How to Complete a Postal Change of Address
Sep 10, 2021
Filing a change of address with the USPS®
If you need to receive mail at a new place, it’s easy to change your address with the U.S. Postal Service®. There are two ways to make this change: in person or online. If you prefer a paper form, ask your local Post Office™ for a Mover’s Guide packet, fill out PS Form 3575, and either give it to a postal worker or place it in a mail slot. But the easiest and fastest way to update your mailing address is to register online. There are a few different options to choose from, so we’ll walk you through which ones apply based on your needs, along with some common FAQs about the process.
How to change your mailing address
A change of address is for anyone who needs to get mail somewhere else. The service is available for 15 days to 6 months (or up to 24 months total, if you renew your Change of Address, or COA). Here’s how to complete the form online:
1. Select who is moving
There are three options here:
- Individual: if you’re the only one moving. If you get mail for more than one name (maiden name, married name, etc.), fill out a separate request for each.
- Family: if everyone in your household shares the same last name. For family members with different last names, fill out multiple individual forms.
- Business: if your company is moving. This only applies to mail that comes to the business name. If the owner or employees get mail in their names, have them make an individual request, too.
2. Fill out your contact info
Give them your name (use the name you want on the COA form, not a nickname), email and phone number. This isn’t the place for your “spam collection” email address. Use one you check because they’ll send a confirmation email.
3. Determine if this change is permanent or temporary
Permanent. A permanent change is for anyone who isn’t returning to their old address. Even if you only plan to be there for a short time before moving again, you’ll want to select “permanent” and then fill out another COA when you move again.
Temporary. Use this option if you’re returning to your old address in 6 months or less. This often applies to traveling workers, college students going home for the summer, or extended vacations.
4. Pick the dates
For temporary forwarding, you’ll select a start and end date. The date you want the mail to begin going to the new address is the start date, and it should be no more than 30 days prior or 3 months past the current date. Mail will start to arrive 7-10 days after the start date (or the file date, whichever is later).
5. Give them your old and new addresses
Enter the addresses (including apartment or suite number, if applicable). You can use their ZIP Code™ lookup if you don’t know it. If you’re getting a PO Box in your new city, enter it in the “Street Address” field.
Not sure where you’re moving to? Learn what to do if you don’t have a forwarding address.
6. Choose Informed Delivery® if you want
This service allows you to preview incoming mail and packages through your email. If you’re already signed up, it will move to your new address automatically.
7. Confirm your info
Double-check that everything is correct and edit if not.
8. Verify your identity with a credit card
To make sure that you’re allowed to make changes at your address, they use a $1.05 debit or credit transaction to verify your identity. If you’re being charged more, you’re likely on a third-party address change website. Go directly to the USPS for the correct form.
Use a card with a billing address that matches either the old or new address. If you don’t have a billing statement that matches, you can enter a different address, but note that the confirmation will still be sent to the old address.
8. Select to extend the mail forwarding end date
If you want the changes to last longer than 6 months, you can pay to extend the service. Current rates are:
- $19.95 for an additional 6 months
- $29.95 for an additional 12 months
- $39.95 for an additional 18 months
9. Fill out your payment info
Input the information for your payment method. They take credit or debit cards with American Express, Mastercard, Visa or Discover logos.
10. Check out
Complete the checkout process. You should get a confirmation email immediately after, ensuring it all went through.
11. Update your address with important offices and agencies
Since the change of address forwarding won’t last forever, you’ll still have to notify people of your new address so that future mail continues to come to the right place. Call or notify them online of your new address so that every piece of mail gets to you — even after the change of address forwarding expires.
Frequently asked questions about USPS change of address
Check out the answers to these frequently asked questions for more information.
When should I start forwarding my mail?
The USPS recommends filing a COA form at least two weeks or up to three months before moving.
What happens after I submit a COA form?
After submitting a COA, you may receive several confirmations, including a unique Change of Address Confirmation Code. This code is necessary to modify or cancel the order. Keep an eye out for these confirmations, and save the code for future use:
- A Move Validation Letter — Sent to the address you’re leaving
- A Customer Notification Letter or Welcome Kit — Sent to the new address and contains the Confirmation Code
- A confirmation email — You’ll receive this if you completed the process online. It confirms the update was successful and will include the Confirmation Code.
Can I edit or cancel my request?
Yes. Contact the USPS Customer Service hotline at 1-800-275-8777 for assistance or visit a local Post Office for help.
How long will it take before I receive mail at my new location?
Once the Post Office stops delivering mail to the old address (date designated on the COA form), you can expect to receive mail at the new location within 7-10 postal days. If more than 10 days pass and you haven’t received any forwarded mail, contact a local Post Office.
What types of mail don’t get forwarded with a change of address?
The USPS doesn’t forward all letters and packages, including circulars, books, catalogs, ads, credit card applications, anything specified as “do not forward” and items addressed to “current resident.” Instead, you’ll have to send an address update to individual businesses and subscriptions. Our moving checklist has a list of the most common places to update.
What happens if I don’t file a COA before moving?
Suppose you forgot to complete this process before moving. In that case, a mail carrier will pick up any accumulated letters and leave a notice that the mail is available for pickup at the local Post Office. The local branch holds items for ten calendar days before returning to the sender or discarding, depending on the type of mail. Contact the office that services the previous address to arrange for delivery.
Have other questions about changing your mailing address?
While we’re happy to help, we’ve found that when you have specific questions, it’s better to contact them directly so you can get the most up-to-date info about your situation. Get in touch with the USPS Customer Service Department at 1-800-275-8777 with additional questions or concerns.
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