The main reason people formally change their address is to keep up with their mail from the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). The USPS will let you change your address up to 2 weeks before you move, which is a good window to be prepared.
You can also change your address right after you move into your new place. However, it’s recommended to change it ahead of time so you don’t lose any mail during the transition.
4 Things to Check Before Changing Your Address
Though it seems like it should be pretty simple, there are a few specifications to clarify during this process to make sure there are no problems along the way.
1. Check and double check that you get the new address correct
When preparing to move, there is a lot going on. It is possible to file for a new address that is incorrect. The USPS won’t always catch mistakes. Instead, double check your contract or give us a ring to make sure you have your new address written down correctly.
2. Determine if the move is temporary or permanent
You can temporarily change your address for a short period of time, usually 6 months which can sometimes be extended to 12. Temporary address changes can be useful if you’re living in Greeley as a student studying abroad or if your job relocated you for a project. Your permanent address will stay in tact, but you’ll get your important mail delivered to your temporary address in the meantime.
You should consider it a permanent address change if you never plan on going back to your previous residence — even if you plan to move somewhere else in the next 6-12 months.
3. Change your address for just yourself or for your whole family
If you’re moving by yourself, that makes things easy. Fill out the change of address form just once! If you’re moving an entire family or part of a family, it could be easy or it could be more complicated. USPS will only change where mail is delivered for the people with the exact-match names submitted on the change form. Let’s dive in.
Moving an entire family with the same surname is just like moving an individual. You only have to fill out the change of address form one time for everyone with the same last name.
If there are people in your family or household with different surnames, you’ll have to fill out a separate form for each different surname.
All in all, paying careful attention to this step will prevent headaches of why some mail got changed but not all of it.
4. Give yourself at least 7 days for the changes to take place
There are several factors that go into the speed of changing your address. The USPS in your old location needs to process the “stop mail” and the USPS in the new location needs to process the “start mail”. If you’re moving within the same town, it’ll be much faster.
Other time factors include the complexity of the request, the queue, and the season (Christmastime is one of the busiest for the USPS).
All in all, a good buffer is to allow for 3 business days to process the stop and 3 days to process the start. There’s no harm in setting it up even sooner than 7 days either. You can file it up to 30 days in advance. They’ll make the switches at the effective date you request.
Now that you’ve double checked and prepared yourself, let’s learn how to actually change your address.
There are 2 ways to change your address with the United States Postal Service.
Change Your Address Online
Visit the USPS website and fill out the Change of Address form.
The great part about filling it out online is that you can do it from home (or wherever you have internet), and you don’t have to worry about the USPS hours to get it done.
Filing online could lead to mistakes since you’re doing it all by yourself, but the site makes it pretty easy to get it done correctly.
If you file online, there’s a small fee (less than $2) to verify your identity. You’ll need a credit or debit card to pay the fee online.
Change Your Address In-Person
Head into your local post office to fill out the change of address forms. There’s no fee required, and the staff at USPS can help look over everything before you submit it.
The Mover’s Guide form has all the information you need to change your address. It shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes, give or take the line.
Once you file online or in person, you’re ready to make your move!
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