For many Americans living abroad, maintaining a US address serves specific purposes. For instance, a US mail address is necessary for many government and company services. Regardless of how reliable the mail service of your destination is, maintaining a US address prevents many of the hassles involved in receiving mail in a foreign country. For this, you can use a service like US mailbox and mail forwarding to Canada—MyUSAddress.
For a few dollars, you can have your mail scanned and forwarded using a virtual mailbox. If you intend to use services like the US Postal Service (USPS), your physical presence is necessary to activate such a mailbox service.
The following are the best ways to maintain a US address if you plan a long overseas stay.
1) Virtual Mailbox Service
Virtual mailbox services receive and forward physical mail on behalf of addressees. If you operate an online business, forwarding services become very helpful for you. You can choose from any one of several US companies that offer such services. A typical mailbox service includes sending you an email alert whenever new documents are delivered to your address. Such mail could range from anything as mundane as a postcard from a relative to something as sensitive as tax reports. You can quickly set up such a mailbox online if you’re already outside the US. For a small fee of about $20 or less each month, you can maintain such mailbox services, thereby ensuring that you have a current US address to handle any mail you may receive.
2) Renting a Room
If you want to go old school, renting a room can do the trick. If you’re planning on moving abroad, you’ll likely have tons of stuff you may wish to keep. Getting your friends or family members to keep them for you may not always be an option. Renting a room in someone’s house can do the trick. It doesn’t have to be a bedroom; you can choose to rent a garage. This allows you to store your stuff while providing you with a valid address where your US mail will be delivered. Before leaving, ask about cheap options for rent. Alternatively, you can go on a site like Craigslist.com to find homeowners willing to lease a room. While this may take some effort, it is very reliable and cheap. You can find a decent room at someone’s house to rent for about $400 a month. Given that your mail will be secure and your property safe, it is a reasonable option.
3) Traditional Mail Service
Traditional mail services can still help you handle your US mail while you’re living abroad. If you’re looking to maintain a physical US address without necessarily having a PO Box in the description, this is ideal. This option is also better for those that have a mail relay service in the US. If you’re the kind of person that simply needs a US address for the occasional mail without the need for constant forwarding services, this is the best option. Using a traditional mail service, like the USPS, also helps if you need a mailing address in a specific US city.
4) Other Permanent Address Options
If you’re lucky to have friends or family members that you trust, they can always handle your mail while you live abroad. You simply need to list their address for all your mail deliveries. This is much more convenient given that there will be an element of trust. For mail containing sensitive information like your tax bill and official documents, you’ll rest easy knowing that they won’t be tampered with. Working for a US company abroad comes with some tax benefits. For instance, you can list your house as the address on your ex-pat tax return form.
Depending on the particular city you choose, you can figure out a way to take advantage of tax deductions. Always inquire about tax exclusions if you’re moving to work overseas for a prolonged period of time. It’ll help you make the best decision as to which option of maintaining a US address is better for you. All in all, maintaining a US address while living abroad comes with many benefits, especially for green card holders and other non-citizens with legal permanent residence. If you’re going to live outside the US for, say, six months, it helps to keep a valid address there. Any one of the above options will do.
For a non-citizen, the last thing you want is for the immigration officer to think you’re suspicious because of a lack of a permanent US address every time you choose to come stateside. Maintaining an active US address will help avoid all the inconveniences associated with such situations. For US citizens, they can rest easy knowing that they can access their mail even when abroad.
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