UPS is already well-established as being one of the best choices for shipping to both domestic and international addresses, but what if you want to ship to somewhere that isn’t a real street address?
Does UPS ship to PO boxes, and what is there to know about it? If you’d like to find out, continue reading to see what I learned on the subject!
Does UPS Ship to PO Boxes In 2023?
UPS doesn’t ship to PO boxes in 2023. PO boxes are federal property, and UPS is a private organization, so only USPS has access. The only way to ship to a PO box with UPS is to use the USPS program Street Address, which lets you address the package as a street address rather than a PO box.
If you want to learn more about how to ship a UPS package to a PO box and why there are so many rules surrounding PO boxes, be sure to keep reading the rest of this article for more facts!
UPS, as a general rule of thumb, does not ship any packages to PO boxes.
The only explicitly mentioned exception to this rule on the UPS website has to do with military addresses, which are technically considered to be PO boxes but are still deliverable under UPS regulations.
Military mail is handled by its own dedicated postal channel, allowing UPS to ship to the base itself without having to distribute the mail into individual PO boxes or individual addresses.
These addresses are either APO or Army Post Office addresses, meaning Army and Air Force installations, or FPO or Fleet Post Office addresses, meaning Navy installations and ships.
The following is an example of how to properly write an address to an APO/FPO address:
SSGT RECEIVER’S NAME
UNIT 2050 BOX 4190
APO AP 96278-2050
While the UPS website also includes the proper addressing for a PO box address, there are multiple reasons why UPS is not allowed to deliver to these addresses, which is discussed below.
Why Won’t UPS Ship to PO Boxes?
PO boxes are a special type of service offered for those who wish to receive their mail at a location that is not their street address.
PO stands for Post Office, and this is because PO boxes are a service offered by post offices.
The post office is a part of the United States Postal Service, or USPS, which is a federally owned and operated organization.
This makes all USPS property, such as mailboxes and PO boxes, federal property, which means that private organizations such as UPS and FedEx do not have access to these areas.
However, there is a work-around for these technicalities that’s been used relatively successfully.
The first step to getting UPS to deliver to your PO box is enrolling in the “Street Address” program with USPS.
You can do this by calling or visiting your local post office and supplying all of the necessary information about your PO Box, and asking if your PO Box location offers the Street Address program.
If the answer is yes, USPS can supply you with the street address of the location your PO box is located in, and you can start receiving shipments from UPS to your PO box in no time.
Typically, PO box addresses are written like this:
PO BOX 101010
ANYTOWN AZ 01234
After verifying that your USPS PO box location offers the Street Address program, you can instead write the address like this:
47 ANYVILLE RD UNIT 101010
ANYTOWN AZ 01234
Once this change has been made, UPS will drop off your package at the counter of the USPS location of your PO box, and the presiding clerk will put your package in the proper PO box.
Does UPS Ship to International PO Boxes?
UPS offers a wide variety of international shipping services, but it does not ship to international PO boxes.
This does not, however, include military PO boxes, as UPS is almost always able to ship to international military mailing addresses, provided they are APO or FPO addresses.
The reason UPS can ship to military PO boxes and not regular PO boxes is because UPS isn’t who actually handles these deliveries.
Rather, mail delivered to a military base is given to the guards at the gate for military postal workers to pick up and distribute.
Which Carriers Can Ship to a PO Box?
Only USPS is allowed to manage shipments made to PO boxes, due to the fact that PO boxes, much like mailboxes, are federal property.
However, UPS can ship to some PO boxes by using the Street Address program (as previously mentioned above).
This program is not offered at every USPS PO box location, however, and it’s largely up to the attending manager whether or not their specific location will accept a UPS package and place it in the correct PO box.
This is why it’s always best to reach out to your PO box location, because if you just try to send a UPS package anyway, the USPS clerk can refuse the package.
A refusal will either lead to the package being returned to sender or being kept at a UPS facility until you can pick it up.
UPS does not technically ship to PO boxes because they are owned and operated by USPS, which is a federal organization, making PO boxes federal property.
However, many USPS PO box locations have the Street Address program, which allows PO box locations to be addressed in such a way that they’ll be accepted and dropped off and transferred by a USPS employee into the correct PO box.