How to Rent a Post Office Box

Two Methods:Renting in the USARenting in the United Kingdom

If you feel uncomfortable giving out your home address, a post office box might be the solution for you. You can have your mail delivered to a private box at your local post office for a monthly fee. The safety and anonymity provided by a P.O box might be exactly what you need.

Method 1
Renting in the USA

Applying for a PO Box

  1. Image titled Rent a Post Office Box Step 1
    Fill out the application forms. You can apply online at, or print out a form and take it into your local post office. Before you start, consider these questions:
    • Where do you want your post office box to be? Are there two branches near your house? Would you prefer one over the other? Or is there only one post office where it's feasible for you to rent a box?
    • What size do you want? Post office boxes come in five sizes. The smallest is 3 inches (7.6 cm) by 5.5 inches (14.0 cm); the largest is 22.5 inches (57.2 cm) by 12 inches (30.5 cm). Fees are based on size, so try to get the smallest one for your needs.
    • Note who is authorized to receive mail at your post office box. You'll be able to list names on the application.
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    Prepare two forms of ID. Whether you apply online or in-person, you'll need to provide the U.S. Postal Service with two forms of identification. Here's what you need:[1]
    • Photo ID. For your first form of ID, you could use a driver's license, state identification card, passport, alien registration card, or any form of photo ID issued by a government, the armed forces, a recognized educational entity, or a corporate ID card.
    • Non-photo ID. Your second form of ID must be somehow tied to your physical address. Acceptable forms include your current lease or mortgage, your voter or vehicle registration card, or your home or vehicle insurance policy.
    • Be aware that your birth certificate, Social Security card, and credit cards are not valid forms of ID.
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    Pay your fees in advance. You can reserve it for 3, 6 or 12 months.
    • Note that the fees for a post office box will vary by location. Not every branch will price them equally.

Getting Set Up

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    Collect your post office box keys. You should receive two keys for every box. Expect to pay a security deposit for each key, which is refundable when you return them and close your post office box.
    • Some post office boxes can be opened with access codes, much like a public school locker. Write down your combination in a secure place, or memorize it.
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    Aim to collect your mail in a timely manner. Given that there's limited space in your post office box, accumulation is a potential problem. If you let it get out of hand, the Postal Service could suspend your lease.
    • If you're going to be out of town or unable to pick up your mail for a significant period of time, make special arrangements with the postmaster. As long as you do this in advance, you shouldn't encounter any problems.
    • Make sure your post office box size can accommodate your mail volume. If you end up receiving large packages or a lot of mail, consider renting a larger box.

Maintaining Your Box

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    Update your information promptly. If any of the information on the form you used to get a post office box is outdated (for example, you moved), be sure to update it as soon as possible. You can update it online, or visit your local post office.
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    Be aware of how refunds work. In some cases, you can get a refund for your post office box if you decide that you do not want to rent it anymore. Here's the general schedule:
    • 3-month lease:
      • No refunds
    • 6-month lease:
      • Within the first 3 months – half the fee paid
      • After 3 months – no refunds
    • 12-month lease:
      • Within the first 3 months – three quarters of the fee paid
      • Within the first 6 months – half the fee paid
      • Within the first 9 months – a quarter of the fee paid
      • After 9 months – no refunds.[2]

Method 2
Renting in the United Kingdom

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    Consider a Royal Mail post office box. If you are over 16 and have a permanent address in the United Kingdom, you can apply for a variety of Royal Mail post office boxes.
    • Note that you must have a permanent address. If your address is in "care of (c/o)" of someone else, you cannot apply for a post office box.
    • Be aware that you cannot choose which post office you would like to use. The one that usually distributes your mail is where you're allowed to have a post office box.
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    Choose what kind of post office box you want. Royal Mail provides three options[3]:
    • PO Box Collect: This is a traditional post office box. You'll travel to your local post office branch and physically collect your mail.
    • PO Box Delivery: Items addressed to your post office box will be delivered to your home or business address.
    • PO Box® with Transfer of Normal Address Mail: This places all the mail sent to your name in your post office box, where you will physically collect it.
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    Choose a term. Royal Mail post office boxes may be leased for 6 or 12 months. Payments must be made in advance.
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    Download an application and fill it out. See Sources and Citations (below) for a link to an application. Your application should include:
    • Proof of address. You can submit one of the following items as proof of address. The item you include must be the original, and less than 3 months old[4]:
      • Bank or building society statement (dated within the last 3 months)
      • Phone bill for a landline only
      • Utility bill (gas, electricity or water dated within the last 3 months)
      • Council tax bill
      • Royal Mail Account number for an existing service
    • Payment for your post office box; you can pay via direct debit/check or postal order.
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    Mail in your application and wait for a response. Your post office box should be ready for use in two weeks or less. Royal Mail will notify you when your address has been verified and your box is prepared. Post your application to: PO Box Application Team, PO Box 740, Barnsley, S73 0ZJ


  • If this box is only for certain mail, make sure you let them know the box is not a change of address.
  • Your mail is private. Protect the key! There are fees for lost keys.
  • If you are getting this box and it is not where you live, sometimes the process can take a couple days to verify who you are.
  • If ceasing to rent from a private company you cannot file a standard change of address with the USPS. You must notify senders of your new address. If the box is at a post office you can file a standard change of address to forward your mail.
  • If you plan to change your residence a lot, find a site with quick access to the freeway.


  • The USPS will not permit retrieval of mail if their bill is not paid. A reminder will be left in the box prior to the due date.

Things You'll Need

  • US: 2 forms of ID (photo and non-photo)
  • UK: Proof of address

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