You might need to change an address with the United States Postal Service (USPS) in various situations. Maybe you’re moving, or maybe you’re helping someone you know and love. No matter whose address you’re changing, the process is much the same.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Step 1: Understand USPS Change of Address
- Step 2: Change of Address Online
- Step 3: Visit Your Local Post Office
- Step 4: Don’t Fall for Scams
- Step 5: Request Hold Mail Service
- Step 6: Rent a P.O. Box
- Step 7: Change Your Address with Other Government Agencies
- Step 8: Let Others Know
- FAQs: USPS Change of Address
Whether you and your family are moving, or you’re helping an elderly loved one move into permanent housing, or you’re helping someone else change houses, the steps below will help you get started.
Follow the points below if you need to request a change of address with the United States Postal Service.
Post-planning tip: If you are the executor for a deceased loved one, it's tough to handle both the emotional and technical aspects (like their mail) of their unfinished business without a way to organize your process. We have a post-loss checklist that will help you ensure that your loved one's family, estate, and other affairs are taken care of.
Step 1: Understand USPS Change of Address
A common misconception is that you can simply change your address with the United States Postal Service, and that’s the end of the change of address process.
But a USPS Change of Address Request is only the first step in fully changing your address. If you or your loved one is permanently moving, you’ll also have to change your address with other parties and agencies.
That’s because a USPS Change of Address only lasts up to one year. After a year has passed, mail forwarding will stop. Your mail will begin going to the old address unless you’ve updated your information with the individual senders.
Step 2: Change of Address Online
The fastest way to start the change of address process is by going to USPS.com/move. There, you’ll give the USPS some information about your move. You’ll let them know who’s moving, and when.
You’ll also provide your old address and the new address, and the date from which you want mail forwarding to begin.
The USPS charges a flat rate of $1.05 for the online change of address service. This fee covers a quick identity verification to make sure you are who you say you are.
To complete the online change of address process, you’ll need:
- Your (or your loved one’s) current address
- Your (or your loved one’s) future address
- The date you want to begin mail forwarding
- A credit or debit card
- A valid email address
As soon as you finish the change of address process online, USPS will send you an email verification to confirm the change.
Step 3: Visit Your Local Post Office
If you don’t want to complete the Change of Address process online, you can do it in person.
Visit your local post office and request a Mover’s Guide packet. Inside, you should find a form titled PS Form 3575. To change your address, you’ll need to fill out this form and return it to a worker at the post office.
After you complete and turn in the form, you’ll receive a confirmation letter at the new address in about five business days. You can find a local post office in your area via USPS’s online lookup tool.
Step 4: Don’t Fall for Scams
Some online services offer to complete a Change of Address for you. They may charge upwards of $40 to complete the Change of Address Request, which costs only $1.05.
There’s no reason to pay a third party to request a change of address with the post office for you. And in fact, services like these may be more interested in obtaining and selling your personal information.
The USPS makes requesting a change of address simple and easy to do yourself, whether you do it in person or online.
Step 5: Request Hold Mail Service
If you or your loved one is moving temporarily, you may have another option: USPS’s Hold Mail service. Hold Mail is also useful if you haven’t found a new address yet, or if you’ll be staying with family in the interim.
Instead of forwarding your mail to a new address, a Hold Mail request will prevent mail and packages from being delivered to your old address. Your local post office will hold your mail for up to 30 days.
To request Hold Mail service online, you’ll need to create a USPS account. You can also visit your local post office location and complete a PS Form 8076 to request a Hold Mail Service. Additionally, you can call 1-800-275-8777.
Step 6: Rent a P.O. Box
If you or your loved one moves more than once within a year or two, you might want to invest in a P.O. Box. A post office box allows you to pick up mail and packages at the same address, no matter where you live.
If a loved one is moving into assisted living, a P.O. box can also simplify their mailing and shipping.
The downside is that you have to travel to your local post office to pick up your mail on a regular basis.
Step 7: Change Your Address with Other Government Agencies
Changing your address with the United States Postal Service does not update your address with other government agencies. When you or your loved one moves, you’ll need to inform the necessary government agencies and give them the new address.
Here are some of the agencies you should inform of your change of address:
- State DMV
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
- Social Security Administration
- Department of Veteran Affairs
- State Election Offices
Step 8: Let Others Know
In addition to informing government agencies about your change of address, you’ll need to update your address with other mail senders. That includes online retailers, banks and credit card companies, as well as friends and family.
Here’s a complete checklist for changing your address, including everyone you’ll need to inform.
FAQs: USPS Change of Address
Changing your address with USPS is relatively easy. However, you might still be wondering about some of these frequently asked questions.
How long does it take for your change of address to go into effect?
Your USPS Change of Address can go into effect immediately if you so choose. If you complete the process online, you’ll enter the date when you want forwarding to begin.
If you complete a Change of Address in person with a PS Form 3575, though, forwarding may take a couple of days to begin.
How long does the USPS forward mail after a change of address?
USPS will only forward your mail for up to 12 months after you complete a Change of Address. Some mail—like periodicals and magazines—will only be forwarded for up to 60 days.
When you’re changing your address or helping a loved one change their address, make sure to update the address with each individual sender as soon as you can.
Why does the USPS charge for a change of address?
If you complete the Change of Address process with USPS online, you’ll have to pay a fee of $1.05. The fee covers an identity verification to prevent fraud and make sure you have the authority to forward mail.
Alternatively, you can pick up a Mover’s Packet at your local post office for free. Fill out the PS Form 3575 inside the packet and return it to a postal worker.
Can you cancel a change of address with the USPS?
If your plans change, you can cancel an Official USPS Change of Address. To do so, you’ll need the confirmation number you received when you completed the request.
With that number in hand, you can view, update, and cancel your request online with USPS.
Finishing Up Your Change of Address
The United States Postal Service makes changing your address pretty simple and easy. Even if you’re helping out a family member who’s moving to a new address, or moving into a facility like assisted living, the process is very straightforward.
But to finish up a change of address, you have to contact anyone who sends you mail, periodicals, or packages. Because the USPS only forwards mail for up to 60 days or a year (depending on the type of mail), it’s important to update your address with each sender as soon as you can.
Another important step is updating your address and any relevant information in your end-of-life plan. If you or your loved one still haven’t made an end-of-life plan, now is a great time to get started.
- “Change Your Address and Other U.S. Post Office Services.” USA.gov. www.usa.gov/post-office