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Are you heading to a new apartment? If so, we know that moving out of one apartment and into a new one can be stressful. There is just so much to think about: rental trucks to be hired, moving boxes to be packed, or even donating unwanted furniture. There are so many little things that can get overlooked when you consider moving out.
One of those things is changing your postal address. Specifically, when trying to change your address with the USPS, it’s sometimes hard to figure out which form you’re supposed to fill out. But there’s no need to get riled up about it. We are here to help with this so that you can get back to more important things with your home move. Let’s take a deep dive into how to change your address with the post office and what forms to use.
What to Know About USPS Forms
First things first: handle your address change a bare minimum of two weeks before your move to ensure timely mail delivery to your new address.
There are 3 different forms you can fill out when you’re looking to change your address with the post office. They are for individual, family or business use. If you’re confused on which one you should be filling out, here is a breakdown:
Individual USPS Change of Address Form
If you’re renting on your own and you just need to forward your mail for yourself, then the individual USPS form is the one you should be looking for and filling out with all your details.
If you live in a household with multiple people, who all have different last names, you would be classed as a roommate. If you want to change your, as well as their mail address, you would all need to fill out separate forms.
- FAMILY MEMBERS:
Even if you’ve got the same last name (since you’re in a family household), you should fill out individual forms IF you move to separate households.
Family Members USPS Change of Address Form
If you and your family are moving to the same location together and you all share the same last name, then you will only need to fill out a single family member’s USPS Form, rather than all filling out your own individual USPS forms as mentioned before.
Business USPS Change of Address Form
Fill out a business change of address form if you’re the one who should be in control of forwarding mail for the business. This is only applicable if the entire business is changing addresses even if multiple different people receive mail.
Forms You Must Get in Person
While most forms can be received, filled out and sent back to USPS online, some of the forms we mentioned above require you to collect them in person depending on specific circumstances, outlined in the bullet point list below:
- You and/or your family are moving out of the country.
- You’re changing your address to a P.O. box, whether you’re an individual, family or business.
- Your old or new address is a CMRA (Commercial Mail Receiving Agency).
- You are moving from a business to a residence, or you’re moving from a residence to a business.
- You’re moving from or leaving a business.
We suggest checking with your local post office to see if you fall under any of these categories so that there are no last-minute unexpected delays.
USPS Confirmation: What to Expect
When you fill out the form(s) and send them to the post office (or take them there yourself), you must wait to hear back from them before assuming that your address is now up to date.
Though you will be receiving a move validation letter confirming they have received your request about 5 days before your new postal address is made official, USPS will send you a customer notification letter to confirm this. Along with it will be a confirmation code for your new address.
If you changed your address online, you should expect these things to appear in your online mailbox within the same time frame. It will be sent to the email you used when filling out the form. Don’t forget to check the junk/spam folders just in case.
We advise saving a copy of this email somewhere, whether that’s saving a file to your desktop, printing it out or noting down all the important details of the email on a piece of paper to be stored away somewhere safe.
You’ll Also Need to Confirm Your Identity
When you change your address, you’ll also be required to confirm your identity so that the postal service knows they’re dealing with the right person. This isn’t as much of a hassle as people think it is.
For the postal service to do this, all they require is to pay $1 using your credit or debit card, as they will use these details to confirm who you actually are.
What If You Just Need a Temporary Change of Address?
If you’re traveling for business or you just want to work somewhere else in the world, you might want your address changed temporarily until you get back to your permanent location. In this case, the USPS can hold your mail for you at the post office for up to 30 days, so it will be ready for you when you get back to your residence.
If you need your mail held for longer than 30 days, the USPS offers a premium service where they can receive your mail weekly at a temporary address up to a maximum of one entire year.
How to Cancel USPS Change of Address
It’s possible your plans change and your move to the new rental falls through for one reason or another. If you’ve already changed your address to the new location, your mail is going to be sent to the other side of the country, which is not ideal.
Don’t panic, as you can easily cancel your request online. All you need to do is enter your confirmation code and the new zip code onto the USPS website and you’ll be able to make these changes the same day.
Who Should I Notify of My Move?
Now that you have gotten your change of address done with the USPS, who should you let know you’ll be moving? There are folks to let know you’re moving besides family and friends. Plus, there are quite a few vital businesses and other organizations you do business with that you’ll need to inform.
One of the most essential, of course, is the IRS. Put notifying the IRS of an address change at the top of your to-do list, as you don’t want to miss notifications from them. Here is a helpful checklist of everyone you should notify of changing your address:
- Your employer.
- Your landlord.
- Credit card companies.
- Insurance carriers.
- Your doctor, dentist and lawyer.
- Social security administration.
- All your financial institutions.
- The department of motor vehicles.
- Any magazine subscriptions you have.
- Utility providers.
- Gym or sports club.
- Miscellaneous — try to think of other people and institutions you do business with.
One of the most crucial moving tasks when heading from one apartment to the next is getting your address change right away. Not dealing with it in a timely fashion will only put additional unnecessary stress in your life. Hopefully, this guide to getting your address changed with the postal service proves useful in making your move easier.
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Mihaela Buzec is a senior writer and online content developer for RentCafe. She covers topics about everything related to the renting lifestyle, from decorating and interior design to finding the right apartment, frugal living, money saving advice, and more. She dives deep into topics of interest, writing well-researched comprehensive guides on subjects such as renting with pets, saving on utilities, or avoiding rental scams to help renters stay informed and live smart.
Mihaela holds a BA in English and German Language and Literature, an MA in Current Linguistics, and she is currently pursuing a PhD in neurolinguistics.
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