We have been ex-pats for quite a few years now, having left the U.S. over eight years ago for a life of travel in faraway places. It has however been important to have an address on file back home as part of our footprints since not all ties were severed. How to keep on receiving mail after leaving the states? Here is how we receive our mail as ex-pats with Anytime Mailbox.
Receiving Mail As Expats:
Anytime mailbox has been a godsend to us. Prior to using them, we had been using a cousin’s address, and that did work for the first three years or so. The problems arose when it became a “bother” for her.
Important letters would arrive and she would just put them aside, not notify us, and didn’t forward, or forwarded them so late, it caused problems, such as bank cards being canceled because they thought it had been lost or because they had not been activated. Both of us being very stubborn, it led to some words, and if you know me, I don’t get angry often, but when l do …. yikes!
I couldn’t really blame her much because l am not her responsibility. She was doing me a favor, and it’s hard to be righteous when someone is saving your bacon so to speak. Long story short, we stopped speaking and l had to make other plans.
I thought of other family members l could impose on, but then realized that was exactly what it was, an imposition, plus a different state of residence, which would not work for us.
Why you need Anytime Mailbox:
To have a permanent address for your mail such as :
- Credit cards
- Bank cards
- Drivers License
- Tax returns
- Retirement plan statements and notifications
I started looking for solutions and read up on virtual mailboxes. We ended up going with Anytime Mailbox for the ease of use and low pricing. I liked the fact that their services are available all over the country, and you could pick from hundreds of cities. We chose the one closest to where we used to reside in Texas for a variety of reasons, including familiarity.
You can find their locations here. Once you find a perfect location, you can select which plan works best for you. After signing up, you receive a welcome email from Anytime Mailbox letting you know they have your information, and that once it’s verified, you will be contacted and allocated a mailbox.
Verifying your information:
The information that l had to submit was a form of government-issued ID, such as license or passport, plus something like as a lease or deed that shows where you live currently. These documents need to be notarized, and l was not really looking forward to doing that.
Being that we live in Spain, it would have meant searching for a notary that spoke English, having the papers translated to Spanish (because they can only notarize Spanish documents), then having said papers apostilled for universal use.
I was therefore delighted to hear that Anytime Mailbox partners with an online global notary service. I found this out after explaining my predicament. They referred me to the service, and the papers were notarized virtually for an extra fee. I wish we had known last year when selling the house. It would have saved us so much money.
Advantages of Anytime Mailbox:
- Real address. I haven’t had any problem with the changes from anyone so far, banks included.
- They will open and scan your letters and you can decide whether to have it shredded or forwarded.
- They will forward not just mail, packages too anywhere in the world for an extra fee of course. I liked the fact that l was given four choices for forwarding so l could pick which one was cheaper.
- They will deposit checks for you (haven’t had to use that yet).
- Not having to rely on friends and family. The $10 a month is worth it for peace of mind.
Most of our bills and notifications are done electronically, so we don’t really have a lot of actual mail delivery. We chose the ten pieces of mail plan which works out great. It has given me peace of mind with our tax returns being sent there, and my Vanguard yearly statements. I love my family, but l don’t really want them to know our financial details.
My only complaint so far is that every recipient (up to five people) has to get their papers notarized as well. I definitely understand the reason for it though, but it is still annoying. All in all, I am extremely happy with the service and we will continue using them.
How do you receive your mail in ex-pat life?