How to do US Mail Forwarding

The USPS mail forwarding service can be beneficial if you or your business has relocated to a new address. Mail forwarding will be set up temporarily or permanently after you change your address with USPS. It may take some time for this change to take effect, so this is a tremendous precaution to catch any mail that might be sent to your old address.

This article provides the information you need to know about mail forwarding, including what it is, how it works, and how to set it up.

Mail forwarding: What is it, and How Does it Work?

The concept of mail forwarding is relatively straightforward: Any letters or packages addressed to your old or inactive address will be sent to your current one. This is a valuable option than putting your postal service on hold if you are temporarily relocating, especially if you don’t want to miss anything important. This is a more straightforward option than getting in touch with every person who might send you mail if you are permanently relocating to a new address.

Suppose any Priority, First Class, or Periodical mail is being sent to your old address. In that case, USPS will detect it as soon as it enters their network, add a yellow forwarding label with your new address, and then automatically redirect it so you can get it at your new address. This is a great way to intercept any mail being sent to an outdated address, though it can occasionally cause a delay in delivering your mail.

The regular mail-forwarding service lasts six months but can be extended for a fee. The minimum time frame for a Change-of-Address (COA) application is 15 days for short-term moves. You can hold your mail at the post office rather than forward it during short-term moves.

You must submit a COA request at your neighborhood post office ahead of time for international moves. If you don’t do this before moving, you’ll need to explain the situation in writing to both your old US Post Office and the post office handling your new international address. This request cannot be made online.

SEE: What Does Out for Delivery Mean?

Limitations of USPS Mail Forwarding

It is crucial to remember that a USPS mail forwarding service has its limitations and is not a foolproof way to change your mailing address everywhere. For instance, USPS’s internal system might miss that the piece of mail needs to be forwarded if it isn’t sent to you or your company’s specified name on file.

Additionally, a USPS mail forwarding service will only reroute mail already being sent via USPS. So, mail sent by UPS, DHL, FedEx, or any other mail carrier won’t be rerouted.

For these reasons, changing your residential address or business address should not just involve using a USPS forward mail service. It would help if you also thought about updating your address directly with your suppliers or services.

How Do I Set Up Mail Forwarding?

There are two ways to set up a US Post Office mail forwarding service.

Online USPS Change of Address Form Submission

The simplest method is to go to the USPS online Change of Address website. You can enter your contact information, old and new addresses, and information about who is moving (family, individual, or business).

Submitting a Change of Address Form to USPS in Person

The second option is submitting Form 3575 in person to have USPS forward mail to your new address. Because this form is no longer available to print from your home computer, you must go to your nearby Postal Office, ask for a “Mover’s Guide” containing the PS Form 3575 and instructions, fill it out, and submit it in person.

Who Else Should I Inform When I Change Addresses?

Your USPS change-of-address can only help forward your mail as received; it cannot automatically notify everyone about the change. This implies that you are responsible for updating the address. Some of the organizations you should notify include:


To get in touch with the IRS about a change of address, use Form 8822. This ensures that you receive essential IRS mail at your new location, such as tax refunds. 


You must update your driver’s license after moving to a new address. Find out how to update your DMV by visiting the website for your local DMV.

Social Security

To ensure you receive Medicare services, Social Security retirement benefits, or disability benefits if you move, you must update your address with the Social Security Administration.


Banks and card issuers should also be notified of your move and given your new billing address.

Election office

If you move, notify your state’s election office of your new address. This guarantees you will receive a new voting location for future elections.

SEE: What is a Return Address?

How Much Does USPS Mail Forwarding Cost?

If you submit your request in person, USPS will set up a Change-of-Address for you at no cost. There is a nominal $1.10 identity validation fee for using the website.

Note: You must pay this fee with a credit or debit card whose billing address is either your old or your new address. This will enable USPS to confirm your identity by confirming your card’s billing details with the bank that issued it.

How Will I Know If My USPS Mail Forwarding Request Was Granted?

Once your request has been successfully filled out and submitted, the post office will promptly mail a Move Validation Letter to your new address. After processing your COA form, the postal service will update your address and send a formal USPS Customer Notification Letter. If you filled out the form online, you would receive a Change of Address Confirmation email with your Confirmation Code.

What Are Private Mail Forward Services?

Several third-party websites, according to USPS, claim to be able to assist with regular mail forwarding queries for about $40 or more. However, USPS cautions that they are not associated with these websites and cannot assist if something goes wrong with the service. It is best to change your address and sign up for mail forwarding directly on the USPS website or at your local post office if that is all you need to do.

Private mail forwarding solutions are an alternative to or addition to USPS Change-of-Address requests. They may offer more deluxe features like an online mail manager, mail scanning, and selective forwarding. 

Private mail forwarding, also called post redirection services, is a practical choice for individuals or organizations that want to send packages at a separate address than is made publicly available. You can receive mail without disclosing your address by utilizing a virtual address to safeguard your identity.

Private mail forwarding costs for lone recipients start at around $10 per month and go up depending on how often you receive mail and any add-on services you choose, like shredding, package storage, etc.

SEE: How to Change Billing Address on Amazon

Is Hiring Mail Forwarding Service Worth It?

Most of the time, sending a COA via USPS is the most efficient, affordable way to have your mail forwarded to the appropriate location. Private mail forwarding services can be helpful in some situations, such as for small businesses or digital nomads, but it is best to weigh the benefits and drawbacks first.

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