Information on Mail Forwarding From the USPS

US Mail

An in-house expert answers some of our readers’ most common questions about having your mail forwarded.

Which Form Do I Need to Fill Out to Have My Mail Forwarded?

The Change of Address Order form.

Do I Need to Fill Out a Form for Each Person in My Home?

If your entire family is moving to the same address and each member has the same last name, you only need to complete a single Change of Address Order form. For all other cases, each individual moving must fill out a separate form.

When Should I Fill Out My Change of Address Order Form?

You should do so at least 30 days before you move, or as soon as you know your new address and the date of your move. The post office will forward mail with your old address to your new residence beginning on the start date you included on the Change of Address Order form.

How Long Will It Take Before I Get Forwarded Mail at My New Address?

If you send in your Change of Address Order form 30 days before you move, it could take between 3 and 5 days after your indicated start date for your mail to be forwarded from your old address to your new one, depending on how far you've moved. This delay will be longer if you wait until the week of your move or until after your move before sending in your Change of Address Order form.

How Will the Postal Service Verify That It Received a Change of Address Order?

The Postal Service will promptly mail you a confirmation letter to the address you are leaving, regardless of the date of your move. For your privacy, it will not mention your new mail address. Another confirmation letter will be sent to you at your new address after the date of your move.

How Long Will the Post Office Forward My Mail and What Are the Costs?

First-Class, Priority, and Express Mail are all forwarded for 12 months at no charge, except for mail marked "Do Not Forward." Periodicals and other Second-Class mail is forwarded for 60 days at no charge. Standard Mail (A) is not forwarded unless requested by the mailer. Standard Mail includes circulars, books, catalogs, and advertising mail weighing less than 16-ounces. Standard Mail (B) is forwarded locally for 12 months at no charge. Forwarding charges are paid by you if you move outside the local area. This type of mail includes packages weighing 16-ounces or more which are not mailed as Priority Mail.

When Is the Best Time to Inform Magazine and Newspaper Publishers and Other Business Mailers of My Move?

You should let all publishers and other business mailers know at least 4 weeks before you move. Follow the publisher's change of address instructions and the change of address instructions noted on your billing statements.

How Can I Help My Mail Arrive at My New Address as Quickly as Possible?

At least 30 days before you move, notify everyone who sends you mail what your new address will be and the date of your move. Many bills and statements have an area for making an address change notification. Ensure you use proper addressing. You can also get free Notification Postards (Form 3576) at your post office to Notify Your Mailers of the Move.

What About the Mail That Has the Endorsement "Do Not Forward"?

For permanent moves, mail marked "Do Not Forward" is returned to the sender along with your new address information; however, if your move is only temporary, meaning that you'll be returning home in less than 12 months, this mail is returned to the sender without your new address information. Temporary movers must notify their mailers directly to inform them of their new address.

Information Provided by the USPS