Robert Hayes Robert is a freelance editor and writer life in Colorado. Read much more might 29, 2019


There are times when you simply don’t have a mailing address that will work-related for receiving a package or a letter. You might be out of town, for example, but staying someplace with unreliable mail, or moving from ar to ar every day. Or you might be in ~ home, yet use a article Office box for your mailing address; many people use PO Boxes for the convenience and security the they provide. Unfortunately, numerous online retailers won’t ship some items to a PO Box. In addition, both UPS and also Fedex have actually policies stating that they will certainly not deliver to a PO Box. This can cause a major problem with buying things online. Therefore how can you get your letter delivered, if you don’t have actually a an excellent local resolve or if you only have a PO Box?

The answer is one older method of letter delivery, practically forgotten yet still valid, referred to as General Delivery. General distribution is a holdover from the days when lots of people didn’t have actually mailing addresses, and also would rather visit a write-up Office regularly to choose up any type of mail that had arrived because that them. The company still exists and you can still use it, back there room a number of caveats. Some of the rules because that General delivery can be uncovered on the USPS website, however most the the genuine rules are rather variable. In this article I’m going to display you just how to use General delivery and also explain the limitations of the service.

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How come Use general Delivery

You need to understand the main post office in the town or city whereby you space visiting. There is one main write-up office in each ZIP code. Friend can obtain General delivery mail at any type of Post Office but generally speaking you’re going to acquire the ideal results in ~ the largest and most important write-up Office in the town or city. The easiest means to find out which post Office is the “main” post Office is tocall the USPS at 1-800-275-8777 and also ask; they’ll be happy come tell you. Friend can also just call the local short article offices come inquire, and you’ll more than likely spend less time on hold.

Then you require to recognize what your general Delivery resolve is going to be. Depending on what sort of things you’re going to have actually sent come you, you may additionally want the street resolve of the post Office. (More on the later.)

The format is:


If ns were to use the main write-up office in Colorado Springs, Colorado, here’s how it would certainly look:


“GENERAL DELIVERY” is the actual attend to line, and also using “9999” as the ZIP+4 additionally indicates general delivery.

Picking up your mail is straightforward – simply go to the short article office, current your identification and also ask for any General delivery mail the you’ve received. (If the postal staff recognize you personally, castle don’t usually have to see identification.)

So This Will work For all My Mail?

The prize is a definitive maybe.

It will work for any letter or package sent via the United claims Postal Service. The article Office will hold your mail and packages because that you for 30 days (no much longer than the – lock WILL start to throw it out, since they aren’t passionate to administer you v this service and also it does end up being a hassle because that them if you’re not picking up her mail). However, General distribution is detailed at the discretion that the regional postmaster – if you have sixty-three packages ceded via basic Delivery, you’d much better pick them increase the exact same day due to the fact that the postmaster is not setup aside half of his or she storage area for you.

Where it gets tricky is the usage of UPS and also Fedex. Technically, these services do not work and play well v others, particularly with the USPS. Human being have report that making use of General distribution to acquire a package via UPS or Fedex has actually resulted in three possible outcomes:

The package arrives and there’s no problemThe package arrives yet the USPS desires to collection postage for handling it for youThe package doesn’t arrive since the transport refuses to send it

Reports native RVers, who use the General distribution dodge to obtain their mail once they room on the road, indicate that the odds that a effective package distribution increase if they include the physical address of the short article office in the address. Friend don’t need that address for USPS letters and packages, however should carry out it if you’re trying for a UPS or Fedex delivery.

What around Amazon?

Amazon is of food the 600-pound gorilla in the virtual retailing world. Reports have indicated the Amazon will typically accept “General Delivery” as an address. However, Amazon provides both USPS and also UPS, and its own shipment services, and you may run into lost-package-Hell if Amazon accepts the “General Delivery” resolve but UPS ends up no taking the package. Honestly, it’s a crapshoot.


Because an certain huge section of this process is the personal attitude the the human being that happens to be the postmaster wherein you’re make the efforts to acquire your mail, the absolute finest thing you have the right to do is to get in the write-up Office sometime as soon as they aren’t incredibly busy and ask come speak v him or her. Tell them her situation, the you’re needing to acquire some packages or part mail and that you setup to use basic Delivery, and also ask them how you should handle things favor Amazon or UPS or Fedex. They might tell you that you’re the end of luck, or lock may assist you out and cooperate with getting your packages come you.

Have any type of other advice or top for utilizing General delivery when you’re ~ above the road or simply don’t have actually a street address? re-publishing them through us in the comments below!

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