Easy Guide to Forward Mail with USPS?

Before we get into how to forward postal mail or why you would do so, let’s look into what it means to “forward mail.”

Let’s dive right to forwarding letter options:

USPS mail forwarding means sending received mail to a new address. If you get a letter in the mail and want to send it to another address, this is mail forwarding.

Also, check here  All You Need To Know About A Forwarded Package.

There are a few cases you’d need to forward mail to someone or a new address so let’s go through these cases and the different ways to forward mail.


Different Cases For Forwarding Mail:

  • You’ve recently moved and wanted your mail forwarded to a new address
  • A friend or family member moved out, and you’re getting their mail
  • You’ve received mail by mistake and don’t know the recipient

Taking action per situation differs in each case. If mail isn’t forwarded correctly or if important mail is handled carelessly, this will lead to bad results.

It will be inconvenient to the recipient; the mail will be lost for good and can lead to identity theft if forwarded to the wrong address.

Let’s see how to handle each case in order for you, or the recipient to get their mail forwarded.

1. Forwarding mail to yourself:  

If you’ve received mail for yourself at your old address and want it forwarded to your new address, you will need to apply for a change of address.

You can do this online, or at the Post Office, if you choose to go to the Post Office, you’d need to bring with you two forms of ID. This can either be a permanent or temporary change of address.

  • If temporary, you can change your address for a minimum of 15 days or a maximum of 1 year.
  • If permanent, you can use this service to update your address for a $1.00 charge online.

However, if you’ve already moved and didn’t change your address, getting mail at your old address, you will need to have someone forward it out to your new address.

Check this article about  Mailbox theft and other signs why you should upgrade to a virtual mailbox

2. Forwarding mail to someone:

If a family member or a roommate moved out but you’re still getting their mail at your address, there are two ways to go about this.

If you know the recipient’s address, you can reroute the mail piece to their address.

  • Firstly, you need to cross out the address on the envelope using a black permanent marker then write the new address, in block letters. Then write “Moved or Forward” on the envelope and put it back in your mailbox or take it down to the Post Office.
  • Secondly, you can go to the Post Office, fill out a PS Form 3575 to change the address of the person that moved out and so you will no longer get their mail. Before mailing it out, you’ll have to make sure the stamps are still valid, if not, you may need to purchase new ones.
  • Finally, you can contact the sender and inform them that the previous resident no longer lives there so they won’t send their mail to you anymore.

Also, contact the recipient if possible confirming they’ve received their mail and urge them to apply for a change of address. If the mail is not received within two weeks, you should contact USPS for a status.

If you do not know their address, you can write on the envelope “Moved – Return to Sender” and put it back in the mailbox so the US Post Office will then forward it.

3. Received mail by mistake:

If you receive a letter to an unknown recipient, this probably means the address is incorrect. Something as small as one digit can cause mistakes when sending mail, if it’s important mail, it’s a bigger problem.

Always be careful when sending or forwarding mail to write the correct address.

In this case, contact USPS about this and they will send in someone from the Post Office or explain the problem to your mailman and the mail piece will be placed at the Mail Recovery Center (MCR) at the Post Office until claimed.

For more information visit: USPS FAQ Page

A better alternative for mail forwarding?

Instead of going through a change of addresses every time you move or need to pay for new stamps and mail out previous resident’s mail, you can get all this done and more with a virtual postal mailbox.

Read more about the difference between virtual PO box and physical PO box.

A virtual mailbox offers you a premium mail scanning and mail forwarding service.

You sign up for a real street address to receive all your mail and get to forward any mail piece or package to anyone at any address.

This way you’re not restricted to just one place and can easily forward mail at any time.

How to get a Virtual Mailbox?

With PostScan Mail, you can sign up for a virtual mailbox and choose from a P.O Box or a virtual street address.

Being one of the best virtual mail services, you have over 20 locations to choose from nationwide.

You’ll be able to log into your account and control your mail online without needing to go to your mailbox or the Post Office.

Offering different options to choose from, you can scan, forward, shred and recycle, or archive any mail piece. Once the mail request is sent in, it’ll be handled.

With a starter package at $15, you’ll be able to forward any mail piece you need without going through the Post Office or needing to spend any money.

A virtual mail service presents you with the mail forwarding service you’ve been looking for. Sign up now and get your virtual mailbox!

Photo by Ethan Hoover on Unsplash

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