UAE: Why do post boxes matter in the digital era?

Many expats often apply for a PO Box for personal use and it can render a secure and reliable address, especially for businesses

The Postboxes of Karama post office in Dubai. Photo by Shihab
The Postboxes of Karama post office in Dubai. Photo by Shihab

Nandini Sircar

Published: Wed 16 Nov 2022, 7:35 PM

With the world rapidly moving toward digitalisation, conventional methods of communication, such as sending letters, and telegrams through postal services, have dwindled over the years. The postal industry is grappling with its greatest challenge, which is digital disruption.

In this light, Rashid Huraiz Rashid Al Falasi, Acting Chief of Retail Officer of Emirates Post, which is the country’s official postal operator, explains numerous benefits to postal services that people seem to overlook.

Al Falasi says, “Even though most businesses currently communicate via email, there is important or sensitive correspondence from government authorities, banks, and even from clients or suppliers, that are sent as physical copies. This necessitates the need to have a PO Box.”

He adds, “It is still a fairly common practice in other countries to utilise their postal networks to send packages and documents to the UAE. However, as the country has no system of postal or zip codes, businesses must have a PO Box associated with their address to receive any packages and avoid losses.”

A PO Box is something that many expats often apply for even individually and it can render a secure and reliable address especially for businesses.

“This allows start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to have an official mailing address. It validates the existence of such companies by enabling a more professional outlook for the businesses and enhancing their reputation.”

Al Falasi underlines, furthermore, “Each PO Box subscription grants access to digital services that let them control their inbound shipments by letting them set preferences, receive delivery notifications, request additional services, etc.”

“For businesses, a PO Box offers an added layer of security for confidential documents or sensitive mail such as contracts and cheques. This is particularly important in circumstances where one needs to be away from their place of business for a period of time.”

Price of a PO Box

The price of a PO Box differs depending on the kind of service one wants.

“A PO Box offers an affordable, flexible and convenient solution, along with complete security and confidentiality in receiving packages or documents. Obtaining a PO Box is an affordable and economically viable option for companies, as the annual charge is minimal, and packages can be tailored accordingly. Companies can also manage and upgrade their PO Box to include office deliveries and bulk receivables for added convenience.”

Additionally, companies can collect packages and mail at their convenience as access to their PO Box is available 24/7.

“Therefore, a formal business address, consisting of a PO Box, is fundamental, as it creates trust and credibility, building a professional reputation for your business.”

Helps in creating consistent and dependable address for customers

“Another perk of having a PO Box for businesses is that even if the business location changes, within the same Emirate, the PO Box number remains the same. Thus, it provides a consistent and dependable address for customers,” opines Al Falasi.

Heads of businesses in the UAE reiterate it is a great way to be more visible as a business, as the PO Box can be searched online, providing the business information and map location.


Aws Ismail, Director at Marc Ellis, avers, "PO Boxes are necessary for any business in the UAE, mainly based on verification of the business, providing extra assurance to anyone who interacts with the business. It is part of the corporate identity of a business, and it means the business and its management has been verified."

He adds, "Lastly, from experience, it is fundamental to have a PO Box to avoid any important correspondence being delivered elsewhere. This once happened to me personally as I was not provided with a PO Box and sent a letter that was delivered to a different location with a similar name; finding the letter and resending it to the correct address was a hassle. Therefore, I highly recommend having PO boxes registered."

Although private courier companies like DHL, UP, FedEx operate in the emirates, some expat families feel it is immensely helpful to have PO Box.

Meadows' resident in Dubai, Amla Mazumdar, says, "both my husband and I quit our jobs. We used to use our work PO Box. That's when we realized we needed our PO Box now. We started our business and eventually felt the need for it. If you have a PO Box address, you can use it to send (snail) mail to and from the UAE. Although ours is an offshore company, we still went ahead and applied for one. It was around four to five years ago, and I remember getting a PO Box here was quite easy. We got it in two to three working days."

The Dubai Central Post office suggests using the postcode "00000" if required to provide a zip code.

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