USPS Mail Forwarding – What You Need to Know
Are you going to be changing your address? An address change with the USPS is a regular part of a home buyer or seller’s routine. Understanding how to do an address change is one of the many tasks that should be at the top of your moving checklist.
One of the things that many buyers and sellers research is how to forward their mail with the post office.
You have so many issues to think about when moving – your moving date, hiring movers, turning off and setting up utilities, new school district – the list goes on and on.
One task that can get lost in the shuffle is making sure your mail is forwarded by the United States Postal Service (USPS).
Learning how to change your address with the post office when you move is obviously a critical step. There are multiple ways to accomplish this task, but it can still be tedious to figure it all out and get it done.
In the past, I have written on who to notify your address has changed. After buying or selling a home, it is one of the essential things you can do to ensure you get your mail in a timely fashion.
The resource provides some of the usual groups of people you will want to know, along with numerous other organizations you might not think about.
Keep reading for the low down on how you can get your mail forwarded by the USPS and what you should expect as you go through the process.
Changing your mailing address early is one of the best tips you’ll receive when relocating.
Let’s take an in-depth look at a USPS address change and how to go about doing it.
Which Form Should You Use When Doing a USPS Change of Address?
There are several different options when you want to forward your mail with various forms for different situations. The three primary change of address forms you can choose from are:
- Individual. When there is only one of you or only one person that needs to have their mail forwarded, this is the form that you want to choose. You can also use this form if you have multiple people in the household moving to different locations, like if you are living with roommates and are moving to your own place. Just fill out the Individual Change of Address Form, and you should be all set to have your mail forwarded.
- Family. Filling out an individual form for each member of your family would be tedious – and it turns out also unnecessary since you can just fill out the Family Change of Address form to take care of the forwarding for all of your family’s mail. Keep in mind that you all need to share the same last name, and you all need to be moving to the same location for this form to work for you.
- Business. The USPS requires businesses to use a particular form to change their addresses, so you will need to look for the Business Change of Address form if you are a business. It would help if you were authorized to forward mail for the company – so you don’t have to be the owner, but you do need to have the right to have the mail sent. Here is what you need to know about the USPS business change of address.
It will be well worth your time to review the most frequently asked questions about changing your address with the USPS. It is loaded with pertinent information on getting your mailing address changed.
Forwarding your mail with the USPS will be simple after you have finished reading.
Changing Your Address With The IRS
One of the most crucial entities that need to be notified of your address change is the internal revenue service. For an individual changing an address, you should use form 8822, and for a business, it will be form 8822-B. Put the IRS at the top of your list when filling out address change forms.
Are These USPS Address Change Forms Available Online?
In the old days, you used to have to visit a post office location to get a form to request mail forwarding. Today, most people find their USPS address change forms online.
An address change with the USPS is fairly straightforward to do.
A quick internet search will show you different mail forwarding results – but you don’t need to get your form through a third party.
You can simply visit one of the above moving references to find all of your mail forwarding options in one place.
The only downside to using the online method instead of going into the post office for the form is that the online option charges you $1 to access the form.
If you get the document from the post office, you don’t have to pay anything – however, you have to complete the address change form and return it to the post office, but you can do that by dropping it in your mailbox after you have filled it out.
Can You Change Your Address Ahead of Your Move?
Yes! Actually, it’s an excellent idea to get your change of address form submitted ahead of time because it gives the postal service the time to make the changes necessary to forward your mail.
When you complete your change of address form, you can fill in your intended moving date – labeled as the date to start forwarding – so that you can have them begin delivering the mail at a specific time frame.
Remember that the service is not perfect, and there is some logistical work involved, so you may not see your mail begin forwarding until a few days after your intended moving date.
Doing your address change early with the USPS is one of the best pieces of advice I can give you.
Working as a real estate agent, I see firsthand how often former owners get vital mail sent to their previous address.
Quite frequently, I am asked by the new owner to provide a forwarding address. If the address change procedure were followed earlier, it would cut down on this happening.
How Quickly Can You Start Mail Forwarding?
Mail forwarding is not an instant service, either. It takes some time for the USPS to make the necessary changes to forward your mail to the new address – somewhere around 7-10 postal days. To be safe, you are best off trying to get your forwarding request in two weeks before you need the mail to start forwarding.
If you try to submit a form that says you want the mail to start forwarding the same day, the next day, or anytime before ten postal days, you will only be disappointed. Sure, they may manage to start the forwarding sooner, but you shouldn’t bet on it.
It is a significant factor for why you should know how to change your address and get it done early on in the moving process.
Do You Get a Confirmation That Your Request Was Received?
When doing an address change with the USPS, you will get a confirmation in the form of a Move Validation letter when you have fulfilled the mail forwarding request process.
After you have submitted your completed change of address form, the post office will process that form and then automatically ship out a Move Validation letter to your current address to let you know that they got your request.
As stated before, it can take up to 10 postal days to have the address change form processed by the USPS.
Once they have completed the processing, they will mail another document, the USPS Customer Notification Letter or Welcome Kit, to your new address.
The letter will contain a confirmation code that you can use to check your mail forwarding status and edit your forwarding request as needed in the future.
The letter also includes information about moving services and various coupons for you to use when setting up your new home.
Remember that if you made all of your mail forwarding requests online, you will also get an email confirming your online application’s receipt. The email will approve your request and give you a confirmation code.
What Should You Do if You Haven’t Gotten Your Mail Like You Were Supposed To?
Every now and then, a USPS address change will not go through as planned. Say you submitted your request form two weeks ago, but you discover the post office is not forwarding your mail.
What do you do to fix the problem? Fortunately, the solution should be pretty straightforward. Just take a trip to your local post office and tell them about your problem.
You will want to bring a photo ID with you so that you can prove your identity.
Changing your address with the post office is supposed to be a breeze, but occasionally there can be glitches.
How Long Does Mail Forwarding Last?
Mail forwarding from the USPS is an excellent service and costs you nothing – aside from possibly a dollar if you fill out your form online. But all good things must come to an end, and mail forwarding is no exception. Most of your mail will be forwarded by the USPS for a full year. Most, but not all. Things like magazines and newspapers will only be sent for 60 days.
The idea behind having mail forwarding expire is that the USPS wants you to update your mailing address with everyone, so they don’t have to go to the extra effort of forwarding your mail forever. It can be easy to let updating your addresses go by the wayside, though, so they will notify you that they are ending your mail forwarding before they stop it.
The best thing to do is update your mailing address with everyone you can think of as soon as you get settled into your new home.
What About Premium Forwarding Service?
Has a friend or relative told you about the premium forwarding mail service? Instead of having your mail sent using regular mail forwarding, you can opt for what’s known as Premium Forwarding Service Residential. It’s a temporary service that can be used for up to one year.
To use premium forwarding, you pay a one-time enrollment fee, along with weekly charges after that. By paying for this service, the USPS will hold your mail, pack it all up, and ship it to you weekly via Priority Mail® service.
This premium service cost is $20.15 when you enroll in person or $18.15 if it is done online. After that, the charge is $20.10 for each week you continue to use the service. When having the post office forward your mail, this is an option you might want to explore.
Video on How to Change Your Address With The Post Office
Do you prefer to watch a video? See this helpful overview of how to change your address.
What Happens if You Need to Cancel or Update a USPS Address Change?
Sometimes there is an unexpected turn of events in one’s life that changes your moving plans completely. It is possible you could find out that after you have asked the post office to change your address, you no longer will be moving where expected.
If this has happened to you, you’ll need to know how to update or cancel your USPS change of address. Changing your forwarding address will best be accomplished by going on the post office website. As mentioned above, go to the post office address change website and click the link to start the process.
You will locate the view, edit, cancel or dispute link toward the bottom of the page. You will then enter your zip code and USPS address change confirmation number, so the post office knows you have the legal authority to make the change.
The confirmation number will be located on the letter that the post office mailed to your new address. Alternatively, if you sent the address change online, a 16-digit number will be in the email they sent you when confirming your change request.
When all of your information has been verified, you’ll be able to make the following changes:
- Modify the start or end dates of your mail forwarding.
- Change your email address or telephone number.
- Cancel the address change.
- Make a temporary move into a permanent address change.
- Make a family move to a single move. It’s worth noting you won’t be able to change an individual to a family.
Additionally, you will be limited to two changes per day. One of the changes can be the new street address that you’ll be moving to. When trying to make more than two modifications, you will get an error message. You’ll then need to wait two days to make more changes.
Watch Out For Address Change USPS Moving Scams
You might be wondering how an address change with the USPS could turn into a scam. Here is how it works. A scammer gets your full legal name and address. They submit a change of address form through the mail to the post office.
They get your mail forwarded to their address instead of yours. Once they are receiving your mail they will have access to your credit card and banking information among other sensitive documents.
The unfortunate part of an address change with the USPS is that it’s easy for scammers to get away with it. There are, however a few ways to stop the scam from happening. The post office will send a change of address confirmation to your known address. Make sure you always open mail addressed from the post office.
You will likely also see a noticeable drop in mail coming to your home. As things progress, you’re also likely to get notifications from your credit card companies that new accounts were opened up in your name.
Thankfully, change of address scams does not work when done online. The post office online system requires digital payment that will verify your bank account.
Frequently Asked Questions About a USPS Change of Address
Let’s take a look at some of the FAQs when forwarding your mail with the USPS.
1. Is a USPS address change-free?
No. You will need to pay $1.05. The post office will need either a debit or credit card as well as a valid email address. The cost of the address change is to verify there is no identity fraud taking place.
2. How long will it take for the post office to change my address?
A USPS change of address usually takes 7-10 business days once your form has been submitted. You should do your mail forwarding in advance if you want to receive your mail in a timely fashion.
3. Can you do a temporary USPS address change?
Yes. If you have a temporary move, the USPS can forward your mail to a new address from your old address for 15 days to a year. You will fill out the temporary address change form.
4. Can you do an address change with USPS to a post office box?
Yes, you can. The post office provides a wealth of information on how to get a P.O Box.
You can also have a look at all the reasons why you might want a post office box here at Maximum Real Estate Exposure.
5. Does the post office notify senders of mail my new address?
If you ask the post office for the address service requested on the envelope, they will notify the sender’s new address for one year.
6. What mail will not be forwarded?
There are two types of mail known as mail A and mail B. Standard mail A includes books, catalogs, circulars, and advertising. The post office will not forward these things unless you specifically ask them to be.
Standard mail B are packages that weigh more than 16 ounces. The post office will forward mail B for 12 months at no charge. If you move outside the area, you will pay forwarding charges.
7. How do you extend your forwarding address?
When you change your address with USPS, it will last for 18 months. You can buy extended mail forwarding at your local post office.
8. When should you change your address with the post office when moving?
It is recommended that you get your mail forwarding set up at least two weeks before your move for timely mail delivery.
9. Does the USPS share my address with anyone?
The post office will not share your new address with anyone, except per the privacy act. There are exceptions, including mailers who already have your old address.
10. How do you stop mail from going to an address temporarily?
A mail hold will often be done when you are going on vacation or somewhere else for a short time. You can register for this plan at the post office 30 days before your vacation or temporary stay.
11. Can you change your address with the IRS online?
Notifying the IRS of an address change online can only happen in limited circumstances. In cases where your refund check was returned to the IRS, there is an option on their website called “where is my refund”. You will be able to change your address with them when this happens.
12. Will the post office forward my IRS check?
Not necessarily. When you notify the USPS of your move, it is possible they may not forward your check. Not all post offices will forward government checks. Given this, it becomes vital to also notify the IRS of your address change.
13. What is address standardization?
Address standardization is formating an address so that it matches the format approved by the national postal authority.
More Moving Advice Worth Reviewing
Moving is one of the most challenging parts of buying or selling a home. When you don’t prepare for your move correctly, the stress levels can go skyrocketing. The references below will provide valuable guidance throughout the process of moving. Educate yourself so you’ll have a much smoother moving experience.
- Where to donate furniture – one of the most arduous tasks in selling a home and moving is the preparation for it. Most real estate agents will tell you that getting your home ready for the market is vital to your success. You can kill two birds with one stone by getting your home decluttered and donating to help a family in need. See where you can donate furniture, clothes, and other household goods.
- Rent a moving truck – are you going to be moving and doing it yourself? Some people forgo using a professional moving company. Instead, they will rent their own moving truck and possibly ask friends to help. In the article, see everything you need to know about getting your own moving vehicle.
- What is appropriate to tip a mover – one of the questions lots of people have is whether they need to tip a mover or not and, if so, how much. You can get a ton of info on what to think about when tipping a mover.
- Get a storage unit – are you going to be needing to rent from a storage facility? If so, get some of the best information on what you need to know about renting a storage unit. Find useful tips and advice that will help you make the right decision on choosing a storage unit.
Final Thoughts on Forwarding Your Mail With The Post Office
Hopefully, the information provided on how to forward your mail with the post office has been helpful. Getting your mailing address and mail squared away is one of the most crucial steps in completing the moving process. Make sure you start this exercise as early as you can.
When moving from one place to the next, a USPS address change is vital to getting out of the way early.
About the author: The above Real Estate information on how to forward mail with a USPS address change was provided by Bill Gassett, a Nationally recognized leader in his field. Bill can be reached via email at [email protected] or by phone at 508-625-0191. Bill has helped people move in and out of many Metrowest towns for the last 34+ years.
Are you thinking of selling your home? I have a passion for Real Estate and love to share my marketing expertise!
I service Real Estate Sales in the following Metrowest MA towns: Ashland, Bellingham, Douglas, Framingham, Franklin, Grafton, Holliston, Hopkinton, Hopedale, Medway, Mendon, Milford, Millbury, Millville, Natick, Northborough, Northbridge, Shrewsbury, Southborough, Sutton, Wayland, Westborough, Whitinsville, Worcester, Upton, and Uxbridge MA.