USPS Change of Address: How Does Mail Forwarding Work?
Have you ever moved to a new place and kept receiving the previous occupants’ mail? The mail just keeps piling up and never stops. If you do not set up mail forwarding with USPS before you move, all your mail will be going to your previous address. The same goes for changing your address with all the private companies and government agencies you pertain to. To make sure you receive your mail at the correct address upon moving, keep reading to find out about mail forwarding with USPS.
How Does Mail Forwarding Work?
Mail forwarding will take into account your previous address and redirect the mail to your new address. When your mail has your previous address on it, it won’t go to your previous address, instead it will go to your new address.
In other words, USPS will catch your lost letters and redirect them to your new home. Note that mail forwarding will forward your first class package, but to avoid any mix ups it’s important to change your address manually with the company you do your online shopping with.
What Is Mail Forwarding With the USPS?
Mail forwarding is an optional service that is used to redirect your mail when you move. Contrary to popular belief, mail forwarding does not actually change your address it simply redirects mail. If you forgot to tell someone or missed a service provider when changing your address, your mail will be forwarded to the right address by USPS. The mail forwarding service is like a safety net, but is not a magical way to change your address!
The Pros and Cons of USPS Mail Forwarding
- Strangers won’t be receiving your mail
- It costs nearly nothing
- You can easily sign up online or at a post office
- Multiple people living at the same address can sign up on the same mail forwarding account which will allow them to receive their redirected mail as well
- Flexible mail forwarding periods (2 weeks to 12 months)
- It takes 7 to 10 business days to begin
- Does not forward parcels/packages
- Only first class mail and first class packages are forwarded
- Mail forwarding does not change your address.
- Address changes with all service providers must still be changed manually
- There is a small fee if you sign up online
How to Forward Mail With the USPS?
There are 2 ways to set up mail forwarding with the USPS: online and in person at the Post Office.
1. USPS Mail Forwarding Online
- Visit the USPS Change of Address Section.
- Use your credit card to pay the $1.05 mail forwarding fee.
- A verification will be sent to your email to confirm your identity.
- Upon confirmation, your mailing address has been changed!
2. USPS Mail Forwarding in Person at the Post Office
Who Is Mail Forwarding Good for?
Do you receive a lot of mail?
If you don’t:
If you don’t receive a lot of mail, mail forwarding may not be worth it for you. You can simply ask the new owner or renter to contact you in case they receive any mail with your name on it. It is still very important to change your address when moving, so make sure you get that done at least a few weeks in advance.
If you do:
If you receive a lot of mail, mail forwarding will be very convenient for you. If you have multiple people living in the same home or if you have a big family, it can be an efficient way to make sure everyone receives their mail at the new destination. Forgetting to change your address with a certain service provider does happen so you will be happy to know your mail will likely be forwarded to the right address.
How Much Does It Cost to Forward Mail With the USPS?
Standard Mail Forwarding Cost
The cost of standard mail forwarding with USPS is $1.10 online or free in person at the Post Office. This fee is paid by card and is used to confirm your identity in a way to prevent fraud. Temporary mail forwarding can be used if you are going to be away from your home for 15 weeks to a year.
Premium Mail Forwarding Cost
The cost of premium mail forwarding with USPS depend on 2 fees: the enrollment fee and the weekly fee.
- Enrollment fee: $20.90 if you enroll online or $22.75 if you enroll at the Post Office.
- Weekly fee: $22.75 whether you enroll online or in person.
A Recap of the Cost of Mail Forwarding
Type of Mail Forwarding
Post Office Rate
Standard Mail Forwarding
Except for Media Mail® and USPS Retail Ground®
Premium Residential Mail Forwarding
$20.90 enrollment fee & $22.75 weekly fee
$23.75 enrollment fee & $22.75 weekly fee
NOTE: Costs vary and may change. For the most up-to-date costs, visit the USPS website.
FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions About USPS Mail Forwarding
How Do I Cancel USPS Mail Forwarding?
- Login to your USPS account.
- Click on My Profile.
- Search for your Activity History.
- Get your PFS Residential order and Cancel the Order.
- Click YES when a pop-up appears to verify if you wish to cancel your order.
- You will then receive an email confirming the cancellation.
Does USPS Mail Forwarding Include Packages?
With Standard mail forwarding, USPS forwards only First-Class Mail® packages for free. If you wish to receive all types of packages, Premium Mail Forwarding is your best option.
How Do I Extend USPS Mail Forwarding?
To extend your USPS mail forwarding service you have 2 options:
- Visit your local Post Office to ask for an extension.
- Extend your mail forwarding service online on the Manage My Move section of the USPS website.
With USPS you can extend your mail forwarding service for 6 months ($19.95), 12 months ($29.95), or 18 months ($39.95). The extended mail forwarding service is only available to those who requested a permanent change of address.
Can I Forward Mail From Multiple Addresses With USPS?
Yes you can forward mail with multiple addresses through USPS, by following the steps below:
- Visit the USPS change of address section
- Tell USPS who’s moving (and how many addresses)
- Let the postal service know that it’s a temporary move
- Fill out your old and new addresses, and submit the form
- Pay the $1.05 identity verification fee
- Receive the confirmation email
- Keep an eye out for your Move Validation Letter
What's included in Standard Mail Forwarding?
Standard mail forwarding includes:
- First-Class™ mail and periodicals (newsletters & magazines).
- Premium shipping services (Priority Mail®, Priority Mail Express®, First-Class Package®).
- Media Mail® and USPS Retail Ground® (requires fee for cost of shipping directly at your local post office).
What's Excluded From Standard Mail Forwarding?
Standard mail forwarding excludes:
- USPS Marketing Mail®.
- Mail that requires a manual change of address (service providers, government agencies and more).
What's Included in Premium Residential Mail Forwarding?
Premium residential mail forwarding includes:
- Registered Mail® and Priority Mail Express items.
- First-Class Mail® objects, periodicals and marketing notices.
- Large First-Class Mail, Media Mail, and USPS Retail Ground packages.
Mail Forwarding is a way to ensure you receive all your mail at your new address. Always remember to individually change your address with all government agencies and home service providers to avoid delays in your benefit payments and in the set up of your Internet and cable.
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