How to Address a Letter to a Government Office

Person holding pink sticky note.jpg

Correspondence to a government office requires etiquette and clarity. Addressing a letter properly will ensure the letter reaches the correct person or department, and that your message will be received in a positive light. Simple and clear reference on the envelope as well as the opening line of the letter will be the surest way to make a great first impression on paper.

1 Consider to the letter

Consider to whom the letter is intended. For elected federal and state officials, use the term "Honorable" before their names. Address a senator, chairman or ambassador with their title preceding their last name; for example, write “Senator Adam Johns” as the first line of address. Within the letter a simple salutation should be used; for example, “Dear Senator Johns.” Another option would be to address the senator or ambassador as, “Dear Madam Ambassador.” For an individual without a title, simply address the letter using the person's full name; for example, "Ms. Sally Brown" or "Mr. Henry John."

2 Address the letter to a government department

Address the letter to a government department. If you would like to send a letter to a department rather than an individual, clearly write out the department's name as the first line for the address on the envelope. Within the letter you may open with the greeting “To Whom It May Concern.” Using this address will be ideal when contacting an unknown individual.

3 Write out the full address

Write out the full address of the government office. Directly underneath the name of the intended recipient list the building number and street name. The next line will contain the city, state and zip code.

4 Close all letters

Close all letters with the statement “Sincerely,” followed by your name directly beneath the closing.

Sarah Vrba has been a writer and editor since 2006. She has contributed to "Seed," "AND Magazine," Care2 Causes and "202 Magazine," among other outlets, focusing on fashion, pop culture, style and identity. Vrba holds an M.A. in history with an emphasis on gender and fashion in the 19th century.