3 Steps to Get a PO Box in the US
A PO Box is a great solution for your mail if you’re rarely home, a student, a traveler, or a busy businessman that needs a stable mailing address to receive your mail and packages.
It also works great for companies that receive a lot of business mail or companies abroad looking to regularly receive mail in the U.S.
You can easily rent a PO Box online or by going to your nearest (or preferred) Post Office. All it takes are three easy steps, and it’s yours.
Step #1: Pick a PO Box Location:
Your PO Box should be at a location you can easily drive or walk to, whether it is near work or your home because you’ll need to stop by it to pick up your mail. However, that does not mean that it must be in the same area you live in.
For example, you can live in Chicago but have a PO Box in New York, but you’ll need to have someone frequently check your box and forward your mail when needed.
You can check for a Post Office in your preferred location online, from the USPS website.
Step #2: Pick a PO Box Size:
There are five different PO Box sizes to choose from, XS, S, M, L, XL. The smallest box size fits 10 to 15 letters or 2 rolled-up magazines and the largest box size allows for flat rate boxes and packages.
The most popular size is the medium box; it is large enough for large envelopes and magazines.
If you’re subscribed to a magazine or newspaper, this box is a good option for you. Keep in mind that not all box sizes are available at all Post Offices, so be sure to confirm online or with your Post Office if they have the size you need.
Your PO Box size depends on the amount of mail you get, the type of mail, and how frequently you pick up your mail.
For example, if you’re a regular online shopper and will have packages shipped to your PO Box, you should go for the L or XL size. Also, if you’re not going to check your mail at least once a week, you might want to consider a large box as well so your mail doesn’t overflow.
If your box overflows more than once, the Post Office will ask you to upgrade your PO Box to a bigger size.
The price of renting a PO Box depends on factors like location, PO Box size, and if your chosen location is in demand, it can cost more than other locations. The cost can be as low as $15 or as high as $75.
Step #3: Fill out Form 1583:
After settling on a PO Box size and location, you need to fill out the form 1583, which is a rental form, to activate your PO Box.
Renting a PO Box could be done online or in person, if you’re getting it done online, you can choose everything, handle payment, then go to the Post Office with two forms of ID (one of them must be photo ID) and the form 1583 (filled out) to get your PO Box keys.
And if you want to get it done in person, you go to the Post Office, check if they have your box size, and do everything else mentioned on the spot. Both ways require you to go to the Post Office at least once but getting it done online is faster and easier.
After you get your PO Box keys, you can start getting mail and packages delivered to your PO Box. But for that to happen, you need to apply for a change of address.
This can be done online for only $1 or at any Post Office for free. It takes around 10 days to be in effect and then you can start using your PO Box regularly.
The rental period for a PO Box starts at 3 months and the longest period in a year. If you decide to cancel your PO Box rental before the rental period is up, you can get refunded the last three months (if it’s 6 months or longer).
Is there a better alternative?
Getting your PO Box set up is a clear and easy process but it can get inconvenient if you can’t find the box size you need, if the location is too expensive, or if you want to mail and packages from a mail carrier other than USPS.
With a virtual mailbox, you get a PO Box or a physical mailbox, whichever you need, and can handle all of your postal mail online, without ever needing to pick up your mail.
Yes, not even once. Your mail will be delivered to a secure mail facility with instant mail notifications sent to you with new mail.
Then you just log into your mailbox through your computer or phone and take care of your mail! You can open & scan, forward, shred and recycle, or archive any mail piece and never need to worry about changing your mailing address again.