Most people assume they have only one option when changing addresses, but that’s not the case. There are three different ways to change your address with the U.S. Post Office–none of which will cost you more than $1. You also have options when it comes to having your mail forwarded, both in terms of the method used, as well as the cost and the length of time your mail will be forwarded. The basic details are outlined below, with more information in the links at the bottom of the page.
- Change of Address – A change of address with the U.S. Postal Service may either be permanent or temporary and can be done either online in person, or over the phone. If using the online change of address form, please note that it does charge $1 to your credit or debit card to verity your identity. If using the phone service, you can call 1-800-ASK-USPS, which will also require a $1 charge to verify your identity. If a change of address is temporary, it may be held in place for 15 days up to one year.
- Premium Forwarding Service – PFS allows you to have your mail bundled and sent to you once per week via USPS Priority Mail. This service can also be used between 15 days and one year and currently costs $17 per week, along with a $15 enrollment fee. (Please note: the online PFS option is not available for post office boxes.)
- General Delivery – This option is ideal for people in between permanent homes, traveling or with a temporary address. The post office will hold your mail for up to 30 days and it can be picked up at your convenience. This is a handy method to use for those without a physical address, as it can be sent using “General Delivery” as the address, which tells the post office to hold the mail on your behalf.
Scam Alert – Companies That Charge To Change Your Address
Avoid, avoid, avoid! This is not a legitimate service! It’s simply a company filing a free change of address form on your behalf and charging you for doing it–sometimes as much as $50 or $100. Do not fall for this.
Sites that charge you for filing a change of address form with the postal service are a scam and should be avoided at all costs. The only way you should pay anything for a change of address is when it’s an incremental amount ($1 or less) charged to you by the USPS as verification of your identity for a change of address.
Mail Forwarding & Change of Address Resources
USPS Change of Address – Update your address the easy way by using the online change of address tool from the USPS.
USPS Mail Forwarding – The basics of mail forwarding, including more information on the three options listed above.
Mail Forwarding For Expats – International mail forwarding information for expatriates an overseas travelers. Note that you will need to fill out USPS form 1583 if using a commercial mail receiving agent (CMRA) to forward mail internationally.