change of address checklistWhether you like it or not, the home moving process is filled to the brim with essential move-related tasks that you just need to complete successfully so that you can have a successful move. You don’t even know what would happen if you failed to finish an essential moving job prior to its deadline, so you do your best to stick to your personal moving checklist.

One such essential task to take care of when moving between two homes is to change your postal address. Although it’s very logical that your address will change when you move to a new house or apartment, some people still forget to do it on time, and thus end up losing important pieces of mail.

But not you, and definitely not now when you are reminded of it. So, it’s time to learn how to change your address when you move to a new home. Just follow this change of address checklist to keep getting your mail problem-free.

What you must know when changing your address

Changing your address when you move sounds pretty straightforward, and in most cases it is. It’s when you fail to do it – for one reason or another – that you will realize just how important the change of address task was.

Here’s what you need to know before you go ahead and change your address with the United States Postal Service (USPS):

When to change your address when moving house

The Change of Address (COA) task provides a good level of flexibility in terms of WHEN it should be completed.

How far in advance to change address when moving? Generally speaking, it’s best that you do it approximately 2 weeks prior to Moving day so that the address will have already be changed by the time you arrive in your new home. This way, you won’t lose crucial time after the move and will be able to concentrate on the immediate post-relocation tasks such as unpacking and arranging the new place. The only downside to changing your address before the move is that pieces of mail could still get lost during the chaos of it all.

If you forget or choose not to do it before the move-out date, then the change of address job will have to be tacked right after the move. Usually the more unfavorable of the two options, the post-move COA still hides some risks of you never getting some of your mail during that transitional period. Don’t forget to leave some cash with a good neighbor at your old place so that he or she can forward your mail until the change of address procedure is complete.

Useful info: Packing timeline for moving

When will you have your address changed?

Change of address service

Your change of address request will usually take 7 days to be processed.

How long does it take for a change of address?

It will take about 7 days for your Change of Address request to be processed but the exact time frame will depend on several external factors such as time of year, city, and number of pending COA requests.

Local change of address requests are usually handled faster, while long-distance COA requests can easily take more than 7 days.

You must know your new address

It goes without saying that you are expected to know your new address in order to apply for a change of address procedure. You must have the complete and correct address written down neatly somewhere where you can easily access it until you get to remember it.

If you suspect that the new address may be incomplete or even wrong, make sure you ask your landlord or realtor for confirmation. Pay special attention to the correctness of the ZIP code.

Temporary or permanent Change of Address (COA)

Another thing you must know before you file for a change of address with the USPS is whether you want a temporary change of address or a permanent change of address. So, what’s the difference between the two, you may wonder?

A temporary change of address, as the name suggests, means that your mail will only get forwarded to your new home for a certain period – usually 6 months, extendable to 12 months by request. If you’re only moving temporarily, then that option seems like the best one for you.

A permanent change of address, as the name suggests, means that your mail will be forwarded permanently – that is, until you move to an even newer place, if ever. Choose this option if you don’t intend to go through another household move anytime soon, at least not in the foreseeable future.

How to change your address when moving

Now that you have learned when to change address when moving (Hint: it’s better to do it before the actual move takes place) and gave gather enough information to use the change of address service, let’s get down to business and explain the various ways you can file for a change of address procedure. According to the change of address checklist, there are 4 ways you can do just that.

#1: Change of address online

Change of address online

Online will always be the fastest way to change your address when moving.

Without a doubt, this is the most convenient way to change your address when moving house.

In fact, the advantages of this change of address method are too many to mention: you get to do it whenever you can find time in your busy moving calendar, you get to do it without having to go out of your home, and you get to save time as it’s the fastest COA method by far.

Of course, you only need a computer, a smartphone or a tablet with Internet access.

  1. Visit the official Change of Address Page of the United States Postal Service;
  2. Fill in the change of address form;
  3. Make sure you enter your new address correctly – double check all required fields;
  4. Give a valid e-mail address in order to receive a confirmation mail by the USPS;
  5. A verification fee of $1 will be charged to your bank card. Don’t panic – this is a standard identification procedure that is aimed at protecting your personal information;
  6. Submit the change of address application.
  7. Expect a confirmation mail by the USPS that the COA request has been completed successfully.

#2: Change of address in person

If you happen to live near a post office and you prefer to complete this task in person, then you should find time to visit the local USPS office.

  1. Visit your local post office within its business hours;
  2. Request a PS Form 3575 and fill it out neatly;
  3. You probably won’t enjoy the process of filling out that form inside the post office for a number of reasons, including the apparent loss of valuable time. This is why you are encouraged to download the PS Form 3575 in advance (do it here), fill it in at home, and then visit the post office while having it ready for filing;
  4. Hand over the filled PS Form 3575 at the appropriate desk. You will be asked to prove your identity on the spot, which also means that the change of address at the post office will be completely free of charge for you;
  5. Go home to take care of other important move-related tasks.

#3: Change of address by mail

Change address by mail

You could also change your address by mail, if you really wanted.

Interestingly enough, you can also change your postal address by mail. It’s the least convenient way to do it, but if you do prefer it for some reason or another, here’s how to do it:

  1. Download the USPS Printable Change of Address Form – the well-known PS Form 3575. Do it here;
  2. Print out the change of address form and fill it out by following the detailed instructions;
  3. Make sure all the required fields are filled correctly;
  4. Glue a First Class postage stamp to the envelope and write the following destination address: POSTMASTER, United States Postal Service;
  5. Mail the letter;
  6. Find a confirmation letter in the mailbox of your new home inside 10 days after the COA request has come into effect.

#4: Change of address over the phone

The fourth and final way to change your address when moving house is to do it over the phone – another COD method you can take advantage of from the comfort of your own home.

  1. Call 1-800-ASK-USPS;
  2. Follow the pre-recorded instructions to change your postal address;
  3. Get your bank card details ready because similar to the case of online change of address, you will be charged an identity verification fee of $1.

Who to notify when moving house

The fact that your postal address is about to change very soon is not really a secret, is it? Even if you wish that some people didn’t know your new address, there are a number of individuals, institutions, organizations, and businesses that must be notified of your address change.

So, who to notify when move?

  • Friends. It’s only normal that your closest friends should know that you’re moving – after all, maybe some of them did help you out during the move. Consider giving your best friends the new address to so that you can stay in touch after the move through letters, postcards, or personal visits. Thus said, the various ways of modern communication through e-mail, instant messaging and social networking do diminish the importance of the postal address of your new home in terms of not losing touch with your pals.
  • Government institutions. There are several important government institutions such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) which should definitely be notified of your future or recent change of address.
  • Financial institutions. Banks, credit card companies, and insurance companies should also the postal address of your new home.
  • Utility companies. By now you should have transferred your utilities to the new apartment or house. If you haven’t done it yet for one reason or another, it’s time to contact the various utility companies (electricity, water, gas, phone service, Internet service, cable TV, etc.) and inform them of your new address.
  • Service providers. Family physicians, vets, schools, delivery services… the list goes on and on. The thing is that even if you don’t inform all those service providers at once, you will need to do it little by little as you’re going through your acclimatization period in the new town or city you just moved to.

See also: 10 essential things to do after moving