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Frequently Asked Questions

Our Virtual Offices include a variety of services and features at a great price. These frequently asked questions are for both those who already use the Alliance service and those are considering an Alliance Virtual Office. Select any question to view the full answer on this page. If you cannot find an answer to your question, please contact us at 888.869.9494.

I want a virtual office. Where do I start?
What is an Alliance Virtual Office?
What is a CMRA and why do I need to complete Form 1583?
How do I find a notary to authorize CMRA Form 1583?
What are acceptable forms of ID when completing CMRA Form 1583?
What is a Virtual Phone System?
How Does the Live Receptionist Service Work?
How Does Alliance Count Live Answering Minutes?
How Does Alliance Count Virtual Phone System Minutes?

I want a virtual office. Where do I start?

Are you looking for only a live receptionist to answer your calls?
Then start by selecting one of our Live Receptionist packages.

Are you only looking for an on-demand office?
Then start by choosing a location

Are you looking for both an on-demand office and a live receptionist?
It's probably easiest to start by choosing a location. After you've chosen your location, we will prompt you to choose your communications package.

Still confused? Call us at 888.869.9494. We'd be glad to help.

What is an Alliance Virtual Office?

An Alliance Virtual Office combines People, Place and Technology as the basis for a complete virtual office. These essential elements offer mobile and work-from-home professionals an experienced live receptionist to answer their phone, a place to meet or spend a day in a professional office space and a start-of-the-art virtual phone system.

What is a CMRA and why do I need to complete Form 1583?

CMRA stands for Commercial Mail Receiving Agency. Before you can sign up to a Virtual Office or activate a new Business Address in the U.S., you must complete, sign and notarize CMRA Form 1583 under U.S. Postal Service regulations.

When you set up a Virtual Office or a new Business Address with Alliance Virtual Offices, we become your commercial mail receiving agency (CMRA) and by completing Form 1583, you legally authorize us to handle mail on your behalf. This step safeguards your business against fraud and other concerns such as identity theft.

During the checkout process on we provide a pre-filled version of Form 1583 that you can fill out online. Afterwards, print it - you'll need this for the notarizing process (see below FAQ #4 for notary help).

Here, we show you how to complete Form 1583 quickly and easily:

  • Box 1: Print Date.
  • Box 2: Print your full name.
  • Boxes 3 & 4: Leave these sections blank - we will fill these sections out.
  • Box 5: Sign your name. This authorizes the business center to receive certified or restricted-delivery mail on your behalf.
  • Boxes 6 & 7: Print your name and home address (this should match the address shown on your photographic identification). Normally, this should match Box 2.
  • Box 8: (a,b) Write down two forms of ID that you will use to prove your identity. One must be photographic ID, such as a driver's license or passport. See FAQ #5 below for a list of acceptable ID documents.
  • Box 9: Print your Company Name.
  • Box 10: (a,b,c,d,e) Print your current business address (if you do not have one, list your home address again).
  • Box 11: Briefly describe the type of product or service your business provides, eg. "marketing", "legal advice", "stationery".
  • Boxes 12, 13 & 14: Fill in if applicable otherwise leave blank (for each name given we need 2 forms of ID).
  • Box 15: Notary's signature and seal (must be on this form). See FAQ #4 below for help.
  • Box 16: Your signature.

Ready to send? Once the form has been completed and notarized as explained above, send the original copy (NOT a photocopy) of the form along with photocopies of your ID documents to the Alliance Virtual Offices mailing address (see address here).

Alternatively, you can email a scanned version of the original form to us with copies of your ID documents. Please ensure all text and identification is legible. We will submit the form and identification as required by law, and keep a copy for our records.

How do I find a notary to authorize CMRA Form 1583?

Alliance Virtual Offices makes it easy to notarize your form. We use an online notary service called Notary Cam, which evaluates photographic identification and ensures all elements in the CMRA form are completed accurately.

Alliance Virtual's Notary Cam process takes a few minutes to complete. While signing-up, we'll help you schedule a short online meeting with a qualified notary using a web-cam - just like a normal video call – to complete and authorize the process.

Access Alliance Virtual Notary Cam here.

As you can see, you'll need to have your completed form saved on your computer. We recommended typing all relevant information into the boxes, printing the form, then scanning and saving it on your computer. Do not sign the document at this time - your notary will need to be present for the signature.

If you prefer to see a notary in-person, it is a relatively quick and inexpensive process. Some banks offer an in-house notary service for free. You can also find notaries by searching local directories or via an online search engine.

What are acceptable forms of ID when completing CMRA Form 1583?

Two separate forms of identification are required, one of which must be photographic ID. Acceptable forms of identification are as follows:

  • Valid driver's license or state non-driver's identification card: armed forces, government, university, student, or recognized corporate identification card (work ID);
  • Passport, alien registration card ('green card') or certificate of naturalization;
  • Current lease, mortgage or Deed of Trust;
  • Voter or vehicle registration card;
  • Home, health or vehicle insurance policy.

Please note: Social security cards, credit cards, and birth certificates are NOT acceptable forms of identification.

At least one ID must contain the home address listed in Section 7 of the form. If both ID's have addresses, they must both match the home address as stated in Section 7.

What is a Virtual Phone System?

A virtual phone system goes by many names: VoIP phone, Virtual PBX, Virtual PBX Phone System, Small Business Phone System, etc. Whatever the name, our feature-rich virtual phone system allows users to set up a Fortune 500 type phone system for less. From conference calls to dial by name directories, our phone system has it all. Best of all it can be managed by a non-technical person through our intuitive web interface.

How Does the Live Receptionist Service Work?

Our experienced, professional live receptionists have all been extensively trained to answer phones for a variety of companies, yet still answer each call in a personalized way. Once you are a client of Alliance, you can login to your Alliance management system and tell us exactly how you want your phone to be answered. Give us explicit instructions on how to answer your phone, where you are, where to reach you, etc. You can even tailor our responses depending on who calls. Every time someone calls your number our software will display this information to our receptionists. Additionally, our receptionists get to know each of our clients (and their frequent callers) and become familiar with the types of calls received. This focus enables us to serve our clients better.

How Does Alliance Count Live Answering Minutes?

Alliance counts Live Answering minutes by the second and we never round up!
You can view your Live Answering minutes in real-time through our client admin system.

How Does Alliance Count Virtual Phone System Minutes?

Alliance does not count any calls against our clients' minutes if they are 5 seconds or less. Other than that, our system counts 30 second increments so a 25 second call is 30 seconds and a 55 second call is counted as 1 minute. Please note that these minutes are counted separately from our Live Answering system.