Change Mailing Address – A Step By Step Guide

Ready to move? Don’t forget to change your address with the USPS. Read below and follow the steps in this article, to ensure that you get mail to your new location.

Changing your mailing address always feels a little more daunting than it really is. And while the process is generally pretty simple and straightforward, a lot of people deal with extra stress, extra headache, and extra hassle changing their address simply because they wait so long to get started with the process.


Thankfully, with the help of all the information below, you won’t have to worry about delaying things any longer. With this quick guide we walk you step-by-step through the entire process, making it as simple and as straightforward as can do.


By the time you finish this guide you’ll be able to change your address in about 30 minutes (and maybe even faster than that) without any extra stress at all. Ready to jump right in? Let’s do it!


change of address form


Changing Your Mail Address with the USPS


The first thing you need to know is that you are going to have to get a hold of the USPS (United States Postal Service) to actually change your mailing address across the board.


Later we will talk about how to change your billing and banking address and how to update your driver’s license address (two important pieces of the puzzle), but everything – and we mean EVERYTHING – starts with new updating your USPS address first. Let’s walk you through everything.


Temporary Change or Permanent?


The very first question you are going to be asked when you go to change your mailing address is whether or not you want to change your mailing address on a temporary basis or change it permanently. The USPS allows you to temporarily change your address for a variety of different durations of time, ranging from just a couple of weeks (if you are going to be working from somewhere else) up to 12 months or longer depending on your specific needs.


Just know that if you do a temporary change of address eventually (at some point later down the line) your address is going to automatically revert back to the mailing address that was on file originally. With a permanent address change, though, that’s never going to be a problem. Only you will how what the best route to take is for your next step. Just know that this is going to be the first question asked of you by the folks at the USPS.


Visit the Post Office for a Quick Change


While a lot of things are really quick online – and most people look for faster solutions on the web today, not only expecting to get them but also pleasantly surprised to find out that they can save time online – the fastest way to change your address with the USPS is to actually visit the post office.


By popping down to your local post office and requesting a change your able to cut out a lot of the delay that online paperwork brings to the table. Instead you go right to the source, have a USPS official change your address information in the official database, and can expect your new address to update a whole lot faster.


This doesn’t mean that you can’t jump online and change your address – we show you how to do that in just a second. It just means that you’ll be able to get things done a lot faster if you decide to visit a Post Office in run through the process in person.


After arriving simply tell them that you would like to make a temporary or permanent change of address, providing them information regarding your old address, your new address, and your identity to confirm that everything is good to go. You’ll be asked to fill out a form that will then be translated directly into the computer, updating the information immediately and getting your new address into the system as quickly as possible.


From there you’ll almost always be told that it can take anywhere from 7 to 10 days for your new address to take effect, which is why it’s a good idea to do this as early as possible. After that, though, you are good to go!


Jump Online and Change Your Address


If you want to online and go through this exact same process you are certainly free to do so. Just know (like we mentioned a moment ago) that the update is going to take a little bit longer if you decide to go in this direction. You are still going to be asked the exact same questions as you would have been asked online, including the temporary or permanent change, and the form you fill out is going to be identical.


From start to finish the process takes only a couple of minutes. The big advantage of doing it online, of course, is being able to knock out this change of address anytime you like – day or night – whereas visiting the post office requires you to pop down there during normal business hours. All in all, expected to take about two weeks for your change of address to be completed if you go the online route versus the 7 to 10 days it takes when you change your address in person.


Consider a PO Box


Depending on your specific needs, and depending on how much and where you are moving, it may not be a bad idea to get your hands on a PO Box. A PO Box frees you from having to change your mailing address all the time, as you’ll be able to use that same PO Box number for as long as you are in the local area.


This means you can move from apartment to apartment, different homes throughout the town or community, and as long as you don’t mind driving to the post office to pick up your mail or packages you’ll never have to worry about changing your mailing address all the time.


Obviously, there are more than a few downsides to using a PO Box (the stationary and DIY nature of it, just for starters) but it’s not a bad alternative if you want to avoid having to change your address every single time you decide to move.


a mailbox on the side of the road


How Long Does It Take for a New Address to Take Effect?


Like we mentioned earlier, it’s going to take a little bit of time for your new address to actually take effect inside of the USPS system. The USPS database is regularly updated with new address information on a daily basis, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that your information is going to “go live” in the system straightaway. It’s generally going to take a couple of days for the system to even get around to updating your address information, and that’s if you have gone to the post office and have it manually added as an update in the first place.


After that, all of the mail that you still had coming to you in the USPS infrastructure already isn’t going to be automatically rerouted to your new address. No, all of that mail is still going to be headed to your old address and is likely going to fill up that old mailbox for at least a couple of days – maybe for 10 days or all the way up to two weeks.


It’s also going to take a little bit of time for your new address to “make the rounds” with all the people that send you mail. The USPS does a great job with mail forwarding after your information has been updated, so expect to get a bunch of envelopes and packages with that “mail forwarded” stamp and indicator from here on out – at least for the first month or more.


Changing Your Billing and Banking Address


After you have changed your mailing address with the USPS it’s going to be a good idea to change your billing and your banking address, too. You might want to wait a couple of days until the USPS updates it system so that nothing gets “lost in the shuffle”, but you’re not going to want to wait too long to make these kinds of changes.


Your billing address on all of your major credit cards should be changed and updated as soon as you have an opportunity to do so. You can usually do all of this online or over the phone. The same goes for your bank address.


Reach out to your bank, let them know that you are changing your address, and give them the updated information to adjust your account ASAP. Give it a day or two (a business day or two, that is) to fully update before you start trying new billing addresses and ZIP Codes on your punching in info for your credit or debit cards.


friends sitting on a bench


Letting Your Friends and Family Know Your New Address


Always a good idea to shoot new address information out to your friends and family members, as well as anybody else that might need to send you some mail – or find their way to your new place! A group text, a group email, or personalized messages with your new and updated contact information is a great way to get this done and taking care of without much extra effort. In fact, there are a lot of online tools designed to help you speed this process up quite a bit if you are really dreading having to go step-by-step through this updating process all on your own.


holding a driver's license and passport


Updating Your Driver’s License


The last piece of the puzzle when updating your address is one of the most important ones, especially if you want to continue to be able to drive legally, to vote, and to use your driver’s license legitimately. Your Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or Registry of Modern Vehicles (RMV) will have its own process for changing and updating your driver’s license information and address.


Most systems have an online form that you can fill out that automatically changes the information in their computer, but others require you to pop down to the local office, grab a number, and then wait until an employee can change the information for you. Some states allow you to change your address by writing it on the back of your license (in the provided space) with permanent marker. Others will require you to use a preprinted sticker, and others still will want to send you a brand-new license that you have to replace your old one with. At the end of the day, just make sure that you don’t skip this step when changing your address!


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US Global Mail – The Last Mailing Address You’ll Ever Need


As you can see, the actual process for changing your address is generally pretty simple and straightforward – but it is pretty time-consuming! Getting a PO Box can eliminate a lot of that extra headache and hassle, but there are some serious limitations to traditional PO Box offers from the USPS (as well as traditional mailbox solutions from other companies).


That’s why so many are choosing to move forward with US Global Mail and their virtual mailbox service! A much more modern mailbox solution than anything available from the USPS (or anyone else, for that matter), US Global Mail has been helping people get a better handle on their new “permanent address” for more than 20 years.


Not only offering you a street address that you can use no matter how often you move – an address you can send all your mail, packages, and parcels to, from any mail carrier or shipping provider – you’ll get a whole host of other benefits when you choose this service. Mail forwarding solutions, mail and package reception solutions, digitizing and mail scanning/notification solutions and so much more are part and parcel with every US Global Mail account.


If you’d like to learn more about everything US Global Mail has to offer, visit their website and have a look at the different plans and packages they provide. If you have any questions, simply reach out to customer service directly – via phone or email – for more personalized information regarding US Global Mail.

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