How To Get My Mail In The Philippines

I get inquiries frequently regarding how mail can reach those who come to live here in the Philippines.  Those of us who are military retirees have a great benefit … APO/FPO mail, thank you US Sate Department, Military Postal Service and the hardworking RAO’s here in the Philippines).  But what about the vast majority of folks who aren’t retired from the military.  And how about mail that you want to know about or get in your hand sooner than the two to three weeks it typically takes US APO mail to get to your door?

Also, how much mail to you really need?  I mean I myself have got mine pretty much down to zero already … but even after 4 years outside the US there are still hundreds of pieces of pure crap that are sent to me monthly … my long-suffering son who acts as my personal mail forwarding service back in the states throws away a couple wastebasket-fulls of unwanted third and forth class

How to Move to the Philippines Manual
Get mail from your computer

Snail Mail Online

advertising mail, catalogs and such that comes to my US mailing address.  I mean don’t these people ever realize the waste .. after 4 plus years of no response, wouldn’t it be smart to drop me from the list?  Ah, but there I go, trying to apply logic to a non-logical problem.  To eliminate the non-responders would require actual intelligence behind the facade of the mail marketers, and if they had any brains at all, they wouldn’t be marketing with 19th century methods in the 21st century anyway, now would they?

There are a number of mail forwarding firms that will receive your mail, pack it up and send it on to you … for overseas, usually via FedEx or another commercial package service.  I’ve written before about forwarding mail, and my friend Bob written on overseas mail forwarding also.  This sure isn’t free, but it usually gets here, and that’s the important part.

But I think these services have it all wrong.  We shouldn’t be using paper mail at all in the 21st century, or at least I don’t believe we should.  What we need is, someone who would open your mail, scan it into electronic form (as it should have been to begin with), and then let you decide if the mail is one of those rare pieces that you actually need a paper copy on … read it on-screen and just hit ‘print’ for the letters or bills you want to keep.

Cheap (no postal or package service fees).  Near instant … as soon as it is canned, it’s available on your screen.  Supremely Green … no “tree hugger’ I, but I hate wasting resources, and the current US paper mail system is an abomination … buy a hybrid car to save the environment and then drive to the post office to collect pounds and pounds of wasted paper, chemical coatings and in, etc.  “Not logical, Jim.”

Well, guess what.  A couple services are available online to do exactly as I think they ought to.

  • Receive your mail
  • Open it at your direction
  • Scan it online for you to read on screen
  • Forward special paper pieces as you direct them to
  • Archive everything you want a record of to CD
  • Then shred the paper for security/identity theft protection

Great stuff I say.  And particularly great if you plan to spend time in the Philippines and elsewhere as well during the year.  perhaps living part time in the Philippines, part time in the US, or casting off in your sailboat and cruising the South Pacific for a year or two.   Changing the address on important mail is always a bit of a hassle, and it’s very time consuming to get all the people mailing you on the same page (or address).

So what I would recommend, even well before you move, is to sign up with one of these services and get all your mail going to one place … and then you’ll never have to worry about mail, no matter how often you change locations.

Here are two service that have been recommended to me.  I have no business relationship with either of them, I am sure there are other, similar companies out there as well, but the services these guys offer will serve as a good primer for those of you who are still searching for answers about how you’ll manage your mail if you move to the Philippines.

American Mailnet Logo provides Safe, Confidential, and Secure Postal Mail Forwarding . Online and Standard Mail Forwarding Services are available. Are you on the road, out of the country or simply want more control of what mail is delivered to you? is your mail forwarding solution. will give you the piece of mind knowing that you can have secure access to your postal mail from anywhere in the world – We can help you manage your postal mail forwarding needs. Mail Forwarding

Online Mail Forwarding (paperless mailbox – we open forwarded mail, scan, and send via Online Postal MailBox) This service is ideal for busy executives, field sales and support staff, flight attendants, members of the military, truckers, doctors, business consultants, RV owners, snowbirds, merchant marines, expatriates, students, entertainers, athletes, and individuals who have frequent address changes. Services start at only $14.99 per month for online mail forwarding service. Free Junk Mail Disposal. Free CD Archive  Sign up Today

Standard Mail Forwarding services start at $10.00 per month . We will receive and forward your unopened mail on a schedule you set -We offer Free Junk Mail Disposal.  Several Mail Delivery Options Available   Sign up Today

Mail Forwarding Logo

Access Your Mail Online

Log in to your online control panel for easy access to all of your mail anywhere there’s an internet connection. You will receive an email notification whenever a new piece of mail arrives, and can log in to view the sender, date received, and a full-color image of the front of each envelope.

After reviewing your mail items, you can choose how we handle your mail items. If you want to see the contents, you can have us securely open and scan the letter, which will then be easily accessible from your online control panel. If you need the actual letter or package, we will mail it and any other mail items you request to have forwarded to any address in the world. And if you no longer have any need for the item, you can have it securely shredded and recycled.

Secure Mail Scanning

You no longer need to wait for mail to be forwarded to view and respond to important documents — simply request to have a piece of mail scanned and a PDF file containing an image of the envelope and its contents will be posted to your account within 1 business day. All plans include a set number of scans per month, and you can pay on a per-scan basis after that …

Forward Mail Anywhere in the World

After you’ve decreased the number of items in your mailbox by shredding and scanning mail that you may not need physically, you can have any items that you still need forwarded to you at some of the industry’s lowest shipping costs. You can have your mail shipped almost anywhere in the world through FedEx or the U.S. Postal Service. In addition, whenever possible, we will combine your items into a single shipment to reduce costs. You can also set up automatic weekly or monthly forwarding if you aren’t able to regularly log in to view your mail….

Shred and Recycle Your Mail

When you request that we destroy a mail item it will be shredded on site before being recycled. This eliminates the threat of two of the most common forms of identity theft: dumpster diving and mail theft. Additionally, you can choose to have the original document shredded, but retain the scanned copy in the Archive folder in your online control panel for as long as you wish…

Well there you go.  Several viable ways to get your mail here, or even handle it better back there in the USA.

How are you handling your mail to and from the Philippines … I’d like to know


  1. says

    Wow! This is a very big help for us. My husband set up a U.S. Postal Box to receive his mails and just get a relative to look at it every so often. But the relative hasn’t really been as long-suffering as your son :p and I am thinking we are missing some important mail, i.e. the NVC letter that we have been waiting for. I will look into this the soonest time possible.

    • Philly says

      @Claudette (ID 3758): Hope one of these will be a solution for you. I wanted a service like this 4 years ago when I moved here … the idea of scanning mail and forwarding the scan, instead of paper (except for the occasional importante letter … like from the NVC ;-), makes a lot more sense to me than forwarding the all trash and trivia physically, just to find the occasional important piece of mail.

      That’s one blessing/curse that we are spared of living here in the Philippines … baskets full of semi-useless mail. If/when you get to the US, the mail will be one of the things that really surprises you …. the volume and the absurdity of much of it. Hey, but it’s cheap ….

    • Philly says

      @rich (ID 3763): One of he ways I got rid of a lot of my paper mail before I left was roundabout. I had a credit card that paid air miles for every dollar spent, so I got as many of my bills set up to pay online with the credit card as I could. Simplified things. Now, of course, the card and virtually all those bills are gone … but it helped.

  2. says

    Philly, on the rural province of Guimaras in the Philippines where my Filipina wife and I reside, we have no official government mail delivery service. However, a lady that works at our local barangay hall gets any important mail delivered to us, but sometimes our mail gets routed elsewhere. Just had my W-2 arrive last month, it was sent to a different subdivision on our island and sent from the States in March. I try to do everything online (got my W-2 online in April after pleading with my old employer to send it that way in the first place) to avoid any future hassles.

    • Philly says

      @Dave DeWall (ID 3768): Yep. By all means I encourage people to take a close look at their paper mail early, before they make a move. Many government agencies, for example, won’t even send paper W-2’s now or in the immediate future … for example my US Air Force retirement 1099R is only available on-line. A lot of what we consider necessary really just isn’t.

  3. Bruce says

    Thanks for the information on the RAO that should really help in getting checks and renewed visa’s and imporant pieces of mail their safely.
    Navy Federal Credit Union will send that stuff to an FPO address but not a foreign one.
    Does the the RAO except small packages like prescription meds?
    What I have found to be the wave of the future is in your bill pay in your online access bank or credit union acct. You can acually have an E-statement available so you can pay it. I have a few already. I think paper statments and paper checks are going bye-bye.
    Speaking of checks if they do away with paper checks how are we going to get get out retirment money to our Philippine account. Maybe the only way would be wirless transfer and that costs more to do. Right?

    • Philly says

      @Bruce (ID 3799): Renewed visas via APO/FPO mail? You lost me there Mike. yes NAVY FCU (I HIGHLY recommend NFCU or one’s other FCU of choice, I don’t think there is a trustworthy bank left in the USA), will send to an APO/FPO.

      The RAO can accept packages of prescription drugs from the TRICARE Mail Order Pharmacy (TMOPS) and eyeglasses from Military medical facilities. There may be some other allowances, I don’t know of any, tough. I recommend you check directly with the contact person at the RAO you are panning to use, and if you don’t get an answer you like there, try one of the other two “big three” … they all serve essentially all of the Philippines.

      Everyone ought to get all their bill paying, income taxes, etc. on line, in my view, whether they seriously consider moving here or not. It’s better, faster, cheaper. If they do away with paper checks completely, I’d have to devise another scheme and my 400 checks won’t last me until I’m 98 after all … but many things in the Philippines are done the same as they were in the US 50 years ago, so I feel pretty safe that the paper check here will last as long as I do. As we say in my wife’s family, if that prediction turns out to be wrong? Well, we’ll burn that bridge when we get to it 😉

      • Bruce says

        Morning, Last week I talked to one of the counselors at the NFCU here in J-ville Fl. She explaineded to me that if we had an FPO/APO address that when our debt and visa cards were due to expire they would be able to mail us our replacement cards using the FPO OR APO address. They also stated they could also send replacement checks and statments that way to. She also stated that if we had any kind of PO Box or overseas address they would not be able to send me any of the above mentioned items. So it is either state side address or FPO/APO.
        Hoped I explained it better this time. :)
        I still plan on using the old check method that you explained to me already sounds like a sure thing.

        • Philly says

          @Bruce (ID 3817): D’oh. My bad. I had the other kind of visa on my mind … the ones they stamp in passports 😉 Clumsy thinking on my part.

  4. Bob New York says

    Just a comment or two on the Junk Mail situation Dave, Tons of that junk mail gets recycled via the US Postal Service. Those with post office boxes or otherwise pick up their mail at a post office may put their unwanted Junk or for that matter any other mail such as catalogs etc. into Post Office provided recycle containers inside of the post office. These are picked up and returned to USPS Distribution and Processing centers and are then picked up by recyclers and in many cases, by the truck load.

    Although I agree that Junk Mail can become a nuisance, it does create many jobs as well as providing a continual source of revenue to USPS which in recent years continues an erosion of revenue by the ever deminishing amount of first class letter mail being sent these days.

  5. Paul Davidson says

    Just in case anyone needs to fill out a Form W-2, I found a blank form here This site PDFfiller also has some tutorials how to fill it out and a few related tax forms that you might find useful.


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