Can you ship a package to a P.O. Box address when using FedEx? That’s the question we will answer today.
Because the answer is yes and no.
Let’s take a look…
Can FedEx Deliver to a P.O Box Address – Key Points:
- In nearly all cases, only USPS can deliver packages to P.O Boxes
- FedEx Smartpost uses USPS for the final leg of delivery. SmartPost is the only FedEx service that will deliver to a P.O. Box in the contiguous U.S.
- If the P.O. Box owner has an agreement with USPS to use a street-style address, FedEx will deliver.
- FedEx state that it is possible to ship to P.O. boxes in Puerto Rico (and other international destinations) via FedEx Express. However, you’ll be required to provide a valid telephone, fax, or telex number.
Why Can’t FedEx deliver to P.O. Boxes directly?
Post Office Boxes fall under federal legal restrictions. They are regulated for postage-paid mail use only under what is called the Mailbox Restriction Law, (18 U.S.C. 1725)
This means that it is against Federal law for anyone other than USPS staff or the P.O. Box owner to open or put anything inside the box.
If caught doing so an individual can be fined up to $5,000. An organization such as FedEx could be fined in the region of $10,000.
FedEx is simply restricted by law and is not allowed to open your box and place your package inside.
If you fill out a shipment order on the FedEx website and enter a P.O. Box address as the destination, a warning will pop up. It will state that the address is invalid and can’t be used.
Are There Any FedEx Services that Deliver to P.O Boxes?
There is one FedEx service within the contiguous U.S. that will deliver to a P.O. Box. This is FedEx SmartPost.
The reason this FedEx service can deliver to a P.O. Box is the fact that USPS is contracted to complete the final leg of delivery for FedEx SmartPost packages.
FedEx SmartPost & P.O Box Delivery
We have created an in-depth FedEx SmartPost guide here.
However, in summary, a customer simply orders a package delivery via FedEx choosing the SmartPost option.
For the majority of transit, the package will be delivered using FedEx Ground infrastructure.
However, when the package arrives in the local area of the recipient it is handed over to the local Post Office.
USPS will then complete the “last mile” of delivery. This means USPS-owned P.O. Boxes can be delivered to.
Note: to avoid any issues when using FedEx SmartPost and delivering to a P.O Box it is recommended that after entering the address of the Post Office, you omit using P.O Box as part of the address.
This is because this can be flagged by the FedEx system and you will get a warning that the shipment address is invalid.
Instead, you should write “#689” or “Unit 689” instead of “PO Box 689.”
Rare Exceptions where FedEx will deliver to P.O Boxes Directly
As we have established, apart from the loophole of SmartPost, FedEx is not allowed by law to deliver to P.O. Boxes.
There is one exception that while you’re not likely to encounter often, will see a FedEx delivery completed to a P.O Box.
USPS Street-Style addresses
USPS also offers customers “Premium PO Box Service Street Addressing“.
This is available at limited P.O. Box locations and only after a customer has filled out a special agreement with the USPS.
This agreement enables the customer to use a different address format for their P.O. Box.
For example, a “PO BOX 340” address could be changed to “Address of Post Office, #350”
This address format will allow for FedEx shipments to arrive at a P.O. Box.
USPS GoPost is another service by the Post Office that is similar in many ways to a P.O. Box but is not subject to the same legal requirements.
In other words, carriers such as FedEx can deliver to them.
GoPost boxes are the USPS attempt at replicating Amazon lockers. They are not widely available as yet.
They also feature different addressing formats for P.O. Boxes and do not get flagged in the FedEx ordering process.
FedEx Deliveries to non-USPS P.O Boxes
When it comes to non-USPS P.O. Boxes, FedEx has no problems fulfilling deliveries.
Examples of such services would be 3rd party Pack & Ship options, Virtual Mailbox & Package Forwarding companies, and even the UPS Store mailboxes.
The simple reason here is that these boxes do not fall under the federal legalities of P.O. Boxes.
They are not owned by USPS and are not subject to the Mailbox Restrictions Law. Carriers such as FedEx can deliver packages to them as if they were any other address.
As you can see, while USPS is generally the only carrier that can deliver to P.O. Boxes, there are exceptions.
FedEx SmartPost is a good option. You are still using FedEx for the majority of the delivery. USPS then makes the final part of the delivery.
In the case of a P.O. Box, it is simply placing the package inside the box. FedEx will have delivered it to the adjoining Post Office.
If the P.O. Box owner is using a street-style address you have options with FedEx there too.