For any letter addressed within the United States, the USPS requires two pieces of information on the envelope.
Address of the recipient: Placed on the front (non opening) side of the envelope in the center. Generally, the name of the addressee should be included above the address itself. A ZIP code (area code) will facilitate delivery.
Postage indication: All parcels must include an indication that postage has been paid. In most cases, this is a stamp, though metered labels are also common. Proof of payment is usually placed in the upper-right corner.
A third, and optional (but strongly suggested) addition is a return address. This is the address that the recipient may respond to, and, if necessary, the letter can be returned to if delivery fails. It is usually placed in the upper-left corner or occasionally on the back (though the latter is standard in some countries). Undeliverable mails that cannot be readily returned, including those without return addresses, are treated as dead mails at a Mail Recovery Center in Atlanta, Georgia or Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Mr Ian Porter
112 Beacon Street
Boston, MA 02119-2343
To find a post office near you, go to USPS's location map for San Francisco.
Domestic first-class mail costs 42¢ for envelopes (27¢ for post cards) and upwards, depending on the weight and dimensions of the letter and the class. The website offers a handy postage calculator. For a complete lists of prices and rates go to http://postcalc.usps.gov/.
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