When moving to a new home, there will be a myriad of things you have to take care of in order to ensure that your move ends up being a success. From finding the best movers in your area to packing up your things safely, your moving checklist will be full of important tasks that will keep you busy from Day 1.
One such essential task that you may forget about is to change your postal address prior to moving out. It’s only natural that your address will change as soon as you move to a new apartment or house. Nevertheless, initiating the change of address procedure is still one of the most frequently forgotten things to do when moving house.
The good news is that you can change your address after you move into the new place. The bad news is that by waiting to complete the task after the move, you run the risk of losing an important piece of mail during the transitional period.
This change of address checklist will give you more information about each of the 4 options you have to change your address, including details about whether you should choose a temporary or permanent change of address and how long the change of address procedure will last.
Read on to learn how to change your address when moving house.
When is the best time to change your address?
Updating your postal address with the United States Postal Service (USPS) is an important task that you shouldn’t skip altogether simply because you’d stop getting your mail if you did. However, you can still decide to change your address after the move, especially when you’re super busy and you just can’t find the time to do it prior to moving out.
- Before you move out. This is usually the recommended option. How far in advance should you change your address? It’s best if you change your address roughly 2 weeks before Moving day so that the change of address (COA) procedure can be complete by the time you find yourself in the new place. This way, you’ll be able to concentrate on the critical post-relocation tasks without losing any precious time worrying about updating your postal address.
- After you move out. It won’t be too late to change your address after moving into a new home. However, the biggest disadvantage is that the risk of getting some of your mail lost is higher since you’ll keep receiving mail to the old address before the COA procedure is finally complete. What’s more, you’ll have tons of other priority tasks to finish right after moving into the new place.
It’s important to note that it usually takes up to 7 business days for the USPS to process a change of address request. The actual time will depend on a number of factors such as time of year, location, and the number of pending requests, but roughly speaking, you should expect your change of address request to be handled within the estimated 7-day period.
Temporary change of address or permanent change of address?
Before you go ahead and update your address with the USPS, you have to know if you’re supposed to change it temporarily or permanently. But in order to make an informed decision about the matter, you’re going to need to know the difference between the two options.
- Temporary change of address. Choosing this option will mean that you’ll only change your address temporarily – that is, for a specific period of time. The period in which your mail will be forwarded to the new address will be 6 months but you can extend it to 12 months, if you wish. Changing your address temporarily is a good option when you’re only moving temporarily and expect to be back in your current home within 12 months.
- Permanent change of address. Choosing this option means that you don’t plan to return to your current home since you’ll be moving to a new city or town permanently. This way, your mail will get forwarded indefinitely to the new address… until it’s time to move out again.
How to change your address when moving
Luckily, there are 4 ways to update your address with the United States Postal Service and you can pick the one that makes the most sense in your case. For example, while some people may decide to change their address online, you may not be comfortable completing the task on your computer so you’ll want to do it in person at the nearest post office.
Before you go ahead and change your address, make sure you have the complete and correct new address. It’s best to write it down in full before you begin the change of address procedure. If you’re not 100% sure about the correctness of the destination address, contact your new landlord or realtor for confirmation. Double-check whether your ZIP code is correct too.
Follow this change of address checklist to get familiar with the four different ways to update your address when moving and pick the one that works best for you.
Option 1. Change your address ONLINE
Changing one’s postal address on the Internet will always be the most convenient way to tackle the task simply because it can be done from the comfort of one’s home.
And this is great news for you because you can change your address whenever you find some time in your busy moving schedule. Having a break from packing? That’s OK – it’s time to mark another moving task as done by accessing the official website of USPS and initiating the change of address procedure.
As a bonus, you’ll save time as well since it’s the fastest way to update your postal address when you move.
Here’s what you have to do:
- Access the USPS website, then go to the official Change of Address page;
- Complete the change of address form on the page;
- Enter correctly the new address, then check it again for possible mistakes;
- Provide a valid e-mail address when prompted. The USPS will then send you a confirmation mail to the e-mail address you’ve entered;
- Be ready to be charged a verification fee of $1. This is a standard practice aimed at confirming your identity and protecting your personal data;
- Submit the change of address application when you’ve filled out all required fields;
- Check your e-mail to see whether the USPS has sent you a confirmation e-mail. If yes, then your change of address request has been successful and will be processed by the post within 7 business days.
Option 2: Change your address IN PERSON
If you live near a post office, then you may choose to go to the office and change your address there in person.
Here are the steps to do just that:
- Go to the nearest post office when you find the time;
- Fill out the PS FORM 3575 you request from a post office clerk;
- Consider saving valuable time by downloading and filling out the said form at home before you visit the post office in person;
- Leave the completed PS FORM 3575 at the right desk. There, you will be asked to prove your identity – your driver’s license should be enough.
Option 3: Change your address BY MAIL
Naturally, you can choose to change your address by mail. While it’s not the fastest and most convenient way to do it, you may have your own reasons to prefer it over the other change of address methods.
Here’s how to change your address by mail:
- Download the printable change of address form (PS FORM 3575);
- Print out the form and fill it out neatly following the instructions written on it;
- Use a first-class postage stamp for the letter and address the latter to POSTMASTER, UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE;
- Mail the letter whenever you get the chance;
- Be on the lookout for a confirmation letter by the USPS within roughly 10 days after you’ve made the change of address request.
Option 4: Change your address OVER THE PHONE
Alternatively, you can change your address with the USPS over the phone. It’s the least preferable way to complete the task but you might still prefer it for some reason or another.
Follow these simple steps to update your postal address with the USPS with the help of a phone call:
- Call 1-800-ASK-USPS;
- Follow the instructions (pre-recorded) to change your address;
- Be ready to give your credit card details so that the USPS can charge you an identity verification fee of $1.