This is a simple, step-by-step guide on how to change your mailing address and everything you need to know like cost, available options, requirements, and more.
Whether you’re moving permanently or going on a short leave like a vacation or a business trip, you can change your mailing address to suit your needs.
How USPS Change of Address works:
- Change of address online
- Change of address at the post office
- USPS Change Of Address Cost
- Confirmation code importance
- Cancel Change Of Address Request
- A smart alternative to the physical mailbox
But before we get into how to change your mailing address, let’s take a look at when you would need to take this step.
Learn now: How Much is a PO Box?
When to apply for a change of address?
The obvious answer is that you apply for a change of address when you move from one place to another. You’re either an individual or a whole family moving out or your business is relocating to a new address.
When you choose the type of move, you need to specify the mail forwarding date, which is the date you want to start receiving mail at your new address. It is preferred to set the date before you move to the new address because it takes from 7 to 10 days for the Post Office to forward your mail to the new address.
In this case, you can start receiving mail usually on your first day at your new address.
However, if it was a sudden move or you’ve failed to apply for one before moving, you can submit the request and backdate it for up to 3 months before the current date.
Is it a temporary or permanent move?
You can apply for a change of address whether you’re permanently moving or temporarily moving for a short period, like going on vacation or a business trip.
If your move is less than 12 months then you should choose a temporary change of address. Your mail can be forwarded for as short as 15 days or up to 6 months and then it can be renewed for another 6 months.
With the temporary option, you can choose the start date of mail forwarding and when you’d like to discontinue this service so you don’t have to change it again when you move back.
If your move is longer than 12 months or permanent then you should choose the permanent change of address option.
How to file for a USPS change of address?
Now that you’ve settled on the type of move and effective start date, you’re ready to change your mailing address. There are two ways to get this done; you can do it online or you can go to a local Post Office.
1. USPS Change of address online:
Changing the address online is the easiest and fastest way; it only costs $1.05 as an identity verification fee to prevent fraud. Follow these easy steps to get it done:
- Go to the official USPS website and choose from the Track & Manage tab, Change of Address.
- You will be redirected to the Change of Address form; you’ll be required to fill in your personal info, old & new address, type of move, mail forwarding date, etc.
- In the end, you will need to pay the $1.05 fee, you can use a credit or debit card to pay for this.
Once done, you’ll get an email confirming the change of address and a confirmation code.
2. Change your Address at The Post Office:
Another way to change your mailing address is by going to your local Post Office.
- Request a change of address form (PS Form 3575)
- The form is similar to the one online; fill it out with your personal info, moving date, type of move, etc.
- You can get this done for free at the Post Office, but you will be required to present a valid photo ID like your driver’s license or passport for identity verification.
You will receive a confirmation letter in the mail within two weeks with your confirmation code.
How much does it cost to change your mailing address?
Changing your address is a simple process that can get done in just a few minutes for free at your local Post Office. If you’re doing it online, you’ll need to pay a $1.05 verification fee using your credit or debit card to verify your identity and protect you and your privacy from fraud.
Why is the confirmation code important?
Whether you’ve changed your address online or at the Post Office, keeping your confirmation code safe is essential.
You will need this code to view, edit, or cancel your change of address request. You can edit things like your email address, phone number, moving status, notification updates, and the mail forwarding date.
If you lose your confirmation code, you’ll have to go to the Post Office in case of needing to make any changes or cancel the service.
What do you need to do next?
After applying for a change mailing address, you need to update your mailing list which mostly includes:
- Credit Card Company
- Friends & Family
- Government entities
- Any magazine subscriptions, etc.
- Business partners, investors, creditors, etc. (if it’s a business)
When you prepare your list ahead of time, you’ll ensure no mistakes happen like mail getting lost or being returned to the Post Office because of a “wrong address.” You’ll get your mail delivered directly to you.
If you move and forget to apply for a USPS change of address altogether, your mail will either be sent back to the sender or forwarded to your new address (if valid), but it’s risky.
Read more here: How to Forward Mail to Someone
How to edit or cancel your change of address request?
If you need to cancel your change of address request or modify anything like mail forwarding start date, end date, type of move, email address, phone number, etc. you can do this online or in-person.
In both cases, you’ll need your confirmation code. The confirmation code is a 16-digit code that is sent to your email address if you’ve applied for a change of address online or sent to you by mail at your new address. If you’ve lost your confirmation code, you’ll have to go to your local Post Office to update or change anything.
How to update your change of address online?
- Go to the USPS Change of Address page, where you can view, update, or cancel your change of address order.
- Fill in your confirmation code and new Zip Code and click on Get Started
- Modify whatever you need and save it. You can only make up to two changes per day so you’ll get an error message if you try a third time. Please wait 48 hours before submitting any new changes.
How to update your change of address in-person?
- Find the nearest Post Office location to you to cancel or update your change of address in-person.
- You’ll be required to present a valid photo ID to verify your identity and proof of residency for the primary address (old address) like a utility bill, mortgage documents, etc.
- Request your update or cancellation from the Postal worker.
Is there a better alternative?
As a matter of fact, there is. If you’re a busy bee that moves around a lot or a start-up looking for a better address, you can get a virtual mailbox.
A virtual mailbox is a quick and efficient way to manage your postal mail and packages online.
You get assigned a street address with a real mailbox that is, in fact, a secure mail facility run by certified mail professionals. When new mail arrives, the envelope is scanned and uploaded to your online mailbox.
This way no matter where you go, you’ll always have access to your mail without needing to apply for a change of address.
Not only do you get a flexible mail option, but you also get to use that address as your mailing address or your business address.
You can have your mail forwarded to you, anytime, anywhere – without needing to submit a change of address. Whether you’ve permanently moved, are on vacation, or are traveling abroad, your mail and packages can be forwarded to you domestically or internationally.
A virtual mailbox is a new and improved way of receiving postal mail. Once you go virtual, there’s no going back!