Mail Boxes Etc. has an e-box service that permits you to receive mail and packages reliably and inexpensively in Medellín from the U.S. I have used this e-box service for nearly eight years. And I successfully sent over 140 packages during this time without a single problem.
When I first started living in Medellín over eight years ago, receiving my mail from the U.S. was one of the early challenges I encountered. Fortunately, Mail Boxes Etc. provides a solution with its e-box service.
This service provides a mailbox in Medellín that is linked to a mailing service in Miami. And any mail received at this mailing service in Miami is forwarded to Medellín.
Any mail or packages that are received in Miami are sent first to Bogotá to clear customs. In my experience, it normally takes 5-7 calendar days after a package arrives in Miami to be received in Medellín.
Note Mail Boxes Etc. in Medellín is not closed or closing as some expats have posted on Medellín Facebook groups. I received a package in December 2018 using Mail Boxes Etc.
Also, I confirmed on December 26, 2018 that Mail Boxes Etc. plans to stay open and that is is fine to send packages from the U.S. in January using their service. In addition, they said if they were actually closing they would contact all customers, which hasn’t happened.
Mail Boxes Etc. e-box Details
The e-box plan is designed for people who receive packages on a periodic basis. Furthermore, it comes in four different options:
- e-box Premium – $17 per month, includes 1 kilogram free and excess grams at $0.013
- e-box Plus – $26 per month, includes 2 kilograms free and excess grams at $0.0125
- e-box Platinum – $37 per month, includes 3 kilogram free and excess grams at $0.012
- e-box Gold – $58 per month, includes 6 kilos free and excess grams at $0.0115
I have the e-box Premium plan that permits me to receive 1 kilogram of packages per month. And any excess weight is charged at $0.013 per gram.
With an e-box plan you can check the status of packages online. In addition, you also can receive email alerts when packages arrive in Miami and also at the Mail Boxes Etc. office in Medellín.
For packages and express mail packages the e-box mailing address in Miami is:
COLXXXXX CASILLERO XXX
2250 NW 114th Ave. Unit 1L
Miami, FL 33192-4177
Unfortunately, the mailing service in Miami sends each item as it is received. So, you can’t consolidate items received in Miami to reduce mailing costs.
More About Mail Boxes Etc.
Mail Boxes Etc. (MBE) is a global chain of business service centers. The locations offer packaging and shipping services, office services, packing materials, printing, copying, postal services and some other business services.
MBE was founded in the U.S. in 1980 and grew to become the world’s largest franchisor of retail shipping, postal and business service centers. UPS acquired MBE in 2003 and rebranded the stores in the U.S. as The UPS Store. In 2009, UPS sold MBE located outside the U.S., Canada, and India to Fineffe Group, based in Italy.
MBE locations globally are independently owned and operated by licensed franchisees. MBE currently has over 1,600 retail locations in 34 countries. In Colombia, MBE has locations in Barranquilla, Bogotá, Bucaramanga and Medellín.
My Experience with Mail Boxes Etc.
I typically forward all my regular mail (letters and magazines) from the U.S every six weeks or so. And this package normally weighs less than 1-kilogram. So, it is sent to Medellín from Miami with no additional charge.
I also buy many items on Amazon each year that ship for free to Miami using Amazon Prime. So, I pay for excess shipping charges to Medellín for anything greater than my free 1-kilogram per month at $0.013 per gram.
Amazon Prime costs $119 per year but you can try Amazon Prime with a free 30-day trial.
In addition, there sometimes is a customs duty/tax that I have a pay when I pick up the package. If the value of the package is less than $200 there reportedly is no IVA (VAT) tax to pay.
Any items that are received in Miami need an invoice, which is needed by customs. If a package arrives in Miami without an invoice you will have to send one electronically.
Using US Global Mail Mailbox Service in the U.S.
The mailing service in Miami with Mail Boxes Etc.’s e-box service doesn’t consolidate packages. So, I also use a mailbox service in the U.S. I use this as my primary mailing address in the U.S. for credit cards, magazines, taxes and other things.
I use US Global Mail based in Houston, which provides a physical mailing address and virtual mailbox. The cost is only $12.50 per month, if paid for a year in advance.
This service permits me to go online and see scans of any mail received. And I can discard any junk mail online. In addition, they can open mail and scan it for a small fee, so you can see the contents online. And they can also deposit checks.
When I have sufficient mail in this mailbox in Houston, I consolidate the mail into one package and send it to Miami. And after arriving in Miami, this package arrives reliably in Medellín typically 5-10 days later.
US Global mail has been in business since 1999 and reportedly has over 80,000 expat customers living outside the U.S.
Other Mailbox Services in the U.S.
To use one of the mailbox services in the U.S. you need to file a US Postal Service (USPS) Form 1583. Most noteworthy, USPS needs to have your authorization to send all your mail to your chosen U.S. mailing forwarding company. In addition, Form 1583 needs to be notarized by a U.S. notary public. Expats from the U.S. living outside the U.S. can notarize the document at a U.S. embassy or online at NotaryCam.
USPS also has a premium mail forwarding service that I wouldn’t recommend, as you can’t go online to see your mail. And it forwards consolidated mail every week and is very costly at $19.35 per month.
Other Mail Services in Colombia
A few expats I met in Colombia have successfully used Ultrabox that has a membership fee of $25 per year and costs $4.50 or more per package to send. Ultrabox has a limit on package value of $2,000.
I have heard of bad experiences from several expats who used the 4-72 service, so it isn’t recommended. 4-72 is the commercial brand of Servicios Postales Nacionales, which is owned by the Colombian government. Some expats have never received packages sent via 4-72. And other expats told me packages took up to three months to receive.
Also, some expats use Envios Market in El Poblado in Medellín, which used to be a Mail Boxes Etc. location.
How to Get to Mail Boxes Etc. in Medellín
Mail Boxes Etc. used to have two offices in Medellín but the second one is no longer a Mail Boxes Etc. place.
The only Mailboxes Etc. office in Medellín is located in an office building next to Ovideo mall in Medellín. Note this office moved during the second week of May 2018. So, the address is updated.
- El Poblado: Calle 6 Sur # 43A-200, Edificio LUGO office # 405, Tel: +57 4 266 9655
El Poblado: Carrera 43A # 8 – 67 Local 7(no longer a Mail Boxes Etc. location)
The Bottom Line – Using Mail Boxes Etc.
By using Mail Boxes Etc. and US Global Mail services, I have solved the challenge of receiving mail from the U.S. in Medellín at a cost of less than $30 per month.
The Mail Boxes Etc. e-box service permits me to buy on Amazon and other websites in the U.S., ship to Miami and the items show up in Medellín reliably in less than two weeks.
In addition, “How to receive mail from the U.S. in Medellín?” is a common question asked by expats in the city. So, we included this question in our list of Medellín frequently asked questions (FAQ).
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Editors note: Updated on May 18, 2018 with the new address for Mail Boxes Etc. in Medellín.
Editors note: Updated on December 26, 2018 to clarify that Mail Boxes Etc. is open despite several inaccurate comments I have seen on Medellín Facebook groups that Mail Boxes Etc. in Medellín is closing.
Editors note: Updated on February 16, 2018 to replace the Mailboxes Etc. link based on a reader comment.