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What is FedEx Home Delivery?

While FedEx offers a whole range of delivery services for all different kinds of customers, one of their most popular delivery options as to be the FedEx Home Delivery service.

 

Each and every year, hundreds of millions of packages are processed through the FedEx Home Delivery service.

 

Fast, economical, and reliable, customers love the way that FedEx gets their packages to them without breaking their bank account – getting packages directly from online retailers (for example) to their doorsteps quick without costing a small fortune.

 

If you are interested in using FedEx Home Delivery for any of the things you like to purchase, or are thinking about sending packages via FedEx Home Delivery to get merchandise to your customers, this quick guide is going to be incredibly important.

 

Below we cover the ins and outs of FedEx Home Delivery, highlight what makes it so special and so different, and really breakdown the advantages (as well as some of the drawbacks) of this service as it stacks up against other options.

 

Let’s get into it!

 

fedex employee dropping off a package

 

What is FedEx Home Delivery?

 

To put it simply, FedEx Home Delivery is very similar to FedEx Ground (something that we compare the service to just a moment) with a couple of sole exceptions – with the most important one being that Home Delivery packages are only available for 100% residential customers.

 

Part of the FedEx Ground network (at least as far as the infrastructure behind the scenes at FedEx is concerned), the services are fast as well as affordable.

 

Interestingly enough, however, Home Delivery services are usually (a little) more expensive than FedEx Ground – in large part because residential buildings are often spread further apart than commercial buildings and the delivery to these locations is a lot less efficient.

 

Still, you won’t have to worry about breaking your bank account into tiny little pieces when you want to send or have things shipped via Home Delivery through FedEx.

 

Things do take about a week to get from Point A to Point B with Home Delivery, but that’s because your packages are always going to be shipped via ground transportation – trains and trucks, mostly – without ever being loaded onto the fleet of FedEx air transport planes.

 

fedex employee delivering a package

 

Are There Specialty FedEx Home Delivery Services?

 

There are a number of specialty Home Delivery services available from the folks at FedEx that you’ll want to be aware of.

 

All of the services introduce interesting little “wrinkles” to the overall delivery process and have their own pricing structure that sits apart from the traditional and standard FedEx Home Delivery service as well.

 

Below we comb through the most popular “specialty” options pertaining to Home Delivery that you are most likely to take you been, breaking down how they differ and when you might want to take advantage of those services in the first place.

 

fedex delivery time on mobile

 

Date Certain Home Delivery

 

Whereas traditional FedEx Home Delivery guarantees a delivery window of between one and five business days throughout the continental United States and a 3 to 7 business day delivery to and from Alaska or Hawaii, Date Certain Home Delivery is a little more unique.

 

You’ll actually have the opportunity to determine the exact date that your home delivery arrives at its ultimate destination with this specialty service, so long as you pick a delivery day on a Monday through a Saturday. Holidays are excluded as well.

 

There is a bit of a catch with this service aside from those restrictions, too.

 

You’ll only be able to choose specific dates that are not in front of the standard delivery window (1 to 5 business days in the continental United States, 3 to 7 business days to and from Alaska and Hawaii). It also has to be within 14 days of your package being shipped.

 

If you need a little bit more certainty about when your package will arrive, and you don’t mind paying a premium to guarantee delivery on that day inside of the windows we highlighted above, Date Certain Home Delivery from FedEx the way to go.

 

fedex delivering packages

 

Evening Home Delivery

 

Another specialty home delivery service from FedEx is Evening Home Delivery.

 

This is a specialty service that guarantees delivery between 5 PM and 8 PM, Monday through Sunday, and is available in all 50 states across the country.

 

The real advantage here is that you get to guarantee that FedEx will only attempt to deliver your home shipments when you yourself are going to be at home.

 

A lot of people that have FedEx packages arrived while they are at work only for them to go missing (or to be stolen off of their porch) know just how much of a nightmare standard home delivery can be.

 

By choosing instead to have FedEx drivers only bring your packages to you between the hours of 5 PM and 8 PM (when you are most likely going to be home) you are able to eliminate a lot of that uncertainty and a lot of those issues.

 

You’ll still get delivery from between 1 to 5 business days within the continental United States in between three and seven business days to and from Alaska and Hawaii, just the same as you would when you choose standard Home Delivery from FedEx.

 

You’ll just be locked into a nighttime delivery window that helps protect your packages for folks that just aren’t going to be around during the day all that often.

 

fedex delivery man

 

Appointment Home Delivery

 

Finally, you also have an opportunity to take advantage of FedEx Appointment Home Delivery services.

 

This specific specialty version of the standard home delivery option allows you to arrange a specific date as well as a specific time that your package is to be delivered.

 

Think of this as a solution that basically combines Date Certain with Evening Home Delivery, though you’ll be able to pick any specific time between 9 AM and 8 PM (Monday through Sunday) to have your package brought to you.

 

If you want to be sure that your package arrives during your lunch hour on Monday the 25th of the month you’ll be able to do exactly that. If you want to be sure that your package arrives just as your significant other gets home from work every Wednesday you’ll be able to do that, too!

 

This is a little bit more expensive of a delivery service than some of the other options we have covered. But there’s no other home delivery choice that gives you quite as much control.

 

You want that kind of control over your package deliveries it’s one of the best premium options of any shipping company on the market today!

 

a 2021 calendar

 

What Days Are FedEx Home Delivery Services Available?

 

One of the coolest things about FedEx, and Home Delivery Services in particular, is that you can take advantage of them (pretty much) every day of the year.

 

FedEx makes it easy to ship packages and to receive packages Monday through Friday, with (as highlighted earlier) standard delivery schedule between 7 AM and 8 PM at night for most packages.

 

FedEx does take off some federal holidays (Christmas in particular, for example), but they have a fantastic delivery schedule that basically guarantees your package will be moving through their logistical system 24/7, 365 to get it to your doorstep as quickly as they can.

 

That’s a big piece of the puzzle behind why so many people love to use FedEx and why they have been able to dominate the domestic and international shipping industry for American customers almost since day one.

 

a banner that says "what is fedex home delivery"

 

What’s the Difference Between FedEx Home Delivery and FedEx Ground?

 

We alluded to this a little bit earlier, but it’s important to really reinforce the major differences between FedEx Home Delivery and FedEx Ground.

 

Traditionally FedEx Ground has been use for consumer and commercial shipping purposes, but it definitely has more of a business specific kind of bent to it.

 

FedEx likes to ship via Ground when they are serving customers that have to handle higher volumes as well as heavier items, the kinds of shipping needs that businesses are usually taking advantage of.

 

Ground shipping is usually a little bit less expensive compared to Home Delivery because of the economies of scale, too. With residential customers more spread out than commercial customers, and because they usually have smaller and lighter packages requiring the same resources and manpower to be delivered, Home Delivery is often going to be a bit more expensive.

 

A residential surcharge of $3.80 per package will be assessed on every single order processed as Home Delivery.

 

Where you might have paid $10 flat for a FedEx Ground package to be delivered that same package would cost you $13.80 to be shipped via FedEx Home Delivery.

 

That’s definitely something to think about. These two delivery platforms use the same infrastructure and the same logistical services, but the “end result” for customers of each is usually quite a bit different – as is the price tag.

 

fedex delivering mail while snowing

 

Do I Have to Be at Home to Accept FedEx Home Delivery Packages?

 

You don’t necessarily have to be at home to accept your FedEx Home Delivery package, though both the Evening Home and Appointment Home specialty services of this delivery set up encourage that kind of interaction.

 

If you do want to make sure that your packages are only ever going to arrive when you are there to receive them it’s not a bad idea to pay a little extra and take advantage of either Evening Home or Appointment Home Delivery from FedEx.

 

That gives you a bit more control over when these packages are going to hit your doorstep and a better opportunity to plan your day around being there to receive the packages, too.

 

Of course, you can also take advantage of Direct Signature Required services as part of any of the FedEx Home Delivery solutions. You can even request that Adult Signature Required options are enabled, too, meaning that your packages will only be released to adults that can prove that they are at least 21 years of age by providing a government issued photo ID.

 

All of those options come with every Home Delivery service from FedEx.

 

fedex tracking dashboard

 

Does FedEx Home Delivery Include Free Tracking Info?

 

Every FedEx Home Delivery service (including the premium options we mentioned earlier) include 100% free tracking info with your purchase.

 

Truth be told, every single order that you process with FedEx is going to include tracking information included at zero extra cost whatsoever.

 

This is one of the big benefits of taking advantage of FedEx. You’ll get to watch as your package moves through the shipping process, getting updates in real time, and even having the opportunity to elect for live tracking notifications so that you know exactly where your package is at (almost) all times.

 

It doesn’t get much better than that.

 

What is FedEx Home Delivery? 1

 

Enjoy More Control Over Your Deliveries with US Global Mail

 

Of course, you’re going to have to have an address for your FedEx packages to arrive at in the first place – and sometimes you won’t want (or be able to) use a PO Box or your residential street address.

 

If that’s the case, it’s not a bad idea to look into the services available from US Global Mail.

 

One of the premier virtual mailbox services in the industry today, US Global Mail can accept all packages from FedEx on your behalf (including those sent via FedEx Home Delivery) – as well as traditional mail and packages sent via UPS, USPS, and DHL services.

 

You’ll get virtual scanning of all of your mail for your record-keeping, live updates about when packages arrive (and snapshots of the envelopes and boxes), the ability to take advantage of mail forwarding services (including to international destinations), and so much more.

 

Combine all of those benefits with the near legendary reputation that US Global Mail has in this industry and it’s not hard to see why so many people choose to take advantage of these solutions. Check out everything they have to offer today.

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What is a Remailing Service?

Sending mail through the USPS isn’t quite as safe, secure, or as anonymous as you might like.

 

Truth be told, sending mail with United States Postal Service always leads behind a “trail” – a trail that you may not be interested in having linked directly back to your physical address, or even a PO Box that can be used to track you down.

 

Sometimes we need a little more anonymity when sending mail, for variety of different reasons.

 

These might be business documents that you’re looking to send, they might be legal documents, or they may be personal correspondence that you just want to have a bit more control and privacy over.

 

We dig little bit deeper into the reasons that people take advantage of remailing services in just a moment, but just know that you definitely aren’t the only person looking to leverage these kinds of solutions.

 

Each and every day hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of people take advantage of remailing services. Millions and millions of pieces of mail are funneled through remailing houses and companies each year, and every year it feels like there are more and more people taking advantage of this secure mailing solution.

 

To learn just about everything there is to know about a remailing service we have put together this detailed guide.

 

Let’s get right into it.

 

two people carrying a piece of mail

 

What is a Remailing Service?

 

To put it simply, a remailing service is a company or organization that takes whatever it is you want to send to someone – a letter, legal documents, a package, something else completely – and then re-mails it for you, giving it a completely different return address and completely different postmark stamp.

 

This provides a lot of extra privacy, a lot of extra anonymity, and a layer of protection for those that do not want their address or personal identifying information attached to whatever it is they are sending out.

 

The process works like this:

 

You wrap up, package, or place into an envelope whatever it is that you want to have sent to your recipient.

 

Your address that box or that envelope to the recipient specifically, not including anything else – including no return address information and no postage.

 

You put that box or envelope inside of another box or envelope and send it directly to a remailing service.

 

Sometimes you have to include payment information in that box (check or money order), other times you’ll include a receipt for your postage – and the remailing service fees – that you have already taken care of ahead of time.

 

Different remailing services work in different ways. They all walk you through that process, though.

 

After your package or envelope arrives at the remailing service they will then open the outer box or envelope and prepare the inner box or envelope for remailing.

 

They will attach their own return address information to the top left-hand corner of the envelope (or the applicable area on your box), attach the right amount of postage to send your envelope or parcel to your ultimate destination, and then drop it off in the post.

 

From there everything moves along as though you have dropped things off yourself at the local post office or in your mailbox.

 

When your recipient receives your envelope or package, though, it’s going to have the address of the remailing service prominently displayed and a postmark for that region as well.

 

Your identity, your address, and any other personally identifying information is kept out of the hands of your recipient completely – unless you provide it to them in some other way.

 

a sign that says "benefits"

 

What Are the Benefits of a Remailing Service?

 

Right out of the gate, privacy and security are the biggest benefits that using a remailing service brings to the table.

 

Because you completely eliminate yourself, your identity, and your address from the equation you are able to enjoy a layer of security that the traditional mailing process doesn’t make possible.

 

Instead of having to worry about someone seeing your home address (or your work address, even), they will only have access to the remailing service address – and even they won’t be able to provide someone with your information, either.

 

Talk about extra security!

 

Some people like this bubble of protection to run their business more securely, especially if they are operating an LLC or other business that was registered to a state like Delaware or Nevada where there are extreme privacy and protection laws in place.

 

Other people like to use remailing services to enjoy better privacy and protection when paying their bills anonymously, sending messages to friends or family members without having to give away their address, or to handle legal matters.

 

At the end of the day, there’s no better way to insulate or protect yourself through the mail and by using a remailing solution.

 

a lock

 

Are Remailing Services Safe?

 

Like any other industry, the overwhelming majority of legitimate remailing services are 100% legit to use – though there are some exceptions.

 

This is why it is so important to really research the different services that you are thinking about using from top to bottom before you sign on the dotted line, pay for any services, or send anything through them.

 

The internet is going to be your best friend in this department.

 

Punch the name of the remailing service you are thinking about using into Google and just have a cruise around the reviews that they have posted about them.

 

Be sure to read the good and the bad, digging deep into why people really liked the service and what they really didn’t.

 

That’s going to give you a much better look at everything a specific remailing service has to offer.

 

You’ll also want to look into the reputation that a specific service has, particularly compared to other options in the industry.

 

It’s important to know that you can trust the remailing business you’re working with to not only protect you and your identity, but to also re-mail your packages, parcels, or envelopes as quickly and as expeditiously as possible.

 

You don’t need your remailed packages, parcels, or envelopes to get held up along the way!

 

As long as you do your research you really shouldn’t have much to worry about.

 

Find a legitimate operator and you’ll be all set.

 

calculator next to an invoice

 

How Expensive Are Remailing Services?

 

Remailing services have a range of prices that vary wildly depending on the service you pick, the solutions you need, and the specific postage that your remailed items are going to require.

 

The overwhelming majority of services are relatively inexpensive, though. They may add remailing fees on top of postage that are pretty fair (and usually based off of per item pricing), keeping your overall out-of-pocket cost quite low.

 

Some offer remailing subscription services that keep prices even lower.

 

These are particularly attractive for people that are going to be remailing a lot of items the mail – usually businesses that want to insulate their physical address (or their home address, even) from their customers for a variety of different reasons.

 

At the end of the day, you’ll want to research prices for remailing services the same way that you research their reputation in the industry.

 

You should find a ballpark range of prices that most legitimate operations adhere to.

 

It’s not necessarily a good idea to go with the cheapest option all the time, either. You want the one that offers the most value!

 

a tag that says "your personal shipper"

 

How Do I Pick a Remailing Service?

 

There are really three main factors that you want to consider when you are getting ready to move forward with a remailing service.

 

The first, and unsurprisingly the most important, is the reputation of that remailing service.

 

We have already gone over this a little bit but it bears repeating.

 

You absolutely MUST be moving forward with a remailing service you know you can trust.

 

Not only with your own information (insulating your identity and your address from your recipients) but also trust them with actually remailing your letters, packages, and parcels as well.

 

Secondly, you need to look into the speed that these remailing services offer.

 

A lot of solutions promise “same day turnaround” – getting your remailed stuff out the door the same day that it arrives at their location – but most aren’t able to live up to those expectations. A more reasonable service might promise one or two day delays on remailed turnarounds.

 

The important thing here is not so much how quickly a company is able to get your remailed items out the door and headed towards their ultimate destination as much as the consistency of the schedule.

 

If you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that your remailed items are going to leave two or three days after they arrived at a remailing service you can schedule that on your end.

 

You can add those extra days of travel time to your delivery schedule, sending your items to the remail are a couple of days in advance to add a bit of a buffer, and then can more accurately calculate when those remailed items are going to arrive.

 

Finally, you need to look at the overall price point of a remailing service.

 

Like we mentioned earlier, there are really two different options in this department – pay per remailed piece on top of postage or pay a subscription fee on top of postage.

 

Other companies might have different fee structures, but the overwhelming majority of services are going to fall into those two categories. Choose the one that makes the most sense for your situation!

 

a key on a laptop that says "privacy"

 

Is There a Better Way to Protect My Privacy?

 

It’s hard to imagine there being a better way to protect your privacy when sending things through the mail then with a remailing solution, especially given how easy this service is to take advantage of.

 

There isn’t a whole lot that goes into these kinds of services from your end.

 

All you really have to do is address the envelope or packaging that you are sending on to your recipient, package that inside of another envelope or box, and then send it off to the remailing service.

 

They handle the rest of the heavy lifting for you – all while protecting your anonymity that every step!

 

That’s tough to beat.

 

You could always send out mail with no return address on your own if you wanted to. But you’d still have a local postmark, and it would be pretty easy for someone really dedicated to track you down even with just that little bit of information these days.

 

No, if you really need that extra layer of privacy and anonymity when sending something physically through the mail it’s a good idea to go with a remailing solution.

 

virtual mailbox on desktop

 

US Global Mail – The Ultimate Remailing Service

 

Of course, if you’d like to add an extra layer of privacy and protection to your own mailbox when you are receiving mail it’s not a bad idea to move forward with US Global Mail.

 

The premier virtual mailbox service on the market today, US Global Mail has been providing customers with privacy, anonymity, and protection with a more modern mailbox service for more than 20 years now.

 

Not only do you get a legitimate physical street address separate from your own (better than a PO Box address, too) when you sign up, but you also get to take advantage of digital mail scanning, digital mail alerts in real time as packages, envelopes, and parcels come in, check depositing, and so much more.

 

If you would like to learn a little bit more about everything that US Global Mail offers, or would like to have a peak at the comprehensive list of services they provide, visit their website today for more details.

 

You can also reach out to them directly (through email or over the phone) at your earliest convenience to ask any questions about their services that you might have.

 

Just don’t be surprised if you find yourself signing up for this much more modern mailbox solution like so many others have decided to already!

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How To Change An Address With The Post Office

Nobody likes to go through the process of changing their address with the post office.

 

Even though the process is relatively simple and painless, there’s all kinds of red tape, paperwork, and just general hassle that you have to put up with to get your address changed officially.

 

It’s enough to drive anybody crazy.

 

Luckily, though, there’s a way to streamline this process – by quite a bit, actually.

 

Throughout this detailed guide we share with you exactly how to navigate this process from start to finish, making sure that it’s as easy and as headache free as possible.

 

Use these tips and tricks to navigate from start to finish and you’ll be able to quickly change your address anytime you need to, all without having your blood pressure rise even just a little bit.

 

Let’s begin.

 

change of address form

 

How to Change an Address with the Post Office

 

Like we mentioned above, the actual process for changing your address is pretty straightforward.

 

The first thing you’re going to have to do is reach out to the United States Postal Service directly (the USPS) and get the ball rolling.

 

This could be popping down to your local post office and telling them you’d like to change your address. Or you could pick up the phone and give them a ring during normal business hours.

 

You could even jump online and start the change of address process if you’d like. That’s something that we walk through a little more in depth in just a little bit.

 

But before you get started, there are some things you’re going to need to figure out to make this process go as quickly and as smoothly as possible.

 

Is This a Permanent or a Temporary Change?

The first thing you need to do is figure out whether or not you’re looking to make a temporary change to your mailing address or a permanent one.

 

There’s a world of difference between the two.

On a temporary change, the USPS is going to be able to reroute your mail to your new address for a block of time – say a couple of weeks all the way up to a couple of months, or even a year.

Any mail that gets sent to your permanent address will be rerouted through the system and sent directly to your temporary address until you change it for the time runs out.

 

If you go with a permanent change, however, there is no temporary rerouting.

 

Everything gets changed in the USPS system and within a couple of days (maybe 10 or 14) all mail that would have been sent to your old address will have been rerouted to your new one and you are good to go.

 

 

This permanent change has no time limit attached.

 

Instead you’ll keep getting mail at your new permanent address until you decide to move again or change your address for one reason or another.

 

This is going to be the very first question you’re asked by the USPS when you want to change your address. Just make sure that you are prepared for.

 

post office building with blue sign

 

Head Down to the Post Office

 

As we mentioned a moment ago, you have a couple of different options for you when you want to physically change your address – and one of them is visiting your post office and moving through the process in person.

 

This may or may not be a realistic situation for everyone, but if you have the opportunity to do this in person it’s always the fastest road to get things done.

 

Heading down to your local post office gives you an opportunity to talk directly to postal workers and officials, confirm your updated information with them in person, and to guarantee that all of your information is input directly into their backend accurately and quickly.

 

By choosing to go this route you’ll know that the USPS address database will get almost instantly updated. And that means that all of your mail will begin to be rerouted a whole lot faster than it would have been otherwise.

 

All you have to do is pop into your local post office during normal business hours and let them know that you are looking to do an address change.

 

They’re going to ask you whether or not it is a temporary or permanent change of address that you’re interested in making, and then they are going to want to confirm your identity and your “old” address.

 

After filling out a quick bit of paperwork (or giving them information to input directly into their system) the process will be updated almost straightaway. It might still take between 10 and 14 days for your new address to “go live” with all of your mail – which is why it’s a good idea to jump on this as early as possible.

 

change of address with usps

 

Change Your Address Online

 

Those that want to change their address without having to visit their post office can do so online without a lot of headache or hassle, too.

 

The only wrinkle here is that it’s going to take a little bit longer to navigate the process from start to finish, and that it’s going to take a little bit longer for the system to update as well.

 

You’ll want to log on to the USPS website directly, navigate over to the CHANGE ADDRESS section of the site, and then create a free account with your information.

 

You’ll then be taken to the address change tools, will be asked whether or not this is a temporary or permanent change, and will have an opportunity to put your details into the system yourself.

 

All in all, expect this whole process to take about 10 or 15 minutes at the most.

 

If you already have an account on the USPS website you’re probably be able to rip right through it even faster than that!

 

The major benefit here is (obviously) not having to go down to the post office and do this in person.

 

Maybe your post offices particularly busy all day long. Maybe your postal workers aren’t all that friendly or that helpful. Maybe you just don’t feel like driving all the way down to the post office to stand in line and deal with the headache and hassle that being at the post office sometimes brings to the table.

 

Instead you are able to do this kind of address update anytime you like, day or night, every single day of the year without any limitation.

 

It’ll still take between 10 and 14 days for your new address to “go live” for all of your mail pieces, but that’s no deal.

 

key on a po box

 

What About a PO Box?

 

This is a little bit of an unorthodox solution for changing your mailing address, but it’s one that’s going to work wonders if you are going to be sticking to the same general area – or if you are sick and tired of changing your address all the time.

 

A PO Box at your local post office is going to give you a permanent mailing address that you can use no matter how frequently you move, with all your mail getting sent directly to that PO Box every single day without exception.

 

You could move every year, every month, every week, or even every day and that same mailing address would stay in place – and it will make your life a whole lot easier as well.

 

There’s a lot of freedom in a PO Box, but there’s also a lot of privacy and security as well. It’s not a bad idea to consider going in this direction, particularly if you need to change your mailing address for a business.

 

On the flip side of things, PO boxes from the USPS can get a little bit pricey – even if you stick with the smaller sized format options.

 

You’re also stuck with the mailing address provided by that PO Box specifically, which means you have to physically go down to that post office every time you want to get your mail.

 

That’s maybe not a bad idea if you live in the general vicinity of that post office, or if that post office is somewhere along your daily route or commute. But if you move 30 minutes or more away from your PO Box the chances are pretty good you’re not going to want to pop in and check it every day.

 

There are other options that offer a lot of the benefits of a traditional PO Box and more without the limitations, but we dig deeper into those in just a little bit.

 

a blue mailbox

 

When Does My New Address Kick In?

 

It’s impossible to know exactly when you’re new address is going to kick in, when mail will forever stop going to your old address and instead only going to your new one.

 

There are a lot of “moving parts” that determine when that new address is going to go live, including when the USPS database of addresses gets updated – and that’s something you’ll never have personal control over!

 

The USPS does say, however, that the database of addresses they maintain is updated on a day-to-day basis. They also say that because so many new addresses are added or changed on a daily basis is probably going to take two or three days for your information to be updated across the board.

 

Add in the fact that you’re probably making an address change while you have packages and parcels, envelopes and letters, already in the mail heading to your address – your old address – and it’s going to take some time for things to start to find their way to you.

 

As a general rule of thumb, the USPS recommends that you change your new temporary or permanent address anywhere between two weeks and three weeks before it absolutely has to be changed.

 

You’ll also be able to let the USPS know what day you want your new address to “be official”, allowing them to get their logistics in order so that your mail is headed to your new address when you arrive – not earlier.

 

All in all, this is a big part of why so many people recommend that you pop down to the local post office and change your address with the help of professionals there.

 

You’ll be able to tell them exactly when you expect to be at your new address, when you hope for your new address to become official, and will have a chance to ask any questions you might have, too.

 

That’s really tough to do when you are knocking this all out online.

 

virtual mailbox on desktop

 

 

Modernize Your Mailbox with US Global Mail

 

Earlier we talked about how there were solutions for changing your address that combines the best of all that PO boxes have to offer with real, physical street addresses that never change when you move.

 

We were talking about the virtual mailbox services provided by US Global Mail.

 

Over the last 20+ years, US Global Mail has been making sure that their customers enjoy much more modern mailing solutions than anything the USPS brings to the table.

 

We are talking about a permanent “street address” for your virtual mailbox instead of a PO Box, giving you extra privacy but also giving you the opportunity to accept all packages from mail carriers and delivery services that the USPS cannot accept themselves.

 

On top of that, you’ll also get to take advantage of mail forwarding solutions to any address around the world, mail scanning and mail digitizing solutions, and even check depositing options that you’ll never get out of the United States Postal Service.

 

If you are interested at all in everything that US Global Mail has to offer, or if you have questions you’d like to have cleared up, reach out to their team directly as soon as you have a chance.

 

But they’ll be able to answer all of your questions, they’ll be able to tell you everything about their service you need to know, and they’ll even be able to tell you whether or not the services are right for your needs and your budget.

 

Reach out to them today.

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How Much to Mail a Letter?

You’d think that the easiest thing to figure out when dealing with the post office will be how much it costs to mail a letter.

 

Most of us have an idea of putting our letter in an envelope, addressing it, putting a stamp in the corner and then stuffing it in the mailbox or dropping off at the post office – and that’s it, taking care of.

 

And while a first-class stamp will cover the overwhelming majority of letters sent through the mail, the truth is sending a letter can get a whole lot more expensive than that (as you’ll soon see).

 

Below we dig into the ins and outs of exactly how much you can expect to spend sending a letter through the mail these days.

 

Just remember that these numbers are current as of early 2021.

 

The USPS is always increasing prices (a good reason to get your hand on Forever Stamps, something we mentioned in a minute) which is why it’s a good idea to check at the post office depending on when you come across this guide.

 

Let’s jump right in!

 

first class postage

 

How Much to Mail a First Class Letter?

 

Those looking to send a standard letter through the mail (maybe three or four pages of regular sized paper, stuffed in a letter sized envelopes) are usually going to be able to get away with a first-class stamp.

 

That first-class stamp (retail stamp) is going to set you back $0.55 as of January 2021.

 

This is up from the previous year a little bit, and it’s likely that the price of a first-class stamp will go up next year – and the year after that, too!

 

You can save money on first-class postage if you go with a metered stamp or purchase your stamps from a platform like Stamps.com. Right now (as of early 2021) that same $0.55 first-class stamp from the post office will only cost you $0.50!

 

Knowing that first-class stamps are always going to go up in price it’s not a bad idea to get your hands on Forever Stamps.

 

The stamps are the same price as first-class stamps ($0.55 from the post office) but are always going to be enough to cover first-class postage – no matter how much a single stamp might cost in the future.

 

This means you could walk down to the post office, buy 100 Forever Stamps (spending $55 along the way), and could use them – literally forever – even if the price of stamps jumps to $55 per stamp sometime in the future!

 

That’s a pretty good deal.

 

If, however, your first-class letter is a little bit on the long side of things and goes beyond 1 ounce in weight you’re going to have to pony up some money to cover that extra postage.

 

Right now the current price for each additional ounce of first-class weight is $0.15, with those fractional stamps available directly from the post office (as well as from Stamps.com).

 

Just as a heads up, the overwhelming majority of post masters and postal workers are going to let slightly overweight letters go through without you having to pay anything extra.

 

You might be able to squeeze 1.5 ounce letters through the mail with a $0.55 stamp, though the closer you get to 2 ounces and above the more likely you are to have to pay extra.

 

the outside of a postcard

 

How Much to Mail a Postcard?

 

If you can fit your entire letter on a postcard and want to save a little bit of money it might not be a bad idea to go in this direction.

 

As of early 2021, postcard postage is only going to set you back $0.35 flat.

 

This has been the standard rate for postcard postage for quite a while, and postcard postage hasn’t climbed as quickly or as aggressively as first-class mail postage has over the years.

 

In fact, while first-class mail postage changes pretty much every year (and has more than quadrupled in the last 50 years) postage for postcards really doesn’t move that much at all.

 

It certainly doesn’t hurt that postcards are pretty much nothing but card stock (no envelopes, no extra weight, etc.) to keep prices low!

 

You do lose a little bit of privacy with a postcard, though. That’s something to consider when you’re sending anything through the mail for sure.

 

priority mail envelope

 

How Much to Mail a Priority Mail Envelope?

 

Let’s say that you have a critically important letter that you absolutely have to get to someone as quickly as possible, like overnight or in just a couple of days.

 

In those circumstances you’re probably not going to want to drop your letter in the post or in your mailbox with a first-class stamp attached. That could take anywhere between two or three business days to a week or longer!

 

No, you’re going to want to think about sending your letter via Priority Mail.

 

There are two different kinds of Priority Mail you’ll want to consider when you are sending a letter.

 

The first is standard Priority Mail, solution that offers expedited delivery services for mail that weighs up to 1 pound and is to be delivered in Zones One or Two.

 

This Priority Mail level will set you back $6.95 (at a minimum), with prices going up depending on the ultimate destination for the letter and a handful of other situation specific factors.

 

The other version of this expedited mail services you might take advantage of is Priority Mail Express.

 

This guarantees that your letter arrives the next day that it was sent out, as long as it weighs less than half a pound and is going to be sent to Zones One and Two.

 

Because this letter is sent via such an expedited service you can expect prices to begin at $22.75 and then go up from there. Just like standard Priority Mail, your final price tag for postage on these kinds of letters will be wholly dependent on a variety of situation specific factors.

 

priority mail flat rate

 

How Much to Send a Flat Rate Envelope?

 

You have a couple of different options available if you want to send your letter via flat rate envelopes, generally broken down by the different sizes of the envelopes themselves.

 

With flat rate shipping you get to take advantage of a couple of cool benefits, not the least of which is the fact that your letter will be guaranteed to be delivered within 1 to 3 business days.

 

You can also take advantage of free envelope pickup at your home or business, free USPS tracking, and up to $50 in package insurance with almost all deliveries. Combine that with the lack rate pricing – if it fits, it ships – and this is a no-brainer for larger letters for sure.

 

Small flat rate envelopes begin at $7.15 or $7.75, depending where you purchase the flat rate envelopes from.

 

Prices increase to $7.45 or $8.05 for legal flat rate envelopes, with padded flat rate envelopes setting you back between $7.75 or $8.40.

 

The best place to get your hands on flat rate envelopes is at your local post office.

 

You won’t have to pay anything for the envelopes themselves (in fact, you can stock up on them and keep them at your home so that you always have some available when you need to send large letters out), only paying the flat rate at the post office when you pay for postage.

 

The cool thing about these flat rate envelopes is that you don’t have to just send letters with them.

 

You can add photos, physical media, little gifts, or anything else that you can trust not to get damaged in these envelopes – so long as they fit!

 

cost of tracking with usps

 

How Much Extra Does Tracking Cost?

 

Tracking information is not always made available for first-class mail, especially if you don’t specifically request it right out of the gate at your local post office.

 

And while tracking information is included 100% free of charge with Express, Priority, Parcel Select, and First Class Package services from the USPS, first-class standard mail is going to require you to pay a little extra for this helpful info.

 

Depending on the specifics of your envelope and where it is headed, you can expect your tracking information add-on to cost anywhere between $0.20 and $0.90 – and sometimes even just a little bit more than that.

 

That’s not a lot of money to spend on something as useful as tracking information, especially with the peace of mind that it provides.

 

It’s almost always recommended to spring for this extra feature if you want to know exactly where your letter is along its journey and when it’s set to arrive.

 

additional insurance usps

 

How Much Extra is Insurance?

 

Insurance is another add-on that you can attached to your letter, though most people bump up their postage from first-class to flat rate envelopes or something similar – mostly because insurance comes free with those kinds of postage programs.

 

The odds are pretty good that if you’re sending a letter through the mail you won’t need more than $50 in insurance, and that’s exactly what flat rate envelopes provide standard.

 

Priority Mail also provides up to $50 in insurance for free, so consider that if you’re looking to ensure your envelopes and letters but don’t want to spend a lot of extra money on top of first-class postage.

 

receipt of certified mail

 

Can I Buy Delivery Receipts for Letters?

 

Delivery receipts can be ordered as extra add-ons for your letters, even if you don’t want to send your letter via Certified or Registered mail.

 

Certified and Registered mail can get pretty pricey (especially if your letter is a little bit on the heavier side of things), and some people don’t need the chain of custody or the extra insurance that those two postal services provide.

 

Some people are just looking to take advantage of delivery receipts to confirm that their letter did in fact get to its ultimate destination and the right person has received it.

 

Delivery receipts can be purchased for as little as $0.50 on first-class envelopes, though the price does increase a little bit if you’re going with other postal solutions.

 

It may be worth looking into both Certified and Registered mail programs if the extra postage on your letter is going to approach those kinds of price points.

 

There are a lot of benefits that those USPS programs offer that a first-class stamp and delivery receipt won’t enjoy.

 

virtual mailbox on desktop

 

US Global Mail Streamlines Your Mailing Situation Big Time

 

At the end of the day, figuring out how much it’s going to cost to send a letter is a relatively simple and straightforward process.

 

All you have to do is jump online, visit the USPS website directly (or head over to Stamps.com), and calculate the kind of postage that you’ll need to send your letter to its ultimate destination.

 

Of course, if you are looking for a more modern solution for all your mailbox needs you probably grown a little dissatisfied with the way that the USPS works.

 

That’s where US Global Mail comes into play.

 

One of the most prestigious modern mailbox solutions on the planet today, US Global Mail has helped to revolutionize the virtual mailbox industry since it first offered these services more than 20 years ago.

 

Providing customers with the ability to get a physical street address for their virtual mailbox (much better than a PO Box number, especially for those that want to credibility and privacy a different street address provides), you’ll get a range of other benefits when you become a client, too.

 

We are talking about digital mail scanning, instant notifications about mail as it arrives in real time, full package acceptance from all of the major delivery services that USPS does not handle, and so much more.

 

Combine that with top-tier pricing, some of the best customer support in the industry, and a reputation for making the lives of their clients much easier with a very modern mailbox solution and it’s not hard to see why so many people love US Global Mail already.

 

For more information, check out their website or contact customer service directly today.

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How to Mail an Envelope

At first blush, mailing an envelope doesn’t look that involved.

 

After all, what more is there to pulling this off than stuffing and envelope, licking and sticking it together, slapping on a stamp, addressing the envelope, and then dumping it in a mailbox.

 

Well, believe it or not, there are quite a few other things you’re going to want to focus on to make sure that your envelope gets to your intended recipient A-OK – and that’s why we put together this detailed guide.

 

Below we share (almost) everything you need to know about how to mail an envelope right way.

 

We cover the basics of picking the right envelope in the first place, addressing the envelope correctly, making sure that you’ve got a good seal on your envelope and a handful of other critical aspects you might have otherwise overlooked.

 

Ready to jump right in?

 

Let’s do this!

 

usps large format envelope

 

Picking the Right Envelope

 

For starters, you’ll need to figure out which kind of envelope is right for you to send your letter or package in.

 

Most people are going to be sending traditionally sized envelopes (letter sized envelopes) through the mail, though there are a myriad of other options available as well.

 

Large-format envelopes – sometimes called flats – are very popular with those that want to send something other than a folded up letter through the mail, but don’t necessarily need a box at the same time.

 

These are the kinds of envelopes you’ll likely get from delivery companies outside of USPS, the kinds of envelopes delivered by UPS, FedEx, and DHL.

 

They often measure about 6 inches tall by 11 inches long by ¼ inch in length (or right around there) and are perfect for oversized documents, marketing materials, printed materials and other small items that won’t get damaged with thin envelope material going through the mail.

 

Clasp style envelopes, “bubble” envelopes, and window envelopes are options that you might want to consider as well.

 

All of these decisions are going to be heavily influenced by what you are sending through the mail in the first place.

 

If you just need to send a letter to someone, a traditional envelope will get the job done right.

 

If you want to send a lot of material through the mail (or little gifts in the mail, too), larger format envelopes or clasp and bubble style envelopes are the way to go.

 

Finally, if you want a more professional look, you can’t go wrong with window envelopes.

 

an address on a purple envelope

 

Addressing the Envelope Properly

 

Addressing envelopes is super simple and straightforward (for the most part), but still something you want to make sure you have done correctly.

 

Let’s start with the top left-hand side of every envelope.

 

This is where you’re going to want to put your return address information.

 

Start with your first and last name, followed by your street address, followed by your city, state, and ZIP Code information. Make sure that you maintain that format and you won’t have anything to worry about.

 

Moving to the middle of the envelope now.

 

Keep the same kind of format, but this time use the first and last name of the recipient of your letter.

 

After that (if applicable) include the business or organization name, then include the street address, followed up by their city, state, and ZIP Code information.

 

If you are sending this letter overseas you’ll want to include country information on the very bottom part of this address section.

 

Finally, you’ll want to make sure that you have attached the right postage to the top right-hand section of the envelope.

 

If you’re sending a regular letter (four or five pages, first-class mail) than a single stamp will usually be enough to get it to its ultimate destination.

 

On the other hand, if you’re sending a thicker letter – or something other than paper in the envelope – you might have to pony up a little bit of extra money for premium postage.

 

Just be sure that you have your postage squared away before you drop it in the mailbox or leave it with someone at the post office. The last thing you want is your envelope getting returned to sender just because your postage wasn’t quite enough!

 

seal on an envelope

 

Make Sure You’ve Got a Good Seal!

 

Everybody knows that you have to lick the self-adhesive on the back of the envelope to activate it (unless you’re using more modern “peel and stick” envelopes, anyway) – but is that always going to be enough to actually secure your envelope in the mail?

 

I don’t know about you, but it’s not hard to find stories online about envelopes that have gotten beat up, jostled around, and popped open when going through the traditional mail process.

 

Maybe you’re not all that worried, but lots of people don’t want their personal, private, or sensitive correspondence (or anything else they have put into an envelope) busting out and spilling all over the USPS conveyor belts.

 

This is why you want to make sure that you get a really good seal.

 

Some people take things to the next level and apply a little bit of glue or adhesive to the already sticky sections of their envelopes. This is definitely a good idea if your envelopes were pretty inexpensive and the glue is kind of questionable.

 

Others use wax seals or something similar to further secure and seal up their envelopes.

 

Aside from looking really cool, a wax seal provides that extra layer of safety and protection – guaranteeing that the envelope wasn’t tampered with during transit while at the same providing just another layer of sealing safety and security.

 

It’s something to consider, anyway!

 

priority mail envelope - usps

 

Considering Adding Protection for Your Envelope’s Contents

 

When you are getting ready to stuff envelopes you want to think about a couple of things, protection wise.

 

First, you’ll want to make sure that whatever it is you are sending through the mail is going to arrive at its ultimate destination safe and secure – and in the exact same condition it was in when you sent it out.

 

If it’s an envelope filled with a couple of pieces of paper, maybe a single piece of cardboard (or even just some stiff card stock cut to fit) can add that extra bit of rigidity that prevents your envelope from getting bent and creased.

 

If you’re sending something a little more delicate in an envelope (small piece of jewelry, maybe) it wouldn’t be a bad idea to go with a bubble envelope or at least include a bit of extra wrapping.

 

Secondly, you want to make sure that your privacy is respected when you send something through the mail.

 

This starts by wrapping your letter or correspondence up in another blank piece of paper, ideally one that is darker colored and less see-through than traditional printer paper.

 

You might also want to sandwich your letters or correspondence up with card stock or cardboard to offer and even better layer of protection. This kills two birds with one stone, helping to make sure that people can’t see through your envelope when held up to the light but also offering a bit of extra strength and rigidity, too.

 

All in all, it’s not hard to get a little creative to find solutions that really work.

 

sample insurance for envelope

 

Do You Need Envelope Insurance?

 

Sending a letter via first-class mail isn’t all that difficult and shouldn’t be that risky, but if you’re sending something important or sensitive through the mail it might not be a bad idea to insure that envelope.

 

Insurance for first-class mail is almost unbelievably expensive, giving you any of opportunity to invest in a lot of peace of mind and a lot of security should something happen to your mail without spending a small fortune.

 

The overwhelming majority of people that send something through the mail with the USPS are going to have absolutely nothing to worry about.

 

Their letters are going to go from Point A to Point B without trouble and without delay.

 

Some people, though (especially with the volume of mail being handled right now), aren’t going to be quite as lucky.

 

Those folks are going to see their mail get rerouted, dropped, bent, crumpled, or even lost completely – and that might be a very, very big deal.

 

If you have any nerves whatsoever about your mail not reaching its ultimate destination, it’s not a bad idea spring for at least a little bit of insurance.

 

As mentioned above, you can get hundreds of dollars of insurance for first-class mail for almost nothing (a few dollars) – and at that point you have to be at least a little crazy not to.

 

usps tracking information

 

What About Tracking?

 

Tracking is another bonus feature that you might want to purchase with your envelopes, especially if you or your recipient wants to be able to track its progress as it moves through the mail.

 

People choose first-class mail most of the time because it’s the least expensive option, which also means it’s often the slowest option. But if you’d still like to track things as they progress you can certainly do so, adding tracking to your first-class postage for a dollar (or less) most of the time.

 

If you are sending an envelope priority mail, rush delivery, overnight, or express the chances are very good that you’re going to want to watch its progress as it moves through the USPS logistical chain.

 

Luckily, when you bump up from first-class mail to any of those expedited mailing services you’re almost always going to get tracking information included with the price of postage.

 

This isn’t always the case, however.

 

It’s not a bad idea to double confirm before you drop your envelope off – and of tracking isn’t included, make sure that you add it extra.

 

mail receipt usps

 

Would You Like a Receipt of Confirmation?

 

You don’t (necessarily) have to pay for Registered or Certified mail just to get a receipt of delivery.

 

A lot of people think that the only way to get receipt of delivery is to pay for Registered or Certified mail postage, but you can add this as an accessory feature just like you can add tracking information (and more) to first-class mail as well.

 

Sure, it’s going to cost a little bit more (sometimes a couple of dollars) but if it’s critically important that your mail piece has a chain of custody or proof of receipt it’s not going to be a hurdle at all.

 

There are a bunch of different reasons you might want to add a receipt of delivery to your first-class mail, too.

 

Some people will want to confirm that their recipient got a piece of first-class mail just put peace of mind that it’s been delivered in the first place.

 

Others are going to be sending envelopes with business documents, legal documents, or other important documentation has to have a chain of custody to keep secure.

 

It’s always a good idea to pay extra in those situations to get that receipt of delivering, that’s for sure!

 

virtual mailbox on desktop

 

US Global Mail is the Ultimate Virtual Mailbox Solution

 

Now that you have a good idea of how to send envelopes through the mail as effectively as possible, it might be time to start looking into a new (and more modern) mailbox solution in general.

 

That’s where US Global Mail comes into play.

 

The premier virtual mailbox service on the market today, US Global Mail has been helping their customers improve their mailing experience from top to bottom for more than 20 years.

 

Not only do you get a virtual mailbox with all the benefits that offers – digital mail scanning, digital mail arrival alerts, mail forwarding, package acceptance, check depositing, and more – but you also get a physical street address for your new virtual mailbox, too.

 

That’s a big bonus for those that want a little more privacy as well as those that like the professionalism of a street address compared to a traditional PO Box set up.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about all US Global Mail has to offer, check out their website or contact their customer service department today for more details.

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What is Parcel Select Lightweight?

More than eight years ago, the US Post Office decided to stop offering what they called Parcel Post mail completely – instead creating two different mail delivery services that customers could take advantage of.

 

One of those services, Standard Post, is available for USPS customers that are looking to purchase postage directly from their local post office.

 

The other service, Parcel Select, is a USPS service provided for online postage customers only – and Postal Select Lightweight is a division of that postal offering.

 

Throughout this guide we dig a little bit deeper into everything that you need to know about leveraging Parcel Select Lightweight from the USPS.

 

You’ll learn exactly what Parcel Select Lightweight is, the kinds of postage expenses you can expect to deal with when you use Parcel Select Lightweight, the delivery timeline for this service, and more.

 

By the time you finish this detailed guide you’ll be an expert on everything that Parcel Select Lightweight has offer!

 

Shall we get started?

 

packages by the usps

 

What is Parcel Select Lightweight?

 

Right out of the gate, it’s important to understand that Parcel Select Lightweight is a “sub service” under the umbrella of Parcel Select from the United States Postal Service.

 

Parcel Select itself is a postage program designed specifically to be taken advantage of by small and medium-sized businesses that are looking to ship a lot of packages (on a regular basis) via the most economically sound ground delivery offers from USPS.

 

This is not the kind of program that you’ll want to look into if you are sending letters on a regular basis or packages sporadically. There’s not a lot of benefit to Parcel Select or Parcel Select Lightweight if you’re going to go down that road.

 

On the other hand, if you have a business that ships merchandise every single day – and wants to deliver via ground shipping services through the USPS without spending a small fortune – it’s not a bad idea to look into everything that Parcel Select and Parcel Select Lightweight in specific provide.

 

The main difference between Parcel Select and Parcel Select Lightweight has to do entirely with the weight of the packages that you are sending.

 

Parcel Select Lightweight is specifically intended for packages that weigh less than a single pound, packages that are used for order fulfillments, and packages that are already pre-sorted and ready to enter into the USPS logistical mail stream at either a DDU, SCF, or NDC designated mail entry point.

 

That has a lot more to do with how your local post office is set up or how your online postage account is created, and is something that you can discuss with your local post office representative in depth later on.

 

There are other Parcel Select options available as well, including:

 

  • Parcel Select Non-Presort, service available directly through third-party vendors like Stamps.com
  • Parcel Select Destination Entry, specifically intended for those that are shipping 50 packages (minimum) at a time
  • Parcel Select NDC/ONDC Presort, another Parcel Select program that requires you to be sending at least 50 packages at a time through specific mail stream entry points

 

pricing for parcel select lightweight

 

What Kind of Prices Should I Expect?

 

There are a couple of different price points you can expect to pay when you are taking advantage of Parcel Select Lightweight specifically, though these price points are going to differ a little bit depending on a couple of factors.

 

For one thing, you’re only going to be able to take advantage of Parcel Select Lightweight (or any other Parcel Select services) when working with a third-party online vendor.

 

You’ll have to go through something like Stamps.com or another 100% authorized USPS business partner for PC Postage vendor. More information about that can be found online (via the USPS website) or you can call your local post office for more details, too.

 

Prices are going to bounce around a little bit depending on the specific service that you choose.

 

A lot of people go with Stamps.com because they have such a fantastic reputation, fair prices, and a streamlined overall online experience. But it might be worth shopping around to find a better deal, too.

 

Secondly, the price you have to pay to take advantage of Parcel Select Lightweight services will usually be dependent on the overall weight of the packages you are sending as well as the volume of packages that you are moving, too.

 

Heavier Parcel Select Lightweight packages that are closer to the 1 pound limit are going to be a little more expensive, as well as those that send more sporadic deliveries through this program.

 

Lighter packages that are sent at higher volumes usually entitle you to the best possible prices when you’re looking to use Parcel Select Lightweight services.

 

All in all, you shouldn’t find this kind of delivery system set up to be all that expensive. That’s a big part of why so many people love to take advantage of this program from the USPS the first place.

 

usps driver delivering mail

 

How Long Will Parcel Select Packages Take to Be Delivered?

 

While actual delivery times will be entirely dependent on where you are shipping your packages from and where they are going to be delivered, on average you can expect Parcel Select Lightweight packages to take anywhere between two days and eight days to reach their final destination.

 

This delivery timeline is for USPS business days, of course (which means mail isn’t going to be moving that much on Sunday). It’s also only applicable for packages that are going to be delivered to addresses in the Lower 48 states of the US.

 

If you are having Parcel Select Lightweight packages sent to addresses in Alaska, Hawaii, or any other US territory you can expect delivery timelines to be stretched out a little longer than the eight days we mentioned above.

 

In fact, it’s not at all unusual for packages sent via Parcel Select Lightweight to be delivered to Alaska, Hawaii, and other US territories to take anywhere between 10 days and 14 days (or more) to arrive.

 

As a general rule, you can expect packages sent through this service to have a similar delivery timeline to the original Parcel Post mail class. It’s also quite similar to what ground delivery through the USPS would be, or first-class mail (though sometimes it’s even slower than that).

 

This definitely wouldn’t be described as an expedited delivery service. It’s much closer to standard delivery service than anything else!

 

a sign that says "thank you for shopping local"

 

When Should I Take Advantage of Parcel Select Lightweight?

 

As we highlighted above, the overwhelming majority of people that are going to want to take advantage of the Parcel Select Lightweight services available through the USPS are small to midsized businesses.

 

You’ll want to have a decent amount of package flow each week to really capitalize on the volume discounts of this service, too.

 

A lot of the benefits of Parcel Select Lightweight only come into play when you are sending more than 50 packages out at a time.

 

Any fewer than that and you just aren’t going to see as great a discount on your shipping that you would going with other USPS programs. You’ll definitely want to try and hit that 50 minimum limit every time you schedule Parcel Select Lightweight deliveries.

 

It’s also critically important that you check and double check that all of your Parcel Select Lightweight packages are actually under the 1 pound weight limit.

 

Anything higher than that is going to ship via standard Parcel Select – and that’s going to cost a bit more than Parcel Select Lightweight would.

 

It might not look like all that much at first glance, but when you have to send 50 pieces of mail at a time those extra fees really start to add up – especially if you are sending a lot more than 50 packages through this delivery program on a regular basis!

 

Because you are going to be ordering this service through the internet (through USPS approved business partners) it’s important to have your scale system optimized. That’s going to play a huge role in whether or not you are able to take advantage of Parcel Select Lightweight or not.

 

woman delivering usps mail

 

How Can I Leverage Parcel Select Lightweight Services?

 

The easiest way to get started with Parcel Select Lightweight services has to be to sign up for a free account with Stamps.com and familiarize yourself with their administrative backend.

 

This is definitely the preferred partner of the USPS when it comes to online approved vendors, in large part because of how simplified and streamlined they’ve made their systems.

 

The administrative backend here is really easy to use (especially on your mobile device) and everything is set up to facilitate Parcel Select Lightweight deliveries right from the get-go. You won’t have to do a lot of fiddling around with the admin panel to get this kind of service up and running.

 

Obviously, other USPS approved vendors are going to offer the same kind of service – though they may not be quite as user-friendly (or as affordable) as Stamps.com would be.

 

That’s definitely something worth looking into, though, especially if you are using a different mailing partner already.

 

usps tracking website

 

Will I Get Free Tracking or Delivery Confirmation Services Included?

 

Every single Parcel Select Lightweight order is going to include 100% free delivery confirmation and tracking details on every individual package.

 

Not only are you going to get delivery and tracking confirmation sent directly to your administrative backend on the platform that you choose to move forward with, but your customer also instantly gets tracking information for their order as well.

 

This is all managed automatically for you every time a Parcel Select Lightweight label is generated by the shipping partner that you have selected, and handled by the logistical masterminds at the USPS themselves.

 

The cool thing is you don’t have to pay any extra for tracking or delivery confirmation.

 

Those extra services aren’t all that expensive on their own (especially compared to some of the other package add-ons business owners like to use from the USPS), but again when you’re sending at least 50 packages at a time through this program costs and start to climb in a hurry.

 

Just know that you’ll always get delivery confirmation and tracking information provided free of charge when you use the Parcel Select Lightweight USPS platform.

 

virtual mailbox on desktop

 

US Global Mail – A New Approach to Managing Your Mailbox

 

Using Parcel Select Lightweight as a small business owner is a huge advantage, particularly if you want to provide your customers with a relatively quick delivery service that isn’t going to cost a small fortune.

 

The fact that you can use this program through any of the approved USPS business partners 100% online is another big advantage.

 

You can integrate those tools directly into your business workflow without headache or hassle, particularly if you’re working with a company like Stamps.com that have a real intelligently laid out user interface.

 

The rest of your mailing needs, though, you may want to consider everything that US Global Mail has to provide.

 

One of the premier virtual mailbox services on the planet today, US Global Mail has been around for more than 20 years now. They’ve helped thousands of customers with their residential and business mail needs, modernizing and updating the traditional mailbox experience in a way that the USPS can’t because of their governmental limitations.

 

With a US Global Mail account you get to take advantage of things like:

 

  • A physical street address (and not a PO Box address)
  • A virtual mailbox; access all your postal mail from your phone or computer, no matter where you are in the world.
  • Digital mail scanning of every package, parcel, and envelope that comes in
  • Mail forwarding services
  • Package acceptance with all major shipping companies (including those that USPS won’t work with)
  • The privacy and anonymity that a virtual mailbox service provides
  • A 100% online digital administrative panel, complete with real time updates about mail incoming
  • Check depositing solutions

 

… And so much more!

 

If you are interested in a much more modern mailbox, US Global Mail is the way to go!

 

For more information and details, check out their website or contact customer service at your earliest convenience.

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How to Install a Mailbox

Believe it or not, installing a mailbox – a curbside mailbox mounted on opposed or a door slot or something mounted on your exterior walls, it makes no difference – is relatively simple and straightforward.

 

Sure, you’ll need a handful of tools and a little bit of know-how.

 

But anyone with a weekend afternoon and some good weather, as well as this detailed guide, should be able to knock the project out with no real extra effort whatsoever.

 

That being said, this isn’t a project you’re going to want to undertake willy-nilly.

 

You definitely need to be focused as you go through the different steps, producing a mailbox that the USPS will actually use.

 

Yes, they have specific requirements that your mailbox needs to meet if you’re going to be able to use it to receive mail in the first place.

 

Luckily, those requirements aren’t crazy – but they are important!

 

Be sure that you pay close attention to all the details outlined below and you’ll have no trouble whatsoever with installing your new mailbox of your choice going forward.

 

mailbox

 

What Kind of Mailbox?

 

The first big piece of the puzzle that you have to get right straightaway is what kind of mailbox you’re going to do moving forward.

 

When you get right down to it, there are really only two different kinds of mailboxes:

 

 

Sure, mailboxes come in every shape, size, color, and configuration imaginable (we have all seen a novelty mailbox in our neighborhood before) – but by and large they are all going to fall into these two major categories.

 

Both of these mailboxes have pros and cons and both of them follow a unique installation process.

 

The budget for these two mailboxes (and the work involved installing them) is going to be different, too.

 

Curbside mailboxes, for example, make life a whole lot easier for mail carriers that never have to leave the vehicle to drop your mail off. When positioned and installed correctly that they are safe, functional, and can even add a bit of curb appeal to your home – like those novelty mailboxes we mentioned earlier!

 

They also happen to be a little sturdier, little stronger, and (generally) better build than your average wall-mounted mailbox. But the budget for them is significantly higher, too – as is the installation labor investment.

 

On the flip side of things, door slot and wall-mounted mailboxes are super inexpensive, generally very easy to install, and are going to give you a lot of headache or hassle as long as you know your way around power tools.

 

Of course, these kinds of mailboxes also have a much smaller mail capacity – and that might be a problem if you’re having a lot of packages, parcels, or envelopes delivered to your house on a regular basis.

 

Combine that with the fact that they’re less secure, flimsier, and some people balk at the idea of cutting into their door to install a door slot and you definitely have some decisions to make here.

 

Only you are going to know which one of these options are right for you forward!

 

usps truck delivering mail

 

Curbside Mailbox Installation

 

If you have decided to go down the curbside mailbox around there are a couple of things you are going to want to think about.

 

The USPS has some pretty stringent requirements your new curbside mailbox is going to need to meet, with the most important ones involving how your mailbox is placed alongside the road.

 

According to the USPS requirements, you need to place your mailbox so that it is between 41 inches and 45 inches from the surface of the road to the bottom of the actual mailbox itself – the mailbox door where the mail carrier is going to stick your day’s delivery.

 

On top of that, it’s also important that your mailbox is positioned anywhere between 6 inches and 8 inches away from the curb. This can be difficult to pull off if you don’t have a traditional curb, though you can usually “ballpark it” if you don’t have an HOA or a neighborhood watch that is particularly aggressive.

 

The next requirement is that you need to make sure that you have lettered your mailbox with your house number or apartment number at the very least.

 

Some people go all out and make sure that they add their street name, their household name, and other embellishments – but you definitely don’t have to go in that direction if you don’t want to.

 

Just make sure that your street number is easily observed from the road so that there’s no confusion when your mail carrier arrives and you’ll be good to go. Consider reflective numbers that work well in low light and poor weather conditions, too.

 

Finally, and this is really only important if your mailbox is on a different street than your house or address, the USPS requires you to include your entire street address on the box.

 

You don’t have to include the town, the state, and the ZIP Code as well, but if you live at 123 Main St. in Anytown, USA you’re going to need to make sure that 123 Main St. is prominently located on your offstreet mailbox.

 

As for the actual installation process, this is going to involve quite a bit of manual labor.

 

You’re going to need to do some digging, so be sure that you have a shovel and a post hole digger on hand.

 

Measure out 6 to 8 inches from the curbside of the road and begin digging a 6 x 6 (or slightly larger) hole in the ground to accommodate the 4 x 4 treated lumber post you’re going to be sinking into the ground.

 

You’re definitely going to want to start with the shovel and then finish things up with the post hole digger, though you can speed things up even more if you get your hands on a powered auger.

 

Definitely don’t buy one if the only thing you’re going to do was dig a single mailbox whole. But if you’re going to be running posts for a fence or have other uses for this kind of tool it’s going to make life a whole lot easier!

 

After digging down into the ground (how far you deep is going to be dependent on local building codes and your regional weather and climate conditions, as well as soil conditions, too) you’re going to want to pour some gravel into the bottom of the hole itself.

 

About 3 to 6 inches of gravel in the bottom of the whole is going to provide for lot better drainage. That’s going to make sure that your treated post doesn’t get rotten over time, and that water doesn’t have an opportunity to freeze directly underneath your post and start lifting and twisting it, either.

 

The next piece of the puzzle is to prepare concrete mixture (according to the instructions) and get your post ready to be set.

 

Drop your post directly into the hole on top of the gravel and then start backfilling it with concrete.

 

You don’t have to worry too much about making sure that your post is perfectly straight, perfectly level, and perfectly plum right away – but you don’t want it flailing all over the place while you pouring concrete, either.

 

After concrete has filled the whole completely it’s time to break out that level and check for plum, square, and level. You want your new mailbox to look nice, don’t you?

 

The last piece of the puzzle here is to allow that concrete plenty of time to set up and dry before you even think about putting a mailbox on top of it. Give it three or four days (and even longer if you are tackling this project in cold weather) before you put your new mailbox on top of it.

 

You can go with a traditional mailbox made specifically for 4 x 4 treated posts, following the installation instructions to the letter to guarantee that that job gets taken care of the right way.

 

You can also cook up a custom creation (think about those cuckoo clock, dollhouse, or crazy woodworking project mailboxes you likely seen in your neighborhood or town before) and mounted to the 4 x 4 post as well.

 

At the end of the day, make sure that the mailbox weight supported, that all brackets are firmly tightened down, and that your hardware is designed to withstand all kinds of wind, weather, and anything else your mailboxes going to be subjected to.

 

It’s not a horrible idea to run a piece of florescent tape or reflective tape up and down the length of your post, either. That’s especially useful for people that live in colder climates where plow trucks might not necessarily see where your mailbox was in a storm!

 

door slot mailbox

 

Door Slot and Wall Mounted Mailboxes

 

If you are going to go to the door slot or wall-mounted mailbox direction, just know that you aren’t going to have to spend as much time tackling this project than you would have with a curbside solution.

 

All the same, the USPS does have rules and requirements you need to meet for approved door slots and wall-mounted mailboxes, too.

 

For starters, door slots need to:

 

  • Have openings that are at least 1.5” x 7”
  • Have the bottom of the door slot located at least 30 inches above floor level
  • Must include a flap hinge on top of any horizontal slot
  • And vertical slots have to be hinged on the opposing side from the door slots themselves

 

If you want to take advantage of “privacy hood” accessories with these kinds of slots you’ll need to be sure that:

 

  • The hood doesn’t stick out any further than 2 inches beyond the inside of the door itself
  • The hood doesn’t stick out any further than the bottom of the outside door kickplate
  • That the hood on a vertical slot doesn’t extend any further than the outside plate on the same side of any door hinges

 

Cutting door slots into existing doors is always a bit of an adventure, and one you’re only going to want to tackle if you are comfortable with power tools and confident that you can get the job done with a professional finished result.

 

If not, there’s no shame in calling in the experts and having a carpenter, woodworker, or handyman tackle the project for you.

 

If you have decided to go with wall-mounted mailboxes, though, you’ll want to make sure that they:

 

  • Meet the local rules and requirements established by your postmaster
  • Are mounted directly to an exterior wall that can handle an average daily mail volume
  • Are placed near the main entrance so that mail carriers can spot them easily and get to them without obstruction

 

Some of the best wall-mounted mailbox solutions on the market today include what’s known as a Post Master General “Seal of Approval”.

 

Your wall-mounted mailbox doesn’t necessarily have to include a PMG certification, but if it does just know that you’re not only going to be using a great mailbox but you’re also going to be making the lives of your mail carriers a lot easier, too.

 

All it really takes to install a wall-mounted mailbox is to attach it firmly to an exterior wall with a fastener that can withstand the outdoor elements.

 

Driving oversized lugs, large galvanized screws, or treated nails into a stud and then hanging a metal wall-mounted mailbox off of that is the easiest way to knock this project out.

 

You’ll want to be sure that you are in a stud, though – especially if you expect high mail volumes.

 

Cheap out with your fastener here or miss that stud and your wall-mounted mailbox (and all of your mail) will inevitably end up all over your driveway or yard!

 

virtual mailbox on desktop

 

Don’t Want a Mailbox? US Global Mail Has You Covered!

 

Having the opportunity to install your own mailbox gives a real feeling of ownership and control for sure, but nothing beats the amount of ownership and control you get over your mailing experience when you sign up for US Global Mail!

 

One of the most trusted and reputable virtual mailbox services on the planet today, US Global Mail offers you digital mail scanning, mail forwarding, package acceptance, and even check-cashing capabilities – all with a physical mailing address that protects your privacy at the same time!

 

To learn more about how US Global Mail can help make your life a little easier, contact them directly or check out their website today!

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Can I Pick Up a Package from USPS Before Delivery?

The only thing worse than waiting for your USPS package to be delivered is watching the tracking, seeing it “frozen” the next town over, and wondering when it’s going to start moving towards your doorstep again.

 

While, believe it or not, you might never again have to worry about waiting for that package to start moving through the USPS infrastructure again – especially if you want to “intercept” your package and go grab it yourself!

 

This is all made possible thanks to a couple of really cool changes made to the way that the Post Office was reorganized into the Postal Services back in 1971.

 

Combine that reorganization with much more efficient modern logistics and tracking tools and you’ll be able to intercept your package and (hopefully) get it home a whole lot faster than you might have been able to otherwise.

 

Now, the same time, we can tell you that you’ll be able to intercept your package 100% of the time.

 

As you’ll learn in just a moment, sometimes tracking information that you’ve been provided isn’t as accurate or as useful as you hoped it would be.

 

Sometimes – because the post office is filled with humans just like us, humans that make mistakes – your package or parcel might not get scanned somewhere along the way. It might even be closer to your door (if not already delivered) even though it hasn’t yet updated on the tracking website!

 

What we cover all of that and more in depth below.

 

Let’s jump right in!

 

a package on a counter

 

Is Your Package Held Up By the USPS?

 

The very first thing you’ll want to do is use the tracking information you’ve been provided from the USPS to see where your package is in the first place.

 

There’s more data in this tracking set up their most people pay attention to, and a lot of it is really important to focus on when considering a package intercept.

 

For starters, that tracking information is going to let you know exactly who is responsible for transporting that package from one point to the next inside of the USPS infrastructure.

 

Most people that purchase something online or have something shipped via USPS just assume that is going to be USPS handling it from start to finish.

 

Sometimes that’s the situation for sure. But other times other shipping partners – all kinds of shipping partners, even – are responsible for moving your package closer to you before getting into the USPS infrastructure at the “last mile”.

 

Other times you might have a company like FedEx handle almost all of the transportation of your package right up to your local post office where it gets handed over to the USPS, sitting in your PO Box or driven out to your home from there.

 

This is hugely important to know because you have to be certain that the USPS actually has your package in their infrastructure to hold or intercept for you in the first place.

 

After all, if your package is being handled by DHL or FedEx the odds are pretty good that a phone call to the USPS isn’t going to do you much help to get that package held back, slow down, or intercepted.

 

Before you do absolutely anything else just make sure to confirm that your package actually is currently being handled by the USPS.

 

usps tracking form

 

Tracking Info Breakdown – What You Need to Know

 

The next thing you need to do is figure out where your package actually is during the transportation process right now, this very minute.

 

Your tracking down from the USPS website is going to show all kinds of different notifications and different pieces of relevant information, but you’re really looking for the most up-to-date location data you can find.

 

Not only do you want to know where your package was last scanned along its journey, but you also want to know whether or not that scan was an arrival scan, a departure scan, or an in transit scan.

 

Arrival scans (obviously) mean that your package has arrived at a specific USPS facility. There’s a good chance that if you contacted that facility directly and asked them to hold back your package for intercept they’d be able to track it down in their warehouses and help you out.

 

A departure scan, though, means that your package has already moved through that facility and is on its way to the next one – and unless you know what route your USPS package is traveling or what the next stop in the chain is, you’re probably going to have to wait until a new arrival update is made.

 

In transit scans of the most nebulous of the bunch and easily the most frustrating to deal with as well.

 

In transit could basically mean anything and everything. All it really says is that your package is moving, and usually you get this when a third-party carrier is moving your package, when a package scan hasn’t been made already, or when the information just hasn’t been updated currently.

 

It’s also important to remind you that your package isn’t being scanned independently or individually every time it moves through a USPS facility.

 

Your package gets scanned individually when you drop it off (that’s when the tracking information is created and attached to the package itself), but then it’s added to a huge pellet of other packages to be moved around the country as well.

 

That whole pallet is given a scanning code that ties into each and every one of the pallet package codes as well, allowing for the USPS workers to scan a single code and have it update the information on all of those packages at the same time.

 

Every now and again, though, for one reason or another the USPS might not have tied your package code to that pallet code.

 

Sometimes the pallet code doesn’t match with your package code.

 

Sometimes your package doesn’t get scanned as part of a pallet, either.

 

Sometimes there’s software glitches that sort of mess things up in one of the USPS facilities along the way, and a whole batch of codes are given “In Transit” notifications just to show that the pallet is moving – even if more detailed information is available.

 

At the end of the day, you’ll want to make sure that you are using the tracking information to find out exactly where your package is (or where it is most likely to be next) so that you can make the decision to intercept or have a package held for you.

 

priority mail package

 

Can You Pick Up a Package from USPS Before It Gets Delivered?

 

Like we’ve been saying throughout this guide, you really have two different options available when you want to get your hands on a package before USPS delivers it to you.

 

You can either go with a package intercept or you can go with a package hold.

 

The cool thing about the solutions is that they give you a lot more control and a lot more freedom about how to get your hands on your package.

 

Let’s dig a little bit deeper into both of these two options right now.

usps package at the post office

How to Start the Package Intercept Process

 

The package intercept process is super simple and straightforward to start.

 

All you really have to do is reach out directly to your local post office and initiate a redirect/intercept or you can do most of this online, too.

 

The intercept basically reroutes your package before it goes through the final delivery stage to an address or a location that you have chosen. You can do this (for a fee) with letters, packages and parcels, flats, and any other piece of USPS postage that includes tracking information.

 

Fees are going to vary on a case-by-case basis, but you usually don’t have to spend a lot of money to make this decision – even at the last minute.

 

Just remember that the fee is totally nonrefundable!

 

usps package held for pickup

 

What About a Package Hold?

 

Placing a hold on your package is different from a package intercept, and that you aren’t going to be rerouting it to another location but are instead going to be holding it at the next location along the delivery routes.

 

This is particularly useful if you order things from a company or a website that uses a similar transportation route almost every time and you can anticipate what the next step in the delivery process is going to involve..

 

Let’s say, for example, that every time you order from Amazon you know that your package is going to be routed through the Tampa, Florida post office – and you live close enough to pop down and grab your package there if you don’t want to wait another day.

 

Well, all you would do is initiate a package hold for the Tampa, Florida stop along the way and that tells the USPS to put that package aside for you at that specific location.

 

You can go that day that it arrives, couple of days later, or at your earliest convenience. You’ll obviously want to call ahead and make sure that your package actually is there (especially if you live far away) but it’s a great way to have more control over getting your packages faster.

 

magnifying glass on a piece of paper

 

Important Details to Remember

 

At the end of the day, there are a lot of opportunities for you to reroute, redirect, or hold your packages when you want to pick them up before they go out for delivery.

 

As we touched on earlier, the overwhelming majority of people that are going to want to take advantage of these tips and tricks are sick and tired of watching their packages get lost in the machine – sometimes held at the next post office over for a couple of days (if not longer) for no real reason whatsoever.

 

If that situation has started to happen to you more frequently (and it’s happening to everyone a lot more often nowadays) the ability to either intercept or hold your package at a location is a game changer.

 

Never again do you have to worry about your packages slipping through your fingers or being excessively delayed with these approaches!

 

virtual mailbox on desktop

 

Try Out US Global Mail Today for a New Mailing Experience

 

Of course, if you are just flat-out tired of the way that the USPS works and operates – and it’s not hard to get frustrated with this operation these days, even though postal workers are putting in the time, energy, and effort to make things better – you can always choose a more modern mailing experience.

 

US Global Mail is a top-tier solution in this industry, one of the best and most frequently recommended virtual mailbox services you’ll find anywhere in the United States today.

 

Not only do you get a physical mailing address to use permanently from here on out (instead of a PO Box address, which limits your mail delivery options quite a bit), but you’ll get so much more as well.

 

For starters, the fact that US Global Mail digitally scans the outside of every envelope, package, and parcel you get immediately upon receipt – and then upload that information to you instantly, and in real time – is a huge bonus.

 

Now you’ll know exactly what you have coming in the mail the second it arrives, all without having to pop down to the mailbox to find it empty (or worse, filled with junk mail).

 

Secondly, you can take advantage of mail scanning solutions that digitize your documents and pieces of mail for your access straightaway – all in a 100% secured and encrypted backend.

 

Add in the fact that you can also have your checks automatically deposited in your bank accounts, can accept packages from all major shipping companies in the United States, and can have all of your mail physically forwarded to any address of your choice through US Global Mail dashboard (including overseas) and it’s not hard to see why so many people love this organization.

 

For more info and details about these services, contact US Global Mail directly or check out their website today.

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How Do I Get A Passport

A US passport (quite literally) opens up a world of travel opportunities not available without one.

 

At the same time, not everyone knows how to get their hands on this “key to the world”.

 

Luckily, though, you’ll be able to use this guide to help you do exactly that.

 

By the time you finish the inside info below you’ll know exactly what you need to do to get your first time passport, how to renew your passport moving forward, how to double confirm that you are eligible for a US passport, and how to actually navigate the passport application process.

 

On the surface, applying for a passport can look pretty daunting.

 

You are, after all, dealing with the US government here – and you’re going to have to produce some documentation, some photographs, and some information to get your passport that you might not have immediate access to (just yet).

 

Again, though, we will walk you through this process from start to finish until you feel totally confident getting your passport.

 

Shall we jump right in?

 

two passports on a map

 

First Time or Renewal for Your Passport?

 

Straight out of the gate, you need to figure out whether or not you are applying for your passport for the very first time or if you are looking for a renewal.

 

First time passport applicants should expect to have to spend a couple of hours getting everything ready and moving through the actual application process.

 

Renewal passport applications, though, can usually be successfully completed in just a few minutes – so long as your passport has not yet expired and your recorded information is still accurate.

 

If you are applying for your passport for the first time, you want to make sure that you meet all of the passport eligibility requirements necessary to successfully complete this process.

 

We highlight those in depth in just a moment, but this is definitely a list of things you’ll want to run through before you get started.

 

Secondly, you’re going to want to make sure that you have everything you need to go through the passport process from start to finish efficiently, too.

 

You’ll want a copy of the application, all necessary personal documentation, passport photographs (we go over that in depth in a moment) and money to cover your passport application fees.

 

It’s also a good idea to go through this passport application process as early as possible, as the whole thing can take anywhere between 10 and 12 weeks (standard).

 

You can also expedite your first passport as well as your passport renewal, getting it inside out 3 to 4 weeks – or even faster if you need to travel internationally on an emergency basis.

 

an open passport

 

Overview of Passport Eligibility Requirements

 

Let’s break down the eligibility requirements for a US passport, shall we?

 

To successfully apply for and receive a US passport you must be a US citizen by birth, though you can also be a US citizen by naturalization or considered a US “national” as well.

 

Anyone that does not fall into one of these three categories is not going to be eligible for a US passport.

 

There are two groups of people that are technically noncitizen nationals that may also apply for a US passport, and that’s people that were born in American Samoa as well as those that were born in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

 

Those that were born in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands must also have made the decision to be treated as a US national and not as a US citizen to be eligible for this specific US passport.

 

It’s an interesting little wrinkle and a unique distinction to be sure, so make sure that you speak to a passport expert in the Northern Mariana Islands if you find yourself in this situation.

 

Citizens of Puerto Rico, citizens born in Guam, and citizens born in the US Virgin Islands – as well as those that have parents that are US citizens (with some exceptions outlined by the Child Citizenship Act) – will also be eligible to receive a US passport.

 

passport application process

 

The Passport Application Process Simplified

 

Now that we’ve gone over the basics of eligibility, it’s important to go over the application process from start to finish – step-by-step – so that you can navigate it on your own without headache and without hassle.

 

The very first thing you’ll want to do is actually get your hands on the US passport application process, officially known as US Government Form DS 11.

 

This form can be found online (which is where most people excessive these days), but you also be able to request a physical copy directly from the United States government.

 

You can also get a paper copy anywhere that passport photos are taken, and most US post office locations also have these kinds of forms on hand that you can fill out and submit all on your own.

 

Anyway.

 

The next thing you’ll need to do is to decide exactly what kind of passport you want to receive.

 

Some people are going to want the “standard” 28 page passport book that provides access to all available agreement countries around the world. This is your typical sized passport, but you are only going to be limited to 28 pages – and that might not be enough for frequent travelers.

 

Some table, on the other hand, are going to be looking to take advantage of the 52 page passport book. This one also provides access to all available travel agreement countries around the world, though it’s larger, thicker, and more cumbersome.

 

Folks that are going to be traveling all that much (internationally, anyway) probably won’t need this kind of passport.

 

Finally, the government recently unveiled a third passport option – the Passport Card!

 

This card is the same size as a driver’s license, is relatively inexpensive, and provides US citizens with the ability to travel to Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, as well as the Caribbean without having to splurge on a full-blown US passport.

 

On the one hand, this is a very useful tool if you’re not going to be traveling to all corners of the globe but only need to visit those locations we highlighted above. It’s also significantly less expensive and convenient enough to keep tucked away in your wallet or purse.

 

On the other hand, though, you are going to be significantly restricted in the amount of places you can visit with this passport. If you’re planning on any serious amount of travel abroad not to those for locales we highlighted earlier the odds are pretty good you’ll want to go in a different direction.

 

The next step in the application process is proving that you are a US citizen or that you are a non-US national, just like we highlighted earlier.

 

You’ll need to provide details that show you were born in this nation or that you are legally naturalized in the country. You can do this with documents that include:

 

  • Birth certificates (certified birth certificates)
  • A certification of a baptism or circumcision
  • A hospital record of your birth in United States
  • Insurance files proving that you are a US citizen
  • Published birth announcements in newspapers and the like

 

You can also use a notarized affidavit of US Government Form DS 10 (the birth affidavit) in conjunction with any of the documentation we mentioned earlier.

 

Submitting proof of your identification is the next step, and that usually means providing a copy of your drivers license or other identification provided by the US government.

 

There’s an opportunity for those without this official information/documentation to further confirm their identity, though you’ll have to go through the list of proper secondary identity evidence and speak to someone when you submit your passport to move forward.

 

Photographs or photocopies out all of your information needs to be submitted with your application. As a general rule, it’s a good idea to photocopy your photograph absolutely EVERYTHING you are submitting – just to make sure that you don’t lose any originals.

 

The last piece of the puzzle is getting copies of your new passport photo.

 

There are a lot of companies out there that offer passport photo services, but plenty of folks have taken to snapping their own passport photographs thanks to how good camera technology has become.

 

The application only requires that you submit a single photo, a photo taken of you within the last six months, and a photo that is 100%, and measures 2” x 2” in size.

 

The photo also needs to be taken of you in street clothes. You’re not allowed to wear any hats or headdresses or glasses, unless those are worn for religious reasons.

 

It’s not a bad idea to include two different passport photos, just to make sure that you meet all the criteria. One of them will just get chucked when your application is approved.

 

All that’s left to do is pay the application fee (usually anywhere between $30 for the passport card and $140 for a passbook and a passport card).

 

Processing fees are charged as well at $25 across-the-board, and anyone that wants their passport to be expedited will need to request that and pay $60 extra as well.

 

Overnight shipping is available on all passport services, charged out at $14.85 (flat). This doesn’t mean you’ll get your passport the next day after submitting it, but it does mean that when your passport is approved it will arrive the next day from that date.

 

clock

 

How Long Until I Get My New Passport?

 

It’s almost impossible to predict exactly when your new passport is going to arrive, especially these days.

 

As a general rule, the government recommends that you give yourself 10 to 12 weeks lead time to apply for your passport so that you definitely get it before you travel.

 

In reality, most people are going to have their passport in their hands anywhere between four and six weeks after that make the purchase. Some people are going to have to wait even longer, though, so do try to give yourself as much lead time as possible.

 

Of course, you can also expedite this process in a big way as well.

 

There are Passport Agency organizations all over the country that can turn around a passport in eight days, sometimes speeding things up even more so. There are ways to get your passport in your hands within 48 hours when working with private partners, even.

 

Of course, expedited services with the government are going to speed things up in a big way.

 

You can cut your delivery time and have, and if you contact the government directly and let them know that you have an emergency that requires international travel they almost always get it to you within 24 to 48 hours – and sometimes even faster than that.

 

lady catching a plane

 

Expat Mail Forwarding

 

When you are about to leave the country, it is easy to arrange for certain things while you are away (who will take care of the pets etc.) But mail, is something that you will need to put on hold (if you do not wish to have it forwarded all the way overseas with USPS – gets pricey.)

 

Another option for frequent travelers and expats, is getting a virtual mailbox. Access postal mail from any desktop or mobile device, no matter if it is an envelope or a package. It is kind of like e-mail, but for postal mail. Just log in with your e-mail and you can view all the envelopes or packages that have arrived for you. When a mail item or package arrives in your name, a mail scan is completed and uploaded into your account.

 

If you need something shipped to your location, you can get it there with up to 80% off on your shipping. Companies like US Global Mail, cater primarily to frequent travelers or people who have moved overseas.

 

With 80,000+ customers since 1999, and our proprietary virtual mailbox (as well as several awards,) US Global Mail is the go to place for virtual mailboxes.

 

To learn more and to get started for free, click here.

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How Many Sheets of Paper Per Stamp?

A lot of people (understandably) think that one stamp attached to an envelope lets them send almost anything that are fit through the mail.

 

And while that’s usually the case for most folks, truth be told there is a limit to what you’re able to send through the USPS system with just a single first-class or forever stamp attached.

 

Yes, you’re reading that right.

 

Even if you can somehow shoehorn 30 or 40 pages of paper into a single envelope you’ll not be able to send it through the mail with just one stamp attached.

 

Instead you’ll have to attach two or three extra stamps (maybe even different kinds of stamps), and that something that we are really going to dig a little bit deeper into in just a moment.

 

There are some exceptions to this rule, for sure.

 

For example, flat rate envelopes are always going to be charged at a single flat rate – though these aren’t generally sent with “stamps” attached in the first place.

 

On top of that, a postcard can be shipped for the unbelievably low price of postcard postage on its own and you’ll never have to attach a second or third stamp to one of those.

 

Let’s jump into better understanding when one stamp works and when you might have to get your hands on a couple of extras below.

 

a set of stamps

 

Will One Stamp Cover All My Mailing Needs?

 

As we just talked about a moment ago, not all of your envelopes are going to be able to go through the mail if you have just a single stamp attached to them.

 

Yes, your average letter (even a four or five page letter) folded up neatly into a piece of paper won’t require you to have multiple stamps attached.

 

You’ll be able to grab a $0.55 (as of January 2021, anyway) stamp, attach it to your envelope, and then drop it off in a mailbox, at the post office, or leave it in your own mailbox with the flag up.

 

There’s no real mystery there!

 

As soon as you start to add other things to that envelope, though – including extra pieces of paper – you may not be able to get away with sending it through the mail with just a single stamp.

 

It turns out that stamps aren’t sold on an “envelope” basis and haven’t been sold that way in almost 150 years.

 

No, when you buy a first-class or standard stamp (or a forever stamp) you’re really buying the postage for something to go through the mail that weighs less than one ounce.

 

The $0.55 stamp entitles you to send a single ounce of mail through the postal system.

 

Now, the overwhelming majority of postal officers, workers, and even postmasters aren’t going to lose their mind if you’re stamped envelope comes in weighing at 1.3 ounces or so. Once you start to push beyond 1.5 ounces or more you really start to stretch things quite a bit.

 

This is when you’ll have to pick up another stamp, or even a partial value stamp, to get your mail delivered from Point A to Point B.

 

We talk about that a little more below, too.

 

an envelope with stamps

 

How Many Sheets of Paper Will One Stamp Cover?

 

There’s no real hard and fast rule to how many sheets of paper a single stamp will cover when you want to send it through the post, though there are “rules of thumb” you can stick to for sure.

 

The overwhelming majority of people that want to send letters that are four or five pages long (standard pieces of paper, standard sized, and standard weight/thickness) are never going to have to stick a secondary stamp on top of their envelope.

 

No, even if you go (slightly) over the 1.0 ounce limit we mentioned earlier you are going to be just fine.

 

Start to stretch past that, though, and that’s when things can begin to get a little bit expensive.

 

Some postal workers and postal officials are going to let you get away with up to 1.9 ounces of mail in your envelope before they want you to spring for another stamp. Any higher than that, though, and you’ll have to pay extra for another stamp.

 

usps stamps

 

How Do I Know How Many Stamps to Include?

 

There are a couple of things you can do to figure out exactly how many stamps you need to attach to your envelope or parcel before you drop it in the mail or drop it off at the post office.

 

The easiest thing to do is to simply keep your envelopes relatively lightweight, maybe even splitting up your letters into a couple different envelopes if you are nervous about going overboard.

 

Just to reinforce once again, four or five pieces of paper folded up in an envelope isn’t ever going to push you over the edge.

 

10, 15, or 30 pieces of paper folded up – bursting at the seams – is definitely excessive and will require a couple of extra stamps or splitting that envelope up into a couple of different letters.

 

Another thing you can do is pick up a kitchen scale that is sensitive enough to measure single ounces and fractional ounces, one that you can lay your letters down on top of before you start sticking any stamps to them.

 

The scale doesn’t have to be laser accurate or unbelievably precise, either.

 

Like we mentioned a couple of times already, the overwhelming majority of people in the post office are going to let your letter slide if it’s a little bit overweight – usually up to 1.9 ounces.

 

As long as you are below the 2.0 ounce threshold you should be good to go!

 

Of course, if you do a lot of mailing it may not be a bad idea to get your hands on one of those postal scales or postal meters so that you can really zero in on how much your postage is going to be.

 

That is totally overkill for your average person (unless you’re sending hundreds of pieces of mail each week), but if you really want to double check and be sure that your postage is good to go it’s the best way at home to do so.

 

Finally, you could always wait to put stamps on your envelope until you pop down to your local post office and have them check the postage for you.

 

The big benefit here, of course, is that you’re not only going to be able to get exactly the right amount postage (the postal worker or post master will help you here) but you also be able to drop your letter in the mail straightaway and have it start its journey to your intended recipient at the same.

 

That’s a real “one-stop shop” kind of solution that’s going to work wonders for sure.

 

All in all, if you are nervous at all that a single stamp won’t be enough just have a second stamp ready.

 

You could even attach both stamps (or attach “fractional” stamps) to make sure that you cover the postage. Most of the time you won’t have anything to worry about, though.

 

forever stamps

 

What About Forever Stamps?

 

The beauty of Forever Stamps is that they never lose their value even if the price of postage goes up.

 

And, if history is any indication whatsoever, the price of postage ALWAYS goes up.

 

In fact, it’s going up faster and faster than ever before and shows absolutely no signs whatsoever of slowing down anytime soon. We might end up spending a dollar or more per stamp in the very near future.

 

With Forever Stamps, though, you are guaranteed to be able to use that stamp as a traditional first-class rate stamp no matter what you paid for it on its face value.

 

In January 2021 a first class stamp costs $0.55 – and that’s what Forever Stamps cost as well.

 

Obviously, the incentive here is to buy as many first class stamps as you can. You really want to pile them up, getting as many as you need to cover the next two or three years (or more) of mailings if you want to be sure that you lock in these low rates.

 

Like we talked about a second ago, the price for first-class mailing has been jumping year after year.

 

It wasn’t all that long ago that a single first-class stamp would have set you back $0.22. We are beyond double that right now.

 

Do you want to have to pop down to the post office in five or six years and pay a dollar or more for stamp that you know you could have covered for half that if you purchased Freedom Stamps in advance?

 

The answer is probably no!

 

postage on priority mail

 

When Will Stamps Alone Not Cover My Postage?

 

Stamps alone aren’t going to cover your postage in a couple of situations, usually all pertaining to packages and parcels versus straight up envelopes and letters.

 

Obviously, if you’re going to stuff a letter envelope with everything but printed paper the chances are pretty good you’re going to shoot past that 1.9 ounce, single stamp limit we have been talking about this whole time.

 

With packages, though, a stamp won’t ever be good enough to send it through the mail – you’re going to have to pay based off of weight, speed of delivery, and a handful of other criteria and features that you select moving forward.

 

Flat rate boxes, on the other hand, definitely do keep shipping costs low for the most part.

 

Think of these as “Forever Stamp-esque” kinds of postage, insofar as much as you can pay a single price to have something sent halfway across the country no matter what.

 

If you want to take advantage of tracking on your envelopes, if you want to add insurance to your envelopes, or if you want to add any other extras (like a signature of receipt, for example) you’re going to have to pay a premium to leverage those solutions – and all of that goes on top of your first-class stamp.

 

many envelopes

 

How Do I Make Sure My Mail is Good to Go?

 

The easiest way to know that your postage is all taking care of and that your mail is good to go is to bring it down to your local post office and double confirm it with someone that works there.

 

They’ll be able to take one glance at your envelope, heft to it in their hands, and know almost immediately (thanks to their experience) whether or not that single first-class stamp is going to cover things.

 

Sometimes it will. Sometimes, though, it won’t – but you’ll be in exactly the right place to purchase that extra postage and have it sent off ASAP.

 

It really doesn’t get much better than that!

 

virtual mailbox on desktop

 

Manage Mail Better with a US Global Mail Account

 

While the USPS does a fantastic job of helping people with all their mailing needs, there are a lot of alternative services that provide more modern mail solutions – including those at US Global Mail.

 

One of the preeminent virtual mailbox services on the planet, US Global Mail is very much a modern mailing services from top to bottom.

 

You’ll be able to take advantage of services and solutions provided by US Global Mail not available with the USPS, and some of them not available anywhere else.

 

We are talking about full digitization of every piece of mail you have sent to your physical US Global Mail address (no PO boxes here), real-time mail alerts so that you know exactly what has arrived – and what hasn’t, and a whole host of other solutions that make this a very attractive option.

 

If you’d like to learn more about this modern mailbox service and how it can help you streamline your day-to-day mail needs, check out everything they have to offer on the US Global Mail website.

 

Don’t be shy about reaching out to them for interest any of your questions you might have or help setting up a new account, either.