Answered by Nicole La CapriaApril 15, 2013
If you are moving from one home directly to another, a P.O. box is not usually necessary--you will only have to forward your mail to your new home address. However, in circumstances where you must be out of your old home a considerable length of time before your new one is available, if you will be staying in temporary lodgings or with friends, or if you will be moving around frequently for a period of time, you may be considering obtaining a P.O. box.
A P.O. box is a convenient solution if you are a frequent traveler, relocate often, or will have a limbo period between your old home and moving into your new one. The process for getting one is easy, and can be started while you are still residing in your old city.
- Reserve it. Start by visiting USPS.com or taking a trip to your local post office to reserve the box in person.
- Decide what size you'll need. P.O. boxes come in a variety of sizes. The appropriate one for you will depend on the length of tiem you intend to use it, how often you will be to check it, and the volume of mail you receive--if you expect to receive magazines, newspapers, or packages, you will need a larger box.
- Decide how long you will need it. P.O. boxes are rented for periods of three months, six months, and twelve months. If moving to a new city and staying with a friend for several months before your new pad is available, you may only need to pay for three months. If you intend to bounce around a bit longer, you may want to choose six or twelve months. P.O. boxes are relatively cheap, so you may opt to rent one for a greater length of time than you think you will need just to be safe.
- Fill out the application. You can submit your application (usually available on the USPS website) along with two forms of ID and your payment at a post office location in your old city. The post office will verify your information within three days.
- Complete the process in your new city. While you can get the process started in your old city, you cannot start using the mailbox until you visit a post office in your new city. You will once again need your application, ID and receipt of your payment to receive your keys for your new P.O. box.
For more about using a P.O box for your move, please read this guide Advantages of Using a PO Box When Moving.