Answers to Recent, Timely Important Questions
Q - Are you open normal business hours?
A - NO covid changes--The office is open to the public and answering phones M-F 9-5 Mountain time as usual. Our night shift packaging crew is working as usual. Our day shift mailroom/scanning crew is working as usual. Mail is being delivered and picked up as usual by all carriers.
Q - Are vehicle registrations/renewals being handled?
A - The County Treasurer has recently reopened to the public, and of course is still working daily with Americas Mailbox staff. Procedures may take a little longer than usual but we will continue to process all your new registrations and renewals as quickly as possible.
Q - How do I vote in national elections?
A - Once you have obtained your South Dakota driver's license, go to the Pennington County auditor's site for the necessary forms. Your PMB address is BOTH your residential AND mailing address for voting. Each calendar year you must fill out an absentee ballot request form, indicating the elections you wish to vote in that year. About 6 weeks before election day you will receive the absentee ballot by mail.
Answers to Frequently Misunderstood Facts
Q - What do I do first?
A - Your first step is to become a member of Americas Mailbox, Inc. by clicking HERE.
Q - How many names can I have on the account?
A - Anyone traveling together year round can share the same account. You may also include minor children, and anyone handicapped or deceased for whom you have power of attorney. Closed businesses can be included on any plan. You can never allow anyone else to use your address, even for a single piece of mail. We are not legally allowed to accept it and it must be returned to sender.
Q - What names must I list?
A - ALL first, middle and last names. ALL maiden names and adopted names. ALL nicknames that are not obvious (do not bother listing Bob for Robert). ALL pet names. ALL closed business names (on any plan). For our Platinum Small Business and Titanium plan holders: ALL business names and ALL DBA names. ALL names that you might possibly ever receive mail in.
Q – When is the best time to join?
A – You can join at any time, but if you are in the process of selling a home and becoming a full-time traveler, you want to make sure you have your new address with us at least two months before hitting the road. That way, everything will be set up, your current vehicles can be registered in South Dakota, your mail will be changed over, and you will have less to handle as you leave your house.
Q – What if I'm NOT selling my house? Can I still join?
A – You can use the address we assign you for whatever purposes you wish:
To receive some, all or none of your mail
To register some, all or none of your vehicles
To get a driver's license or not
Q - Do I have to be in South Dakota to join?
A - You do not have to be in South Dakota to join Americas Mailbox. It is very simple to join LONG-DISTANCE, through the U.S. Mail, FedEx, UPS, fax or email. Many folks send their documents electronically to receive their unique address.
Q - What are the methods of payment for joining?
A - You are always welcome to send in a personal check or money order, or even use cash if you sign up in person. Only if you use a credit or debit card will there be an additional fee. This convenience fee is what we are charged by the merchant processor, and it is passed on to you since otherwise we would be in effect subsidizing your postage fund.
Q - When I join, am I immediately a South Dakota resident?
A - No, you are not immediately a South Dakota resident. Your driver’s license is your main proof of residency. When you join you receive a unique address that is yours forever and may be used legally to obtain a driver’s license, register to vote, etc. Per federal regulations, you must spend ONE (1) night every FIVE (5) years anywhere in South Dakota to obtain and renew your driver’s license. Beyond that, your presence is NOT required.
Q - Do I need a South Dakota driver’s license to register my vehicles?
A - It is not necessary to have a SD drivers license to register your vehicles. If you do not have one, that’s OK. We can still get your plates for you. Your vehicles are registered to your Social Security number. Certain restrictions apply—you cannot receive any specialty plates until you have obtained the driver’s license. A physically disabled parking permit hangtag good for 6 months can be obtained without having a South Dakota driver’s license (when submitting the correct doctor’s form).
Q - Do I have to be in South Dakota to register my vehicles? Are there inspections and what will it cost?
A - You do NOT have to be in South Dakota to register your vehicle. You may use a combination of the U.S. Mail, FedEx, UPS, fax, and email. South Dakota has NO vehicle inspections nor proof of insurance required for registration (or at any other time). Your original notarized power of attorney allows us to obtain your paper title (if held by a lienholder) and act on your behalf at the courthouse. We do all the work for you. We’ll fill out all your paperwork, we’ll stand in line for you, and we’ll walk out with your plates and registration. These are shipped to you per YOUR specific instructions.
Most cars and trucks run $75 to $150 per year, and RVs are $12 to $18 per thousand pounds of empty weight per year.
Q - Do I have to show proof of insurance prior to registering my vehicles?
A - It is not necessary to show proof of insurance prior to registering your vehicle. You may fill out the insurance questionnaire from our embedded independent vehicle insurance agency since insurance follows the plates in South Dakota. The agents can write and bind the coverage as soon as we obtain your plates.
Q - When I join, is my address changed automatically with the Post Office?
A - No. Only YOU can change your address, by contacting your correspondents individually, or by filling out a paper post office change-of-address card by following our supplied specific instructions (you CANNOT use the post office online system).
Q - I ONLY want you to register my vehicles. Why do I need to become a member?
A - We give you the legal address to which your vehicles are registered. Since registrations run annually, you must have an annual plan with us. Our Bronze Plan is designed for this purpose—you have us handle your vehicle registrations and you receive only vehicle-related mail. You may also use the Bronze Plan for South Dakota residency.
Answers about your Address
Q - When I join, is my address changed automatically with the Post Office?
A - No, only YOU can change your address, by contacting your correspondents individually, or by filling out the paper post office change-of-address card following our supplied specific instructions (you CANNOT use the post office online system). It will take the post office about 2 weeks (possibly more) to put your address change into effect.
Here is sample of the Post Office paper COA.
Q - What is my Americas Mailbox address good for?
A - Your Americas Mailbox address is good for:
Q - What will my Americas Mailbox address look like?
A - Your PMB (Personal Mail Box) address will be:
514 Americas Way PMB XXXXX
Box Elder SD 57719-7600
Instead of the letters PMB, per USPS Regulations, you may use the # sign, as well as Apt, Ste, Unit, etc. If your unique number is not on every piece of mail or package, there is no way for you to receive it. Imagine you live in a large apartment complex with 20,000 other people. Would you really expect your mailman to know what apartment everyone lives in by name only? And what about Joseph Johnson and Jim Brown. We have multiple members with the same first AND last names. The U.S. postal service has the legal ability (and they occasionally exercise it) to return your mail to sender when improperly addressed, and we will never see it.
Answers about your mailings
Q - How often do you send my mail? How is it sent?
A - How many times do you want it? That is entirely up to you. You set up one shipment or a series of them for whenever, wherever, however you wish.
We ship through the U.S. Postal Service, UPS and FedEx Air and Ground. Most shipments will have a tracking number that will be emailed to you when sent. USPS mail is usually not guaranteed, while FedEx Air shipments are guaranteed.
Q - On the day I have a shipment going out, is that day's incoming mail or packages included?
A - No, your mail is packaged in the middle of the night before and is picked up before that day's mail is sorted. It takes the entire workday to process the incoming mail and packages and your outgoing mail has already left the building.
For scanning accounts, your requests would be processed during that day, and the packaged mail will already have left.
Q - Can I pick up my mail in person?
A - Of course. Providing you have access to the Internet simply set up a customer pickup on your secure home page on our web site by midnight before the day you’re coming in, and it will be up front and waiting for you by 10 a.m.
Q - What if I am looking for something specific?
A - On our traditional plans, email and let us know what you’re specifically waiting for. We will check towards the end of the day when the mail has been put up and email you back. Of course on our scanning plans, you see the front of every envelope and package as it comes in.
Q - What types of things can you ship?
A - Anything as allowed by US law. Medications can be shipped anywhere in the world with the proper customs declarations. We can even ship unloaded firearms, but not ammunition.
Q - What are your business hours?
A - Monday-Friday 9-5 Mountain time. In the summer we may have Saturday and even Sunday hours.
Answers about driver’s license/voting:
Q - How do I get a South Dakota driver’s license? What does it cost?
A - Per Federal Regulations, you must spend one night anywhere in South Dakota and bring all the correct documents. A regular license costs $28 and is good for 5 years. CDL holders have all their endorsements transferred automatically (except for HazMat) and that cost is $33.
Q - How do I register to vote?
A - Once you have obtained the driver’s license, ask our office to mail you or hand you the forms for voter’s registration. The Pennington County auditor recognizes your unique situation, and so both your mailing address and residential address are the same—your legal PMB address—for voting purposes. Contact them directly for any questions about registration or absentee ballots.
Q - How do I get absentee ballots?
A - Once you are registered, you must fill out the absentee ballot request form each calendar year (available through the Pennington County Auditor's Office). You must indicate which elections you wish to vote in, and the ballot will be sent to your address at Americas Mailbox about 6 weeks before that election.
Q – What if I’m called for jury duty?
A – If you are called you are excused, so you would never get to the point of being selected.
Answers for current members
Q - How do I change my address with my current post office?
A – Follow the information supplied in your Welcome Kit:
Rather than fill in a USPS Change of Address Card, we very politely request that you simply contact the companies and people who send you mail individually. This gives you kind of a new start and you avoid some of the junk mail and a relief from the many junk mail lists you’ve found yourselves on. While you can use the USPS paper Change of Address card, we have found it is not the preferred method for your purposes. If you DO fill out a paper Change of Address card, you MUST write the letters PMB in the boxes on line 8a before you write in your unique 5-digit number.
Q - How do I set up a shipment?
A – Follow your Welcome instructions to log in to your secure home page at Americas.Mailbox.com. Step 1 is when, Step 2 is where, Step 3 is how. Make sure everything is correct and your shipment will go out as you scheduled it. If you are experiencing difficulties in changing an existing schedule, we recommend simply deleting everything in our systems, confirming the delete, and then starting over.
Q – Can my mail be sent to different places at once?
A – No, when you set up a shipment ALL the mail and packages in your box will be sent to the one address you provide. You cannot ask to have mail sent to New York and meds sent to California. This is simply too problematical and prone to error for us to attempt it.
Q - How long does it take to get my mail?
A – You have many choices for the type of shipment. Fedex overnight will arrive the day after it is shipped, unless we are shipping on a Friday. Then it is up to you as a member to determine if Fedex Saturday delivery is available in your area, and to decide if you wish to incur the extra expense Saturday delivery entails. Remember that NO shipper counts the day of shipment—e.g. Fedex 2-day shipped on a Tuesday will arrive on Thursday afternoon. Only Fedex air shipments and USPS 2-day Express Mail are guaranteed. Fedex Ground and all other USPS shipments are NOT guaranteed, but will have tracking numbers in most cases.
Q – How do I know when my mail is sent?
A – You will get a tracking number for any type of Fedex shipment. USPS 2-day Express and Priority shipments also always have a tracking number. These are emailed to you automatically as part of your notification of shipment email. First Class mail does not qualify for a tracking number unless it is sent as a parcel. In order to meet postal requirements and have a tracking number for you on your first class mail (total weight less than 16 ounces) we add a sucker to the package which does NOT add any weight, but which creates a bulkier profile so that the package qualifies as a parcel and automatically receives a tracking number.
Q – What if I have NO mail when I have a shipment set up?
A – Please refer back to your Mail Service Agreement, which explains:
If you request a mailing and there is no mail in your box, you will receive postcard notification with normal handling fees applying. (We began this convenient additional service at the request of a large majority of our members.)
Q – What happens on holidays?
A – When you set up a shipment our systems will not allow you to choose a date that is a holiday, and will ask you what date you wish to defer the shipment to. Of course we cannot ship on postal holidays, but we also set up several other holidays depending upon what day of the week a major holiday falls on.
Q – Can I receive packages? Is there a size limit?
A – We accept all properly addressed packages, of any size, and separately log them in, store them, and retrieve them when you set up a shipment. There is a small additional charge for oversized package handling, as explained in your Mail Service Agreement.
Q – Can my level of service be upgraded or downgraded?
A – You may upgrade at any time throughout the year at a prorated amount. You may downgrade from Titanium Scanning to Gold or the Silver plan, or from Gold to Silver, on your membership anniversary. Please note that you cannot downgrade to Bronze, and that ONLY on the Titanium plans are you able to view each piece as it comes in.
Q – Can fees be raised at any time?
A – While we have never in the past had to raise our rates unexpectedly, due to the unpredictability of federal, state and local taxes and fees, we must reserve the right to adjust our rates at any time due to extraordinary circumstances.
Q – What happens when I want to close my account?
A – The Mail Service Agreement that you sign when you join explains the closing procedures that must be followed. We require 90 days written notice before closure and refund of any remaining postage funds.
Q – How can I reach Americas Mailbox by email?
A – Send an email with your PMB number and last name in the subject line and ask whatever you wish. This is always the preferred method of reaching us. There is a written record of your request/comment and our staff will always respond in a timely manner. If you are looking for an important piece of mail, they will check for you at the end of the day when all the mail has been put up and reply to your email with the information you requested.
Q – How can I reach Americas Mailbox by phone?
A – If you cannot email for some reason through your smartphone, tablet or computer, then of course you are always welcome to call. Please immediately give your name and PMB number and then the reason for your call. In many cases, that staff member will be able to help you immediately, or transfer you to the correct department.
Q – How does my automatic top-up/replenishment work?
A – This feature on your secure home page on the Americas Mailbox website is entirely within your control. It may be turned on or off (as well as automatic account renewal) and you may set the top-up amount to whatever you wish--$1, $500, anywhere in between.
You may add or delete credit/debit card information at any time. If you ever have any questions about these features simply contact our Accounts department. These funds are your money until we use them on your behalf, and they are safely tucked away in the bank (in non-interest bearing accounts as required by law).
Q – What is the order of doing things for vehicle registration?
A – You always start by filling out the correct vehicle checklist for the type of vehicle we will be handling. If you do not have the title in your possession, but it is held by a lienholder, you must immediately start the title request process to your lienholder. If you want our help at this point, we will also immediately need our power of attorney, signed and notarized, so that we may begin to help you with the title request process right away. This is a process which can take a month or more before we can give you an amount for your initial registration fee. If you have the original paper title in your possession, then it is a quicker process. All documents may be scanned and emailed to begin with, and you will follow up by sending in all required documents and checks per the specific instructions of our vehicle registration staff. All original paper titles/MSOs should be sent by private carrier.