Are you looking to receive a package from UPS, but want to know whether or not it can be shipped to your PO box?
PO boxes are a great way to receive and store packages securely, but not every package can be accepted.
So, can UPS ship to PO boxes and if not, what should you do instead?
In this article, I’ll be answering these questions and more!
Does UPS Ship To PO Boxes?
Currently, UPS is unable to deliver to PO boxes themselves. However, UPS packages that are shipped via UPS SurePost can be delivered to PO boxes, since USPS is ultimately the one doing the final delivery.
Many people don’t know this, but it’s actually illegal for UPS to deliver directly to PO boxes themselves. Just like mailboxes, UPS can be fined up to $10,000 if they were to deliver to a PO box, since USPS is the only courier that’s allowed to make deliveries to them.
In addition to UPS SurePost, there is one other situation where delivery to a PO box may be possible.
However, for the majority of cases, delivery of a UPS package to a PO box by simply isn’t possible due to legal restrictions. If you’d like, you can read more about the legalese regarding these restrictions from the U.S. Government Accountability Office by clicking here!
The Circumstances In Which UPS Delivers To PO Boxes
As just mentioned, UPS cannot deliver to PO boxes directly, just like they cannot deliver to mailboxes either.
However, USPS can deliver to PO boxes on their behalf, and there are two situations in which this is possible.
Let’s look over each of them in a little more detail!
The first, and by far the most common way in which UPS can ship to PO boxes, is if the package is shipped using UPS SurePost.
UPS SurePost is a special shipping service, that can sort of be described as a ‘hybrid’ between UPS, and USPS.
When receiving deliveries with UPS SurePost, UPS is responsible for the bulk of the package’s shipment. However, they hand the package off to USPS to actually make the final delivery.
This is common in rural areas, where UPS would normally have to go far out of their way to deliver the package. Since USPS has to visit the address to deliver mail anyway, it can save an unnecessary trip.
However, since it’s USPS themselves actually making the delivery, they are able to deliver SurePost packages to PO boxes legally.
USPS Premium PO Box Service Enhancements
In rare circumstances, it also may be possible for USPS to deliver non-SurePost UPS packages to your PO box as well.
In limited areas, USPS offers a service called ‘street addressing.’
Essentially, this provides you with a separate address to mail packages to at the post office. However, when the packages arrive, USPS will move them to your PO box.
You can learn more about this service by viewing their customer agreement form here.
However, you will need to visit your local post office branch to see whether or not this is offered. As mentioned earlier, it is rarely used, and only offered in some locations.
While there are better options available that I’ll cover a little later, I still wanted to mention this service just so you were aware of it!
What Happens If You Try To Ship UPS To A PO Box?
So, now that we know that UPS can only ship to a PO box in specific circumstances, what will happen if you try doing it anyway – and you aren’t shipping with UPS SurePost?
It turns out, they won’t let you!
UPS runs a check on the address you input, when creating the shipping label or purchasing shipping with UPS.
If the address isn’t a location they can ship to, it’s considered invalid. And invalid addresses won’t work if you try to buy shipping – it simply won’t go through.
Thankfully, this makes it impossible to accidentally buy shipping to an address that you can’t ship to, preventing you from losing money unnecessarily.
Of course, I highly recommend looking over the workarounds below, as they are just as good as shipping to a PO box anyway!
Workarounds Worth Considering
If you need to ensure that you can safely retrieve your package WITHOUT having it delivered to your home, there are a few workarounds worth considering.
There are options available for both alternate shipping addresses (just like a PO box), as well as safe places to retrieve your packages while traveling or away from home.
Lets’ look over both of them now!
1. Having UPS Hold The Package
One of the easiest things to do if you need to be able to pick up your package yourself, is to have UPS hold onto your package.
This works great if you only have one package you’re expecting from UPS, and are just looking for a short-term solution to receive your package safely.
Requesting the package be held (or redirecting it to a UPS location) can be done using UPS MyChoice.
Note however that without a premium membership (which costs $19.99 a year), redirecting the package to a UPS Access Point location (like a UPS store, or participating grocery store) costs $5.99. This is more expensive than Fedex, which offers a similar service for free.
Still, it’s cheaper than the next workaround below – at least for a small number of packages!
2. Renting A UPS Box
If you plan on receiving packages from UPS, Fedex, or DHL regularly, it may be a good idea to rent a UPS box.
UPS mailboxes work just like the traditional PO boxes you can rent from USPS, but offer a number of additional benefits:
- You are given a real street address to send packages to.
- UPS mailboxes can accept mailboxes from any courier, including UPS, Fedex, DHL, USPS, and more.
- You can receive text alerts when your packages are delivered there.
- Many locations offer 24-hour access to pick up your packages.
UPS boxes run from $10 a month to $50 a month, depending on the size.
You can learn more about renting a UPS box, as well as the local locations the service is offered at by clicking here!
Most packages shipped with UPS are ineligible to be sent to PO boxes.
However, if you have signed up for USPS’ street addressing service OR the UPS package is being sent via UPS SurePost, these may be situations in which USPS may be able to place your UPS package in your PO box on their behalf.
Keep in mind that these are both due to the authorizations of USPS themselves, who are the ones making the final delivery. UPS cannot deliver to PO boxes directly themselves.
I hope that this article has answered your questions. If you have any other questions about UPS or shipping to PO boxes, please ask them below and I’ll be happy to help.
Wishing you the best,
– James McAllister