The U.S. Postal Service's Policies For P.O. Boxes

by Dick Methia; Updated September 26, 2017
P.O. boxes offer privacy at a price.

Rent a P.O. box from the U.S. Postal Service and you get a choice of sizes and fees depending on the location. The Postal Service has policies of which you should be aware when renting and using a post office box.

Privacy

Postal Service policy protects the privacy of P.O. boxes, so they are beneficial if you run a business out of your home but do not wish to receive business mail at your home address.

Closings

The Postal Service requires most post offices to close on Saturday afternoons, Sundays and federal holidays, although many keep their lobbies open 24/7.

Applying

Rent a P.O. box in person or online at the USPS website. USPS policies require two forms of photo identification: your driver’s license and another official ID card or passport.

Wait List

If the post office does not have the P.O. box size you need, you can ask to be put on a wait list. The Postal Service calls or emails you when a box becomes available.

Payments

The USPS rents boxes for six or 12 months at a time. Fees vary depending on location, but can run as little as $5 a month. If your renewal fee is more than 10 days late, Postal Service policy is to close your box and consider your mail “undeliverable.”

About the Author

Dick Methia has been writing professionally since 1980. He has been published in "National Review" and "Newsweek," and his humor column appears in five regional newspapers. An award-winning educator, Methia received NASA's Distinguished Service Award for his contributions to education. He has a Master of Arts in humanities from Bridgewater College, Massachusetts.

Photo Credits

  • wall of mailboxes image by nextrecord from Fotolia.com