PO boxes have been around for ages and are a convenient way to receive mail and other things such as magazines and parcels. At Eurosender, we often get questions about courier deliveries to PO boxes and how to ship to a PO box. But what is a PO box exactly and what can you use it for? And what are some common problems when delivering to a PO box? We will answer these and many more questions in the article below.
PO box is the common abbreviation for Post Office Box, sometimes also called Postal Box. Located on the premises of a post office station, a PO box is a uniquely addressable lockable box. Both private individuals and businesses can rent a PO box and the term of the agreement is usually a month or a year, while the price depends on both the size and location. In general, courier services providers do not deliver to PO box addresses, however, there are some cases in which it is still possible. Keep reading to find out the best way to ship a parcel to a PO box.
In the past, PO boxes were mostly used to receive mail when an address wasn’t within the delivery range of the postal service, usually from people who lived in remote areas and couldn’t receive regular mail service directly at their house. Nowadays, people use them for several reasons.
When shipping to a PO box, it is important to remember that the address specified must be the PO Box address and not the street address. As with any shipment, the first and last names of the recipient need to be specified, together with the company’s name (if needed), the city and the country.
Here’s an example of how the information on the mail or envelope should look like:
PO Box 14040
London, SW1A 2WH
England, United Kingdom
The chart below includes local translations of PO box or local services that count as a PO box. This way you will know how to ship to a PO box abroad.
The size and variety of sizes differ from country to country. To give you an idea, you can find below how much post boxes in the USA can carry. Contact the website of your local post office to see what your options are.
S/102: For about 10-15 thick letters or 5 rolled magazines.
M/103: For about 10-15 magazines (unrolled) and larger envelopes (A4 size)
L/104: For about 10-15 letters and 2 shoeboxes
XL/105: For parcels and flat rate boxes.
When renting a PO box for the first time, there might be some things you are not aware of and should take into consideration.
Regulations regarding PO boxes differ from country to country. For example, the kind of ID you need for renting a PO box or the number of people who have access to it. Not being aware of this may lead to problems when delivering to a PO box. For the details regarding your region, please contact your local or national post office station.
Should you need a shipping service to ship large and heavy items that cannot fit a PO box, we advise you to request an individual offer. Our logistics expert will organize a tailored shipping based on your needs and requirements.
A PO box address is ideal for receiving mail or envelopes, however, shipping a parcel or a package to a PO box address may have a different outcome, as the parcel might not fit the dimensions of the PO box. In this case, a notice will be left in the box, and the parcel will be held at the post office counter.
One of the most frequently asked questions from shippers all over the world is whether there are couriers that deliver to PO box addresses. If you are one of them, you should know that courier services providers usually do not deliver to PO boxes, for the following reasons:
Nevertheless, there are some exceptions of couriers that do deliver to PO box addresses in certain parts of the world, such as USA, France, Croatia, Greece, Iceland, Portugal and in the Middle East region.
So why don’t all the couriers deliver to PO boxes?
Some courier companies, such as UPS or FedEx, can deliver to PO Box addresses under certain conditions and within certain countries. For instance, if the phone number of the receiver is included on the shipping label, the courier can call the consignee and arrange the delivery in an alternative location. Some courier providers may even deliver directly to PO boxes whenever they have special agreements with local or national postal offices.
PO boxes are permanent addresses and allow the receiver to safely get their shipment delivered at the local post office. However, due to the limitations and restrictions of the service when it comes to courier companies, some alternatives can come in handy.
At Eurosender, you can book door to door shipping services worldwide: we will pick the best courier service for your request, amongst our trusted international partners. If you have already placed your order with Eurosender and provided a PO box address, it may still be possible to change the delivery address of your booking. Do not hesitate to contact our customer support team to learn more about PO boxes!