How to Change Your Address with the USPS

Moving can be time-consuming and complicated. But filing a USPS change of address is quick and easy. It just might be the easiest part of your moving to-do list.

There are two different ways to complete your USPS change of address form. One is extremely affordable, and the other is free, so don’t let scammers convince you that you need to pay them a lot to handle this simple service for you.

You can fill out a USPS change of address form yourself in just a few minutes. Here’s how to do it.

USPS change of address form online

The quickest and easiest way to change your address is to file a USPS change of address form online. It takes just a few minutes and goes into effect almost immediately. All you need is a credit or debit card and a valid email address.

Once on the U.S. Postal Service website, filling out the USPS change of address form online is easy:

  • Choose whether your move affects you as an individual, your entire family or your business. You will also need to indicate if your move is temporary or permanent.
  • Enter your old and new address in their respective fields. If you have a P.O. Box, enter it in the street address field.
  • Then, select a mail forwarding date. It can’t be more than three months from your filing date, so plan accordingly.

You’ll begin to receive mail at your new address seven to 10 postal business days from your filing date or the moving date you indicated on your USPS change of address form, whichever comes first.

Note: Requests to change an address and forward mail from a Commercial Mail Receiving Agency (CMRA) to a new address cannot be processed, because these are private companies that operate outside of the Postal Service. You will have to go to the CMRA itself to file a change of address. You can, however, file a USPS Change of Address form to forward mail to one of these entities.

Does USPS charge for change of address?

There will be a one-time charge of $1.05 on your credit or debit card for filing a USPS change of address online. This charge is to verify your identity and ensure that you are the person instigating the change. Pre-paid cards and gift cards are not accepted.

If you prefer not to use a credit or debit card, you can file a paper USPS change of address request for free. Everything you need can be found at any post office and on the Postal Service website.

filling out document

Fill out a paper USPS change of address form

You can also go to any post office and request a Mover’s Guide packet, instead. Fill out PS Form 3575 inside the packet with your old and new address, type of move and mail forwarding date.

Hand it to the postal worker at the counter, or drop it into the mail slot before you leave. You can also fill it out at home, and send it out with your outgoing mail. No postage is required if the form is mailed within the United States.

Other mail forwarding options

If you’re moving out of the country, you’ll have to go to a post office to pick up a paper USPS change of address form. International mail forwarding can’t be requested online.

For short-term travel and business that requires trips to several different locations, Premium Forwarding Service Residential might be a better (but more expensive) choice. If your move falls somewhere in between temporary and permanent, learning how mail forwarding works can help you select the best option for your situation.

USPS address change confirmation

If you filed your USPS address change online, you’ll receive confirmation via email as soon as your request is processed. Make sure that you provide an accurate email address so you can check for the confirmation.

If you’ve filled out a paper copy of the USPS address change form at a post office, you will receive a Move Validation Letter (MVL) at your new address. This document confirms your move.

Welcome kit is on the way

The Postal Service will also mail a welcome kit to your new address. It includes helpful information for new residents, including contacts at the local Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and voter registration office. It will also include a community guide featuring neighborhood facts, offers and coupons.

If you’ve filed your USPS address change online, you can access the coupons and information included in the paper version of the Mover’s Guide, as well. You can print the information, or opt to have the offers and updates sent to you via text message.

USPS truck

How long does USPS forward mail after a change of address?

Once you’ve filed your change of address request, the Postal Service will forward your mail to your new address after the moving date you indicated when you filled out the form. The length of this service depends on whether your address change was temporary or permanent. It also depends on the type of mail.

If you filed a temporary address change, your mail will be forwarded for a minimum of 15 days and a maximum of 364 days. Mail forwarding will cease on the date you specified on your USPS change of address form.

If you filed for permanent change of address, most mail will be forwarded to new addresses in the United States for 12 months. Periodicals like magazines and newsletters will only be forwarded for 60 days. Marketing mail will not be forwarded unless the mailer has requested it.

So, you’ll need to change your address with your contacts before the 60-day and 12-month forwarding periods expire. Make a list of the contacts to alert about your address change, and cross them out as you go.

Make your new address official

Moving can be hard. But filing a USPS change of address is easy. It’s a simple step that provides peace of mind throughout the moving process and ensures you get all your important mail.

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Alicia Underlee NelsonAlicia Underlee Nelson is a freelance writer and photographer. Her work has appeared in Thomson Reuters, Food Network, USA Today, Delta Sky Magazine, AAA Living, Midwest Living, Beer Advocate, trivago Magazine, Matador Network, craftbeer.com and numerous other publications. She’s the author of North Dakota Beer: A Heady History, co-host of the Travel Tomorrow podcast and leads travel and creativity workshops across the Midwest.

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