Can I use a p.o. box address when applying for a Texas driving license?
January 23, 2009 8:33 PM   Subscribe

Can I use a P.O. Box Address when I apply for a Texas driving license?
posted by pakoothefakoo to Law & Government (9 answers total)
Speaking from experience, no.
posted by raildr at 8:56 PM on January 23, 2009

Yes, but only if you live in a ZIP code that does not deliver mail to street addresses. You will find these in the Back Middle of Nowhere(tm). Your street or 911 address must show on your license in addition to the PO box:

122 Nowhere Rd
PO Box 91
Mentone TX 79754

If you live in a populated area (i.e. not Loving County) you can't have a PO box listed but you can have your license mailed to a PO box. Oh, and you can't have any other mail box address (such as a Mailboxes Etc) listed either.

If you're trying this to be private, I'm afraid you're out of luck. Oh, and yes, your address will be as public as all get-out; just see
posted by fireoyster at 9:20 PM on January 23, 2009

You haven't said why you need to do this, but there is a difference between your residence and your mailing address. Your mailing address is the PO Box, but you should be able to put anything as your residence, although you'll probably need to verify it.

I remember reading something about "can homeless people vote?" since they don't have a residence in the usual sense. This was for New York, but this official sheet was advising the homeless that they could put "The corner of 45th and 3rd" or "Such-and-such Shelter" as their residence. (Obviously there was a little more to it, but that's the general idea.) There are probably some at the DMV who wouldn't know that they need to accept this, and would give people a hard time, but it's legal.

If you have some strange residence situation, you should speak with someone at the DMV, and/or maybe the voter registration office to discuss how you can address it. It may be a matter of getting someone else to sign an affidavit that wherever is your residence.

Although the country and its institutions are geared toward homeowners with bills, bank accounts, etc, people who have none of these are still entitled to the same rights and there are workarounds. And even though a drivers license is not a "right," an ID card, also issued by the DMV, is, if not a right, a requirement, and the same rules that apply to residence for a DMV-issued ID card should apply to a drivers license.
posted by thebazilist at 9:23 PM on January 23, 2009

As the HR guy, I have to photocopy a photo id during orientation (form filling). A lot of people in California have PO boxes on their state ids. I also noticed this in IL...
posted by hal_c_on at 9:24 PM on January 23, 2009

Not quite the same thing, but my Texas license was registered with a UPS Store address. Never had any issues and I sure as heck don't want everybody who looks at my license to know where I live..
posted by prggr at 9:29 PM on January 23, 2009

Thanks for all the answers, I'll look into them.

No not privacy issues, but rather, a catch-22 situation. There are some jobs here that requires a Texas drivers licenses (usually within 30 days). But I'm flat broke and couch surfing, and don't have the income/asset to get a proper residence.

I'll try the UPS store route.
posted by pakoothefakoo at 10:15 PM on January 23, 2009

prggr, I'm not sure how long you had your license like this or how long it's been, but my license used to have a local mailbox company (called "CMRA," or Commercial Mail Receiving Agency) listed until I got a letter from the Department of Public Safety*: "Dear Mr. fireoyster, Your Texas Driver License reflects an address that is not allowed under state law. The law requires that all driver licenses and identification cards must reflect the holder's residence address..." I was required to change it (and pay the $10 fee, bleh) within a month.

pakoothefakoo, you can list your friend's address if you'd like. That doesn't really "break" anything, and your address can be changed a bazillion times (for $10 each) if needed. List that address and have it mailed to a PO box. No worries. Most employers I've met don't even care if your DL address is different from the one on your application. Oh, and ID cards are a lot easier to get and are accepted exactly the same as a DL, you just can't drive. A DL requires insurance and a driving test, an ID doesn't. DLs are $24 for 6 years, IDs are $15.

* That reminds me, down here licenses are issued by the Department of Public Safety; Texas has no Department of Motor Vehicles (though that might change after the 2009 legislative session). Kind of important to know before you go surfing the blue pages wondering why there's no DMV....
posted by fireoyster at 10:48 PM on January 23, 2009


The stalking victim handbook used to suggest using a mail drop for your street address, and just part "Apt" instead of box no in the address. (And, if it was bad, like pets had been killed or shots fired, have your docs with your new name at one address and then all your bills and so forth in another.)

From what I understand, various issuers are getting saving about UPS locations and so forth and rejecting known box addresses, but it might be worth a try.

It looks like the requirements for a Texas Driver's License are mind-boggling. Not at all clear if you need something else showing your "address" when you apply.

Seems like you could use a friend's address, if they were cool with that. Because, you were there, right, and you never know when you might move from wherever you are sleeping right now. I'd buy that. If anyone every asked, which they wouldn't. Probably. And if they did, you could change at then.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 10:10 AM on January 25, 2009

Tangential, but Texas commercial driver's licenses have the mailing address on the front, not the residence address (Texas Transportation Code 522.030(3)(A)). I believe this may even be a federal rule as well. I know all this because I work in the CDL office at the Texas DPS, in the driver's license division. I happened to just be working on an index to chapter 522 recently. Go figure.

I have no idea why they decided to do it this way, but sometimes we get drivers complaining that some authority or other is giving them trouble about having a PO box on there. There's nothing we can do, unfortunately, unless they somehow get a street mailing address that satisfies whoever is looking at their license.

Keep in mind that for all kinds of Texas licenses, the post office will not deliver a person's license in the mail unless they are officially listed as a recipient at that address with the post office. Mail from the state will not be forwarded. This causes tons of trouble for people. So make sure the letter carrier knows that you really are officially receiving mail at that address.
posted by marble at 10:15 PM on January 29, 2009

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