Post office boxes can be a convenient and safe way to receive mail. They are offered for a fee by the U.S. Postal Service and are available to anyone who wants a different place to receive mail, other than free home or business delivery. The boxes are usually found in the lobby area of an official post office building and may be accessible 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. To rent any post office box, you must present valid identification in person. To rent a post office box in a state other than where you reside, you will have to physically visit the facility once your application is approved.
Select a Box Size
Official USPS post office boxes are available in five sizes. Because not all locations have every size available, be sure to choose the size that will be right for the volume and type of mail that you expect to receive. The smallest box, Size 1, will hold 10 to 15 letter-sized envelopes. The USPS recommends that you start with a Size 2 box if you expect to receive more than 15 pieces of mail each week. If you expect to receive catalogs and magazines, the recommendation is to rent size 3, 4 or 5.
Complete the application called PS Form 1093, Application for Post Office Box Service. It can be completed and submitted online, with the first payment made by credit or debit card. After submitting the information online, print off a copy of the application. If completed online, you will receive an email confirmation and receipt.
Submit Identification for Verification
Take the application and two forms of acceptable identification to any post office facility that has window service, including those in another state. At least one form of identification must have your photo, such as a valid driver’s license, government, university or corporate ID, or passport. Acceptable non-photo IDs are voter or vehicle registration cards, lease or mortgage documents or home or auto insurance policies. If you submitted your application online, you will also need your emailed receipt. The postal service has three days to verify your identity and contact you.
Receipt of Keys or Combination
Once contacted, you must visit the post office facility where your PO Box is located during regular business hours. While there, you must present your application and the same identification and documents that you presented when first applying for the box. Once verified, you will receive either the keys or the combination number to your PO Box, depending on the type of box used at that facility.
Diane Stevens' professional experience started in 1970 with a computer programming position. Beginning in 1985, running her own business gave her extensive experience in personal and business finance. Her writing appears on Orbitz's Travel Blog and other websites. Stevens holds a Bachelor of Science in physics from the State University of New York at Albany.