Your move may be over but your work is far from being done.
The utilities are up and running, you’re connected to the Internet, your phone is all set up. One of the things you still haven’t taken care of is the mail. The regular mail, not the e-mail. The fact that you just moved to a new physical location automatically means that your postal address has changed too.
However, before you can start receiving your regular mail – letters, postcards, newspapers and magazines, and of course – bills, you will need to initiate the change of address procedure.
So, before you roll up your sleeves and start unpacking those piles of cardboard boxes, or before you’ve even started completing other jobs from your post move checklist, make sure you take care of that change of address task before you lose an important piece of mail somewhere between your old home and your new one.
The change of address when moving house can be done in person by visiting the nearest post office in your destination city, online through the official change of address page of the US Postal Service, by phone, or by mail. Consult the change of address checklist below.
What to know before changing address after moving house?
Before you can use one of the two ways to change your address when you move to another home, here are a few things to keep in mind so that the change of address checklist job goes as smoothly as possible. Be ready in advance to speed things up at the post office or when completing the change of address online.
Do you know your correct address?
Mistakes can happen, especially during the crazy busy and stressful period of moving from one house or apartment to another. The very first thing to do is to verify your new address either with your realtor or with your landlord. Triple check whether the postal address is complete and proofread it for possible spelling mistakes. Finally, verify that the zip code is right – sometimes digits are easy to be mixed up.
Temporary or permanent change of address (COA)?
The U.S. Postal Service lets you file a temporary or permanent change of address, so you’ll need to decide while one is the better option for you.
By choosing a Temporary Change of Address, your mail will be forwarded (routed) from your current postal address to the new one for a specified period (up to 6 months, extendable to 12 months). This is a good option if you’re moving to a temporary housing or plan to spend the cold winter in a warmer place, and vice versa. With a temporary COA, your address will not be given to business mailers, so at least you’ll spare yourself some junk mail.
A Permanent Change of Address is the logical option when you’ve moved to a new home and do not plan to move again in the foreseeable future. It’s good to know though that a permanent COA does have a major drawback – your new address will be registered in the National Change of Address database (NCOA). That basically means that certain businesses and organizations, including the IRS if you moved to another state, will be notified of your recent change of address which may be both convenient and inconvenient for you. The worst part? Business mailers will be able to reach you as well.
Individual or family change of address?
When changing your address with the USPS, you must include the names of everyone who’s moving or has just moved with you. For example, if you only include your name in the change of address form, then your partner’s mail will not be forwarded to the new address.
Use the individual option to change address if some members of your family are moving while others are staying at the old address (this is true regardless of whether all members have the same family name or not). This means you will need to fill out separate COD forms for each individual.
Use the family option to change address after moving if the entire family is moving and everyone has the same family name. This is the much easier option – you only need to fill out one change of address form.
How to change your address when moving
Once you have verified your address and have decided whether the change of address will be temporary or permanent, it’s time to learn how to change your address with the post office. Basically, you are given 3 good options to do just that:
Change your address online
This is a very convenient way to change your address when you move because it will save you the most time. Moreover, you can do it on your own terms.
- Access the official USPS Change of Address page.
- Have a valid e-mail address ready where you will receive the confirmation from the U.S. Postal Service.
- Have a credit or debit card ready as you will be charged a $1 identity verification fee as an extra method of safeguarding your personal information. USPS will automatically verify the information you’ve entered on their page with the bank that has issued your bank card.
Change your address by phone
This is an alternative way to change your address with the USPS without having to visit your local post office in person. It could be a good option for you under specific circumstances but the best remote change of address service remains the previous one.
- Call 1-800-ASK-USPS and follow the instructions.
- As with the online COA, your identity will be verified and you will be charged $1 to your debit or credit card.
Change your address at your local post office
Provided that you can spare the time, this is a good way to change your address when moving house.
- Fill out Form 3575 – the official change of address form which you can print out from the official USPS website or get it directly from the nearest post office when you visit it.
- Fill the COD form completely. You will be asked to provide your name, old address, and new address. Also, you will have to choose between temporary or permanent change of address /see above for details/ and list the persons who are moving with you as well.
- Hand in the completed form to the postmaster and you’re done. Changing your address at the local post office won’t cost you anything.
Change your address by mail
Alternatively, you may choose to change your address by mail – the fourth and final method of changing address when moving.
- Print out the official change of address form (Form 3575). You can download Form 3575 for free.
- Fill out the form completely and then mail it to POSTMASTER, United States Postal Service.
- Remember to apply First Class postage, and then mail the letter.
- Expect a move validation letter at your old address.
- Finally, you will receive a confirmation letter to your new address from 7 to 10 days after the change of address has become effective. Hopefully, you will also receive special offers and possible discount coupons you will actually find useful.
MUST READ: Who to notify when moving