Obtaining a post office box as a minor: overview

Some readers under 18 living at home decide it is safer to have transition-related items shipped to a Post Office Box. Some readers who plan carefully have set up a mailing address without the knowledge of their parents or guardian. I provide this information as part of a harm-reduction model, for young people who are concerned they might be subjected to violence or kicked out of the house.

It is completely legal for minors to get a post Office Box.

There is no reason to be scared or nervous when you go in to do this.

On 16 November 2004, I went to the local Post Office and asked about how to get a Post Office Box for a minor.

The image above is from the form you will fill out. You can download a copy here:


The highlighted part says: “Post office box or caller service may be provided to minors unless parents or guardians submit a written objection to the postmaster.”
If for some reason, the person helping you does not know about this rule, you can show them right on the form, under Terms of Service. In some smaller towns, they might not be used to requests like this, but don’t worry. Tell them you know someone else your age who did this in another town, and they will usually be OK.

Before you go

It’s pretty easy, but you will need to have a few things ready when you come in.

Decide on a post office

You can find ones near you here:


Some people decide to go to a different neighborhood or town to set up a mailbox.

Bring with you

Form PS 1093

I strongly recommend printing out the Form PS 1093 at home so you can see what they need. It’s a very simple form.


To open this, you may need to get need a PDF reader like Adobe Reader. This is a free program.

There are only a couple of things you need to have prepared:

Item 5. Address to use

You will need to write down a street address. Some people put down their own address, but some people who wanted to make sure nothing ever got sent to their home address have put in the address of a friend, or “accidentally” wrote it down wrong.

Item 6. Phone number to use

If you have your own phone, this is easy, but if not, you might consider putting in the number of a friend who has his or her own phone.

Item 8. Box size needed

Get the smallest one, usually called #1 (usually 3 inches by 5.75 inches). Sometimes they are out of a certain size, so you may need to get a bigger one.
If you can afford a bigger one, you can pay the extra money for a #2 or #3. Almost anything you’d order would fit in a #3.
Tip: If you get a package that won’t fit, they will put a slip of paper in your mailbox, which you take to the counter to pick up. You will need your ID if this happens.

Item 14. List of minors receiving mail

This should only list you. I strongly recommend not getting any mail in other names at first.

TWO pieces of identification:

They will ask to see two piece of ID.

One must have a photo of you. You might use any of the following for this:

* = recommended

Driver’s license *
State ID *
Passport *
School ID *
Credit card or bank card with photo *

Public library card with photo
Club membership card with photo
Yearbook with your name and photo
News article with your name and photo

The second piece of ID can be any of the following items:

Social Security card *
Birth certificate *
School ID without photo *
Credit card or bank card without photo *
Public library card without photo *

Club membership card without photo

I strongly recommend bringing in AT LEAST two of the items with * next to them. This will make that part of things go very smoothly.

Cash to pay

I strongly recommend paying in cash and keeping the receipt. You can usually pay for a six-month rental or a one-year rental. Six months may cost $50 or more, so bring $100 to be safe. If you pay in other ways, it will show up on your checking or credit card statement.


Though it probably won’t happen, the younger you are, the more likely they will ask you questions about why you want a mailbox. It is good to have an answer ready. Here are some suggestions:

I am doing this as part of a class project on setting up a business. I make _____. *
* (greeting cards, needlepoint, etc.)

I collect ____ * and don’t want things I buy on eBay or online auctions to have my home address.
* (Beanie Babies, movie memorabilia, etc.)

People told me it is safer to get mail from overseas friends delivered here than to have my name on my website.

Checking with parents

There is a chance the post office may ask to reach your parents, to make sure this is OK. Some people with their own phones give that number and have a message that sounds very adult on it, or set it to the default computer answering message. They make sure they have their phone turned off in the post office so it doesn’t ring when the post office calls. After they leave, they call back and give permission to have the post office box.

Using a private mail box (PMB)

Some people decide to use a private mailbox instead of one through the Post office. The official name for these is a Commercial Mail Receiving Agency (CMRA).

This is another option for minors, though how strict they are with application policies varies significantly by location and company. A smaller place will probably be a little less strict than a big chain like UPS Store, but it’s hard to say.

You can find local ones listed in the phone book or online under Mail, Mail Boxes, or Mail Receiving and Forwarding.

Just like applying at the post office, you will have to fill out a couple of forms.

One is an Application of Delivery of Mail Through Agent (PS Form 1583). The form requires the same information you’ll need at the Post Office, as described above.

The form states that you have to fill out a separate form for each name, but you don’t need to worry about that when you set it up. It’s unlikely they will give you problems if other mail comes in your previous or new name.

You will have to provide two forms of ID. Some may require payment with a credit or debit card instead of cash.

You will probably have to sign a service agreement as well, indicating that you agree to the costs and the rules.

Here’s a checklist of how some people have had success:

Fill out Form 1093 (print the PDF or get one at the post office)
Have two pieces of ID, including one with a photo
Decide what address you will put down
Decide what phone number you will put down
Put adult-sounding message on phone if using it for application
Bring $100 in cash
Turn off phone before going in post office if using it for application
Return post office call if they left a message on your phone

Some do’s and don’ts

Do test it by sending a postcard to yourself
Do test it by signing up for a couple of free catalogues
Do test it by buying a book or video online, or an eBay item.
Do check your mailbox every week or so if possible. Unclaimed packages that don’t fit in your mailbox are returned to the sender after a certain time, an you will have to pay for postage again.Summary and checklist
Don’t get mail sent in other names, like your girl name
Don’t tell friends about it
Don’t let friends use it, especially at first
Don’t order pornography
Don’t order items that might be illegal for someone under 18 to possess

This might seem as if it’s a lot to do, but it’s not that hard. As long as you plan carefully, you will be able to get this done with no problems, then you are ready to get items delieved to you safely and privately!