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Poste restante, also known as General delivery in the United States, is the service offered by the post office of most countries. Mail is addressed to the recipient's name, with the words "Poste restante" below that, and then the city the mail is to be delivered to, plus applicable postal codes, &c. Such mail upon receipt by the postal service is to be held in the city's central post office to be picked up by the recipient, who must prove that they are indeed the addressee. Poste restante is very useful for sending mail to travellers, though they must be aware that they are to receive mail.
Here's what the USPS' Domestic Mail Manual has to say about "General Delivery":

D900     Other Delivery Services

D930 General Delivery and Firm Holdout

Summary

D930 describes the intent of general delivery and how to obtain and use a firm holdout.

1.0     General Delivery

1.1     Purpose

General delivery is intended primarily as a temporary means of delivery:

a. For transients and customers not permanently located.

b. For customers who want post office box service when boxes are unavailable.

1.2     Service Restrictions
General delivery is available at only one facility under the administration of a multifacility post office. A postmaster may refuse or restrict general delivery:

a. To a customer who is unable to present suitable identification.

b. To a customer whose mail volume or service level (e.g., mail accumulation) cannot reasonably be accommodated.

1.3     Delivery to Addressee
A general delivery customer can be required to present suitable identification before mail is given to the customer.

1.4     Holding Mail
General delivery mail is held for no more than 30 days, unless a shorter period is requested by the sender. Subject to 1.2, general delivery mail may be held for longer periods if requested by the sender or addressee.


The Domestic Mail Manual can be found at http://pe.usps.gov/text/dmm/DMMTC.htm

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