How do you forward your mail when you move?
Want to make sure all your mail arrives at your new home? There are two ways you can change your address and forward your mail with USPS when you move:
- In person
The main differences boil down to cost and convenience: online changes take less than five minutes (but cost about $1), whereas in-person changes are free, but require you to drive to your nearest post office and wait in line for a teller.
That’s especially tricky if you’re moving during the COVID-19 outbreak.
How much does it cost to change your address?
The cost to change your address with USPS ranges from free (in-person changes) to a small fee of $1.05 (online changes).
Fees to change your address
Official USPS Change of Address form
7–10 postal business days after start date
Mover’s Guide (available in lobby)
7–10 postal business days after start date
Data current as of 4/27/20. Offers and availability may vary and are subject to change.
The Postal Service says the purpose of its online fee is to verify your identity. USPS accepts all major credit cards and debit cards (excluding prepaid and gift cards):
- American Express
Watch out for scammers
It should never cost you more than $1.05 to change your address with the post office. Beware of third-party mail forwarding services that ask for upwards of $40 to do it for you.
How do you fill out the change of address form?
Have you ever tried to order a pizza online and been baffled by how hard it is to do something that’s so easy over the phone? Changing your address with the post office can feel a bit like that.
Not to worry. We’re here to walk you step-by-step through what you need to know.
Select the individual, family, or business change of address form
The first thing you’ll do when changing your address with the Postal Service is to indicate whether the update is for an individual, family, or business:
- Individual. Select this option if you’re the only one who requested a change of address or if your household members have different last names.
- Family. Select this option if you want to change the address for everyone in your household—and everyone has the same last name.
- Business. Select this option if you’re going to change the address for your business.
Enter your contact information
Enter the requested information—your name, phone number, and email address—so the Postal Service can contact you and verify your identity.
The ultimate moving checklist
The Postal Service gives you a 10-point checklist for moving. Move.org has gone 61 steps further. Check out our ultimate moving checklist!
Select permanent or temporary move
A change of address isn’t just for people who are moving and never coming back. It’s also for snowbirds, college students, and seasonal workers who plan to return home in less than one year.
If you are coming back after more than 12 months, select “permanent.” Technically, mail forwarding service lasts 6 months, but the Postal Service allows you to extend for an additional 6-month period (or a total of 12 months).
Permanent vs. temporary change of address form
Moving for less than 12 months
Moving for more than 12 months
If you select “temporary,” you’ll be asked for the date you’d like to discontinue mail forwarding. Enter the date, and you won’t have to spend the time to fill out another change of address form when you move back.
Enter your change-of-address date
Indicate when you’d like your mail to start arriving at your new address. Just be aware the post office considers this a “move effective date,” and that it can take anywhere from three days to two weeks after that for your mail to actually start arriving.
Enter the addresses you’re moving to and from (including zip codes). If the address is a PO Box, the PO Box number goes in the street address field.
Note: You cannot submit a change of address form if you have a private mailbox from a third-party company like The UPS Store.
Confirm your request (online only)
The Postal Service will send you an email confirmation code once you have entered all the requested information and paid the $1.05 identity verification fee.
The confirmation code is what you’ll use later if you need to modify or cancel your request.
Who else do you contact to change your address?
The Postal Service will forward mail to your new address for a limited time, but you also need to change your address with companies that send you mail and provide services at your old address:
- Animal care (veterinarian, pet microchip registry, animal daycare)
- Financial services (banks, credit cards, loan companies)
- Government agencies (DMV, IRS, Social Security Administration)
- Insurance (health, auto, home)
- Home security
- Memberships and subscriptions (Costco, gyms, magazines, cable)
- Online services (Amazon, Netflix, Venmo, TV streaming)
- Utilities (gas, electricity, internet)
Don’t forget your internet!
When you change your address, you also need to notify your internet service provider and transfer your internet contract. Alternatively, if you’re tired of your old provider or it isn’t available in your new area, now is the perfect time to find a new ISP. Check out our list of ISPs we recommend to find the best internet service for your new home.