Managing Your Paperwork When You Move

At a glance

In addition to the obvious packing and heavy lifting, moving also requires a mountain of administrative paperwork. From forwarding your mail to managing your utilities, there’s a lot to do before and after your actual moving day.

To help you get your ducks in a row before you move, we’ve put together a list of all the paperwork you need. Keep reading to ensure your new home has power, running water, internet, mail, and everything else you rely on daily.

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Need a checklist for your move?

Need a checklist for your move?

Paperwork is just one part of a successful move. To keep you on top of everything you need to do, we’ve compiled a week-by-week moving checklist that itemizes every task.

How to manage your moving paperwork

Give notice to your landlord

If you’re moving out of an apartment or sublet, the first person you should notify about your move is your landlord. This is especially important if your move will be happening before your lease expires.

If you give your landlord enough notice beforehand, they may be able to help you sell your lease and get out of your apartment without paying a cancellation fee.

If your move-out date will align perfectly with the end of your lease, you should still let your landlord know so they aren’t surprised when you don’t renew. This will free them up to accept new tenants.

Set up utility cancellation and start dates

Next, you’ll want to contact all your current utility providers. Do this a few weeks before you move to make sure they end your service within a day or two of when you move out. Otherwise, you might end up paying for utilities in two separate houses. Nobody needs that.

Here’s a list of common utilities to help you remember who to contact:

  • Electricity
  • Gas
  • Water
  • Cable
  • Internet
  • Garbage and recycling
  • Phone (if you have a landline)

After you schedule your service shutoff dates, you’ll want to get all of these utilities set up for your new house by contacting your new providers.

Get money

How much do utilities cost?

How much do utilities cost?

The exact price for utilities varies by city and state, but on average residents in apartments spend between $100 and $150 a month on utilities. For homeowners, the average price for utilities jumps up to $400 a month.

If you want to learn more about utility costs and see what the average total is in your state, read our guide to utility bills.

Forward your mail

Now let’s talk about mail. If you want to make sure all of your letters, packages, and (sigh) bills make it to your new house, you need to notify the post office of your new address. This way, any mail that comes through for your old address will be sent to your new home instead.

The post office makes this incredibly easy. All you need to do is fill out this online form or go into a USPS location and speak with one of the staff members. The online option costs about a dollar, but it’s much more convenient. The in-person option is free.

You can learn more about mail forwarding in our guide to changing your mailing address.

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Who else should you contact about your mail?

Who else should you contact about your mail?

After you submit a change of address, the Postal Service will start forwarding your mail. However, you should still update your address with all of your magazine subscriptions and delivery services like Amazon and Blue Apron.

Inform your health care providers

If you’re moving far enough that you need to get a new doctor and dentist, notify your current health care providers of your move and ask them to send copies of your records to your new providers. Remember, HIPAA entitles you to your medical records upon request.1 Your providers may charge a fee for this service.

You can also ask your providers for hard copies of your medical and dental records so you have them on file.

Forwarding medical prescriptions

If you have any medications you refill regularly, make sure that the prescriptions for them get transferred to a pharmacy in your new neighborhood.

All you need to do is go to your new pharmacy, tell them what medications you’re taking, and give them the contact info for your old pharmacy. The pharmacist will set up an Rx transfer, and your medications should be available at the new pharmacy in a couple of days. If something goes wrong, you might need to contact your doctor.

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For dog’s sake!

For dog’s sake!

If you have a pet, you’ll need to find a new veterinarian. Ask your old vet to send your furry friend’s records along so your pet’s new doctor knows about their medical history.

If you need tips for safely bringing your dog, cat, bird, or fish to your new home, check out our guide to moving with pets.

Update your address for voting

To participate in local, state, and federal elections, you need to have your current address listed on the voter registry. Many states let you to update this info online, but others require you to submit a physical form in the mail.

To learn what your state’s requirements are, visit this resource from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.

Inform your credit card companies and banks

Your bank and your credit card company are two of the most important institutions in your life, so you should make sure they have your current address on record. This guarantees that they mail your financial statements to the correct address. If your important financial information is being sent somewhere you no longer live, you could be exposed to identity theft.

Luckily, it’s pretty easy to update your address with your bank and credit card company. If you bank online, you can usually do this on your institution’s website. If not, you can go to or call the bank or credit company directly.

On any sites where you spend money—Amazon, Etsy, Apple Music, etc.—you should also update your billing address.

Inform your children’s current and future schools

If you have kids, you’ll want to make sure their transition into the new house, neighborhood, and school is as smooth as possible. This means you should notify their current schools of your departure and contact their new schools.

It’s important to take care of this as far in advance as possible. If the school you want your kid(s) to attend doesn’t have any openings, you could get on a waitlist. If a spot doesn’t open up in time, you may need to find another school. Avoid this by contacting the new school as soon as you know you’re moving.

Update your address for Social Security and Medicare benefits

To get Social Security and Medicare benefits, you need to update your address when you move.

This is as easy as visiting the government’s Social Security website and updating your profile. You can also change your address by calling the Social Security Administration or visiting your local field office.

If you have additional questions, visit the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services website.

Get a new driver’s license

If you’re moving in-state, you probably don’t need to get a new driver’s license. Some states do require it, though. To cover all your bases, contact your local DMV and ask.

If you’re moving to another state, you’ll need to visit a DMV in that state to exchange your old license for a new one. This is always required, though some states give you more time to do it than others.

For example, if you moved to Colorado, you would need to do this within 30 days of your move.2 California, on the other hand, requires that you do this within 10 days of becoming a resident.3

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What about vehicle registration?

What about vehicle registration?

You also need to update your address on your vehicle registration. Fortunately, you can hit two birds with one stone by taking care of this when you visit the DMV to update your license.

Recommended resources

Now that you know how to handle all your paperwork when you move, we recommend reading these other guides to get ready for moving day:

People also asked . . .

Sources

  1. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, “Individuals’ Right under HIPAA to Access their Health Information 45 CFR § 164.524
  2. Colorado Department of Revenue, “New to Colorado
  3. State of California, “Driver License (DL) and Identification (ID) Card Information

About Joe Roberts

Joe Roberts
Joe Roberts is a professional writer with a degree in writing studies and over three years of copywriting experience. He previously worked at Overstock.com, where he wrote about furniture, home decor, and moving. Joe has moved all over Utah, so he knows his way around a moving truck—and he spends his time (and money) expanding his personal library so it will be even heavier next time he moves.