Thinking about getting a P.O. Box?
P.O. Boxes offer security, privacy and flexibility when receiving mail, both for businesses and individuals. Why do you want a P.O. Box? Maybe you’re moving and don’t have a permanent address yet. Or, perhaps you travel a lot for work and aren’t always home to receive your mail. Whatever the reason, getting a P.O. Box is simple. Follow the steps below for applying online or in person, and then get information about mailbox sizes and what forms of ID are required to complete the process.
Steps for renting a P.O. Box
There are two ways to open a postal box — either online or in person at an official Post Office location.
Note: You must be 18 years of age or older to apply.
Open a P.O. Box online
Apply for a P.O. Box on the USPS® website by following these steps:
- Enter the address, city, state or Zip CodeTM of the place you’re moving to. A list of available locations will pop up.
- Select where you want to receive mail, what size mailbox you need and a payment term (choose between a 3-, 6- or 12-month rental period).
- Add additional names (if any) to the account so that they can legally receive and pick up mail at the same address.
- Complete the online application (Form 1093), and then pay for the service.
- After completing the online process, take a printed copy of Form 1093, two acceptable forms of ID and your receipt to the Post Office where the new box is located.
- After verifying your identity and payment, the Post Office will provide a P.O. Box number and keys or a combination code.
If you’re moving to another city, you may be able to do the in-person verification at your local post office, and then they can contact the new P.O. Box location to complete the process.
Apply in person
Prefer to rent a P.O. Box in person? Just print a complete Form 1093, and then take the entire document to any Post Office. Once they verify the information, your identity (two forms of ID also required) and you pay, they will set up your P.O. Box and begin service.
Acceptable forms of identification
Two valid and current forms of identification are required to set up a postal box. One must be a photo ID and the other needs to provide proof of address. Here’s what is and what isn’t acceptable:
Acceptable photo IDs:
- Valid Driver’s License or state non-driver’s identification card
- Armed forces, government, university or recognized corporate identification card
- Passport, alien registration card or certificate of naturalization
Acceptable proof-of-address documents:
- Current lease, mortgage or deed of trust
- Voter or vehicle registration card
- Home or vehicle insurance policy
- Social Security Card
- Credit or debit cards
- Birth certificates
There are five sizes to choose from. However, not every Post Office offers every size. The one you should reserve will depend on the location, how many letters and packages you expect to receive and how often you plan to pick it up. Keep in mind, if your postal box frequently overflows, you may be asked to rent a larger one at your expense. Use this information to determine which size to reserve:
- Size 1-XS — Holds up to 15 letters or two rolled magazines
- Size 2-S — Holds up to 15 letters or five rolled magazines
- Size 3-M — Holds large envelopes and magazines stacked flat
- Size 4-L — Holds two shoeboxes and up to 15 letters
- Size 5-XL — Can hold Flat Rate Boxes and parcels
How much does it cost to rent a postal box?
The cost of renting a P.O. Box is based on location, the mailbox size you need and how long you need it. In the case that the United States Postal Service® can’t deliver mail to your location, you may be eligible for a no-fee P.O. Box. Talk with a local USPS office for more information.
Remember to forward your mail
Once the new P.O. Box is set up, don’t forget to forward the mail from your old address. Not sure how to do that? Check out this post for steps on completing a change of address.
If you have questions about how to open a P.O. Box, refer to the information on the Postal Service website and call their hotline at 800-275-8777 with any issues.
Helpful resource: Use this comprehensive moving checklist to keep track of other things to do when moving.
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