home” for a property they own or feel a sense of comfort and security. Alternatively, they can use “residential address” when they live in a place that does not necessarily feel like home.

In a practical sense, home and residential addresses have the same function.

For example, when you move to a new city on official business, the new address is your residential address. Your home address remains the address of your “home.” A residential address begins to resemble the corresponding address at this junction.

However, the core of the similarity is that when you use “residential address” or “home address,” it is the location where you live and carry out personal duties. Suppose someone is coming to see you. The co-ordinate or address you give them is your home address or residential address.

Examples of Residential Addresses

Here are some examples of residential addresses to provide more vivid illustrations:▼

►Case 1: Using different residential and mailing addresses

Suppose you live in Los Angeles, but you travel a lot. The address of your apartment is 2848 El Caminito Street, Los Angeles, LA, 91214. Since you travel often, you may need to rent a PO Box at the local post office- 7101 S Central Avenue, LA.

This is a typical case of having different residential and mailing addresses. The PO Box is your mailing address, and all your mail goes there instead of your residence. Someone at the post office receives your mail and ensures they are placed in your mailing box. One of the benefits of this process is that your mail remains safe for whatever duration of time you are gone.

The above example shows an individual has varying residential and mailing addresses.

►Case 2: Same mailing address and residential address

In this example, the individual has the same mailing and residential addresses. Suppose you live at 2848 El Caminito Street, Los Angeles, LA 91214. You receive your mail at that address.

As a result, 2848 El Caminito Street, Los Angeles, LA 91214 is your residential address and mailing address. Therefore, they are the same when you are required to fill in residential or mailing addresses.


Does the USPS Ship to My Residential Address?

Yes, the USPS ships mail and parcels to all residential addresses. However, there can be confusing because not all home addresses are identical. This is because some addresses may require another location for receiving mail and packages from USPS. Meanwhile, carriers like FedEx and UPS may still deliver to your residential address. In this segment, we shall explore why USPS may not deliver mail and packages to your residential address.

One of the reasons why USPS will not deliver mail to your home is location- rural areas, or there need to be more homes within the vicinity. The USPS serves the entire country daily, which is time-consuming. Therefore, their job is more manageable when homes are within a cluster, so they deliver mail together. Major metropolitan areas and suburbs have homes clustered together, hence a good location for USPS delivery. Alternatively, it is better to drop a mail at a central address when homes are spread out. Consequently, this saves time and resources and allows the USPS to cover more grounds.

In this situation, people must go to the central location to pick up their deliveries. Community mailboxes or PO Boxes at the local post office offer a solution if the USPS cannot deliver directly to your home.

Another factor that may prevent USPS from making deliveries to your residential address is that it does not exist in their database. New buildings, irrespective of location, often face this problem because address update is not automatic. Before, when your address had been uploaded to the USPS database, they could not deliver to your address due to a lack of a delivery point code.

Suppose you are still determining if USPS can deliver to your residential address. You can use the ZIP Code Lookup tool to confirm if your address is on their database. The ZIP code is displayed with extra four digits to show the delivery point when your address is on their system (for example, 10001-1322).

However, if this is not the case, only the ZIP code is displayed. The solution is to call your local post office and make your complaints. They can arrange for you to come to the post office and provide some information. In no time, you will begin to receive mail at your residential address.


Why is My Residential Address Missing from the USPS System?

As mentioned above, you may not receive packages at your residential address because it is outside the USPS database. This can often be a source of stress, as you may need help understanding the root of the problem. Unfortunately, thousands of people are dealing with mailing stress every other day.

The USPS is committed to the service of the public, updating its database, and delivering packages at the right time. However, it is no surprise that the process is not 100% efficient as there are several million addresses to manage. Newly completed buildings and naming or renaming streets are factors that reduce the efficiency of the USPS in managing all the addresses.

The good news is that you can ensure your residential address is uploaded into the USPS database.  First, contact your local post office and provide your information. They will run your address through the USPS database to confirm the source of the problem- if it is absent or you are having validation issues.

Suppose your address still needs to be validated. They will relay your information to be uploaded at the next USPS database system update. Regardless, this may take some time to be implemented. Therefore, do not expect to start receiving mail at your residential address almost immediately.

Alternatively, if the issue is that your address is new or a rename of the street, it may take longer time to fix. They must confirm the information you provided by checking in with local authorities. After they are satisfied with the data, they can add it to the database.

However, you cannot receive packages and mail at your residential address. In that case, you can explore other options.


What is A Residential Delivery Indicator (RDI), and why is it essential for you?

A Residential Delivery Indicator (RDI) tells you if an address is residential or business. The RDI allows the USPS to keep track of all addresses within the country. As a result, they can easily differentiate residential addresses and business addresses. Tracking and managing addresses is a crucial function of the USPS. Therefore, they have granted permission to some software to access its database for verification purposes. Unlike many private mail carriers, USPS does not charge higher rates for delivering mail and packages to residential addresses.

The Residential Delivery Indicator is crucial as it can determine if you receive mail to your address. Many people are often unbothered by the differences between business and residential addresses. However, shipping companies pay a lot of attention to it. Most times, it costs more to deliver mail and packages to a residential address than a commercial address.

Suppose your home used to be a commercial building. It would have a Commercial Delivery Indicator (CDI) instead of an RDI. Therefore, your mail and packages may need help finding you. You may need to go to the post office to find a solution to the problem. First, they must verify if your location is a business or residential address.

Read More About: USPS Tracking: How to Use it and How to Find Tracking Number

Should I have a PO Box?

A PO Box (also known as Postal Box or Post Office Box) is a mailbox at the post office station. They help receive mail and packages which cannot be delivered to your residential address. A Postal Box is secure, as they usually have designated keys, so other people cannot access the box’s content.

Suppose you live in an area where the USPS and other companies cannot service. You should consider getting a PO Box. Usually, those living in rural areas may not enjoy the privileges of receiving mail and packages at their residential address. This is due to insufficient delivery resources without compromising consistency and adequate time management. Therefore, to avoid delays in receiving your mail, get a PO Box at the local or central post office near you.

In addition, you can get a designated PO Box at reduced rates, so you don’t have to worry about the cost. The United States Postal Service acknowledges that forcing people living in rural or sparsely dense areas to pay exorbitant prices to receive their mail would be inhumane.

Other reasons to get a PO Box include:

  • Having a PO Box can help small businesses get a commercial address.
  • Privacy is a top reason for choosing a PO Box.
  • Mail security is guaranteed because the PO Box is situated within a post office, which has security. In addition, no random person can get access to your mail.
  • Your mail and packages will be delivered faster.


Are there any Shipping Companies that do not deliver to My Residential Address?

Other than USPS, most shipping companies will consistently deliver to residential addresses. Shipping companies will deliver to your residential address if your location can be found with a map or GPS.

You can verify this using any GPS navigation tool to search for your address. If it comes up, there is a solid chance that third-party shipping companies will deliver to your residential address. On the other hand, if your address is not on the GPS navigation tool, you may not receive mail at your door. Your address may not appear on the map if the house is newly constructed, new roads are constructed, or the street name is changed. If any of this is the case, no shipping company will be able to deliver to your residential address.


How Can PostScan Mail Help You to manage and minimize Your Mailing Headaches?

No one wants to experience difficulties associated with mailing, but they happen sometimes. Most mailing issues arise due to the inability to correctly tell the difference between a mailing address and a residential address. PostScan Mail a virtual mailbox may be the solution you need. You can Sign Up PostScan Mail to receive packages from anywhere.

One of the benefits of virtual mail is that it eradicates all the hassle of residential or mailing addresses. Once you sign up, you must select a plan before getting a permanent address. PostScan Mail provides an actual street address as a destination for all mail and packages for a client. Once they arrive, you will receive a notification with a picture or scan of the item or package.

Choosing Post Scan Mail ensures you have more control over your mail than you could ever experience with the USPS. In addition, you can decide to digitalize your mailbox, which is an excellent option in terms of security and privacy. Alternatively, you can forward your mail to any address across the globe at less shipping fees- about 80% off standard shipping rates.

Suppose you want to modernize your mailbox experience. PostScan Mail has features like package acceptance, check-to-deposit, and flexible plans that are incredibly useful for individuals and businesses. Visit PostScan Mail to sign up and learn more about this fantastic offer you will never regret.


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