If you move frequently, start a business, or prefer to receive your mail at the post office, then you may want to consider getting an official P.O. Box. This is especially helpful if you have problems with delivery on your street address, don’t want to give your home address to strangers, or if you move frequently and want to have a stable address. Nursing students often get a PO box assigned while they attend nursing school as well (which is often through a post office location).
Opening a P.O. Box: Overview
A Post Office box (P.O. box) is a mailbox that you can rent from a United states post office location. They are usually small square boxes that range in sizes from 3 1/2″ X 5″ all the way up to 12″ X 22.” These small units usually operate with a key, although some may have a combination or other type of locking device.
You can rent a P.O. box in terms of 6 months or 1 year. Prices will vary at each Post Office location, and they can be as low as $28 for a 6 month period (which is less than $5/month) for the smallest size and go upwards to hundreds of dollars for larger sizes (or for a caller service). This is usually much cheaper than renting a private mailbox service from a company such as the UPS store or Mailboxes, etc.
Also, many post office locations will have 24 hour access/7 days a week in case you need to access your mailbox.
Your P.O. box mailing address will look like this:
P.O. Box XXX
Your City, State XXXXX
How to Rent a P.O. Box
To rent a P.O. box, simply go to your local post office location where you would prefer to rent the unit. Many post offices will display the price for each size, and which units they have available.
Also, before you go you should make sure that you have at least 2 forms of identification. Usually a drivers license, insurance card, library card, and things like this will usually work.
When you are ready to open up you Post Office mailbox, then simply go to the clerk (probably after standing in line for several minutes, lol). Then request to open up a P.O. box. You will have to fill out a small card (called a form PS 1093). You can find this form online under P.O. box information at USPS.com.
On this form, you simply enter your name, business name (if you are using it for business), and the name of anyone that will be receiving mail at that address. Also, you will have to put down your home address, name, phone number, etc.
Remember, when you fill out this information on the form, it WILL NOT change your mailing address from your old location to the new location. It simply allows you to also receive new mail at the P.O. box if you want to send certain items (such as for business) there. Any mail that you want to have delivered to this P.O. box will need to be either forwarded, or update the address with the person/company that you expect to receive mail from at this new P.O. box. If you don’t do this, then mail will continue to go to your old address (or home address).
After you fill out the form, the postal clerk will type in the information & give you a key. There is usually a $1 deposit for the key. There are no other charges other than the rental fee & key deposit. You can have the lock replaced (optional) and the fee usually runs about $14. Also, the postal office usually accepts credit cards, check, or cash for the purchase of a P.O. box.
That’s it! That is all you have to do to rent a P.O. box. It is usually a quick process, with very little paperwork (only a small index card), and it is inexpensive!
I have rented from both a P.O. box & a private mailbox service (the UPS store). I would much rather use the P.O. box because it is was much easier, less paperwork, and about $10 cheaper per month for the same size rental box!