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USPS Mail Forwarding: Everything You Need to Know

Imagine this: you’re excitedly settling into your new home, but then, a wave of dread washes over you. You remember all the important mail that still needs to be delivered to your old address – bills, bank statements, even personal letters. What a hassle! But there’s a simple solution: USPS Mail Forwarding. This convenient service ensures you don’t miss a beat, seamlessly redirecting your mail to your new location.

This blog post will be your comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about USPS Mail Forwarding. We’ll explore its different types, how it works, the steps to set it up, and crucial considerations before making your decision. By the end, you’ll be equipped to confidently manage your mail forwarding needs, making your transition stress-free and hassle-free.

Table of Contents

Understanding USPS Mail Forwarding

USPS Mail Forwarding is a vital service offered by the United States Postal Service, designed to redirect your mail from your old address to your new one. This simple yet essential service is a lifesaver for anyone relocating, whether it’s a permanent move or a temporary stay. It ensures that you don’t miss important mail, even while you’re away.

Types of Mail Forwarding

USPS Mail Forwarding offers two distinct types, catering to varying needs:

  • Permanent Forwarding: This option is ideal for those who have permanently changed their address. It ensures that all mail addressed to your old address is automatically redirected to your new address indefinitely.

  • Temporary Forwarding: This option is perfect for those who are relocating temporarily, such as students, travelers, or individuals with seasonal residences. It allows you to have your mail forwarded for a specified duration, typically up to 12 months.

What is Forwardable Mail?

Most types of mail are eligible for forwarding, including:

  • Letters: Personal letters, bills, statements, and other correspondence are typically forwarded.
  • Packages: Smaller packages that fit in a standard mailbox can also be forwarded.
  • Magazines and Catalogs: Publications and marketing materials are forwarded as well.

However, some exceptions apply. Certain types of mail are not eligible for forwarding, including:

  • Certified Mail: This type of mail requires a signature upon delivery and is typically not forwarded.
  • Registered Mail: Similar to Certified Mail, it requires a signature and is usually not forwarded.
  • Money Orders: Due to security concerns, money orders are generally not forwarded.
  • Large Packages: Packages that exceed the dimensions of a standard mailbox are not typically eligible for forwarding.

How It Works

The process of setting up USPS Mail Forwarding is quite straightforward:

  1. Submit a Request: You can submit your request online or by visiting your local post office.
  2. Processing and Redirection: Once your request is submitted and processed, the USPS begins redirecting your mail to your new address.
  3. Tracking: You can track the status of your request and check the progress of your mail forwarding through the USPS website or by contacting customer service.

How to Set Up USPS Mail Forwarding

Setting up USPS Mail Forwarding is a simple process, involving just a few steps:

Step 1: Gather Necessary Information

Before you begin, make sure you have all the essential information readily available:

  • Your Old Address: This includes your previous street address, city, state, and zip code.
  • Your New Address: Provide your current street address, city, state, and zip code.
  • Forwarding Type: Choose either Permanent or Temporary Forwarding, based on your needs.
  • Identification Proof: You might be asked to provide a valid form of ID, like a driver’s license or passport.

Step 2: Choose Your Forwarding Option

You have two convenient ways to submit your request:

  • Online: Visit the USPS website and follow the instructions to submit your request digitally. This is a quick and convenient option.
  • Offline: Visit your local post office and complete a Change of Address form. This option allows you to get personalized assistance from postal employees.

Step 3: Submit Your Request

  • Online: Navigate to the USPS website and find the Change of Address section. You’ll be guided through a series of prompts to fill in your details and submit your request.
  • Offline: Obtain a Change of Address form at your local post office. Fill in the necessary details accurately and submit the form to a postal employee.

Step 4: Confirm and Track Your Request

  • Online: After submitting your request online, you’ll receive a confirmation email or text message. You can also track the status of your request on the USPS website.
  • Offline: You’ll receive a confirmation receipt when you submit your request at the post office. You can track the status of your request by visiting the USPS website or contacting customer service.

Important Considerations

While USPS Mail Forwarding is a valuable service, it’s crucial to keep a few important points in mind:

Cost of USPS Mail Forwarding

  • Base Fee: There is a base fee for both permanent and temporary forwarding.
  • Additional Charges: You may incur additional charges for forwarding large packages or mail sent via special services.

Forwarding Duration

  • Maximum Duration: Temporary forwarding typically lasts up to 12 months, while permanent forwarding is indefinite.
  • Consequences of Exceeding Duration: If your temporary forwarding period expires, your mail will no longer be forwarded.

Other Services

  • Change of Address: You can also use the USPS Change of Address service to update your address with various entities, such as banks, credit card companies, and government agencies.
  • Informed Delivery: This service allows you to preview images of your mail before it arrives, helping you stay organized and informed.

Tips for Smooth Transition

  • Update Important Accounts: Inform your bank, credit card companies, insurance providers, and other essential entities about your new address.
  • Notify Senders: Let your regular correspondents, like family, friends, and businesses, know about your new address.
  • Forwarding Address Updates: If your new address changes after you submit your forwarding request, you can update it online or by visiting a post office.

Common FAQ

Here are answers to some common questions about USPS Mail Forwarding:

How long does it take for mail forwarding to take effect?

It typically takes 7-10 business days for mail forwarding to become effective. However, this timeframe may vary depending on factors such as the volume of mail and the destination’s distance.

What happens to mail received after the forwarding period ends?

If your forwarding period expires, mail addressed to your old address will be returned to the sender with a “Return to Sender” notice.

Can I change my forwarding address after submitting the request?

Yes, you can change your forwarding address online or at a post office, even after submitting your initial request.

What happens if I move to a new address before the forwarding period ends?

You can update your forwarding address online or by visiting a post office. The USPS will then redirect your mail to your new address.

Is there a limit to the amount of mail that can be forwarded?

There is generally no limit to the amount of mail that can be forwarded. However, if you have an extremely high volume of mail, you may want to consider alternative forwarding options or contact the USPS for specific guidance.

What if I have packages that need to be forwarded?

The USPS can forward smaller packages that fit in a standard mailbox. However, for larger packages, you may need to contact the sender or a courier service for alternative shipping arrangements.

What are the consequences of not notifying the USPS of a change of address?

If you fail to notify the USPS of a change of address, you may miss important mail, including bills, legal documents, and other critical correspondence. This can lead to late payments, fines, and other serious consequences.


USPS Mail Forwarding is an invaluable service for anyone relocating, simplifying your transition and ensuring you receive important mail smoothly. With its straightforward setup process, different forwarding options, and clear guidelines, you can confidently navigate your relocation and enjoy a hassle-free experience.

Remember to gather your information, choose your preferred method, and submit your request promptly. By staying informed and utilizing this service effectively, you can streamline your mail delivery and focus on settling into your new home or temporary location without any unnecessary stress.

For additional information and resources, you can visit the official USPS website and explore their extensive collection of FAQs, guides, and contact information.