So you have had a busy last quarter and are ready to go off the grid for a while to some exotic vacation place…great! Maybe the Maldives, or the Seychelles, or perhaps the Bahamas? Or are you more of a jungle holiday goer? Or a year-long volunteer kind of affair? Wherever you go, you’re going to have loads of fun. But it isn’t quite that simple, is it? There is still that one question playing on your mind.
What happens with your USPS mail while you are away?
Well, we have good news for you because in this blog we will be showing you how to complete a mail hold with the post office.
Make some notes, read carefully and, at the end of the day, have a wonderful vacation!
How To Hold Your Mail in 3 Simple Steps:
- Head over to the Postal Service website and click on “Hold Mail” under “Track & Manage”
- Enter your mailing address
- Confirm whether “hold mail” is available for your location
See, the good news is, the USPS has predicted that you won’t be at home 24/7 all days of the year. And even though you can get a pretty nice and large mailbox these days, the capacity is not exactly unlimited. There is nothing that screams more “I am away” than an overflowed mailbox. That in return will set you up for some unexpected visitors that are curious why you haven’t picked up your mail in such a long time.
Once you have completed all necessary steps on the Postal Service website and receive confirmation of the eligibility of your location, you will want to enter the travel dates and select from one of two options:
- Get mail delivered when you return home
- Pick it up at the Post Office
After that step is completed, you will receive a confirmation number that will be e-mailed to you within a few seconds. You will be given the option to edit your travel information and delivery options as well. That is where that confirmation number comes in handy.
In Person USPS Hold Request
If you are more traditional and find that completing a mail hold online is too complicated, don’t sweat it; there is an option of completing a hold request in person or over the phone.
To complete a hold request in person, you will want to visit your local post office branch and complete a 8076 form that will Authorize the Postal Service to hold your mail. That form will ask you similar information that the online form would ask (e.g address, calendar days you will be away, and an option to get mail delivered once you are back home, or an option to pick it up from the branch location).
USPS Hold Request by Phone
If you did not already know, the United States Postal Service has a toll-free customer service number. Along with ringing them for problems, queries, and requests, you can also start your hold mail delivery option from here too.
All you have to do is call 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777) and you will be connected with their customer service team. Do bear in mind that their opening hours are 8 in the morning to half 8 at night during the working week, and Saturday from 8 am until 6 in the evening. To be honest, we think this is amazing.
How Long Does It Take?
This is an excellent question, and depending on how far ahead you thought of this, the answer could delight you!
Once you have confirmed eligibility and are able to complete a hold mail request for your location, the post office can start the hold process within a day. Having said that, we would recommend all “to- be” travelers to complete a mail hold order at least 7 days prior to the day you leave. If you do happen to remember it last minute, then we would recommend you visit in person the local post office branch that is responsible for mail delivery to your address. This will ensure that you fill out the paper form properly and there are no mistakes that could delay your mail hold.
How Long Will The Post Office Hold Mail?
The Post Office will hold your mail for up to 30 days. It is important to keep in mind that hold mail is not done for an infinite number of days, and if you exceed the 30 day period, they will forward your mail to a temporary address you listed when completing the form.
Depending on where you will be travelling to and how long you plan on being there, you can always select the option of receiving your mail at your new location. Of course there will be an additional fee associated with that, but it may be a good alternative if you need access to that mail urgently.
Stopping Mail Delivery: When Does It Resume?
You will be given the resume date (30 days from stopping your mail) when you apply for the US mail stop service so we can’t really give you a set in stone date or anything here. However, we do have some tips that will help you avoid any upsets on the day your post will continue.
The main thing is to be at home on this date. Don’t be at work or just arriving back after the holiday of a lifetime. Why? In all honesty, it is simply courteous to the mailman since your packet is probably far too large to fit inside your mailbox.
Depending on the area you live (be it an apartment block or the like) you would probably rather pick your held mail up in person. Well, we would suggest you do that anyway. This ensures you get your hands on all of it before someone else does.
If you do decide to pick it up yourself, make sure to bring a government approved identification document. You can take your driver’s license, non-driver’s ID card, federal or state-recognized tribal card, citizenship or naturalization certificate, armed forces card, uniformed services ID card, or permanent resident card.
What If You Want Your Mail Vacation Hold for More Than 30 Days?
Annoyingly, the post office will not hold your mail for more than 30 days. We understand this though as it would be quite challenging (not to mention a huge burden). But you do have an option here.
Instead of requesting the stop mail services, you can opt into the premium forwarding feature. With this, you get your mail sent to your temporary address every week. Of course, it comes with a price. Plus, it is more complicated than simply asking to cancel mail delivery but we will walk you through everything you need to know right now.
So, How Does It Work? And What Does It Actually Cost?
Step One: You need to make a United States Postal Service account. If you were thinking of using the hold US mail delivery service then you probably already have one of these.
Step Two: Enroll in the premium forwarding service using the USPS website. The form is easy and quick to fill out.
Step Three: If you are enrolling online like we are here, you will pay a fee of $17.10. However, the retail price is $18.65.
Step Four: You will pay $18.65 every week then to receive your mail.
Although that is the bare bones of it the service, there are some more details you need to know. Take a look below:
- Your mail is packed up each Wednesday. You should receive your package within one to three business days thanks to the priority mail shipping you acquire as part of this service. However, it does depend on the distance.
- Any priority mail express items will be automatically rerouted to your temporary address.
- Priority mail items are either sent straight to you or are included in your weekly packet. It depends on which option will arrive sooner.
- Any first class mail letters, packages, or parcels that don’t fit inside your packet each work will be sent separately. Thankfully, they don’t charge you any extra for this!
As you can tell, it is pretty useful if you are willing to pay the initial (and then recurring) fee.
How to Stop Mail: A Summary
Since we have been chatting now for quite a while, let us summarize everything we have discussed so it’s as easy as possible for you to put your mail delivery on hold.
- Go to your local post office branch.
- Ask for the form that will suspend mail delivery.
- Fill it in correctly. You can always ask if you need help or you’re unsure of what to write.
- Hand it into the employee behind the desk.
- Et voila! You’re all done and dusted.
- Visit the United States Postal Service’s website (make sure it is the official one).
- Click “hold mail”.
- Fill in the form.
- And away you go!
- Ring 1-800-ASK-USPS.
- Say that you need to file a request to “stop my mail”.
- And you are done!
And there you have it! You no longer have to scream “how do I stop my mail” into your mirror every morning before your vacation starts! Perfect.
Or is it? When you really think about it, there seem to be a lot of problems with this whole holding mail thing, doesn’t there? In fact, people have publicly announced their troubles with this surface. We’ve heard of everything going wrong including mailmen still delivering mail every day when the request was put in. This just isn’t on. Especially if you are on holiday for more than a long weekend!
So, is there another solution? Yup! Check it out.
A Better Alternative: The Virtual Mailbox
Time constraints and geographic limitations are not avoided when you complete a hold mail request with the USPS. Sometimes, you may find yourself needing to extend your overseas visit, or happen to travel to a place that is too far to consider direct mail forwarding from the US. In other cases, you may need access to important documents, while you are away.
The use of a Virtual Mailbox can come in handy in cases like this. You get to view all of your snail mail online, and even select from within your account one of the following options:
- Mail scanning(view the actual document online)
- Mail shredding(for documents with sensitive information)
- Mail forwarding and shipping(if you need access to the physical mail – you will get up to 80% off of retail shipping rates)
- Check deposits(let US Global Mail deposit bank checks at your bank, on your behalf!)
If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch! We are always happy to resolve any concerns, queries or requests.