How to open a PO Box is something you should know if you are thinking of getting one before you travel or if you don’t want to give strangers your house address.
People now use PO Boxes for different reasons. If you don’t have a permanent address, you can use it to get your mail.
Since you can access these PO Boxes whenever you want, it makes them quite convenient.
Let’s find out more about how you can open a PO Box, and how it will cost you to get it.
How to Open a PO Box
A PO box is easy to open. The steps to opening one include:
1. Select a Location
Anyone who wants to open a PO box should think carefully about the location as one of their first priorities.
Even if your home or your company is in another state, you can open a PO box from the United States Postal Service at most of their Post Office locations.
However, most people choose to get a post office box close to their residence or place of business.
2. Pick a Size
After deciding the location, think about what size PO Box will work for you.
You’ll need to choose from one of the sizes below depending on how much mail or packages you are planning to receive.
The sizes of the boxes are:
- Extra Small with Dimensions(3″ x 5.5″): Holds two magazines that have been wrapped or up to 10-15 letters.
- Small with Dimensions (5″ x 5.5″): Holds 15-20 letters or five rolled magazines.
- Medium with Dimensions (11″ x 5.5″): Enough to flat-stack many magazines or suit larger envelopes.
- Large with Dimensions (11″ x 11″): Has room for letters inside, and possibly two little boxes.
- Extra Large with Dimensions (22.5″ x 12″): Fits most flat rate boxes or medium-sized items
3. Fill Out an Application in Person or Online
You can use the Postal Service’s online reservation system to apply for a P.O. Box online. There will be a section for payment details on the online application as well.
To apply in person, fill out a P.O. Box request form (PS Form 1093) at your preferred post office. Also, you can print the form, fill it out at home, and mail it in.
You can use cash, credit card, debit card, or check to purchase the box there.
4. Confirm Your Identity and Get Your Keys
The Postal Service states that your application is not finished unless you personally verify your identity and give your permanent address using two kinds of ID.
If you apply online, you have 30 days from the time you submit your application to go to the post office of your choice with the filled-out form and two kinds of identification.
The major ID types are recognized:
- University ID (US)
- Vehicle registration document
- U.S. ID (Federal, state, or tribal issued)
- Lease, Mortgage, or Trust Deed
- Voting identification card
- Policy for car or home insurance
Can I Rent a PO Box?
Yes, you can rent through these two ways:
Online Box registration is simple and only requires a few clicks.
Simply visit the USPS website and click on “Reserve Now” when you have found where you want to register your PO Box.
You will receive a PS Form 1093 as soon as your account is operational.
However, you must go to the Post Office branch of interest if you want to activate a PO Box that you have reserved online. Make sure you have two forms of ID and a copy of your completed application with you when you arrive.
2. In Person
You can visit the post office where you want to rent your PO box and ask about the sizes that are offered there.
After that, you can complete the application by getting assistance from a Post Office staff in filling out the required paperwork.
Remember that you can only put the name of one primary account holder.
That doesn’t mean you can’t share access to your box with others, but only one person will be primarily responsible for it.
What is the Cost of Getting a PO Box?
A box can be reserved for three, six, or twelve months. Sometimes, the smallest box will cost you about $34 for three months.
The extra-large size is not always available at the post office, and the largest size costs $118.
Don’t forget that location, box size, and rental period all affect PO Box prices.
To get your PO box key, you’ll also need to pay a $4 deposit, a $8 key duplication or replacement cost, and a $23 late payment or lock replacement fee.
For the first two keys, certain post offices don’t get key deposits, and for customers who pay 12 months in advance, some give them a month free.
Can I Get a PO Box for Free?
Yes, you can get a PO Box free. Although many people don’t know that you can actually get one free.
You can be eligible for a free PO Box if you reside in a remote region and your home doesn’t receive deliveries from the post office. But if you want one of the bigger boxes, you’ll still have to spend more.
If you need a free PO Box, find the nearest USPS location and ask about it. You can also contact the USPS by phone at 1-800-275-8777, which is a toll-free number.
Also, you will need to fill out a simple form with details like your name and preferred address for receiving mail.
Having a valid ID is one of the factors of receiving a free post office box. Either a passport or a driver’s license are acceptable.
The only way to get a free PO Box if you don’t have valid identification is if the postal worker knows you personally.
What’s the Importance of Having a PO Box?
Your mail is secured at the post office when you use a P.O. Box. Only you, the P.O. Box owner with the key, and any other person you choose can pick up mail from the box.
There’s also the fact that your home address is not open to all, and important documents can be sent to you in confidence.
Some examples of such documents include contracts, checks, and personal information.
Let’s not forget that people who use PO boxes have a choice as to when and where they receive their mail, even if they still want home delivery.
How Can I Send Mails to PO Boxes?
If you want to send mail to a PO box, it is very important to write the recipient’s correct name and address at the envelope’s center.
Your package is at risk of being mishandled or delayed if the recipient’s name and address are not clearly written in the middle of the envelope.
This is needed so delivery can be smooth and quick. It is optional to include the recipient’s middle name, although doing so can help avoid misunderstandings.
Remember to write the recipient’s box number, and include the city and state postal code.
Are There Any Drawbacks to Owning a PO Box?
The fact that there are few carriers besides the official postal services is the biggest drawback of using PO boxes.
This means that P.O. Box owners cannot receive packages that are directly delivered to their boxes by UPS, FedEx, or Amazon shipping services. Only USPS mail can be delivered to P.O. Boxes.
Also, only those who are at least 18 years old can rent PO boxes, and there are restrictions on the total number of shipments and letters that can be sent to PO boxes.
Opening a PO box is one of the best decisions you can make, as you will find it easier and safer to receive your mail.
It is also useful if you are trying to find a safe address in a different state or city.