Swiss Post - Letter sent to wrong country

Hi everyone,

Looking for a bit of advice here.

I sent out a letter on Monday 15th - in fact containing my passport, for renewal - to the UK. I sent it International Registered so it has tracking.

I wrote the address of the UK passport office fine, and I can see on the receipt that it has the correct street, postcode and country, "grande-bretagne".

I've been checking the tracking over the week and it was taking longer than expected, but no sign of anything wrong. It showed a message that it was being routed to destination country, and showed a link for "Tracking in destination country" to the Royal Mail UK website... all fine.

However, I checked tracking today and it seems it arrived in New York, USA, yesterday evening. All of the tracking has now changed to the USA as a destination country.

I have no idea how this happened, only thing I can think of is somebody mistook "United Kingdom" for "United States".

I'll be contacting Swiss Post when they open tomorrow - but has anybody experienced this before / have any tips? It's obviously quite worrying considering it's my only passport...

Thanks for any help!

If it has gone to the US, it will be put on a plane to the UK when the guys in the US realise.

The country name was written in French, probably they will send it to Canada.

If you used the correct addressing scheme:…Unit/gbrEn.pdf
it should be sent back to the UK without delay.

Blame the UPU and its change from French to English as the default addressing language. This would have never happened with ROYAUME-UNI.

If it entered the UK tracking system and then headed for the US, wouldn't that be the Royal Mail's problem not the Swiss Post???

And my "Uncle in law" here in Switzerland once told me how he got a job with the Swiss Post over Christmas as a student and when they send him down in the cellar to get more carts for the post he discovered one still full of mail from the previous Christmas! (They just delivered it as normal mail BTW)

For fun, my son sent a postcard from Spain with just our family name and postcode as address - it was delivered.

I always write the entire address in English. Pretty sure they know “United Kingdom”.

Firstly, it could be a glitch in their computer system and the letter is safely in a UK sorting office.

Secondly, if it really has been sent to the US in error, you need to take it up with Royal Mail. Once a piece of mail leaves Switzerland and enters the UK, it's the problem of Royal Mail. My cousin works in a sorting office in the UK and they are struggling for staff either through them leaving or long term sick, and their systems are falling apart.

I've been putting Grossbritannian rather than UK as a couple of times here the post people have tried to frank it for Ukraine.

I didn't think of putting United Kingdom but is that officially correct when sending from abroad (i.e. Switzerland).

Yes Grossbritannien. A letter of ours, marked "UK", went to the Ukraine. But we found that out only from the stamping, once it had been correctly delivered in London. Since then, I write "United Kingdom" and also, for good measure, "Grossbritannien".

UNITED KINGDOM is the correct designation for Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and teacupland.

In the drop down menu on the post site if you want to get an online stamp the country is listed as Great Britain.

I once tried to explain to the person at the post office counter that it should technically be United Kingdom but she didn’t seem to get it.

I think that's why I changed to Grossbritannian - to make it easy for the locals but I think I'll switch to United Kingdom, and draw a picture of King Charles alongside.

You could properly mess with their heads and define it as The British Isles .

It includes everything immediately off the north west coast of Europe, including the whole island of Ireland.

I think if I addressed something to the British Isles, it would probably end up in the Falkland Islands...

Yep, that is because people in NI are not obliged to use the term, contrary to what Tom1234 says.

What did I say?

Something Gross

When I send something to Croatia from outside of Croatia, the zip code starts with the country code, so


HR-zip code

Kroatien/Croatia (I could write "Hrvatska" for good measure, but it could only hurt)

The country code in front of zip code allegedly helps them sort mail too.

Does something like this work for the UK?

Yes, the ZIP or POSTCODE code should immediately proceed the word United kingdom (or other International destination) too.