Moving homes can be hectic. From planning to making the actual move, you are bound to end up with a long to-do list. And each item seemingly more urgent than the last. One of these should inevitably be setting up mail forwarding to your new house. This seems like a simple enough task but can be easily forgotten.

So, here’s a stress-free guide on how to forward mail from the United States Postal Service (USPS).


What is mail forwarding? Why do you need to do it?

Your family and close friends are usually the first people to find out about a move. Unfortunately though, informing them is not enough. You’ll also need to inform your post office so that your mail and packages make it safely to your new address.

Blueground offers fully-furnished, equipped and serviced apartments in some of the world's most sought after cities.

It takes a while for some family and friends to realize you have a new address, and certain services such as your bank and credit card company might not get the memo immediately.

That means they may end up sending mail and packages to your old address.

All in all, to avoid losing important mail and packages, like wedding invites and thoughtful gifts from far away friends and family, make sure you set up your mail forwarding.


What are your options?

The first step is to decide if you’ll need a temporary or permanent mail forwarding plan. USPS offers both. With a temporary plan, you can change your address and get mail forwarded to your new address for a specific period of time.

The time range you choose, however, must be between a minimum of 15 days and a maximum of 12 months.

With a permanent plan, your mail will be forwarded to your new address for a period of time which depends on the mail class.

First-class mail such as bills, invoices, and personal correspondence can be forwarded for 12 months. Magazine subscriptions and newsletters, on the other hand, can only be forwarded for 60 days.


What’s next?

After you’ve selected either a temporary or permanent mail forwarding plan, you need to decide whether you want the standard mail forwarding option or the premium mail forwarding option.

three parked USPS trucks in a parking lot

Here’s what each of the options means for you.

Standard mail forwarding

This option is free if you enroll at the post office and costs $1.05 if you enroll online.

With this option, however, each piece of your mail will get individually forwarded to your new address. Packages will not be forwarded at all

Premium mail forwarding:

This is a temporary service option that can only be used for a minimum of two weeks and a maximum of 12 months.

With an enrollment fee of $20.10, if done at the post office or $18.45 if done at home, it’s considerably more pricey than the standard mail forwarding option. A weekly fee of $20.45 is further required in addition to the enrollment fee.

However, your mail and packages will be forwarded in bulk, once a week. This is a great option if you have urgent mail that you need to be delivered quickly.


How exactly do you change your address?

Depending on whether or not you are an individual, family, or business you need to fill out one of the three major forms USPS provides for a change of address application.


If you lived alone or had roommates that you are not moving with, you need to fill out the individual form.


Moving with your whole family? Then you’ll need the family form. However, that’s only if you all share the same last name. If you don’t, the person (or people) with a different name should fill out an individual form.


It’s easy to mistake using the individual form to change a business address but there’s a specific form for businesses.

You could either complete the change of address application online, over the phone, or in-person at your post office.

When you change your address online you’ll be charged $1.05 for identity validation. The same identity validation steps you take online would be taken when doing it over the phone and you’ll also be charged $1.05.

If you do it in person at the post office though, then you don’t need to pay the verification charge.


What if you are moving abroad?

First of all, cancel any magazine, newsletter subscriptions, and other mail orders you can do without. For more important mail like credit card bills and bank statements, you’ll need to set up mail forwarding.

If you already know your new address you could easily do this at the post office.

But you can’t submit a change of address form online for an international address.

Alternatively, you could have your mail forwarded to a close friend or family’s address. Then they can notify you when any important mail that requires your attention pops up.

white front door of a brown hair with two lights hanging on either side and two potted plants out front on either side of the door

If you’ve already made the move abroad without completing the change of address form, don’t worry!

You can still get your mail forwarded to your international address.

Just write a letter to both your old post office and the international country’s postal administration. The letter should include specific instructions on how and where your mail should be forwarded.

Add the same details you’d be expected to include in the standard change of address form. 


Can you set up mail forwarding before you move?

Yes, you absolutely can.

All you need to do when filling out your change of address form is to select the date from which you’d like to begin forwarding your email.

Once you do so, all mail sent to your old address will be redirected to your new address starting from the day you select.


How long will it take?

After you submit your change of address form, a moving validation form will be sent to your old address.

Unless you’ve already moved to your new place. A confirmation letter will then be sent to your new address within five postal business days. Then a welcome kit with useful information about your new address.

You can expect your mail to start arriving at your new address within 7 to 10 business days. This will begin from the day you filled out your change of address form.


What about e-mail forwarding?

While moving will not affect your personal email address, if you are changing jobs you might need to set up mail forwarding for your old work email account.

Instead of deactivating the email account, set up an automatic responder. This will inform anyone who emails that you are no longer in that position.

That way, anyone who sends an email to your old work address doesn’t get that annoying bounce-back mail.


What happens to your mail when you don’t make a forwarding request?

Luckily for you, the post office will collect your mail and keep it for a maximum of ten days. After that, they’ll try to either forward your mail or return it to the sender. a pile of letters and mail sitting on a desk

If they can’t do either of those, they will discard it.

If know that you’re about to move or you’ve just recently moved and haven’t set up your mail forwarding yet, now is a good time to do so.


It’s not just with USPS that you need to change your address

USPS mail forwarding will help you get mail delivered from your old home address to your new address.

However, it’s on you to stop mail that is meant to be delivered to your new address from going to your old address. Make a list of people and clients who need to be notified of your address change.

Then send out these notices ASAP.

Above all, it’s highly recommended that you do this at least two weeks before moving. If you’ve already moved without doing this, then you should do it as soon as possible.

Don’t forget! It’s also important to let government agencies such as the IRS, SSA, and DMV know about your change of address.


Still on the house hunt?

If you’ve found a new job and you know you’re on the move, but still haven’t found the perfect place, there’s a simple solution. Use a company like Blueground to ease the process and access some of the best apartments your future city has to offer.

All in all, they are beautifully decorated, fully furnished, and completely equipped in order to save you the hassle of having to buy, set up, and install everything for a new apartment.

All you have to do is show up and start living.

Blueground offers fully-furnished, equipped and serviced apartments in some of the world's most sought after cities.

Rate this article


Share article

We use cookies to personalize content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyze our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners.

I accept