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Can You Get Coronavirus From A Package or Mail?

Coronavirus…

 

Who would have expected such a “little” virus to bring down entire economies and global world powers?

It is by far the most discussed topic on dinner tables and in virtual corporate meetings. The world is going through some unprecedented times to say the least. And contrary to the initial idea of this having the severity of the common flu, it is now evident that the virus that causes Covid-19, is at least 10X more lethal than the typical flu, and many times more contagious.

 

One of the most interesting facts of Covid-19, is that the virus can potentially stay on surfaces for a very long time (hours and in some cases, even days) allowing it to spread at a very fast pace. Additionally, symptoms do not start appearing up to 10-14 days, making quarantine & restrictive measures very ineffective.

 

Coronavirus particle

 

Due to such unique characteristics of the virus, a very legitimate & reasonable question has been raised with regard to the ability of the virus to spread through the mail. After all, if the virus can remain on paper surfaces for up to 24 hours, why wouldn’t mail be the ideal “vehicle” the virus would use to get to the rest of us? 

 

There are several reasons:

 

Timeline

 

When you consider the amount of time it takes for a package to be shipped or mail to be delivered, that in and of itself would far surpass the typical lifespan of the virus. It is a well known fact that it takes 2-3 business days for USPS mail to be delivered to its final destination. So even with a virus being capable of staying on packages for up to 24 hours, that would still mean that it ultimately dies off. 

 

USPS truck

 

Host Requirement

 

This is not a medical journal, but understanding how Coronavirus functions and its requirements to live will help understand why mail is not capable of spreading the virus. It is a known fact of biology, that in order for any virus to survive for an extensive period of time, it requires a host it can live in. The only way a virus can be eliminated once it enters a host, is through the immune system of the patient or if the patient passes away. In other words, without there being a host that the virus can be a part of, it has no chances of surviving for more than just a few hours (or at most, a few days.)

 

Virus depiction in a host

 

Droplet Spread

 

The easiest way for any virus to spread is through the tiny droplets that are sprayed into the air when someone coughs or sneezes. That means that unless someone sneezes on the mail you are about to receive, you are probably safe. Not only that, but it would also need to be delivered in under 24 hours, which like we said, is impossible. Another thing to consider, is the fact that when a piece of mail is sent, it is placed into a tightly sealed envelope. Such environmental circumstances would not allow for a virus to live for more than just a few hours. 

 

To add to this point, the theory of the virus spreading through hard surfaces (and staying alive for a few hours or even up to a few days,) has no real scientific backing. According to the New York Times, a good majority of the scientific community does not believe that you can catch the coronavirus by touching a surface that has the virus on it and subsequently touching your own mouth or nose. Additionally, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (the German version of our very own F.D.A.) advises that although there is a certain small risk to catching the coronavirus from hard surfaces, there have been no known cases in which individuals have caught the coronavirus by touching a contaminated surface and then transferring the virus to their mouth or nose. It’s worth noting however that transmissions has always been known as a tough subject to study with any kind of “absolutes”

 

Virtual mailbox

 

Coronavirus Surviving on Surfaces

 

Not having any absolutes works both ways: there is no guarantee that the Coronavirus spreads through hard surfaces, but there is also no guarantee that it can not spread through such surfaces.

 

Recently, there was a paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine that helped shed more light on the matter. Researchers from NIA, the CDC, Princeton University and the University of California misted certain virus particles into a rotating drum and studied how long the particles would survive on different surfaces. What was discovered was that the SARS-CoV-2 virus survived on cardboard surfaces for up to 24 hours. The conclusion being that the virus could probably not survive for days, but could definitely survive a few hours on mail. 

 

Surgeon general Dr. Jerome M. Adams, the CDC & WHO, all have “indicated that there is currently no evidence that COVID-19 is being spread through the mail.”

 

Employee disinfecting hard surface

 

Point Of Mail Contamination

 

As mentioned several times already, from the time a package or piece of mail is sent out, until the time it reaches its final destination, there will have been at least 2-3 days that pass by. What that means is, it’s very unlikely that someone who has the Coronavirus would be able to transfer it to a friend or relative to whom he/she is sending that letter to. 

 

One thing to consider however is the point at which someone infected with the virus, touches the mail. Think of the chain of events that take place for a piece of mail to reach from point A to point B. Initially, mail is placed in your mailbox and from there delivered onto a USPS truck. Ultimately, it reaches a USPS distribution point where federal employees will sort through all the packages and mail. 

 

At some point, mail will be loaded up onto a USPS truck and will be delivered by the mailman from home to home. Which leads us to the question: what if you do not have the Coronavirus, but the mailman that delivers it does? What if the surface touched on the mailbox is then touched by the resident with a subsequent touch to their face?

 

I think the point is pretty clear: mail itself cannot transfer the Coronavirus from zip code to zip code. But hard surfaces could potentially. And depending on who is infected (whether the sender or the mailman,) potentially there is a risk that you could catch the coronavirus via snail mail. Is it likely that is going to happen? No.. 

 

In fact there have been over 1 Million cases of coronavirus worldwide at the day of writing this blog, and no reported cases of someone getting ill due to a piece of mail that contained the Coronavirus on it. 

 

Mail being delivered with the USPS

 

A Virtual Mailbox Solution

 

One of the best ways to receive mail safely & avoid coming in contact with contaminated packages or the mailman, is through the use of a virtual mailbox. 

 

One of the added perks that comes with that, is that you can get all packages (this includes prescription medication,) for up to 80% off of shipping.

 

What Is A Virtual Mailbox

 

A virtual mailbox is an online mailbox (think Gmail) where you can view all your USPS snail mail. All letters that come in are scanned and uploaded into your account. This ensures you do not come in contact with the mail or the mailman.

 

If there is a package that arrives, you can request we ship it to you with up to 80% off what you would normally pay for shipping.

 

Here’s what it looks like on your computer or smart phone:

 

Virtual mailbox on desktop & mobile devices

 

US Global Mail, will offer their virtual mailbox, 2 months free, to anyone over 50 years of age or with underlying health conditions.

 

This will ensure you get the Covid-19 stimulus check and all prescription medication, without needing to come in contact with other people.

 

To get the free virtual mailbox, click here & use coupon code “fightingtogether” at checkout.

 

(This offer will last until the end of the month.)

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USPS Package Forwarded – What Now?

Getting mail from the Post Office is a great feeling. Some would go as far to say that it resembles childhood anticipation on Christmas, to open up the gifts under the tree.

 

But, as “on time” as Santa Claus is, the USPS has a bit more to deal with than just a family of reindeer. Indeed, when you input your tracking code, you might see a note saying: forwarded, or forwarded for delivery.

 

Santa Claus reading mail

What Does Forwarded For Delivery Mean? 

 

This means that the package you were waiting for, has been sent to a new address. It will come up as a notification when you input your tracking code in the USPS website. 

 

If this confused you even more, it’s probably a good idea to answer first what forwarding USPS mail is all about.

 

Whenever someone decides to move to a new address, instead of having to notify all senders they ever got mail from, of the new address, they will simply want to complete a change of address request with the USPS. This will allow for an automatic mail forwarding system to be put into place, where all packages are sent to your new location instead of your former address.

 

Tracking a package online

 

There are three types of forwarding services offered by the USPS depending on the duration of this forwarding process. You have:

 

  • Permanent change of address. This is a permanent change of address. You have decided to move and are not looking to move back nor is this some short term stay. In order to complete this address change request, you will want to visit the official change of address part of the USPS website. You will immediately get an e-mail confirming the change that you completed online.There will be a $1.05 charge to change your address online. To complete that transaction you will need a valid credit or debit card as well as an e-mail address. Note that this charge is not them receiving compensation for the processing of your application, but rather just an identity verification to ensure they prevent fraud and that you are really the individual completing the change.If you look up “change of address” online, you will probably come across several third party private companies that try and help you complete the change of address, for a fee. You can totally disregard those as the change of address needs to take place officially from USPS, and completing such a request is a really easy process.

 

  • Temporary change of address. As the term suggests, this is a more temporary mail forwarding application, that will allow for mail to be forwarded to another location from 15 days to 6 months. If you enter in the USPS calendar the date on which you would like to have them start forwarding mail to your new address, make sure to list a date that is not 30 days older than today and up to 3 months into the future. From the minute you complete the change of address, mail should arrive at your new address within 7 business days of either your move effective date or your file date.

 

On the USPS website, you will be asked to submit information around your current address. If your address happens to be a PO Box, make sure that you enter it in the Street address field. Remember that you cannot submit change of address requests for non USPS private mailboxes.

 

After completing the information surrounding your current address, you will be asked to fill out information about your new address you are moving to. Make sure to enter a valid address and remember that you cannot request a change of address for PMB’s.

 

  • Premium Forwarding Service. This one is a premium feature of the USPS where they hold your mail and ship it weekly to you using priority mail services. The advantage of a premium forwarding services (over your non premium options) is the flexibility and control you get with respect to when and where you receive mail. For example you may want to change the forwarding location while you relocate or you may want to get all business mail in a particular address. A premium forwarding service will grant you that flexibility for a one time fee and a weekly shipment fee.

 

USPS worker delivering mail

To read through a full breakdown & further details of each service, click here.

 

Why Was Your USPS Item Forwarded To A Different Address?

 

If the USPS sent mail to the wrong address, usually this is either due to a wrong postal code, or a recent change of address with the USPS.

 

  • You put the wrong address on your USPS package. This is by far the most common mistake people make. Think of all the common street names that exist throughout the United States and the possibility of changing just a few numbers, and having your package sent across the other side of the country. Always double check the address that has been added to the package prior to ordering it. Also make sure to make your handwriting clear for the mailman to make out the address listed on the envelope. This will help you avoid having the package delivered to the wrong address.

 

  • You recently completed a change of address. To understand this, you first need to understand how USPS change of address works. If you do not recall having completed a change of address, you will want to double check with your family members in case there was a request made. If you do recall and that happened while you were in the process of moving, just be patient; it will soon be forwarded from your old address to your new one. And just in case, you can always give the Post Office a call to double check that everything is alright. Just make sure to have your tracking number with you, when referencing the case.

 

Man in green shirt scratching his head

 

What Happens If A Package Is Delivered To The Wrong Address?

 

You will have to wait for the person that received the package to report the error on their end. If they decided to reach out to the USPS, then the post office will go and pick it up for you. You will find it in the Mail Recovery Center, in the lost and found department.

 

Most frequent issues come up with people listing the wrong zip code on their envelope, as a result having the package going to the wrong address. That in return just causes a series of communication hurdles between you, the USPS and the random stranger you decided to send this “Christmas present” to. 

 

It all boils down to how honest the other recipient of your mail is, in claiming arrival of your package. In that case, the USPS will easily be able to schedule a pickup in order to be able to get your package back. But in the case where the recipient claims to have not received any package (yet you are convinced it got there & the tracking number suggests that,) then you will need to both (you & stranger) open up a lost package case. 

 

An extensive process will follow through with a series of reviews that will take up more time you can imagine. So it will probably be best to make sure that you do not make this zip code mistake, in the first place. 

 

Missing piece of a puzzle

 

A Better Alternative For Mail Forwarding

 

Considering the admittedly bureaucratic nature of mail forwarding completed with the USPS, several services have designed a mail forwarding solution that goes above & beyond what you would get from good o’l Uncle Sam’s Postal Service. 

 

That is a digital view of all incoming mail, before it is even forwarded to your location. Think of it as Gmail containing all your snail mail and you being able to select what items you want specifically forwarded to you while keeping everything else digitally stored. Not only do you get to receive all mail digitally, but you also have unlimited storage space for up to 6 months. Which means you can kind of “leave it & forget it” without needing to check it every week (like you normally would with a physical mailbox or else it overflows.)

 

Virtual mailboxes also tend to be cheaper than a typical PO box. That is because since everything is stored online, you are not footed the leasing expenses a post office facility would have. So your monthly plan ends up being a lot less.

 

Several other advantages of having mail forwarding done digitally, is that considering you handle it online it takes away from all the paper mess, loss of envelopes & chaotic storage and keeping track of all your snail mail. Additionally, there are some features (such as check deposit or mail shredding) that will allow you to remotely deposit a bank check without needing to visit a bank and shred any mail that contains sensitive information.

 

More & more people have been flocking to such alternative mail forwarding solutions, considering that they can label the files online (just like Gmail,) and even store them to your Dropbox or Google Drive for future reference. As an example of where this would be applicable, say you need to reference your tax notices from last year’s third quarter, you can easily do so; just sort by date or label and you’re good to go. 

 

A virtual mailbox on smart phone & desktop

 

In Summary

 

There is no alternative to submitting your address properly the first time. Doing so will help you save a lot of time and money. 

 

If you are looking for something digital & more streamlined, you may want to consider the use of mail forwarding with a virtual mailbox. Digitizing your mail can be the best decision you’ve made yet, in staying on top of a ton of paper. 

 

For any questions, you can contact us here. 

 

Or visit US Global Mail.

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How to Find a Lost USPS Package or Mail

Finding out that your mail or package is missing can be pretty soul-destroying. Regardless of whether you’re the sender or the recipient, you’ll have wasted both your precious time and, occasionally, money. No one wants that.

 

Since USPS deals with a huge amount of mail and packages every day, it goes without saying that a letter or two will get lost. However, if you are waiting for (or have sent) an urgent or expensive piece of mail, you will feel the effects of this.

 

So, what can you do if you are without your USPS mail or package? Don’t fret too much, we are here to give you a step-by-step guide on how to attempt to retrieve your lost mail.

 

Although, please bear in mind that the USPS cannot guarantee that you will actually receive your items in the end. Trust us, we know how saddening and anger-inducing this is.

 

Cartoon saying that 14.4 Million letters are lost in the mail every year

 

Why Would Your Mail Get Lost in The First Place?

 

Honestly, there are so many reasons as to why your letter or package would deviate from its rightful path. It could be due to bad weather damage (blurring the address or name) or the label or stamp detaching itself. Usually, it’s simply because the address is incorrect.

 

Even if it isn’t drastically wrong, it could cause the fault. Maybe you inputted an incorrect digit in the zip code or misspelled the street name — whatever it is, this is likely the reason.

 

Having said that, sometimes it’s because you have moved house and forgotten to complete the USPS Change of Address form. This means your mail will have been delivered to your old address.

 

Make sure you write out the address neatly using a permanent marker so you stand the best chance of protecting your mail from adverse weather conditions.

 

Who Do I Call If My Mail Is Not Being Delivered?

 

At some point in your life, you will probably experience times where your mail is not getting delivered. Needless to say, this can be incredibly frustrating. Trust us, we get it! Thankfully, there is a number you can call, just make sure you have given it some time first.

 

What do we mean by “some time”, we hear you ask? Well, let us extrapolate.

 

The United States Postal Service asks that you wait at least two days of not receiving mail before contacting them. Alternatively, if your household isn’t receiving mail regularly for more than two weeks, you should get in touch.

 

For those who like to speak to customer service representatives on the phone, you will need to call the following toll-free number 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777). But this isn’t everybody’s preferred choice, so we’ll go over the other options too.

 

In Person

 

Even though life is all digital nowadays, it can actually be quite nice to sort things out the old-fashioned way sometimes — face-to-face.

 

All you have to do is find your nearest post office branch, look up their opening hours, and walk on in. Everyone there will be happy to help you with all your “USPS package never arrived” problems.

 

Email

 

And finally, you can use good old email. It is quick and effective for all you busy entrepreneurs out there.

 

So, how does it work? Take a look.

 

Firstly, just click here to find the “Email Us” page. Then, enter your tracking number (if you have one) or select the problem you are having from the following:

 

  • Where is my package? — If this thought keeps you up at night, “my package was not delivered USPS. Where is it?”, then you need to click this one.
  • Where is my mail? — This is the one for you if you’re having problems with consistently receiving zero
  • com — Only click here if you’re having technical problems with their website.
  • Postal facility — Whether you have queries about the signs, access, look, cleanliness, or opening hours of USPS post offices, this is the one you need to hit.
  • Personnel — If an employee made you cry, tell them. If they made your day, tell them. If they were super-professional, tell them. That’s what this button is for.
  • Business — For all you businessmen and women out there, USPS has got you covered.

 

After that, all that’s left is to type up your message and hit submit! You should hear back from them in a few working days. Try to be patient!

 

Package Says Delivered but Not Here USPS

 

Unfortunately, you may have been notified that something was delivered but when you go to get it, you quickly realize that your USPS package was not received. Yup, annoying, right? Don’t freak out just yet though, make sure you have looked everywhere. Sometimes, your carrier will put it in a more secluded, secure location. Take a look in all of the following places:

 

  • Mailbox
  • Porch
  • Garage
  • Any place safe from adverse weather conditions
  • Exterior doors
  • Ask other household members

 

If you still can’t find it, you might be a rare case. What’s this? Well, it’s when the order status says “delivered” but it actually takes another 24 hours to arrive in your mailbox. We know, pretty weird. Although, don’t wait around longer than a day! Send a service request by email to your post office branch so they can follow up on your delivery and get back to you.

 

Can’t Track My Package USPS. Why?

 

To tell you the truth, this is probably the most annoying part of a lost pac

kage because you just don’t know whether it is actually lost or not!

 

But there are a few reasons why you can’t track your package with USPS. Have a quick gander below to learn more:

 

  • The post office didn’t scan your parcel
  • The scanners didn’t download the information
  • The label was damaged
  • The Package hasn’t yet been received by the post office

 

Can USPS Find a Lost Package?

 

Honestly, this is a very blurry topic. In a nutshell, yes and no. Unfortunately, your current USPS package not found issue will remain the same. The good news, however, is that this rarely happens.

 

The best way for us to explain our “yes and no” answer is to tell you about how their missing mail search works. Are you ready? Let us get started.

 

After they have received your missing mail claim, their expert team begins looking for your package, parcel, or letter at the Mail Recovery Center. Regardless of the state you live in, all the post office’s lost packages go to this facility in Atlanta, Georgia. Generally, every letter with a “return to sender” notice or an incorrect address ends up chilling here.

 

The United States Postal Service holds mail at this Center based on its value and its selected delivery service. So, if it is a standard item and you send your USPS lost claim in too late, it may well have already been shredded. Don’t stress, if it is worth less than $25, it will be destroyed without opening. On the other hand, insured packages and express mail are held here for around 6 months (sometimes longer depending on the situation).

 

Once the holding period ends, any packages that are valuable will be put up for auction. This should be motivation enough to get your claim in as quickly as possible.

 

What Happens If USPS Loses Your Package?

 

If your USPS item is not delivered, you should be able to get a refund if the mail handlers can’t seem to find it. However, it isn’t easy to claim for this really. Why? Their rules on what happens here are pretty foggy shall we say.

 

Having said this, you will definitely be refunded by the United States Postal Service if you bought insurance in the first place. To tell you the truth, you should always purchase insurance if you’re posting valuable items.

So, now we know why your package or letter is lost, let’s focus on how to amend the problem.

 

Someone writing the address on an envelope

How to Find a Lost USPS Package or Mail

 

Okay, we know this is what you have been waiting for. We won’t waste any more time withholding the answer to your burning question, “what to do if mail is lost?”.

 

The First Step: Check the Status of Your Mail

 

Should your mail come with a tracking option, search online for USPS Tracking and have a look at the current status of your letter or package. If you do not have a tracking number (or can’t find it) ask the mail sender (only if you are the recipient, of course).

 

For orders made online, you will typically receive tracking numbers. So, use this if you are not so patiently waiting for your package. Even if you have purchased an item that is delivered through another carrier like UPS, you can still track it with them through their app or online service.

 

Occasionally, you will get lucky and find out that your items are stuck somewhere in the dispatch process and so is not lost.

 

Lost usps mail

The Second Step: Chat With Your Neighbors

 

If your status said “delivered” or “received” but you’re yet to see it, the parcel or letter could be with a neighbor. This is especially likely if you live in a block of flats and the driver got a bit confused so ask around before you panic too much! You could even ask your mailman before doing anything else — in fact, we suggest that you do to cut out the middle man.

 

Ensure you thoroughly check your mailbox for any “sorry we missed you” notices from your mailman. Then, you will have answered your lost mail worries.

 

Unfortunately, the delivered status could be there due to mail theft. If you believe this has occurred, call your local Post Office and the Police to report it as soon as possible.

 

Missing usps package

The Third Step: Gather Your Mail Information

 

Once you have decided that your letter or parcel is actually missing, gather as much information as you can before getting in touch with the USPS.

 

They will ask you everything about your mail, so you need to be clued up. Check the:

 

  • Contents value
  • Sender’s address
  • Recipient’s address
  • Right address was used
  • Receipt
  • Package/letter details (brand, pictures, size, contents, etc.)

 

Lady calling the USPS customer service number

The Fourth Step: Place a Mail Search Request

 

You have a couple of choices here: either walk into your nearest Post Office or fill out the request online by going to the USPS Missing Mail Search. If you have been waiting for more than a week, we recommend you hop to it and get this done!

 

As soon as they acknowledge your search request, they will send you an email and begin looking for your mail.

 

They’ll start by looking at the Mail Recovery Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Essentially, this is a huge lost and found spot. Should your letter or parcel be fitted with a “return to sender” notice or “incorrect address” sticker, they’ll turn up here. Although, a lot of letters are shredded if they’re worth less than $25 and remain unclaimed.

 

Submitting a mail search request with USPS

Are You After an Easier Alternative?

 

So, you don’t lose any letters or parcels again, sign up for a digital mailbox. It’s so convenient, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner!

 

How does it work we hear you ask? Well, your mail is sent to a physical mail facility (no, not a PO box) where experienced individuals will scan and process everything. This is then uploaded to your virtual mailbox where you can oversee all your mail being handled.

 

You can use your phone to sign in to view your mailbox. From here, you can decide where you want the mail operators to forward, archive, shred or open and scan your packages and letters. You are in complete control. Not to mention that no matter how many times you move, you can forward all your mail yourself. You never have to worry about stuck or lost parcels ever again.

 

US Global Mail offers this for people all over the world. Don’t hesitate to join them — they’re all living stress-free lives thanks to us. Why are you still here? Get going!

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Expat Resources Compare Mail Forwarding Services

Expat Mail Forwarding (the why, how and what in 2020)

 
 
Moving abroad- whether for work, retirement or other reasons- can be equally exhilarating and nerve wrecking. There are mixed emotions of sadness at leaving behind family and friends and the thrill of starting a new adventure.
 

One question that expats often miss in the hustle bustle of moving, is what will happen to the paper mail that they get at home. Even if you have moved your banking online and get most bills via email, there are still many pieces of mail for example from the IRS, tax notices, new credit cards, renewed Drivers License, and other paperwork that comes only via mail.

 

USPS will forward mail internationally for a steep cost. You can enroll in the USPS forwarding service, which costs $21.10 retail or $19.35 if you enroll online. There’s an additional cost of $21.10 for each week of service. So about $84.40/month and Priority Mail items are are sent at an additional cost. Ouch!

 

US Airlines

 

Depending on what country you move to, getting mail can be difficult.  And keeping a US address even when you are overseas is important if you bank in the US or expect to deposit any checks in the US. Many companies, not to mention government services, require one, even if it is not your official residence.
Which begs the question:

 

How do I forward my mail to another address overseas?

 

You can do that via the USPS by getting a PO Box, and the USPS will forward your mail to your international destination. Other options include:


(1) Ask a family member or a reliable friend to pick up your mail daily

(2) Forward your mail to a family member’s or friend’s home address

(3) Use a professional mail forwarding service

 

Let’s start by looking at how you go about getting a PO Box, and then we will move on to the other options we just mentioned.

 

How to Get a PO Box with The United States Postal Service

 

To make this as easy as possible to understand, we are going to go through each step in detail, so you can decide whether this is the right option for you. Just make sure you don’t make any set-in-stone choices yet since we still have to tell you about the best way to go about your expat mail forwarding.

 

Step One: Choose a PO Box Size

 

The United States Postal Service offers 5 different PO box sizes. Namely extra small, small, medium, large, and extra large. Thankfully, they also tell you what each of these can hold! We will have a closer look at them now:

 

  • Extra small (3 inches x 5.5 inches) — this one can hold around 10 to 15 letters or 2 magazines (rolled up). The depth is around 14.75 inches which is a universal size throughout all PO boxes.
  • Small (5 inches x 5.5 inches) — this option can hold around 10 to 15 letters or 5 magazines (rolled up).
  • Medium (5.5 inches x 11 inches) — this one can hold large envelopes and magazines that are stacked flat.
  • Large (11 inches x 11 inches) — if you receive larger packages, you will want to go with this one. It can hold around 2 shoeboxes and 10 to 15 letters at the same time.
  • Extra large (12 inches x 22.5 inches) — this one can hold a number of flat rate boxes and parcels, along with letters too of course.

 

Step Two: Reserve Your PO Box

 

Once you know which size will suit you best, you need to search for the post office that is nearest to your home. Then, just click “reserve a new PO box”.

 

Step Three: Pick Your Payment Period

 

There are multiple payment periods that you can select. It is up to you and your financial needs as to which one will fit you best.

 

Step Four: Enter Your Contact and Billing Information

 

You will be asked to supply the obvious information like your first name, last name, address, card number, security code, expiry date, and a few other bits. After you have hit “submit”, you are able to move onto the final step.

 

Step Five: Validate Your ID and Pick Up Your PO Box Keys

 

By law, you have to validate your identity in person. So, you need to go down to your PO box location with two forms of government-approved ID. The primary form needs to be a federal, state, or tribal photo card. You can choose from the following:

 

  • State driver’s license
  • Non-driver’s ID card
  • US Armed Forces card
  • Uniformed Service ID card
  • US passport
  • US passport card
  • US university identification
  • Corporate identification
  • Any card issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
  • US naturalization certificate
  • US citizenship certificate
  • Tribal identification card

 

The secondary form can be one of these:

 

  • Lease agreement
  • Deed of trust
  • Mortgage agreement
  • Voter registration card
  • Vehicle registration card
  • Home insurance policy
  • Form I-94
  • Vehicle insurance policy
  • Utility bill

 

After they have been approved by the person at the post office desk, your keys will be handed over to you. Then you can do a little celebration dance because the PO box is yours!

 

Ask someone to pick up your mail daily

 

Works short-term. Long term though… not really. If your close friend or brother asks you to pick their mail for a week, that’s fine. You can help out! But picking up their mail daily for a month or a year sounds crazy. Plus, are you comfortable when your friend or sibling looks through your bank statements or W4 form?

 

person giving out mail

 

Forward your mail to a friend’s home

 

Are you comfortable with your friend or sibling looking at your tax documents or W4’s? Even if you can compromise your mail privacy and confidentiality, you still have the issue of getting it to yourself. Are they going to go to the Post office and mail your stuff every week?

 

Use a mail forwarding service

 

A mail forwarding company receives your mail, gives you near real time access to it so you can view it, read the contents and have it bundled and forwarded to your new home or office or any place in the world.

 

Can USPS forward mail internationally?

 

As we mentioned briefly earlier, you can ask the USPS to forward your mail overseas. But it is ridiculously expensive. It would almost be more worthwhile to fly back to pick up your packages, parcels, and letters up yourself!


The best way to get your mail securely, in near real time so you can act on it as soon as needed, is to use a professional mail forwarding company.

 

USPS mail

 

How do mail forwarding services work?

 

Mail forwarding services give you a US address which you use to redirect your mail to. You fill out a change of address form with the USPS and tell USPS to start sending your mail to the new address.  When your mail arrives at this address, the mail forwarding company will usually
 
 
– upload it to a Virtual mailbox, which you can access via a secure login
– you can see images of your envelopes and boxes along with other info like sender, weight, dimensions of boxes etc.
– you can take actions on your mail to have it opened and scanned to read contents
– you can store your mail for some time and then have it bundled and shipped together to your new home
 
At US Global Mail, we have helped over 80,000+ expats with our mail forwarding service.
 
 

Top Reasons Expats Need Mail Forwarding

 

Shop Any US Website. Whenever you are overseas, that can make getting items from your favorite US companies in the mail, a problem or a difficult attempt. Many companies do not ship overseas or if they do ship, then you can expect to pay some very high shipping fees. With a US address, you are able to receive all those items at your US location, and from there we can ship them to you at up to 80% off the typical cost you would.

 

Direct Access To Mail. When getting a virtual mailbox, you are able to stay on top of mail 24/7, with your own login credentials. It’s a bit similar to e-mail, only for mail & packages. Log into your account, request a mail scan or have some item shipped; all with the click of a button.

 

Cloud Storage. When you get mail, all items are scanned and uploaded into your virtual mailbox. You can receive an unlimited number of mail items to your address with unlimited storage. You can also store your items up until 180 days, free of charge. And eve if you do need to store items for a longer period of time, it only costs a few additional cents for your item. Saving files online, makes accessing files more reliable and a cheaper option for your mail.

 

Privacy. When you have mail clerks are the company you work at, handle your mail and ship to you, then you probably have a series of people that get to your mail before you do. With a virtual mailbox, you are the first one to access all important documents from your phone or computer, without a bunch of intermediaries. Communication with customer service can be done within the app as well; so any request you need, can be completed within just a few clicks.

 

It’s More Reliable. The alternative to having a professional company handling your mail, is having some relative or friend picking up mail on your behalf, heading over to the post office and shipping them out. As you can realize, over the course of several weeks and months, this can turn into a part time job for your friend. And even if you did have someone so committed to just deal with your mail, they probably would have to work it into their schedule to get it shipped to you in time (making up for several delays, or mistakes in forwarding on your items.) When you have a professional mail forwarding company handling this on your behalf (and especially a company like US Global Mail that has been around for 20+ years,) you are assured to get your mail on time.

 

How much does mail forwarding cost?

 

US Global Mail plans start from $10/month. You can view our plans and pick one that works best for you. USPS mail forwarding is $84.40/month. Here’s a comparison cost chart of some of the common services.

 

Is a Smart Mailbox Going to be Your New Best Friend?

 

The likely answer is, yes! Virtual mailboxes are a fantastic way to make sure all your important documents reach you, no matter where you are in the world (which expats benefit greatly from, of course). But to give you a better idea, let’s go through all the advantages you will gain by opening a smart mailbox.

 

Trustpilot reviews

 

1. Mail Security and Privacy

 

Identity and package theft is a growing concern throughout most countries these days (sadly). It just isn’t safe to have your parcels and letters left in a previous neighbors’ box or outside their door anymore, especially if you have moved overseas.

 

With a virtual mailbox, this won’t be a concern anymore.

 

You get access to your mail online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Not to mention that your delivery is guaranteed. There won’t be any missed or stolen packages anymore. You can cross that off your “things to stress about” list!

 

By now, you are probably wondering how all of that is possible. Don’t worry, we will tell you how it works.

 

Firstly, the apps use industry-leading security that will always work. Yep, we’re talking bank-grade encryption here — your mail security is not a joke to us! Any information that travels through our warehouses and servers is protected against hackers and thieves.

 

Secondly, all the staff members are aware of the privacy policies, compliances, and controls they must abide by in order to give you the best service imaginable. So, no matter where you are in the world, your US mail will be kept safe from your old neighbors, nosy family members, and the government. Basically, privacy is our middle name.

 

Thirdly, 2-step verification is enabled on all accounts to ensure it is really you trying to look at your incoming mail. It isn’t just your username and password you need, but also a secondary bit of information to ensure complete security, all the time.

 

Finally, you can always change how you handle your mail data. Whether you want to back it up, download it, or delete it entirely, it’s up to you.

 

2. Check Your Mail Any Time

 

Since you are an expat, you probably aren’t going to be in your old home country all that often, right? Not to worry, with a virtual mailbox you can access all your mail, no matter where you are in the world.

 

Missing important bills or documents is a thing of the past!

 

3. Never Have to Enlist People’s Help with Your Mail Again

 

Asking a previous neighbor or your old colleagues to take care of your mail until the next time you fly over to sort it can be incredibly stressful. You are likely to receive important documents such as tax notices, IRS letters, passport renewals, credit cards, insurance paperwork, bills, and checks that you won’t want people snooping through. Makes sense!

 

In this case, a smart mailbox is definitely the right way to go. You can have your super-important letters scanned immediately so you can sort them out on the day they’re delivered. And, you can make sure everything is bundled up and shipped to your new overseas address insanely quickly.

 

4. You Can Still Shop In the USA

 

Depending on where you live now, they might not support the importation of American goods. As an expat, you are bound to be fairly frustrated by this — hence another reason to set up a virtual mailbox. You can shop online in the United States of America, have it shipped to that address, and then tell the expert mail handlers that you want it sent to your current address. It’s as easy as a, b, c!

 

5. You Will Be Saving the Planet

 

You know as much as we do how annoying spam mail is — supermarket coupons, pizza deliveries, gym brochures — and you won’t even be in the US to be able to use them, so why bother getting them forwarded by the USPS?

 

With a smart mailbox, the professional handlers will discard anything that is clearly spam before they upload your mail every day. You won’t even have to see the annoying stuff. The best part is, these pizza deliveries advertisements won’t just be going to the landfill. Instead, they are recycled to ensure we do our bit to save the trees.

 

6. You Can Have the Same Mailing Address for the Rest of Your Life

 

Yup, you read that right; we thought we would leave the best till last!

 

We are going to assume that you’ve moved a lot in your life. Correct? We thought so. And with each move comes all the boring paperwork — including changing your address with the USPS, your driver’s license, passport, and everything else. It’s hard work.

 

But that all changes with a virtual mailbox. Regardless of where you move, your mailing address can stay the same. Perfect, isn’t it?

 

The Bottom Line

 

Here at US Global Mail, we have helped over 80,000 expats find freedom with their mail thanks to our awesome smart mailbox. We can’t help to start making your snail mail dreams come true! If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to get in touch. We are always happy to help.

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NY, CA, TX, FL – what state should your mail forwarding address be in 2020? The answer will surprise you!

So, when you are ready to sign up for a mail forwarding service after you do all the due diligence (rates, plans, shipping prices, trustworthiness etc,) do you look for a service that lets you reserve an address in the same state you are moving out of?

 

Don’t. Your mail forwarding address should be state-agnostic. Really, its a virtual address, in the cloud. So the state does not matter one bit. There are far more important criteria that you should consider, when choosing this important service. Click here for a list of important factors to consider & associated pricing.

 

One of the biggest advantages of moving forward with a virtual address is that it does not have to be tangibly associated with your actual physical location – wherever that might be on the planet today.

 

There’s absolutely no reason whatsoever you could be sitting on a beach in Miami while using a virtual address based out of New York City – using that same address when you decide to spend a month in Thailand, a week in Moscow, or a weekend in Paris.

 

In fact, some would argue that the biggest leverage you get out of a virtual address is the fact that it isn’t ever tied to your physical location. Why waste that big benefit when you don’t have to?

 

Let’s dig a little bit deeper into where you should set up your virtual address moving forward!

 

World traveler stepping on the top of a Globe map

 

Does the state of my address matter? Will I become a resident & pay taxes in the state in which I have my mail forwarding address?

 

Once you fill out a change of address form with the USPS, it will forward your mail to that address, irrespective of where in the US it is. And US laws don’t make you liable for taxes in any state without living there. Just having an address in the state does not mean you become a resident of that state.

 

Just to be perfectly clear, this means that you can have a mailing address set up through your forwarding service based out of Reno, Nevada while your business, your job, and your entire life is headquartered in Saginaw, Michigan.

 

There’s no rules, no regulations, and no laws restricting you from having this kind of setup. On top of that, there’s absolutely zero penalty whatsoever to having your mailing address physically separate from your physical address.

 

As long as you still pay your state and federal taxes based on the rules, regulations, and laws dictating that based upon your physical location and where you have earned your income you have no worries at all.

 

On the flip side of things, it’s important to understand that you are not going to be able to use this mailing address from a company like US Global Mail as proof of residency somewhere else.

 

Florida citizens do not have to pay state income taxes, but that doesn’t mean that a US Global Mail based out of Tampa, Florida while you are living and working in New York City gives you those same tax benefits.

 

That’s just not the way the system works and it’s critically important that you understand that going forward.

 

How does it work?

 

You can simply forward your mail from your existing address to the address of the mail forwarding company, and no one will be wiser! That is no one will know what your new address is – they will keep sending you mail at the old address and USPS will redirect it to your  new address. The redirect request with the USPS will work for 6 months at a time and will have to be renewed. This option is also great when you don’t want to move your address permanently and expect to cancel the mail forwarding service at some time in the future.

 

There are a whole host of other benefits you get to take advantage of when you move forward with a mail forwarding service like US Global Mail, too.

 

We are talking about benefits like:

 

  • Extra anonymity and privacy with these kinds of mailing addresses
  • The ability to eliminate junk mail from your life forever
  • An opportunity to know EXACTLY what has been sent to you before you check your mailbox
  • An opportunity to digitize your entire mail reception history for your own personal records
  • The chance to search that digital record quickly, easily, and effectively
  • Check-cashing services that have all checks redirected to your bank directly to be deposited ASAP

 

… And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

 

It’s not hard to see why so many people choose to take advantage of mail forwarding services today.

 

Condominiums in downtown Miami

 

Fancy/Premium addresses:  Mail forwarding companies or commercial mail receiving agencies (CMRA’s) sometimes will offer a choice of several states and addresses to you. Your personal mailbox number could potentially be in New York, Florida, Texas, California, the possibilities are endless! However, these fancy or “premium” addresses can come at a steep price; often a discreet +$14.99 is hidden somewhere! Watch out. And don’t pay for something you absolutely will get no additional value out of. Instead choose the service that works best for your needs.

 

Truth be told, those “premium addresses” are almost never worth the extra price tag.

 

Sure, the vanity address can be cool – for little while – but who is really paying attention to your address (your mailing address, anyway) enough for that to matter?

 

The odds are pretty good that they shine out those premium, fancy vanity addresses will wear off pretty quickly. Well before the price tag comes down, anyway.

 

All the money you would have spent on those vanity addresses can be redirected to get a couple of months – or even a year – of quality mail forwarding and mail scanning services from an organization like US Global Mail, without missing out of any of the benefits those addresses would have brought to the table.

 

When is having an address in a particular state important?

 

If you have a business and you are based in Florida and you need to bill your customers, it makes total sense to have a billing address in the city or at least the state you operate from. From a customer standpoint, it looks less suspicious. They won’t have to question the authenticity of who they are sending their money to. Certain health care providers will also require you to reside in the state you are covered in to maintain your insurance rates. The rates for insurance coverage can vary state-to-state. If you like the plan you currently have, it would be very important to maintain an address in your current residency state. If you are trying to be discreet about moving or traveling abroad, then you do have the anonymity of maintaining your residency state address. Other than those few areas though, there’s no issue in having an address in a different state; rather it’s just a preference. In that case, those options are certainly available to you!

 

The real big benefit in moving forward with a mail forwarding service that lets you pick where your new mailing address is located is the freedom you are afforded with that choice.

 

If you want your customers to feel like you are more of a local business than you are, by all means pick and address near where most of them live – even while you run that business from across the country or across the world.

 

If you want your customers to feel like you are more of a “global business”, don’t be shy about picking a mailing address in any of the major financial hub cities in the country – cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Boston.

 

If you just want an extra layer of security and protection when you give up your mailing address, pick and address that sits squarely in middle America. Something in Ohio, something in Iowa, and something in Wisconsin works just as well as anything else!

 

The freedom for you to pick and choose where you are new mailing address is located is a huge advantage you don’t want to overlook.

 

The Dallas skyline

Vanity Addresses: are they really worth it?

 

So, you’ve researched a few mail forwarding companies; one company offers a real street address in Nevada. Another company offers 3 street addresses (one in Wisconsin, one in Texas, and one in New York etc.) In this example, let’s say the Wisconsin address is their standard address. The Texas and NY addresses are premium (meaning they cost more.) Standard mailbox prices are usually “free”, or, included in the price of membership. The prices for a premium address can range anywhere from an extra $4.95 per month and all the way up to $12.95 per month.

 

So the real question is: what is the value in these “premium” addresses? Is it just the address itself? The location? Convenience? Why would you want to pay extra for a mailing address? Here you will find, transparent pricing with no hidden fees nor unnecessary addresses that beef up your bill.

 

It all comes down to your expectations, your budget, and the kinds of services that come included with that new “premium” address.

 

If you are paying a mountain of money for nothing more than a vanity address, is it really worth the extra expense, headache, and hassle to move forward?

 

Or would you rather spend that money on a full-service, top to bottom mail scanning and mail forwarding organization that offers a whole host of other benefits on top of a new, discrete mailing address?

 

The choice is yours and yours alone. Only you will be able to know what your best fit the be.

 

Payment Example

 

You want a personal mailing address to give out to your friends and family and you want a separate address for your bills and taxes, all on the same account of course:

 

  • Standard mailing address on an individual plan, $25/mo
  • Premium mailing address on an individual plan $25 + $4.95/mo
  • Separate 1583 forms for the addresses which need to be notarized
  • One forwarding request (you can only have one open at a time via USPS), then reach out to everyone who needs your change of address

 

A lot of the premium address locations are UPS storefronts. Not a private office or warehouse that deals specifically with commercial mail and package forwarding, a UPS store. Which is why these addresses are not equipped to handle all incoming mail and packages. They literally are not built for it. On top of that, each location will handle mail differently, since the UPS stores are not owned or managed by the CMRA, the possibility of errors occurring increases dramatically.

 

Delayed access to mail

Another issue with using vanity addresses is that often times the mail from those addresses is sent to the company central warehouse for processing. This means a delay for 3-5 business days on your mail. Using the company central warehouse address gets you access to your mail much quicker.

 

For example, at US Global Mail, we enter all mail received within 12 – 24 hours in customer virtual mailboxes.

 

Access to digital mail through the virtual mailbox

Final thoughts:

 

In a nutshell, if you absolutely cannot live without an address in a particular state, use the mail redirect option with the USPS and keep forwarding your mail. That lets you keep your address intact.

 

Otherwise, simply do a permanent change of address with the USPS and rest easy. You will get your mail via a Virtual Mailbox anyway!

 

At the end of the day, it really does come down to your goals, your expectations, and your budget.

 

There are a lot of options out there to pick and choose from – including moving forward with the USPS. But services like US Global Mail provide a lot of benefits that the USPS simply cannot provide right now and may never be able to offer in the future, too.

 

Look at how you hope to take advantage of these mail forwarding services today and in the future and choose a service that’s going to best align with those goals. Find a service that is affordable, reputable, and reliable and you won’t have any headache or hassle moving forward.

 

Best of luck!

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By Country Information uae

The BEST US to UAE Shipping Rates

Living in the United Arab Emirates? Want to order merchandise from the U.S? Worried about the cost of having your favorite items shipped to you?

Don’t stress any longer! We compiled the information below to give you the pricing available for the top package forwarding companies. With this chart you can see for yourself which company and shipping carrier is most economical for you. 

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Mail Forwarding and Forms of Identification..Why?

For an expat, having a commercial mail receiving agency (CMRA) when you move out of the country is kind of like the Robin to your Batman. They are perfect in every way, except there’s one little nagging issue. It is super easy, but not breezy to set up an account.

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Access Urgent Mail in Minutes!

Nothing can be more frustrating than not being able to access your stuff whenever you want. As an expat, this might just be a new way of life for you. Limited access to your bank accounts, unreliable Wi-Fi, unstable cellular connections etc., the list can go on; it just isn’t as readily available as you were once used to. In this scenario, stuff is in reference to your mail!

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Expat Resources

Mail Forwarding, You, and Security

Committing to work with a mail forwarding company can be a big risk to take. You are putting your trust into complete and total strangers, hoping your mail is safe and secure. Checks, IRS statements, family Christmas cards, Grandma’s birthday card with a crisp $20 bill, literally everything will now be going to the hands of someone else! That can be a bit daunting, to say the least. So exactly how secure is mail forwarding? Why do you have to provide so much information just to get your mail? How do you know that your mail is safe and only accessible by you? What measures does the mail forwarding team take to ensure the confidentiality of your personal mail?

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US Checks Deposited Around the Globe

An expat life can be adventurous, exciting and a dream come true for most of us. 

 

But along with the unique experiences you experience in a new place, there are times you wish things happened the way they did back home. 

 

This is especially true when it comes to handling money!  The little conveniences that are taken for granted can become nuisances if you cannot access your money as quickly as you should.