Whether you’re a digital nomad, full-time traveler, or remote business owner, the question remains the same: how do you handle your mail?

With an on-the-go lifestyle, you can fall behind on your physical mail with the traditional handling of snail mail. If you’re looking to upgrade your mailing solution to something convenient, versatile, and flexible, that’s where the virtual mailbox comes in.

This blog will introduce you to the concept of a virtual mailbox and answer your questions on the following:

  • What is a virtual mailbox?
  • How does a virtual mailbox work?
  • Who can benefit from a virtual mailbox?
  • How do you pick a virtual mailbox that works best for your needs?

What is a Virtual Mailbox

A virtual mailbox offers a permanent address in the U.S. so you can travel and work from anywhere without worrying about accessing your physical mail. It’s an online mailbox that will give you 24/7 access, instant email notifications, and the ability to view and manage mail with the click of a button (think of it similar to email). In addition, a virtual mailbox offers a variety of other mail services including:

  • Real-time mail notifications
  • Online viewing of mail
  • Mail opening and scanning
  • Mail forwarding
  • Package forwarding
  • Mail shredding, mail disposal, or mail recycling
  • Package storage and shipping
  • Check depositing

Some select services will offer registered agent services at limited locations. Psst...VirtualPost Mail (VPM) offers FREE registered agent services at all locations.

How Does a Virtual Mailbox Work

First, take a look at all the types of mail services available, then choose the mail package that serves your business and personal needs the best. Continue with the following steps to get a virtual mailbox:

  1. Complete the USPS 1583 form - You will find detailed directions and resources to complete this form here.
  2. Change of Address With USPS - A change of address is a request to have USPS forward your mail to a new destination address. This can either be temporary or permanent, and it can be done online or in person. You can learn how to file a change of address with USPS here.
  3. Have your mail and packages sent to the new virtual mailbox address as soon as the mail arrives. It will be scanned and uploaded to your virtual mailbox account.
  4. Log in to your new virtual mailbox account and decide on options for mail scanning, mail forwarding, deleting, shredding, or storing.

Who Uses a Virtual Mailbox and Why

When you move to a new place, you will need to fill out a mail forwarding form with the post office, and they make sure your mail gets to your new permanent address.

However, the challenge of someone embracing a location-independent lifestyle faces is that they don’t have an address because they typically don’t stay in one location for more than a month at a time. A virtual mailbox solves the “permanent address” issue.

The reason a permanent address is still necessary even if you work and travel remotely is that many institutions still require a physical address for communication purposes such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), and voter registration. In the private sector, some law offices, some financial institutions and banks, and even employers providing end-of-year tax documents often use snail mail by default. You also need an address for things such as credit cards and packages.

A virtual mailbox is also used for multiple purposes outside of a permanent address. Below outlines the other reasons small businesses, digital nomads, travelers, and ex-pats find a virtual mailbox is valuable.

1. Startups and Small Businesses

A virtual mailbox provides a streamlined digital document solution and saves time so you can focus on billable activities and what matters in your business.

It is the smartest and easiest way for you to manage your mail and packages, and it comes with additional long-term advantages for your business. Startups and small businesses will enjoy the following benefits.

Permanent Address Linked to a Commercial Office

Linking your business address to a commercial office will create and maintain a professional image and make you look more trustworthy to customers. A permanent address also makes it easier for customers to find and contact your business on a local level.

A virtual mailbox enables a company to have different location addresses across the country, thus spurring market presence and helping the company expand.

Did you know that not all virtual mailboxes are the same?

While it may seem that you have struck gold with a virtual mailbox service that offers multiple locations, you will need to research your address and choose the best fit for you.

Many virtual mailbox services will use USPS and PO boxes and forward the mail to their main sorting and scanning facility. This allows the virtual mailbox to offer more addresses even though they may not have a physical presence in that state. Here are the 4 Reasons to Choose VPM for Your Virtual Mailbox instead.

Imagine your customers are searching online for your business and they see a PO box linked to your address. You’ve lost a customer due to lack of credibility, yikes! That’s why it’s important to ask yourself these questions when selecting a location.

  • What do you think their impressions would be?
  • Do you think these locations look professional?
  • Is this how you want your business to look when customers search on Google Maps?

Read more about How a Virtual Mailbox Can Give You a Professional Business Image.

Privacy Protection with a Business Address

When you register an LLC or corporation, the forms require a business address. This business address will be on public and state websites for the world to see. A virtual mailbox that is tied to a commercial office lets you use that as your business address instead of your home address. This will protect your privacy by not exposing your personal home address.

This will protect your personal information when you:

  • Open documents with your suppliers and vendors
  • Receive statements, invoices, payments, and bills
  • File for legal contracts, licenses, and permits
  • Expose contact information on websites and marketing materials

Check out more reading material:

As for an online business or online retailer, if you’re a seller on Amazon, Etsy, or eBay, for example, you’ll also need a separate business address to protect your privacy. You can use your separate business address on shipping labels, return labels, websites, and public information.

Immediate Access to Mail

A virtual mailbox enables you to handle your mail from any device. You'll receive an instant notification when mail is scanned and processed into your account. You then will need to log into your online account to open and view the mail scans and decide what to do from there.

Document Management Solution

With a virtual mailbox, you will be able to store and archive all your important business documents. This gives you a paperless office solution that automates, eliminates junk mail, and lets you skip the hassle and wasted time of opening and sorting your mail.

Digitizing all incoming business mail also means:

  • Effortless record-keeping
  • Saving time by scanning documents
  • OCR’ed PDF files for easy searching of important documents, and downloadable digital copies in PDF format

You can see the 7 Ways VirtualPostMail Can Help Your Remote Business.

2. Digital Nomads

Digital nomads live and work as they travel from different foreign countries, making their offices coffee shops, public libraries, and coworking spaces. They use telecommunications technologies to earn a living and are not tied to a location.

A virtual mailbox is a perfect fit for this unpredictable lifestyle with the following benefits for the digital nomad on the go.

Easy Management of Mail and Packages

You can view, read, store, or trash mail online, anytime, and at any location. Other benefits of a virtual mailbox service enable you to forward mail and forward packages to any address in the world.

Permanent Street Address

Not needing to worry about having to change your permanent address for the long run is one of the most important benefits a virtual mailbox offers the digital nomad. You can receive mail from all couriers, including FedEx and UPS, and even use that address for your driver’s licenses or credit cards.

Ultimate Mail Security

All the mail and data handled by a virtual mailbox service are safe and encrypted and are accessible only by the recipient. Packages are handled and stored at mailing locations with the highest security standards.

Because of the nature of working in public places as a digital nomad, security is critical. It’s important to keep client and personal information as secure as possible across any and all applications and tools as you work and travel.

Check Deposit Services

Receiving salaries and paychecks from different countries is no problem for digital nomads. You don’t need to go to the bank, as everything is managed by your virtual mailbox service. You can deposit checks to any US bank for faster payments. Get paid as you go.

3. Travelers

Virtual mailboxes enable frequent travelers to stay connected without having to worry about missing important documents or worry about mail piling up. As a traveler, you’ll enjoy the following benefits.

Real-Time Mail Access

People who travel often find themselves in a bind when they cannot access their mail and may face large fines, missed payments, and late fees for urgent mail items. Things that require immediate responses such as court orders, traffic tickets, bills, and other documents may appear in your mailbox when you are not available to address it until your travels are finished.

With a virtual mailbox, you will have immediate notifications so you can address your mail in real-time and avoid serious problems. You’ll also be able to decide on what to do with your mail such as store, trash, or recycle it.


Travelers can view and manage all of their mail online with any device from anywhere.

Also, if you are traveling for a long period of time it’s not always simple or cost-effective to buy products online and have them shipped to your current location. As a traveler, you may also be concerned about shipping prices if you are in need of an item.

With a virtual mailbox, the ability to forward mail and packages makes it easy for travelers. A virtual mailbox allows you to purchase from an online retailer and have the products shipped to a US address. The shipper will then consolidate the packages and ship them to you wherever you are for a more affordable and reasonable price.

4. Expats

While striving for success in your new location as an expat you must also stay connected back home in the U.S. Working abroad for months or years at a time with rare trips back to the U.S. makes it difficult to check a physical mailbox.

Expats still need a permanent address in the U.S. to receive communications from their employers as well as shop and receive mail and packages without the high risk of mail loss in the international post.

By using a virtual mailbox, you can rest easy that all your packages, mail, and employer documents will go to you rather than through customs. Expats will find a virtual mailbox most advantageous in the following ways.

Staying Connected

Using a virtual mailbox gives you a permanent address that is accepted in more places than a PO box. Forward your mail and packages to your location using the permanent address. In addition, you can shop from U.S. stores and receive your purchases from all couriers.

Seamless Convenience

A virtual mailbox will give expats a permanent address, check deposit services, and the ability to manage mail and packages under one platform.

You can use your permanent address for your bank accounts, tax authorities, and more.

You will also have the ability to access check deposit services with your virtual mailbox. With check deposit services, you won't have to step foot in a bank to deposit your check again. Your checks will be processed the same way your mail is with your virtual mailbox.

Don't miss important documents with your mail too. A virtual mailbox gives expats instant access to important documents and allows you to manage all communication real-time. You will get an instant notification when your mail is in your account and you can decide the action you want to take from there.


If your employer doesn’t provide you with corporate mail services, you will have to depend on family or friends to retrieve, sort, and forward your mail and packages on your behalf. With family and friends, you will expose your personal information as well as experience an increased delay of documents that are time-sensitive.

With a virtual mailbox, your correspondence and package contents remain private. Mail goes to the address of your choice, keeping things between you and the sender while reducing the risk of loss of mail and packages that may contain confidential information or important documentation.

Pros of a Virtual Mailbox

Subscribing to a virtual mailbox service provides more than a mailing address. Read on to learn more about the advantages of a virtual mailbox.

Permanent Street Address

A virtual mailbox will give you a permanent street address, which is accepted in more places than a PO box. When you have a permanent street address, you will save time and can avoid the hassle of driving to a physical mailbox location to check it on a daily or weekly basis. Plus, a permanent address is accepted by all couriers such as USPS, FedEx, and UPS. The permanent address provided by your virtual mailbox service is also valid for credit cards, driver’s licenses, and taxes. As an added benefit, you don’t have to change your address if you move.

Incoming Checks Deposited Via Mail to Any US Bank

When your check lands in your virtual mailbox, all you have to do is request to have it deposited into your bank account. Your request is then processed, and within one business day, your deposit is mailed out. Your bank processes the deposit and puts the money into your account, and the money is at your disposal.

Store and Keep Records of Digital Mail Documents

Important personal, legal, and business documents such as taxes, bills, fees, and licenses are stored and archived for as long as you have a virtual mailbox. This is useful for tax and auditing purposes.

Streamline and Automate Workflow and Administration

You can have your mail opened and scanned and then you decide whether to shred, hold, or ship the items to yourself. Additionally, OCR technology makes it possible to easily search through PDF scans of your mail. This saves you time and frees you up from manually managing and scanning your mail so you can focus on other aspects of your business.

Simplify Mail Processing

Centralizing all of your mail in a single location means you can reduce having to deal with mail being sent to multiple offices, services, or people. You’ll manage all-important personal and business-related documents under one platform.

Cons of a Virtual Mailbox

While having a virtual mailbox provides you with numerous benefits, it also comes with certain drawbacks.

Extra Shipping and Handling Fees

If you want to forward mail and packages to another address of your choice, you will need to pay additional shipping fees, which can vary depending on shipment urgency, package size, and fragility. This option is pricier when compared to just driving and picking up mail at a brick-and-mortar mailbox location. Also, some virtual mailbox services charge additional fees for specific addresses and extra fees may be charged for interior mail scans and letters.

Daily Login Process

You may need to log into your virtual mailbox account every day to manage your mail, which will depend on the number of scans and how much mail you anticipate receiving.

Virtual Mailbox Comparisons

Virtual mailbox services and packages may vary from one provider to another. This section lists the most notable ones with their comparative differences.


VirtualPostMail (VPM) offers an automated mail service that includes:

  • A real commercial business street address
  • Free registered agent services
  • Mail contents viewable online and downloadable as a PDF file
  • Mail forwarding and package forwarding
  • Unlimited cloud storage
  • Check depositing
  • 60 days free storage of physical items
  • 1 business day request processing

Earth Class Mail

  • Mail content available in PDF format
  • Mail forwarding and package forwarding
  • Integrated with other services like QuickBooks, Xero, and Google Drive
  • Unlimited cloud storage
  • Check depositing
  • 30 days free storage of physical items
  • New pricing plans for individuals (it used to have pricing geared toward enterprises). If you want a breakdown of the new pricing, because it can be confusing, you can read the Earth Class Mail pricing analysis.

Check out Earth Class Mail vs. VirtualPostMail

Traveling Mailbox

  • Mail content available in PDF format
  • Mail forwarding and package forwarding
  • Integrated with other services like Evernote and Bill.com
  • Unlimited cloud storage
  • Check depositing

Check out Traveling Mailbox vs. VirtualPostMail

Anytime Mailbox

  • Opening and scanning of your mail contents
  • Unlimited cloud storage
  • Mail forwarding and package forwarding
  • Software only, not an actual virtual mailbox

Check out Anytime Mailbox vs. VirtualPostMail

PostScan Mail

  • Mail opening and scanning
  • Mail forwarding and package forwarding
  • 30 days free storage of physical items
  • Online mail management filters for organizing your mail scans

Check out PostScan Mail vs. VirtualPostMail


  • A mobile app to check your mail, available for iPhone or Android
  • Scanned incoming envelopes and packages with 2 GB free cloud storage
  • Phone or faxing available
  • Check depositing

Check out IPostal1 vs. VirtualPostMail

Click here to view the pros and cons in a full virtual mailbox review.

How a Virtual Mailbox Compares to Other Business Address Options

Are there other options to choose from? How does it compare to a virtual mailbox? How do you know what one is the best for you?

As a startup, you have to consider ALL your address options as you begin to pivot and grow your business. Here are the other address choices.

Does Having Many Addresses Make The Virtual Mailbox Service Better

If virtual mailboxes offer more addresses, it often means that they do not have real commercial business addresses and instead use PO boxes, virtual offices, or other mailbox stores so you should do your research and be careful in selecting the provider and address.

The address with the most disadvantages is with a PO box:

  • Many states require you to use a physical address to register your LLC or Corporation. PO boxes are not accepted.
  • You cannot receive any mail or packages from third-party couriers like UPS, FedEx, or DHL. You can only receive mail from the US Postal Service. This will limit the types of mail you can receive.
  • Bank institutions will not accept a PO box as your principal business address. This means that you will not be able to use it to open a new bank account for your business or apply for merchant services to accept credit card payments.
  • Certain government applications and forms will not allow PO boxes as your registered address.

Many virtual mailbox providers will use PO boxes, virtual offices, or mailbox stores and forward mail to their sorting and scanning facility. This allows the virtual mailbox provider to offer more addresses even though they may not have a physical presence in that state.

By using third parties, your mail and packages will have to be forwarded to a central processing facility, which increases delays in mail reception.

Although a virtual mailbox provider may have many locations, it adds an extra step that creates room for error, misplaced mail, and also delays how soon your mail is scanned into your mailbox since it must be forwarded to the virtual mailbox providers’ headquarters.

But, is providing that many addresses really better? Take a look:

  1. Do they own the locations? If not, they have no control over how mail is being handled or if locations will close.
  2. Do they process mail at the address? If not, they will need to forward mail back to their central processing center, which will then delay receiving your mail by up to 1-2 weeks or more.
  3. What if you receive packages? Are they going to forward it back to their central processing? Will you pay double? You may also incur extra costs because you’ll have packages forwarded from the address to the central processing center, and then forward packages from the center to yourself. Also, you may even end up paying more shipping costs because the processing center is farther from you.

So really, what's most important is an address that fits your needs. Define your needs first and then find a virtual mailbox provider who can fulfill them. It won't matter if they have 10 or 100 addresses. What matters is whether that one address will satisfy your needs.

Common Questions About Virtual Mailboxes

  • How much does a virtual mailbox cost? They range from $9.99 - $229 depending on the provider, plan, and mail volume.
  • What can you use a virtual mailbox for? You can use a virtual mailbox as a permanent address for registering your business or to receive mail and packages. You can also combine other features such as registered agent services and check depositing to be a full digital mail solution for your business.
  • How does a virtual mailbox work? Decide on a virtual mailbox plan and the location. Then, complete the USPS 1583 Form and have your mail and packages sent to your new virtual mailbox address. As mail comes in you, can manage your mail in your online account and decide what to do with it such as have your mail forwarded or shredded.
  • Is a virtual mailbox safe? Yes, all of your mail is data encrypted plus security auditing and 24/7 surveillance. See more about security measures.


A virtual mailbox service offers individuals the ability to work, travel, and manage their business remotely. It is a convenient online mailbox where you can access your physical mail from every corner of the world on any device.

In addition to providing a permanent address to receive personal and business documents, a virtual mailbox offers check depositing, mail forwarding, package forwarding, and other services under one single platform.

Overall, you will be able to manage your mail in real-time and automate tedious tasks that will save you time while staying connected.

Ready For a Virtual Mailbox?

Having VPM can improve your life. It is the smartest and easiest way to manage your mail and packages as you work and travel remotely. Managing your postal mail online is so easy, you won't want to handle mail the traditional way again.