How to Write a PO Box Address Properly

Addressing a PO box isn't the same as writing a standard address. You need to follow the appropriate rules and formatting guidelines if you want your mail to reach the right place. The key difference is that a PO box has a unique number that you need to place before the address. If the PO box is hard to find, you might also want to leave some additional instructions.

If you’re unsure about what the proper format should be, don't panic, because we’re here to help. Read on to follow the necessary steps to write a PO box address properly.

What Is a PO Box?

A PO box is a post office box that's located in a post office. It's a lockable box but a mailman will have the key to leave mail securely inside the box. Typically, people who have apartments have a PO box if they don't have a mailbox or traditional way to receive their mail.

People also use PO boxes because they're more secure than getting the mail the traditional way, thanks to the lock. Privacy and needing a primary mailing address are also reasons to use a post office box.

How to Write a PO Box Address

Writing a PO box address is easy if you have everything you need to address your mail. When writing a PO box address, the correct format looks like this: John Doe, 123 Main Street PO box 12345, Townville, NY, 11780.

Step 1: Include the Recipient’s Full Name

The second step is to include the recipient's full name. You can include their first name, middle initial, and last name. However, if two people are living with the same name or using the same PO box, you'll want to be even more specific and include their suffixes (Sr., Jr., Miss., Mrs., etc.).

Step 2: Include the Business, Organization, or Street

You can skip this step if you’re sending a personal letter to someone, but in some cases, you might be sending something work-related to a representative of a company’s PO box. In this case, you'll need to include their company or organization after their full name. You don't have to include their specific title.

If you’re not sending something to a company, you should include the street address instead.

Step 3: Provide the PO Box Number

Next, it's time to follow the step that makes writing a PO box address unique; you need to include the PO box number. While it should be written like a P.O. box, according to grammar rules, the post office does not want you to do this. Instead, simply write it as “PO Box.”

After you write “PO Box,” include the PO box number after it. This number should be between two and five digits long.

Step 4: Include the State, City, and Zip Code

Write the state, city, and postal code on the last line of your letter or small package. The last line should be written out with an abbreviation for the state, which should be two letters. For example, it should be “NY” and not “New York.” Still, if you make a mistake most post offices will work with you, so don't overthink it.

How to Find a PO Box Number

When you want to send something to someone's PO box, you might not always have all of the right information. Whether you want to avoid being awkward or you can't get a hold of someone, there is an easy way to find their PO box.

All you have to do is use a reputable address lookup. First, enter the information that you have available, like their name, street, city, and state. Then, look for the person you’re searching for in the results and select their name. At first, you'll have a brief summary of their information but you can open the full report to learn more information, which will include their PO box.

Don't Let a PO Box Stop You Again

Writing a PO box address doesn't have to be difficult. In fact, all you have to do is add a PO box number after the street name and number. From there, just fill out the rest of their information as usual and you can start sending them mail.

On the other hand, if you're mailing something to a company you'll also have to include their information. Nine times out of ten, this is all you'll need to send something to a PO box.


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