Moving With No Forwarding Address: What do I do?

How to move with no forwarding address 

Are you sure of an upcoming move but unsure of where you’re moving to? It’s actually pretty common, especially if the move happens suddenly because of work or family. One major concern is receiving mail and household goods when there’s no forwarding addresses. Take a look at the information below to learn about three mail forwarding options and about a moving service that doesn’t need an address to finalize plans. 

Woman shrugging her shoulders wondering how to move without a forwarding address.


USPS mail forwarding: how to get mail without a permanent address

Even if you don’t know where you’re moving, you can still get mail sent to you with USPS mail forwarding. It’s different from a permanent change of address because it’s short-term. The free version applies only to certain types of mail (like letters, newsletters, magazines and Priority Mail® packages).  If you want all mail forwarded, you can pay for Premium Mail Forwarding, which costs around $20 to enroll and $21.50 per week.

You can have your mail temporarily forwarded to:

A P.O. Box

If you know the area you’ll live in, a post office box is probably the best way to get letters and packages while you’re between addresses. Use this guide to learn how to get a P.O. Box.

A friend or family member’s house

If you know someone local, consider forwarding your mail to their house so you can pick it up once you’re settled.

General Delivery

With this option, the Post OfficeTM will hold your mail for 30 days, and you’ll pick it up in person with a photo I.D. In cities with multiple postal locations, you’ll have to visit the Post Office designated as the General Delivery location to pick it up. Speak with the postmaster or call 1-800-247-8777 for more info.

How to get your mail forwarded

Once you know which option works for you, you can complete a temporary change of address.

  1. Start the process online or in-person (ask the local post office for form 3575) at least two weeks before moving. Online, it costs $1.05, and in-person, it’s free.
  2. On the form, select how long you want mail sent to the new place. You can choose as few as two weeks or up to six months.
  3. Fill out your current address, and then for the new one, choose either the P.O. Box, General Delivery or a friend’s home.

FAQs about getting mail forwarded

Have questions about how it works? We’ve answered some common ones here:

How long does the USPS forward mail?

Mail forwarding service can last from two weeks to six months. If you’re needing something longer-term, we would suggest getting a P.O. Box and making a permanent address change.

How do I know if my mail is being forwarded?

A Move Validation letter will come to your current address just before mail forwarding begins. It will contain a code to edit or cancel the forwarding request. Tip: Take a picture of the code in case you lose the letter during the move.

Can I make changes to my forwarding request?

After receiving your Move Validation letter, use the code online to change the start date or duration of the forwarding service. If you need to change the address, you’ll have to cancel your request and submit a new one.

How do I stop mail forwarding?

If the move falls through, cancelling mail forwarding (with the validation code) will make mail service return to your previous address. To stop forwarding after you move, you’ll need to make a permanent change of address (which is essentially forwarding your mail for one year to your new address). Beyond that, you’ll need to follow up with places like your bank, credit card and subscriptions to make changes on their end.

Moving your household to a new state without a permanent address

Even without knowing where you’re moving, U-Pack can help. We can quote your move with general information (like a destination zip code instead of final address), and we can even start your move and then store everything until you’ve found a new place. Once you know the destination, the shipment can begin traveling there for delivery. Talk with a U-Pack consultant at 844-362-5303844-594-3077 or get a quote online to learn more.

Other things to update when moving

Making a plan for your belongings and your mail are just two necessary steps during a state-to-state move. Our moving checklist will walk you through everything else, including transferring medical records, voter registration and more.

If you have any questions about planning your move, leave a comment below. For any questions about mail forwarding, contact the USPS at 1-800-275-8777.