How to Get a PO Box When You Move

Frank Lanigan
Jun 14, 2022
Icon Time To Read5 min read
Icon CheckSarah Cimarusti

There’s a long to-do list to complete before moving day, and managing your mail might slip your mind. Instead of having your incoming mail go to your house or business, you can have it sent to a PO box, a secure, numbered mailbox you rent from the post office. It’s especially helpful if you have extended time before moving into your new place.

In this article, we’ll dive into the advantages of renting a PO box over private mailboxes, how much it costs, and how you can set up a PO box before moving day.

Pros and cons of a PO box

A PO box has several advantages over a private mailbox, especially when you’re house hunting. For example, suppose you need to be out of your old house on a certain date but can’t move into your new one immediately due to renovations or availability. In that case, a PO box in your new area will allow you to keep getting uninterrupted mail service. Other advantages include:

  • Privacy and security: When renting a PO box, you won’t need to supply your home address, which allows you better privacy. Additionally, post office boxes are more secure—you won’t need to worry about missing or stolen mail and packages.
  • Cutting down on clutter: When your mailing address is at a PO box, you won’t get unsolicited junk mail at your new home.
  • Easier when traveling: If you travel often for work, for example, you can ensure that your mail is in a safe and central location.
  • Less confusion: If you’re living in a densely populated area or know that mail carriers have trouble reaching you, a PO box eliminates confusion or misdelivery of your mail.
  • Business separation: If you run a business, a PO box is an easy way to ensure that your business-related mail ends up in one place.

There aren’t many disadvantages of a PO box. The biggest drawbacks for most people are price and ease of access. Since PO boxes aren’t attached to your home, you must travel to the post office to pick up mail or packages. When you choose a post office location for your PO box, check its hours of operation. Many locations offer 24-hour service, but if they don’t, you could be waiting on your mail until the following day.

How much does a PO box cost?

The cost of a PO box depends on your rental length time and the size of your PO box. PO boxes can be rented in segments of 3, 6, or 12 months*. Additionally, the size of your market can dictate exactly what you’ll be paying per month. Check the availability of PO boxes in your area on the USPS website to see what you’ll pay.

*Choosing the 3-month payment plan requires enrolling in automatic renewal. You can opt out of autopay for the 6-month and 12-month options.

As an example, here’s what you can expect to pay in Salt Lake City, Utah.

PO box pricing example

Po box size
3-month rental
6-month rental
12-month rental
Extra small (3 x 5.5 in.)$48.00$83.00$166.00
Small (5 x 5.5 in.)$61.00$106.00$212.00
Medium (5.5 x 11 in.)$95.00$166.00$332.00
Large (11 x 11 in.)$114.00$199.00$398.00
XL (12 x 22.5 in.)$160.00$278.00$556.00

How to set up a USPS PO box

You can rent a PO box through online or in-person. Both are fairly easy to complete and will allow you to start accessing your box once you have approval and your payment is processed, usually in three to five business days. Both methods require you to go to your chosen post office.


  1. Visit the USPS website and go to the PO Boxes page.
  2. Choose the location and size of the box you’d like to rent. Choose a location that’s the most easily accessible to you.
  3. Select the 3, 6, or 12-month rental option.
  4. Create an account and start the application process.
  5. When that’s done, bring the printed form, email receipt, and two forms of ID to the post office you selected.
  • You will need one form of photo ID (driver’s license, passport, government or student identification) and one form of non-photo ID (current lease, mortgage or deed of trust, voter registration card, or home or auto insurance policy).


  1. Print out Postal Service Form 1093 and bring the completed document to the post office location you’d like to use. Bring two forms of ID (see above).
  2. Once your information is verified and payment is processed, you’ll be given the keys or combination to your PO box.

The takeaway

PO boxes are especially a great idea if you anticipate a wait before moving into your new home. There are a variety of sizes and locations you can choose from if you don’t mind making the trip to the post office, and with different rental length options, you can decide how long you’d like to use your PO box. Handling your mail situation now will allow you to focus on other things like hiring a mover, setting up utilities, and other important moving tasks.

PO box FAQ

What if the PO I want is not available at a certain location?

You can either select another size or location, or you can join a waitlist. When the size you want at a specific location becomes available, you’ll be notified and have two days to reserve the box, or it will go to the next person on the waitlist.

How do I renew my PO box?

You can pay online with a credit or debit card on your account, at a self-service kiosk in some post office locations, through check or money order, or by visiting the post office location where your box is located. Keep in mind that if you’ve signed up for autopay, your box will renew automatically after your rental period ends.

How do I receive packages or mail that requires a signature?

USPS will leave a delivery notice inside your box when a signature is required. You can take that to the counter and sign for the package there. In addition, USPS offers a free “Signature on File” service, which allows them to leave the item in your box and skip waiting at the counter.

What if private carriers require a street address?

Some locations allow you to use “street addressing” for private carriers like FedEx, UPS, or Amazon, which sometimes require a street address. You’ll be able to use the street address of the post office in addition to your PO box address so that your package or mail can be delivered.

I’m expecting packages that are bigger than the PO box sizes. What can I do?

You can rent a parcel locker at your post office location if you expect a larger box. Some locations will keep your package behind the counter, but a parcel box may be right for you to ensure that nothing is lost.

Are there other options besides the USPS?

Yes, UPS offers store mailboxes that operate similarly to a PO box from the post office. If there is a UPS location close to you, it may be worth comparing prices between the two.

Frank Lanigan
Written by
Frank Lanigan
Frank Lanigan is a writer and internationally-published journalist who has over a decade of experience in the moving industry. With thousands of completed moves under his belt, Frank hopes to bring years of experience to and help readers to navigate moving day with ease.