When moving, your to-do list can feel never-ending. From making down payments to packing and coordinating with movers, your to-do list can become overwhelming. Unfortunately, one task that homeowners are quick to overlook is updating their addresses with the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and other government agencies. Failing to keep your address current can result in missed mail, lost packages, and other problems. To help keep important mail coming your way, we made this quick guide that:
- Breaks down how to change your address with the USPS.
- Goes over some scams to look out for.
- Answers some frequently asked questions regarding changing your address.
What Address Change Options Are Available?
When you begin your move, you should look into the options offered by the USPS regarding your mail. The USPS offers services for temporary and long-term relocations, such as:
- Permanent address change: This service, called a Change-of-Address (COA), updates your current address to a new, permanent location.
- Temporary change of address or forwarding: This process sends your mail to a new address for a limited time. Mail forwarding is used for short-term moves, like those for business or attending university. Forwarding services can last from 15 days up to a year. If you need your mail to be forwarded for longer than one year, you will need to use a premium forwarding service. Once the allotted time passes, your mail carrier will resume sending your mail to your old address.
- Hold mail services: If you are going to be away from your home but do not have a consistent address to forward mail to, having the post office hold your mail is the best option. This service holds your mail at the post office for two to 30 days. For stays longer than 30 days, the USPS recommends going with a longer-term mail forwarding service.
- PO boxes: This service is helpful for an individual who is moving and needs a location to forward mail before they find a permanent residence. When moving, if you are unable to forward your mail to a temporary residence, you can open a PO Box and have your mail forwarded there.
How Do I Change My Mailing Address With the USPS?
To permanently update your address with the USPS, you have two options. First, you can try to update your address online. This process can take some time and require additional security verifications, but it can be done at any time and is exceptionally convenient. Alternatively, if you are having difficulty with the online process, you can find a local USPS office and update your address in person.
How to Change Your Address Online
You can go to the official USPS Change-of-Address page to do an online change of address. Here you will have to:
- Fill out contact information
- Supply old and new addresses
- Verify security information
- Have an email address for confirmation purposes
- Specify which members of the household are moving
- Specify if it is a business-related move
- Specify if the move is temporary or permanent
- Designate a forwarding date (the date when the USPS will begin forwarding your mail)
- Pay $1.10 for identity verification purposes, for which you will need a credit card or debit card, inducing one of the following:
- Visa Card
- Discover Card
- American Express Card
How Do You Change Your Address in Person?
First, you need to find a local postal service office with its location finder tool. Once there, you will be given a Mover’s Guide Packet. This packet contains a COA order (PS Form 3757), instructions for completing the form, and coupons for other moving services. The 3757 Form resembles the online application, requiring:
- Your old address
- Your new address
- What household members are moving
- If the move is temporary
- Move date
- Move end date (if the move is temporary)
- Contact information
- Business name (if it is a business move)
You will also be requested to show identification (such as a driver’s license) while filling out this form.
Once the form is submitted, you will receive (at your old address, before your indicated move date) a Move Validation Letter (MVL). This letter is to confirm that the COA is correct and valid. You will only need to respond to the letter if the new address is incorrect or you did not request a COA.
Finally, up to five business days after your listed move-in date, you will receive a Customer Notification Letter (CNL) or a Welcome Kit. The CNL contains your new address, old address, the start date for mail forwarding, and a confirmation code. You can use this code at managemymove.usps.com to change or cancel your change of address request. A welcome kit contains the same information as a CNL but also information for new residents, a community guide, and coupons for services relevant to new residents.
What Other Government Agencies Should I Notify When I Move?
Along with the United States Postal Service, you will need to contact several other government agencies during a move. Here are some of the most important ones:
- Bureau of Transportation: Once you move to your new home, you must contact your local transportation agency. Each state has different rules and regulations regarding this, so it’s best to get ahold of a local DMV as soon as possible.
- Internal Revenue Service (IRS): If you move during tax season and expect to receive a refund or other vital information by mail, contact the IRS through the address change page.
- The U.S. Citizens and Immigration Services (USCIS): If you are a non-U.S. citizen, you may need to contact the USCIS within 10 days of your move.
Changing your address can be tedious, but it is necessary for any move. Thankfully, you can either hop down to a local post office and fill out a change of address form or use the USPS website to take care of it. If you need any of the other services offered by the USPS, you can read more about it at www.usa.gov/post-office.
Why Did My Address Change Cost $40?
Unfortunately, numerous scam websites offer to update your address for a $40 (or more) fee. You can visit the USPS website yourself and update your address for only $1.10, or visit a local post office and update it in person for free. Also, remember that no official change of address form should require a social security number.
Can I Cancel My Change of Address?
Yes. Using the confirmation code in your CNL, you can cancel your COA on the USPS website.
Can I Establish a COA to an International Address?
You can update your address for international moves, but you cannot do so online and must fill out a 3757 Form in person at a post office.