Do you find it tough to pay rent for your PO box and want to know if you can get it for free?
A Post Office Box is the postal service the United States government provides to receive your parcels. The PO Box is available for rent and helps securely get your packages.
Even though they charge a minimal fee, many people struggle to pay for it. To help such people, we have created this article.
Here, you will receive information related to how to get a PO Box for free, the eligibility criteria, required documents, and more.
So, without any further ado, let’s get started –
What is a PO Box?
A PO Box is a secure, locked box placed at local post offices that keep letters, packages, etc., until they are collected by the person they belong to. PO boxes are provided by US Postal Services and are alternatives to traditional mailboxes.
Any individual or business can use them by renting one. They come in various sizes, and access to PO boxes in some post offices is available 24×7 for your convenience. The PO Boxes are mainly useful for homeless and nomadic people who don’t have a proper home address. PO Boxes help such people never miss their mail or their packages.
Can you get a PO Box for Free?
Yes. You can get a PO Box for free from the United States Postal Services. These PO boxes are helpful for those who do not have a permanent residential address. You can obtain a free PO Box if you are homeless, lead a nomadic life, or don’t have a permanent address.
How to get a PO Box for Free
To get a free PO Box, you need to follow these simple steps –
- First, check if your local post office offers a free PO Box program. You can visit the post office to learn about this or contact the USPS at 1-800-275-8777.
- If the post office runs such a program, the next is to apply for this service. For that, you must ensure you have all the necessary documents and items to complete the application form.
- Get the PS form 1093 from your local post office. Fill up the application form. While completing the form, you must write only in the white area and not in the greyed-out area, as it is the area for Post Office use.
- You must provide your id to the Postal Service employee with your form.
- You will receive a PO Box and a key if your application form is approved.
Access to your free PO Box depends on your post office location. Some post offices offer 24×7 access to your PO Box. At the same time, some offices may offer extended hours. Some allow you to access your mail only during post office opening hours. Please note that you must have two valid forms of ID, one photo ID and one non-photo ID, during the application process. Both IDs must be current.
Requirements to Apply for a Free PO Box
You must have these requirements to be eligible to fill out the PS 1093 form to get a PO Box for free.
Acceptable photo ID includes the following –
- US driver’s license or state non-driver’s identification card
- US university, government, Armed forces, or recognized corporate employee identification card
- Alien registration card
- NEXUS or Matricula Consular card
- Certificate of naturalization
Acceptable non-photo ID options include the following –
- Current mortgage, lease, or deed of trust
- Voter ID
- Vehicle registration card
- Vehicle or Home insurance policy
It is important to note that your Social Security Card, birth certificates, and credit cards are unacceptable forms of valid ID for the post office.
Can a Homeless Person have a Free PO Box?
Yes. If you are someone who needs to have a permanent residential address, you can get a free PO Box.
Many homeless people do not have a proper place to live and, therefore, no place to receive mail. This can be a problem as people need help getting their important documents through the mail.
Therefore, the United States government has solved this issue by offering free PO boxes to homeless people. The US Postal Service is dedicated to delivering mail everywhere in the country. The USPS guarantees access to mail not only to familiar places like mailboxes or driveways or only to US citizens but also to homeless people. So that homeless people in need can use their PO Box to get their important documents.
However, the free PO Box service is available only at some post offices nationwide. If needed, you can look for your local post office to inquire about the free PO Box program. You can also contact the USPS toll-free number at 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777) to check if your local post office provides any such program that offers a free PO Box.
How can Homeless People Sign Up for a Free PO Box?
Here is how homeless people can sign up for a free PO Box –
Visit your local Post Office
As mentioned, only a few post offices offer free PO Box offices to homeless people. Therefore, the first step is to visit your local post office to learn whether they offer a free PO Box program for homeless people. You can also learn about this by contacting USPS customer support. If your local post office offers this service, they will provide all the information you need to sign up for a free PO Box.
Check your ID
The next step is to check whether you have all the important things to sign up for a free PO Box. You must have a proper valid form of identification. A valid ID can be a state-issued passport or driver’s license. In case you don’t have any of these IDs, the postmaster must know you and should testify for your identity.
Have a valid point of contact
The sign-up form will also require you to add a valid point of contact. This contact belongs to someone the post office can contact if there is any issue with your free PO box. You can provide a point of contact for any of your friends, family members, or anyone you think can vouch for your character. A point of contact verifies your identity and ensures you use the free PO Box for a real purpose.
Fill up the application form
If your local post office provides a free PO Box program, they will give you a sign-up form. You must complete the PS form 1093 to sign up for a USPS PO Box for free. PS form 1093 is used for all PO Box requests. You must fill in the basic details required in the form, such as your name, address, identity, etc. Please provide the address of the post office where you wish to get your mail.
Submit the Form
Please submit your completed sign-up form to the postmaster. The postmaster will examine your form and approve your requests if everything is in order.
If your request is approved, you will receive a free PO Box with a key.
Requirements for homeless people to sign up for a free PO Box
For homeless people, getting a valid ID may be difficult. Hence, if you apply for a free PO Box as a homeless individual, you have slightly different eligibility requirements. Please check your eligibility with your local post office.
In addition, your application for the PO Box may be approved under any of the following conditions.
- If the postmaster or the window clerk knows you as an applicant and can vouch for your identification.
- You must provide a verifiable point of contact who can be contacted to testify for your identity. You can furnish any contact from your employment, social services offices, charitable institution, etc.
Why do some free USPS PO Box applications get rejected?
Your free USPS PO Box applications may get rejected for numerous reasons. The most common reason include incorrect details or submitting an incomplete application form. Hence, please ensure to fill up the relevant details in the form and submit it once you check it thoroughly. This would prevent your form’s rejection and delays in getting your free PO box.
The other probable reason your free PO boxes application may get rejected if the postmaster cannot verify your identity. Therefore, having valid identification and contact with someone who can testify for your identity is crucial. Moreover, the postmaster is less likely to approve your request without a point of contact.
Additionally, your free PO Box application can be rejected if the Post Office doesn’t have any available PO boxes at the time of your application. In that case, you can visit another Post Office to check the PO box availability or try checking back again after some time.
How much does a PO Box Cost?
The US Postal Service provides PO Boxes for rent, and the rental cost of the PO Box depends on many factors, such as your location, the box size, etc. However, it can cost as low as $16 for a small PO box for around a three-month rental period. In contrast, it can be as high as $600 for a large box for a six-month rental period.
Why do people Sign up for PO Boxes?
People prefer PO Boxes for multiple reasons. Some of them are listed below –
- PO boxes are bound to the mailing address, not the residential or physical address. As such, the most common reason people sign up for PO Boxes is to maintain their privacy.
- PO boxes are considered a safer option than traditional mailboxes as these are locked and require a code to access your things, adding extra security.
- PO boxes help people who need a home to get their packages delivered.
- PO boxes provide a way to receive postal mail without specifying senders where they live.
- People apply for PO Boxes because they may not have regular mailbox access.
While the PO boxes have many advantages, it also has some limitations that you must consider.
The Limitations Of A PO Box
As every useful item has some disadvantages with its benefits, a PO Box is no different. These restrictions become more annoying when you are a frequent traveler or live a nomadic life. Being so, you cannot trust a PO Box with a closing eye and stay relaxed with what you receive.
In such a case, you can pair a personal PO box with USPS Informed Delivery. Informed Delivery is a free service by USPS that informs users about postal mail. You will receive pictures of the incoming postal mail pieces using this service. Informed Delivery keeps you informed about what pieces of postal mail you are receiving. However, you cannot see your postal mail contents with Informed Delivery even if you know you are receiving something important or time-sensitive.
Moreover, a PO Box is probably not ideal for you if you regularly receive packages. With a PO Box, you can be restricted if you shop online or frequently receive big packages. You can receive mail only through USPS and not other mail carriers like UPS, FedEx, or DHL, since these carriers do not deliver your parcels to PO Boxes provided by USPS.
Furthermore, the senders may need help with the size of the PO Box. In such cases, the post office will generally keep the package for you at the desk, but this can still be a problem for you if you have to take those packages frequently.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to get a PO Box for free?
The first step is to learn whether your local post office offers a free PO Box Program. If it does, you must apply with a proper ID. If your application gets approved, you will receive a no-fee PO Box.
Does PO Box size matter?
If your PO Box is small, all your mail may not get inside or fixed properly. If this happens, you may receive a note in your PO box to recover your mail at the service counter or get a key to a larger storage box.
Does a PO box need a street address?
Yes. One of the major limitations of a USPS PO Box is you must provide a permanent, physical address to be qualified for one. This poses a problem for nomadic people who don’t have permanent residence.
How can I set up a free PO box?
The US Postal Service provides free PO box service to people who do not receive any form of carrier delivery. You can apply for this service by completing an application and furnishing identification to a Postal Service employee.
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