Whether you are an individual or a business owner, setting up a PO Box (a Post Office Box) is a practical and convenient way to manage your mail. PO Boxes offer greater security, privacy, and flexibility, making them a popular choice for those who want a dedicated mailing address.
In general, obtaining a PO Box is relatively simple. Read on as we take you through the process of how to set up a PO Box, from understanding the benefits to step-by-step instructions for applying.
What is a PO Box?
A Post Office Box is a safe, private locker that people and companies can rent from their local post office or a commercial mailbox provider. It is an alternative mailing address separate from a residential or business address.
PO Boxes are commonly used to receive mail and packages PO Box owners can drop off their mail at a numbered mailbox and pick it up at the post office. Most PO Boxes have a lock and key, but some may have a combination lock. You can use a PO Box for personal or professional reasons, and they are popular among small business owners.
Benefits of a PO Box
Before we delve into the process of setting up a PO Box, it’s important to understand the many advantages it offers:
- Privacy: A PO Box provides privacy that a regular home address cannot. Your personal or business address remains confidential, reducing the risk of unsolicited mail or unwanted visitors.
- Security: PO Boxes are located within post office facilities, which are generally secure and monitored. Your mail is kept safe from theft, vandalism, or damage due to weather conditions.
- Convenience: You can access your PO Box 24/7, allowing you to collect your mail at your convenience, even outside regular post office hours.
- Professional Image: A PO Box offers a more professional image for businesses than a home address. It can also be used as a permanent address if you move frequently.
- Mail Forwarding: Many post offices have services that let you keep getting mail at your PO Box, even if you move briefly or forever.
- Package Handling: PO Boxes can receive packages from various carriers, ensuring the safe delivery of important parcels.
How to Set Up a PO Box?
Now that we’ve covered the benefits. Let’s dive into the step-by-step process of setting up your PO Box.
1.Find a local post office
The first step in creating a PO Box is choosing a post office location. The Postal Service website has a feature that allows customers to search for a nearby post office.
Consider Choosing a conveniently located post office to cut travel time when picking up your mail. PO Boxes can be located in different cities or states, but you will still need to complete the verification process in person.
2.Choosing the right size of PO Box
The next thing to choose is the PO Box size. PO Boxes come in different sizes, so pick a PO Box that can hold as much mail and goods as you expect to send.
You can choose between up to five sizes, from extra small to extra big. Small, medium, and big PO boxes are the most common types. You can find out what sizes are offered at your local post office or on the Postal Service website. This will help you make a good choice.
3.Apply online or in person
You can reserve a PO Box online, by mail, or in person by completing PS Form 1093. A self-service kiosk (SSK) is another option. You can save time by printing and filling out the form at home before applying in person at the post office. Some post offices will let you apply for PO Boxes in other places. But you should call the post office you want to visit first to ensure it accepts your application.
Search the USPS website by ZIP code to identify a local PO Box you may set up online. You can then choose the most convenient location, the size of the PO Box you want, the term of your lease, and the payment method you want. You can also check the hours of operation and directions to the Post Office you choose.
4.Verify identity and collect keys
You will need two forms of identification to get a key to your PO Box and begin using it. The Postal Service says that your application is complete if you show up in person with both forms of identification (primary and secondary) to prove your name and current fixed address.
If you apply online, you will have 30 days to bring the form you filled out and your ID to the post office of your choice to finish your application.
US Government ID issued by a federal, state, or tribal agency
US University ID
Lease, mortgage, or deed of trust
Voter registration card
Vehicle registration card
Home or vehicle insurance policy
After completing the application and paying the necessary fees, you will receive a set of keys to your newly assigned PO Box. These keys will give you access to your PO Box whenever you need to retrieve your mail. Please be sure to keep these keys in a safe place and return them promptly if you decide to close your PO Box in the future.
Now that you’re clear on how to set up a PO Box, let’s talk more about its cost, so keep scrolling.
The monthly cost of a PO Box depends on the post office’s location and the box’s size, plus a refundable key deposit fee. There is a minimum of $4.67 per month for a small box and $23.67 per month for an extra-large box.
PO Box owners have the option to pay in three-, six-, or 12-month terms. You can also pay online, at a self-service kiosk, by mail, or in person at your PO Box location.
Moreover, some people may qualify for a free PO Box, but they must meet specific requirements to qualify. Check the Postal Service’s rules and regulations to see if you qualify for free PO Box service.
Learning how to set up a PO Box is an important task that can benefit people and companies, such as more privacy, security, and ease of use.
If you follow the step-by-step instructions in this piece, you’ll soon have your own sending address. With a PO Box, you can manage your mail effectively and enjoy greater peace of mind.