It’s important to officially change your address before or immediately after moving. Your mail and packages may go to your former address or become lost if you do not notify delivery services. Even if you are only moving temporarily, your mailing address should match where you reside.
But your mailing address is not the only information you will need to change if you move. Many of your credit card and other financial accounts use your ZIP code as an identifier when you use funds. The cashier may decline your purchase if you use a location that does not match the one on file.
1. Change Your Address With the U.S. Post Office
You can change your address with the U.S. Post Office online or by visiting a local post office. If you do not change your address with the post office, the mail carrier may take back accumulated mail at your old address. After 10 days, the post office will return your mail to the sender if you do not retrieve it.
While the online method is the fastest and most convenient way to change your address, the agency charges $1.10 for online address changes. The fee is for identity verification to ensure you are making the request and not someone trying fraudulent activities.
Likewise, some third-party online providers charge significantly more for the same process. You should only use the official USPS.com website to change your address and update your voter registration.
The online method lets you indicate whether just you, your whole family, or your business is relocating. You can also select if the move is permanent or temporary. The local post office may forward your mail for 6-12 months and hold your mail for a short period, but this service is not available at every location.
You can ask for the Mover’s Guide at your local post office, which has the Change of Address Order (PS Form 3575). You can fill out the form and return it to the postal worker or drop the completed form in a letter box at the post office. You should receive a confirmation letter five business days after your request.
You will need to complete a form for each family member relocating if you change your address at your local post office. Note that you must change your address in person if you are moving out of the country.
2. Change Your Address With Other Entities
You will likely need to tell several groups about your address change. Other government agencies you may need to notify include the following:
- The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), so you do not miss your tax refund.
- The Social Security Administration (SSA) if you are enrolled in Medicare or receive Social Security retirement, disability, or survivors benefits.
- The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) if you receive veterans benefits.
- Your state’s motor vehicle agency to update your driver’s license and vehicle registration information.
- Your state’s election office if you need to change your voter registration card.
- The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) if you are a non-citizen with address registration requirements.
You may also need to update non-government entities. The U.S. Post Office may forward mail to your new address for a period after you move, but it will not do this forever. Plus, extended mail forwarding services start at $19.95 for six months to $39.95 for 18 months. You will need to update your address with magazines and other mailed subscription businesses before forwarding ends.
Businesses with which you hold credit and other financial accounts should have your current address. You do not want to miss mail from your bank, credit union, or investment broker. You will also need to notify insurance companies, like auto, health, and renters.
You may lose services or pay more money if you do not update certain businesses. For instance, you should notify the utility business of service end and start dates so you have them at your new place and do not continue to pay for usage at your former address.
Likewise, your landlord should know where to send your security deposit. And you should let your employer know your new address, whether or not you receive paper checks. Your employer may need to send you tax information or other important mail.
Do not forget to update your address on:
- Online shopping websites, like Amazon.
- Subscription delivery services, like Blue Apron and BarkBox.
- Streaming services, like Netflix and Hulu.
- Apps, like Google Maps, Uber, and smart home apps.
Other entities you may want to update include your family, friends, lawyer, accountant, and child care workers. Imagine missing a wedding invitation or other important events just because you forgot to tell people where you live.
However, you do not want to put your address on social media platforms. While this may seem like a quick way to tell your friends and family, it may leave you susceptible to fraud.