What type of change of address forms should I use at the post office?

Make an address change when moving

Will there be a move in the near future? If so, I’m sure you have a lot on your plate. Moving is one of the most stressful events in life. One of the many things to do when moving from home to home is a USPS change of address. Forwarding your email is one of the most important moving tasks to be done early in the process.

Doing this will ensure that all your email will find you when you move to your new address.

While this may seem like a simple task at first glance, it can be more confusing than you might think. There are multiple USPS change of address forms to choose from, and you need to make sure you choose the right one to have your email forwarded to you.

Let’s take a deep dive into doing the change of address with USPS.

USPS Change of Address Forms

When looking for the right USPS change of address form, there are a few options to choose from. You may need to fill out forms for everyone in the house, one for everyone, or something in between. Let’s take a look at the different shapes and when to use them.

Individual USPS Change of Address Forms

If you only need to change an address for yourself, then the individual form is for you.

The individual form is also required when housemates move. They have different surnames and so a USPS change of address form must be submitted for each person. If this isn’t done for every person, no email will be forwarded to people who haven’t filled out a form.

If people with the same last name, such as relatives, move to different locations, the individual form must also be used. Perhaps the family home is sold and some members move in a different direction. They must complete the individual forms to ensure they continue to receive their mail.

USPS Family Change of Address Forms

If the whole family moves in together, the Family change form can be used. As long as everyone has the same last name, this form should ensure that the email finds the correct owner. The family address change form is the simplest of all.

USPS Business Address Change Forms

If you are relocating a business, the United States Postal Service has prepared a form for this. If you need to arrange for the mail to be forwarded to the new business location, you will need to complete the business form. Although several people in the company will receive mail, only one form needs to be submitted as long as the entire company moves to the same address.

Confirm the change of address

Whichever option is right for you, the USPS will send a confirmation letter confirming your request to your current address, including a confirmation code. The code allows you to make changes to your change of address request if necessary. You can also expect a notification letter and a welcome pack at your new address approximately five days after your move.

Once you have completed the necessary forms online, they will send you an email confirmation along with the relocation confirmation letter by post. Be careful not to delete this email from the USPS as it contains the confirmation code you need to update or change your forwarding request.

identity verification

To make sure you are who you claim to be, the USPS must verify your identity. This is done through your credit or debit card, with a $1.05 fee charged to your account.

Some scams have been associated with helping people change their address. If a company tries to charge you more than $1.05 for changing your address, it could be a scam and you should avoid giving them your information.

Temporarily change your address

If you are away from home for up to a month, you can have the USPS hold your mail temporarily.

They will forward mail to you at a temporary address through the USPS Premium Forwarding Service for an extended period of time. You can use this for a maximum of one year, where you receive your mail weekly at your temporary location.

Cancel your change of address

Canceling a change of address request
Canceling a change of address request

If something unexpected happens and your plans are disrupted, you can easily cancel your email forward. As long as you have your confirmation code, which was sent to you both by email and letter, it can be canceled online. If you cannot find your confirmation code, you will need to go to a post office for assistance.

With the confirmation code and your new zip code, you can make up to two changes per day on their website.

Not every change of address can be made online

Certain moving situations require you to visit a post office to collect forms. With these less common types of removals, you must complete the post office form to have your mail forwarded. However, in some situations forwarding is not possible.

If you move to another country or a business to a residential address or vice versa, you cannot handle it online. If you change your address to a PO Box or transfer to or from a Commercial Mail Receiving Agency, you will need to go to the post office. If you need to forward mail from a company you left behind, you can’t do it online either. Getting a PO box is fairly cheap, and some people like to do this when their move is a temporary one.

The USPS Change of Address Process

If you have completed the correct form or forms, it may take a few weeks for something to happen. It can take up to 12 working days for your request to be processed. For this reason, it is advisable to notify the USPS in good time, at least two weeks before the moving day.

Now that you know a lot more about the forms you need to fill out to get your mail forwarded to your new home, there’s no excuse not to.

While you may have a lot on your mind and a lot of tasks to complete, changing your address with the USPS should be relatively quick and easy for most types of moves. Simply visit the USPS website and follow the instructions to submit your change of address request to them.

Who should be notified of my move?

Getting your change of address with the post office and your mail forwarded without question is critical, but who should you let know that you’re moving? Here are a few of the entities to make sure they have your new address:

  • Theirs.
  • The Motor Vehicles Department.
  • Social Security.
  • All your utilities.
  • Your doctor, dentist and lawyer.
  • Banks, credit card companies and other financial institutions.
  • All your subscriptions.

Of course there are many more, but these are the main ones.

Final Thoughts on Changing Your Address with the Post Office

Changing your address is one of those tasks that you should not forget. It is one of the most critical displacement errors to avoid. I’ve worked as a real estate agent for the past thirty-four years and have seen countless times when people haven’t changed addresses in a timely manner. Important mail is delayed and things are sent to the previous address, causing unnecessary stress. Make sure to have your address changed early in the process to increase the chances of your mail arriving at your new address on time. We hope you found this change of address guide helpful. Good luck!

Other helpful resources for your move

  • One of the most common questions from home buyers who have just closed their home is, “What should I do now?” There are dozens of things to do after closing a home, including completing a change of address! It is vital that home buyers know what the most important tasks are.
  • When planning a move, one of the most important items to look out for is boxes. I know this sounds crazy, but you’ll be amazed at the amount of stuff you have to store in boxes. If you’re smart enough, there are actually places to find free moving boxes, as Sharon Paxson explains. Check out these places before you move and you may be glad you did as you can save some money.
  • As mentioned above, not only can you save some money on finding free moving boxes, there are other ways to save money while moving. In this article, learn about 9 tips and tricks to help you save money on your next move!

About the author: The above article about “Which change of address form should I use at the post office?” was written by Bill Gassett. Bill has been working in the real estate industry for thirty-three years. He works for RE/MAX Executive Realty in Hopkinton Massachusetts. Bill likes to provide reliable information to buyers, sellers and fellow brokers to make the best possible decisions. His writing has been featured on RIS Media, National Association of Realtors, Inman News, Placester, Today.com, Credit Sesame, and others.


About Rochester’s Real Estate Blog: Rochester’s Real Estate Blog is owned and operated by Kyle Hiscock of the Hiscock Sold team at RE/MAX Realty Group. With over 40 years of combined experience, if you are considering selling or buying, we are happy to share our knowledge and expertise.

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