Given how stressful moving can be, it’s highly likely that you’ll miss out on doing something that’s seemingly trivial but can also cause you a whole lot of inconvenience. Forgetting to change your address definitely comes in that category.
It’s a no-brainer that if you’re moving out, you’ve to change your address and forward your mail to your new address. After all, would you want all your bills and mail to be dropped off at your previous address after moving out? Ending up with delayed bill payments and online shopping packages not reaching you on time isn’t something you want just when you’re settling in. Learn how to change your address and forward your mail. It’s quite simple too!
So keep reading on to know how to change your address and forward your mail. To start off, there are four methods to change your address with the USPS: online, over the phone, in person at the post office and sending mail.
Changing Your Address Online
Step 1: Choosing Who’s Moving
The first step is to open this link. You’ll be provided with the following three options:
The ‘Individual’ field applies to you if you’re the only one who’s moving and requires a change of address and forward your mail.
The ‘Family’ option is a little more complicated than an individual move. You’ll need to specify if everyone living with you is moving out or if someone’s still staying back. This is to ensure that the ones who aren’t moving continue to receive their mail at the same address. Also, if those moving with you have different last names, they’ve to fill out this form separately as well. To put it short, if everyone moving shares a last name, a single change of address application is enough for the entire family’s mails to be forwarded to the new address.
If you’re moving your business, choose this option. Keep in mind that you cannot use this address to forward your individual and family mails. This change of address is separate from the individual and family options. Also, you only need to apply for this change if your entire business is moving.
Step 2: Entering Contact Information
This step is pretty self explanatory, so add your personal/business information and contact details. If you also receive mail that is addressed to your other names (nickname or pre-marriage name), you may need to apply another change of address with that name.
Step 3: Moving Temporarily Or Permanently?
The next step is to notify if your move is permanent or temporary. Typically, most moves are permanent and if you’re doing it as well, select that.
On the other hand, if you’ll be returning to your old address within 6 months, choose the temporary option.
Even if you’re moving out for over a year, choose the permanent option. This is because temporary mail forwarding services are only for 6 months and can be extended to 12 months.
Once you’ve chosen your type of move, you need to enter the date from which you want your mails to be forwarded to your new address. Of course, for the temporary move, you also need to add when to stop forwarding the mail.
Step 4: Entering Your Old And New Addresses
Now, you need to enter the old address of your house/business in the fields provided. Also, mention your post office (PO) box number in the street address column if you’ve rented one.
The next step is to fill out your new business/home address. Make sure that you fill it out very carefully. You’re more likely to make a mistake here as it’s a new and rather unfamiliar address. A good idea would be to confirm this with your realtor or landlord.
Depending on various factors including the time of the year, the location and the backlog the USPS has with regards to address change, it’ll take about 7-10 days for your address change request to be processed. Within this period, you won’t be receiving any of your mail.
Step 5: Finalizing Your Changes
Once you’ve filled all the required information with the correct addresses, you confirm your request and finalize it. You’ll be charged a small fee of $1.05 for online change of address from your credit or debit card. This transaction also doubles up as an identity verification test. Of course, this step only applies for the online method. You’ll receive a confirmation code, which you can use to modify or cancel your request if needed.
Changing Your Address Offline
There are two ways to go about this: you can either visit the nearest USPS office and request a mover’s packet. You’ll get a PS Form 3575 which you can fill out at the post office itself and hand it over to the official present there. Since you’ve done it in person, there’s no identity verification process involved and hence, it’s free of charge.
If you don’t want to sit at the post office, you can download PS Form 3575 (we’ve provided you a direct link so that you don’t have to search for it!) and print it. Fill out all the required details as mentioned above and mail it to your nearest USPS office with the First-Class postage attached (it’ll cost you $0.55).
You need to make sure that you receive a move validation letter at your old address. Also, you are to receive a confirmation letter regarding your change at your new address.
Changing Your Address Over the Phone
Alternatively, you can also change your address by calling up 1-800-ASK-USPS. All you need to do is follow the instructions and it’s done! Like the online method, there’ll be identity verification for this. So you’ll need to have your credit/debit card in hand as you’ll be charged $1.05.
What Happens If You Don’t Change Your Address?
If you don’t change your address, your mail gets accumulated at the post office for 10 days and then it’s returned to the sender. And depending on the sender, there is always a possibility that you will not be notified about the situation. Even if you are in the loop, why go through the hassle of making a trip down to the post office?
When Should You Change Your Address?
The best time for you to start this process is at least 2 weeks before moving out so that you don’t lose out on mail or have them delayed. You don’t want to keep it pending at the last possible moment because you’re likely to forget doing it during the chaotic process of moving out.
See also: Moving Out of State Checklist
What Is The Cost Involved In Changing Your Address?
For changing your address from the website or telephonically, you’ve to pay $1.05. If you visit the post office, you can do it free of charge. Stay away from third-party services that offer to do it for you. It’s quite a simple process.
Informing Other Services Of The Address Change
There usually is a misconception that changing your address and forwarding your mail with USPS is all you’ve to do. There are a number of government agencies and other services you need to notify about your address change:
Internal Revenue Services
You’ll need to provide your details by filling out Form 8822 or mail a statement of your address change to the place where you filed your previous tax return. This can also be done over the phone.
Notify your state DMV about your move to get your vehicle license and registration with your new address. Keep in mind the different state DMV laws.
Whether for your vehicle or your house, you have to update your insurance providers about your address change so as to avoid complications later.
Social Security Administration
You can update your address details on the mySecurity Portal. Whether you receive benefits or not, it’s good to have an account.
State Election Offices
You can either fill a National Mail Voter Registration and submit it online or offline to the concerned office. If you’re moving out of state, you also need to unregister yourself from the voter’s list of your previous state.
Department of Veteran Affairs
If applicable, you can download the VA Form 20-572 to update your address or do so on the eBenefits website. Alternatively, you can also call up the department at (800) 827-1000. You’ll need to provide details including your social security number, your previous address and the VA benefit you receive.
You need to inform your banks, credit card companies and other relevant institutions about your move and update your address with them. You can find out how to do so in their respective websites or calling customer service.
Particularly important if you’re reliant on online shopping or subscribed to online entertainment services. Change your address already entered if you’ve saved it for a quick checkout.
These include a lot, but some of the most important would be vets, lawyers, schools, medical practitioners, utility services and the likes who send you mail.
Holding Your Mail And Premium Forwarding
As we discussed above, if you’re not moving out permanently or less than 12 months, you can opt for temporary forwarding of mail. However, if you’re moving out for less than a month, you don’t need to bother with changing your address. The USPS has a provision of holding your mail for a maximum of 30 days. You can also authorize someone to collect your mail for you. Keep in mind that this feature isn’t provided at all post offices. If you want your mail to be held for over 30 days, you should switch to a forwarding service.
Alternatively, if you want to receive your mail but don’t want to bother with the task of changing your address for a temporary move, avail yourself of the Premium Forwarding Service. You can have more control over the kind of mail you receive, but for a price of $21.90 a week.
Renting A PO Box
This would be an ideal choice for you if you tend to move often. Renting a PO box means that all your mails would be delivered to the post office. This means that there’s no risk of your mails and parcels being left unattended at your doorstep if you’re away. Since you have a permanent address thanks to renting a PO box, you needn’t worry about changing your forwarding address at all. Also, as your home address isn’t provided, you can get privacy as well.
However, renting PO boxes has its share of disadvantages as well. They’re not suitable for corporations as street addresses are legally required for them. You’ll only receive mail from USPS and have to keep visiting the post office to collect your mail as PO boxes have a limited capacity.
Now that you know both sides of renting a PO box, weigh your options and requirements to make a decision.
Modifying Or Canceling Your Change Of Address Request
In case you’ve made a mistake while updating your details on the USPS website or want to cancel your mail forwarding request altogether, you can do that.
For the offline option, you have to visit your nearest USPS office and request for modifying or canceling your change of address request. You’ll basically go through almost all the same steps as mentioned above. But you need to remember to carry two documents. One is to verify your identity – a driver’s license or a US permanent resident card should suffice. The other is your address proof, for which a mortgage agreement or a voter registration would work.
For the online option, you need to login to the USPS website, where you should click on the ‘Track & Manage’ option. From here, select the ‘Change of Address’ option and it’ll redirect you to the said page. Look for the ‘Have you already changed your address? View or Edit’ and click on it.
Here, you’ll need to add your confirmation code, which you’d received when you first updated your address, and your ZIP code. Once done, click on submit. From here, you can choose whether to modify or cancel your mail forwarding request. If you’ve misplaced your confirmation code, you’ll need to visit your nearest USPS office and fill out a form.
Does USPS Charge You To Forward Mail?
You’ll be charged a one-time fee of $1.05 for changing your address. You can also avail of the more expensive Premium Forwarding Services. If you’re moving permanently or would like the Standard Mail Forwarding, you won’t be charged extra.
If Your Mail Forwarding Service Expires, What Happens To The Mail?
The mail is returned to the sender once the forwarding period (12 months) is expired.
As you saw, changing your address and forwarding your mail is a piece of cake, so long as you don’t put it off until the last minute. A good idea would be to have a printable checklist so that you do all your moving formalities in a more systematic manner.
Also read: Time taken for USPS Forward Mail