When you decide to make the change to a virtual mailbox service, you need to authorize your service provider to receive and open your mail. You do this with an official form called USPS Form 1583 from the U.S. Postal Service.
This form allows the company to open and scan your mail and lets you check your mail from anywhere.
Mail tampering and mail theft are federal crimes, punishable by up to five years in federal prison and a $25,000 fine. So how can virtual mailbox providers like Earth Class Mail open your mail?
Earth Class Mail, a LegalZoom Company, acts as what the government calls a Commercial Mail Receiving Agency (CMRA). This basically means it's a business that handles mail on behalf of other businesses and people. To become an agency, we have to comply with strict guidelines set up by the postal service.
The USPS 1583 officially authorizes the Commercial Mail Receiving Agency to receive and open your mail.
Why do I need to complete a USPS 1583?
The government wants to make sure that no one signs up for a virtual mailbox as a method to steal someone else's mail, which is why they need an official form to be notarized and only allow certified companies to handle other people's mail.
The form ensures that you, and only authorized parties, can access mail that is addressed to you.
Regulations require the form to be notarized before sending it to us. The notary's seal proves that you are the person who is authorizing Earth Class Mail, a LegalZoom company, to receive mail in your name or your company's name.
How to complete USPS Form 1583
The two-part process to complete and notarize the form takes about 15 minutes to complete.
The form is just two pages long and requires you to have selected your new address, the company you want to use to receive your mail, and, if you are a business, list company officers.
On the new address area of the form, you will list one of our P.O. Box addresses or a real street address, depending on the virtual address you select.
What forms of ID can be used for USPS Form 1583?
Once you're ready to have your form notarized, you'll need to have two forms of identification ready.
The first form has to be one of the following:
- A state ID card, such as a driver's license
- Passport (from the United States or another country) or passport card
- U.S. permanent record card (aka green card)
- Certificate of Naturalization
- Armed Forces card
- U.S. university ID card
- Uniformed services ID card
- Tribal identification card
The second form of identification can be an official document with your current mailing address, such as a utility bill, voter registration card, or vehicle registration.
- Utility bill
- Voter registration card
- Vehicle registration card
- Vehicle insurance policy
- Home insurance policy
- Deed of Trust
- Form I-94, arrival and departure record
How to submit USPS Form 1583
Once you have your identification ready, you can start the onboarding process at Earth Class Mail. You'll be guided in a step-by-step process that will give you clear instructions for completing the form and authorizing the form through our complementary online notary services.
Then you'll begin a live video chat with a notary, which will make your form official.
The notary will walk through the form with you to ensure you understand what you are signing and then ask for two forms of identification. If you use our online notary partner Notarize, then Earth Class Mail pays for the notarization services.
Please note that your personal information will never be public, used on your account, or even impact your mailing services. The information requested on this form is strictly used to complete the USPS Form 1583.
What do I do after I complete USPS Form 1583?
Once you've submitted your form online, you can begin using your private mailbox.
That doesn't mean you'll automatically start collecting mail or packages at your new virtual address, however.
USPS Form 1583 authorizes us to accept mail in your name. It does not change your address with USPS or tell us where to forward your mail.
You'll need to inform your senders of your new address and change your address with any important contacts, such as banks and business registries. You can also fill out a change of address form with the postal service, which will automatically forward your mail to your new virtual address.
Once you do this, you'll receive notifications when your mail arrives, and you won't have to sift through your junk mail ever again.
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