How to Change Address with the Post Office After You Move

Relocating to a new home involves a myriad of tasks, and one of the most important is updating your address with the United States Postal Service (USPS). This ensures that your mail follows you to your new location without interruption. Failing to update your address can lead to missed bills, lost packages, and important documents ending up in the wrong hands. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the steps to change your address with the post office, making the transition as smooth as possible.

Understanding the Importance of Updating Your Address

When you move, promptly updating your address with the USPS is crucial for several reasons. It ensures continuity of service, so you continue receiving your mail without interruption. It also helps protect your identity; when mail is not properly forwarded, it can end up in the wrong hands, increasing the risk of identity theft. Additionally, many government agencies, financial institutions, and other important entities use your postal address for official communication.

Methods to Change Your Address with the USPS

The USPS offers several convenient methods to update your address: online, in person, or by mail. Each method has its own steps and requirements, which are detailed below.

1. Changing Your Address Online

The most convenient way to update your address is through the USPS website. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Visit the Official USPS Website: Go to the USPS Change of Address page.
  2. Fill Out the Form: Provide your old and new addresses, the date you wish the change to take effect, and whether the move is temporary or permanent.
  3. Verify Your Identity: To prevent fraud, USPS requires identity verification through a credit card. A small fee of $1.10 is charged to your card to confirm your identity.
  4. Confirmation: Once the process is completed, you’ll receive a confirmation email from USPS.

2. Changing Your Address in Person

If you prefer to handle things offline or do not have access to a credit card for online verification, you can change your address in person at any local post office.

  1. Visit Your Local Post Office: Locate your nearest post office.
  2. Request a Mover’s Guide Packet: This packet contains a PS Form 3575, the official mail forwarding form.
  3. Complete the Form: Fill out the form with your old and new addresses and specify whether the move is temporary or permanent.
  4. Submit the Form: Hand your completed form to a postal worker or drop it in the mail slot at the post office.

3. Changing Your Address by Mail

If you cannot visit a post office in person, you can also mail the PS Form 3575 to your local post office.

  1. Obtain the Form: Download and print the PS Form 3575 from the USPS website, or have a Mover’s Guide Packet mailed to you by requesting it over the phone or online.
  2. Complete the Form: Fill in your old and new addresses and indicate the type of move.
  3. Mail the Form: Send the completed form to the address listed on the form, which will be your local post office.

What to Expect After Updating Your Address

After you’ve submitted your change of address request, the USPS will promptly process it, and you can expect the following:

  • Confirmation Letters: USPS will send a Move Validation Letter to your old address and a Welcome Kit to your new address. Both contain confirmation of the change.
  • Service Duration: Temporary changes are effective for six months and can be extended for up to a year. Permanent changes require no renewal.
  • Start of Mail Forwarding: Mail forwarding starts within 7 to 10 business days from the scheduled start date.

Additional Tips for a Smooth Address Change

  • Notify Others: Besides the USPS, inform banks, credit card companies, and subscription services of your new address.
  • Update Licenses and Registrations: Don’t forget to update your address on your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and voter registration.
  • Check for Anomalies: If you notice mail delivery issues or do not receive expected mail, contact the USPS immediately.


Changing your address with the USPS is a straightforward process that can be completed online, in person, or by mail. By following the detailed steps provided in this guide, you can ensure your mail moves with you and continues to arrive at your new home without disruption. Remember, keeping your address current with the USPS and other important institutions is key to maintaining seamless communication and protecting your personal information after you move.


1. What is the difference between a temporary and a permanent address change with the USPS?

A temporary address change notifies the USPS to forward your mail to a new address for a specified period, typically not exceeding one year. This is ideal for situations like extended vacations or temporary job relocations. In contrast, a permanent address change means your mail forwarding will continue indefinitely until you decide to change it again. This is suitable for permanent relocations, and it also updates your address on record with the USPS, which can affect where you vote in elections and how governmental agencies contact you.

2. How long does it take for mail forwarding to start after I submit a change of address?

Once you submit a change of address with the USPS, the mail forwarding process typically begins within 7 to 10 business days. This timeframe allows the post office to update their systems and start rerouting your mail to the new address. It’s a good idea to time your request so that it aligns with your actual moving date, ensuring a seamless transition of your mail delivery without any significant gaps.

3. Can I change my address with the USPS online if I don’t have a credit card?

If you do not have a credit card, you cannot complete the address change online because the USPS uses a credit card transaction to verify your identity and protect against fraud. However, you can still change your address in person at your local post office or by mailing in the PS Form 3575, which you can pick up from any post office. These methods do not require a credit card and can be completed simply with identification.

4. What should I do if I don’t receive a confirmation letter after changing my address?

If you do not receive a confirmation letter or email from the USPS shortly after submitting your address change, it’s important to follow up to ensure your request was processed correctly. You can visit your local post office or contact USPS customer service to inquire about the status of your address change. This can help catch any errors or issues early on, such as incorrect form submission or a misunderstanding of the effective date.

5. How do I handle mail forwarding for different members of my family?

When changing your address with the USPS, each adult family member should ideally submit a separate change of address form, especially if they receive mail under different last names. This ensures that everyone’s mail is forwarded correctly to the new address. For children or minors, the parent or guardian can include them on their own address change form, specifying that their mail should also be forwarded to the new family address.

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