How to Forward Your Mail with the US Post Office | My Move

How to Forward Your Mail with the US Post Office

Author: Vince Font

Mail forwarding is one of the most important steps of pulling off a successful move, which is why filling out a USPS change of address form is so critical. Even in today's world, where long lost friends are just a poke away on Facebook, the potential to lose touch with those you've forgotten to give your new mailing address still exists.

But that's not the only reason to have your mail forwarded. Completing a USPS address change also ensures that your credit card statements, cell phone bill and other private information are forwarded to your new address until you've had adequate time to notify those agencies to update their systems.

Where to Find a USPS Change of Address Form

When it comes to chasing down the actual form you'll need to fill out to notify the post office to forward your mail to a new address, you've got several choices.

  • Online: This is the quickest and easiest way to change your address. You can submit an Internet change of address by going to the Change of Address form and submitting your information electronically. There's a $1 fee to process your request online, which covers a verification process that matches up your current address with the address on file for your credit or debit card. This is in place to prevent someone from submitting a fraudulent online mail-forwarding request.
  • In Person: If you want to do it the old fashioned way, visit your local Post Office, fill out PS Form 3575 – Change of Address, and hand it to the Post Office employee behind the counter. If you're not into hanging out and completing paperwork, you can also print a copy of the Change of Address form so that you'll already have it filled out when you swing by the local branch.
  • By Mail: Grab a copy of Form 3575 from your local Post Office, or print one out online, then fill it out and mail it to the address provided on the form. Since it's a Post Office form, you won't have to attach a stamp to get it where it's going.
  • By Phone: Call 1-800-ASK-USPS to complete your change of address by phone. The additional $1 verification fee applies here as well, for the same purposes as that of the online request.

When to Fill Out a USPS Address Change Form

Since it can take up to 10 days from the time you turn in your change of address form until mail starts getting routed to your new location, try to submit your request two weeks before you move. If you want to start forwarding your mail ahead of time, you can do so up to three months before you actually move. Don't do this unless you're absolutely sure there'll be someone there you trust to collect your mail and set it aside for you.

Permanent or Temporary

If you know that your move isn't permanent, you can specify on the form that your address change request is only temporary. You'll be asked to provide the date that you want the forwarding to stop and regular delivery to your permanent address to resume. This often comes in handy if you take up seasonal residence at a vacation home and don't want to return from vacation to a high pile of past-due bills. Otherwise, your mail-forwarding request will be kept on file at your old Post Office for 18 months. By then, you should have had plenty of time to update your new address with everyone.