USPS® Cross-State Initiative

USPS® Cross-State Initiative

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as part of the Rural Free Delivery initiative, the city and state (last line) of a customer address was assigned according to the Post Office™ delivering mail to that address. To improve delivery efficiency, a Post Office delivering mail near a state border might be assigned delivery addresses in the neighboring state, if the nearest Post Office in the same state were much further away. Cross-state customers were instructed to use the name of the post office as their city name and the state in which that office was located as the last line of their address. When the ZIP Code™ system was implemented in 1963, this practice was continued, and a constraint was placed in the USPS Address Management System (AMS) database to prevent a ZIP Code being associated with more than one state designation.

Now, USPS has developed a software solution to address this ongoing issue.


1. Why is the USPS making this change?

This initiative has been developed to correct issues due to customer complaints. Many customers have had difficulties accessing services that require the correct state identity in their mailing addresses. In the past, new ZIP Codes were added to handle cross-state delivery but advances in computer technology now allow us to modify software so that mailing addresses will show the state in which those addresses are physically located.

2. How is the USPS implementing this solution?

The USPS will begin adding the cross-state city name, state abbreviation, and ZIP Code in the June 2022 Address information System (AIS) Products City State and ZIP+4 files for addressing matching purposes.

3. When will other companies recognize this change?

Most AIS Products customers will receive the updated information within 60 days after implementation and are encouraged to update their systems within six months after receiving the products.

4. When will I be notified when my address has been assigned to my correct state?

The USPS will send customer notification letters 30 days prior to implementation.

5. How will my cross-state city name be determined?

The USPS has worked with the local addressing authority to identify the appropriate community, area, or township name in which the address resides.

6. If I choose not to use my new cross-state city name and state and continue to use my Post Office name and state, will I continue to receive my mail?

Yes, your mail will continue uninterrupted but as mailers implement this change in their address databases, some of your mail will appear with your correct state identity.

7. If I want to continue to use the city name and state where I presently receive my mail, do I have options?

Yes, by renting a PO Box™ at your serving Post Office, you can continue to receive mail using that location’s city name and state.

8. Can I validate that my new cross-state city name and state abbreviation is in the USPS system?

The “Look Up a ZIP Code” feature on is a great resource, or you can call 1-800- ASK-USPS (1-800-278-8777).

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