How to Get a Mailing Address? 11 Things (2024) You Should Know

Even in the fast-paced digital world, physical mail is an essential part of life, but to receive important documents and packages, you’re going to need to know how to get a mailing address.

Preexisting residential homes always–or almost always–have mailing addresses that are already ready to go.

However, if you’re building a new property, setting up a business, or living somewhere you don’t want mail to be delivered, you need to know how to get a mailing address.

Today, there are several options, from using a P.O. Box to a virtual mailing address to a standard mailing address.

Each option has its own steps, pros, and cons.

In this guide, we’re going to walk through the process of obtaining the best mailing address that suits your needs.

You’ll learn about each option and discover their advantages and disadvantages.

Whether you need a new personal or business mailing address, we’ve got you covered.

So, let’s take a look at 1the top things you ought to know about how to get a mailing address.

1. How to Get a Mailing Address?

Setting up a mailing address is typically a straightforward process for both business and personal use.

In addition to having mail sent directly to your property, there are also excellent options that allow you to have a separate mailing address for privacy and convenience.

Here are the different mailing address options:

bulletHome or Business Address: Using your home or business address is the most convenient option as long as you don’t require additional privacy or security.

Unless you are building a new structure, your physical property should already have an established mailing address.

bulletP.O. Box: Post offices offer P.O. Boxes of various sizes.

Your mail will be sent to the P.O. Box and be available for pick up.

bulletVirtual Mailbox: A virtual mailbox (sometimes called a digital mailbox) gives you a mailing address at a remote physical location where all your packages will be delivered.

Unlike P.O. Boxes, virtual mailboxes include more features, such as an actual street address, online notifications, and check depositing.

bulletMail Forwarding Services: Mail forwarding services allow you to have your mail sent to one location and forward to another.

This method is especially convenient if you have multiple properties or move around a lot.

How to Get a Mailing Address for a New Residential or Business Property

bulletAcquire documents, including the land deed, multiple forms of identification, approved architectural plans, contractor receipts, and forms that specify the property’s geographic location.

bulletVisit your local government office to obtain an application form.

bulletFill out and submit the application.

bulletPrepare for an on-site visit.

bulletReceive an approval notification.

How to Get a P.O. Box

bulletVisit the post office where you would like to set up a P.O. Box.

bulletSelect a P.O. Box size.

bulletFill out the necessary paperwork and present identification.

bulletPay monthly fees.

How to Get a Virtual Mailbox

bulletSelect a virtual mailbox service.

bulletCreate an account.

bulletChoose a virtual address.

bulletSign-up for a monthly plan.

bulletFill out the necessary forms and present identification.

bulletComplete USPS Form 1583 to authorize the provider to manage your mail.

How to Use a Mail Forwarding Service

bulletSelect a mail forwarding service.

bulletSign up and choose a plan.

bulletSelect a forwarding address.

bulletFill out the necessary forms and present identification.

bulletComplete USPS Form 1583 to authorize the provider to manage your mail.

2. What’s the Difference Between a P.O. Box and a Virtual Mailing Address?

If you’re looking for a mailing address that is not linked to your residential or business property, a P.O. Box or virtual mailbox are great options.

But what’s the difference between the two?

bulletP.O. Box

P.O. Boxes are lockable boxes located at post offices where you can have your mail delivered.

After you have applied and been approved for a box, you’ll be given a mailing address.

Here is an example of a P.O. Box mailing address: P.O. Box 1033 Rancho Mission Viejo, CA 92694.

Utilizing the P.O. Box service requires a small monthly fee.

bulletVirtual Mailbox

Virtual mailbox providers have a network of shipping stores that you can send your mail to.

The store you choose will become your new mailing address, and it will appear like a normal address, unlike a P.O. Box address.

Virtual mailboxes have a number of online features, such as online mail notifications, forwarding packages, changing virtual addresses, and check depositing.

The provider and monthly plan you choose will determine which features you have access to.

3. Can You Get a Mailing Address Without a Physical Location?

Thanks to today’s online mail services, it’s never been easier to get a mailing address without a physical location.

The best option would be to utilize a virtual mailbox or P.O. Box service.

If you use a P.O. Box, keep in mind that you will need access to the post office to retrieve your mail unless you request packages to be forwarded somewhere else.

Virtual mailboxes provide much more flexibility.

You will be able to select from a large network of virtual addresses and change the address when needed.

4. Are There Any Online Services that Offer Temporary Mailing Addresses?

There are several online services that offer temporary mailing addresses.

Most virtual mailbox providers offer monthly plans that cost around $10 per month, which can be canceled at any time.

Once you have fulfilled your needs, you can end the subscription before the next payment cycle begins.

P.O. Boxes are another temporary option (online services are unavailable), but you will have to commit to a 3-month, 6-month, or 12-month cycle.

You will have the option to end the service early; however, you will not receive a full refund.

5. How Much Does It Cost to Get a P.O. Box?

Getting a P.O. Box is an easy and reliable mail management method if you are located near a post office.

Post offices offer P.O. Boxes in five different sizes.

Here are the prices for the various sizes:

bulletSize 1: $4.67/mo

bulletSize 2: $6.00/mo

bulletSize 3: $9.00/mo

bulletSize 4: $13.33/mo

bulletSize 5: $23.67/mo

Contact your local post office to confirm prices.

When you sign up for a P.O. Box, you will have to choose a 3-month, 6-month, or 12-month subscription.

Refunds are unavailable if you sign up for a 3-month subscription.

If you cancel your 6-month subscription within the first three months, you’ll receive a 50% refund.

If you cancel your 12-month subscription within the first three months, you’ll receive a 75% refund.

Between months four and six, you’ll receive a 50% refund. Between months seven and nine, you’ll receive a 25% refund.

You will not be eligible for a refund after the tenth month of the subscription.

A P.O. Box that is never activated will be granted a full refund after 30 days of inactivity.

6. Are There Any Restrictions on Who Can Get a Mailing Address?

Obtaining a mailing address usually has minimal requirements, but there are still a few restrictions to be aware of.

Here are the main restrictions of getting a mailing address:

bulletAge Restrictions

Minors are able to create a mailing address, but a few restrictions may apply.

If you are under the age of 18 and want to apply for a P.O. Box, it has to be done in person.

Minors are not allowed to apply for the box online.

Different virtual mailbox providers have different policies regarding minors.

Check online for specific information.

bulletValid Identification

Whether you’re setting up a new mailing address, a P.O. Box, or a virtual mailbox, at least one form of identification will be required.

Renting a P.O. Box will also require the presentation of proof of address.

Foreigners without an address will not be able to utilize post offices’ service.

bulletPrimary Business Address

P.O. Boxes are primarily intended for personal use.

You cannot use the P.O. address as your primary business address.

However, USPS offers special features for small businesses, such as marketing and advertising help, commercial rates, and free shipping supplies.

bulletForm 1583

If you use a virtual mailbox provider or mail forwarding service, you are required to fill out Form 1583.

The form gives the service provider permission to manage your mail on your behalf, and it has to be approved by USPS.

Anyone who doesn’t fill out the form will be restricted from utilizing these services.

7. How Do You Change Your Address If You Move?

When you move to a new residence, changing your mailing address should be at the top of your to-do list.

The process of changing your address with the USPS, UPS, and other mail services is a quick and easy process, but it’s important to act fast.

Failing to change your mailing address could result in you missing important documents, such as bills or jury duty notifications, that could create trouble.

Here are the steps to changing your mailing address if you move:


bulletFill out contact information, including old and new addresses.

bulletSelect the date your mail should be sent to your new location.

bulletSelect whether the change is temporary or permanent.

bulletSubmit the request.

*Changing your mailing address can also be done in person at the post office.

When you change your mailing address with the USPS, the post office will forward all your mail to your new address.

Just keep in mind that mail forwarding services will only last for a short amount of time.

Therefore, you should still go online and also change your mailing address for your bills, subscriptions, driver’s license, etc.

8. Is There a Difference Between a Mailing Address and a Residential Address?

There are a few key differences between a mailing address and a residential address.

In many cases, the addresses will be the same, but when they’re not, it’s important to know the purpose of each one.

bulletResidential Address

A residential address refers to the physical location you reside in, such as your apartment, condo, or house.

This address will be used for your driver’s license, voter registration, and tax filings.

A residential address can also be used as a mailing address; however, you can also choose to use a P.O. Box or virtual mailbox as your mailing address for privacy and security.

bulletMailing Address

A mailing address refers to the location where your mail is sent.

The address can be a house, P.O. Box, commercial building, or virtual mailbox.

If your mailing address is separate from where you live, it should never be inputted on documents in replacement of your residential address where this is required.

9. Can You Get a Mailing Address in a Different City or State from Where You Live?

If you are temporarily out of town, have multiple addresses, or operate a business in multiple locations, you can get a mailing address in a different city or state from where you live.

Virtual mailbox providers make it easy to choose a virtual address anywhere across the country.

You also have the option of getting a P.O. Box in another city or state, but your application approval will depend on availability.

Before committing to a virtual mailbox or P.O. Box, talk to the service providers to ensure they can fulfill your specific purposes.

10. Can You Use a Friend’s Address?

If you’re wondering how to get a mailing address, you may have considered using a friend’s address.

But is that possible?

You can use a friend’s address as your mailing address, but it may not be the best solution.

If using a friend’s address is your only option, make sure to choose a friend you trust.

Discuss what permissions you will allow them to have, such as how they will handle your mail.

Keep in mind that you will be relinquishing control over the fate of your mail.

If you frequently receive sensitive documents, it’s important to consider the safety and privacy of your friend’s location.

Ideally, using a friend’s address should be a temporary solution.

Virtual mailboxes and P.O. Boxes are excellent mail management solutions that ensure the security and privacy of your mail at an affordable monthly price.

So, before you start sending documents and packages to a friend’s mailing address, explore all your options.

11. How Secure is a Virtual Mailing Address?

Virtual mailing services provide reliable, secure addresses to their customers.

Of course, the quality of the service depends on which provider you choose to work with.

If you choose a well-established provider, you can expect your mail to be protected by data encryption, document handling policies, secure mail disposal, identity verification, and secure account access.

Before you sign up with a mail management provider, ensure that the company prioritizes the security of your mail.

Read customers’ reviews and research what protective measures the provider offers to make an informed decision.

If a virtual mailing address doesn’t meet your security needs, consider using a P.O. Box that will be located in a secure postal facility.

The USPS only allows authorized agents to handle the content of a P.O. Box.

Final Thoughts

Understanding how to get a mailing address is crucial to ensure your documents and packages are being sent to a safe, reliable location.

If you are moving into a preexisting residential home, all you have to do is begin using the new address.

However, when you’re building a new home or commercial building, you’ll have to go through a few steps to apply for a mailing address.

P.O. Boxes and virtual mailboxes are excellent options if you don’t want mail coming to your home or need mail sent to a different city or state.

If you have more questions about how to get a mailing address, contact your local government, post office, or virtual mailbox provider.

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Erika Gokce Capital

Disclaimer: we are not lawyers, accountants or financial advisors and the information in this article is for informational purposes only. This article is based on our own research and experience and we do our best to keep it accurate and up-to-date, but it may contain errors. Please be sure to consult a legal or financial professional before making any investment decisions.


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