How To Change An Address With The Post Office

Ready to change your address with the Post Office? Follow this step by step guide, to ensure that you complete the process properly.

Nobody likes to go through the process of changing their address with the post office. Even though the process is relatively simple and painless, there’s all kinds of red tape, paperwork, and just general hassle that you have to put up with to get your address changed officially. It’s enough to drive anybody crazy. Luckily, though, there’s a way to streamline this process – by quite a bit, actually. Throughout this detailed guide we share with you exactly how to navigate this process from start to finish, making sure that it’s as easy and as headache free as possible. Use these tips and tricks to navigate from start to finish and you’ll be able to quickly change your address anytime you need to, all without having your blood pressure rise even just a little bit.


Let’s begin.


change of address form


How to Change an Address with the Post Office


Like we mentioned above, the actual process for changing your address is pretty straightforward. The first thing you’re going to have to do is reach out to the United States Postal Service directly (the USPS) and get the ball rolling. This could be popping down to your local post office and telling them you’d like to change your address. Or you could pick up the phone and give them a ring during normal business hours. You could even jump online and start the change of address process if you’d like. That’s something that we walk through a little more in depth in just a little bit. But before you get started, there are some things you’re going to need to figure out to make this process go as quickly and as smoothly as possible.


Is This a Permanent or a Temporary Change?


The first thing you need to do is figure out whether or not you’re looking to make a temporary change to your mailing address or a permanent one. There’s a world of difference between the two.


On a temporary change, the USPS is going to be able to reroute your mail to your new address for a block of time – say a couple of weeks all the way up to a couple of months, or even a year. Any mail that gets sent to your permanent address will be rerouted through the system and sent directly to your temporary address until you change it for the time runs out.


If you go with a permanent change, however, there is no temporary rerouting. Everything gets changed in the USPS system and within a couple of days (maybe 10 or 14) all mail that would have been sent to your old address will have been rerouted to your new one and you are good to go. This permanent change has no time limit attached. Instead you’ll keep getting mail at your new permanent address until you decide to move again or change your address for one reason or another. This is going to be the very first question you’re asked by the USPS when you want to change your address. Just make sure that you are prepared for.


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Head Down to the Post Office


As we mentioned a moment ago, you have a couple of different options for you when you want to physically change your address – and one of them is visiting your post office and moving through the process in person. This may or may not be a realistic situation for everyone, but if you have the opportunity to do this in person it’s always the fastest road to get things done. Heading down to your local post office gives you an opportunity to talk directly to postal workers and officials, confirm your updated information with them in person, and to guarantee that all of your information is input directly into their backend accurately and quickly. By choosing to go this route you’ll know that the USPS address database will get almost instantly updated. And that means that all of your mail will begin to be rerouted a whole lot faster than it would have been otherwise.


All you have to do is pop into your local post office during normal business hours and let them know that you are looking to do an address change. They’re going to ask you whether or not it is a temporary or permanent change of address that you’re interested in making, and then they are going to want to confirm your identity and your “old” address. After filling out a quick bit of paperwork (or giving them information to input directly into their system) the process will be updated almost straightaway. It might still take between 10 and 14 days for your new address to “go live” with all of your mail – which is why it’s a good idea to jump on this as early as possible.


Change Your Address Online


Those that want to change their address without having to visit their post office can do so online without a lot of headache or hassle, too. The only wrinkle here is that it’s going to take a little bit longer to navigate the process from start to finish, and that it’s going to take a little bit longer for the system to update as well. You’ll want to log on to the USPS website directly, navigate over to the CHANGE ADDRESS section of the site, and then create a free account with your information. You’ll then be taken to the address change tools, will be asked whether or not this is a temporary or permanent change, and will have an opportunity to put your details into the system yourself. All in all, expect this whole process to take about 10 or 15 minutes at the most.


If you already have an account on the USPS website you’re probably be able to rip right through it even faster than that! The major benefit here is (obviously) not having to go down to the post office and do this in person. Maybe your post office is particularly busy all day long. Maybe your postal workers aren’t all that friendly or that helpful. Maybe you just don’t feel like driving all the way down to the post office to stand in line and deal with the headache and hassle that being at the post office sometimes brings to the table. Instead you are able to do this kind of address update anytime you like, day or night, every single day of the year without any limitation. It’ll still take between 10 and 14 days for your new address to “go live” for all of your mail pieces, but that’s no deal.


po boxes at the post office


What About a PO Box?


This is a little bit of an unorthodox solution for changing your mailing address, but it’s one that’s going to work wonders if you are going to be sticking to the same general area – or if you are sick and tired of changing your address all the time.


A PO Box at your local post office is going to give you a permanent mailing address that you can use no matter how frequently you move, with all your mail getting sent directly to that PO Box every single day without exception. You could move every year, every month, every week, or even every day and that same mailing address would stay in place – and it will make your life a whole lot easier as well. There’s a lot of freedom in a PO Box, but there’s also a lot of privacy and security as well. It’s not a bad idea to consider going in this direction, particularly if you need to change your mailing address for a business.


On the flip side of things, PO boxes from the USPS can get a little bit pricey – even if you stick with the smaller sized format options. You’re also stuck with the mailing address provided by that PO Box specifically, which means you have to physically go down to that post office every time you want to get your mail. That’s maybe not a bad idea if you live in the general vicinity of that post office, or if that post office is somewhere along your daily route or commute. But if you move 30 minutes or more away from your PO Box the chances are pretty good you’re not going to want to pop in and check it every day. There are other options that offer a lot of the benefits of a traditional PO Box and more without the limitations, but we dig deeper into those in just a little bit.


mailbox on the side of the road


When Does My New Address Kick In?


It’s impossible to know exactly when you’re new address is going to kick in, when mail will forever stop going to your old address and instead only going to your new one. There are a lot of “moving parts” that determine when that new address is going to go live, including when the USPS database of addresses gets updated – and that’s something you’ll never have personal control over! The USPS does say, however, that the database of addresses they maintain is updated on a day-to-day basis. They also say that because so many new addresses are added or changed on a daily basis is probably going to take two or three days for your information to be updated across the board. Add in the fact that you’re probably making an address change while you have packages and parcels, envelopes and letters, already in the mail heading to your address – your old address – and it’s going to take some time for things to start to find their way to you.


As a general rule of thumb, the USPS recommends that you change your new temporary or permanent address anywhere between two weeks and three weeks before it absolutely has to be changed. You’ll also be able to let the USPS know what day you want your new address to “be official”, allowing them to get their logistics in order so that your mail is headed to your new address when you arrive – not earlier. All in all, this is a big part of why so many people recommend that you pop down to the local post office and change your address with the help of professionals there. You’ll be able to tell them exactly when you expect to be at your new address, when you hope for your new address to become official, and will have a chance to ask any questions you might have, too. That’s really tough to do when you are knocking this all out online.


virtual mailbox on desktop


Modernize Your Mailbox with US Global Mail


Earlier we talked about how there were solutions for changing your address that combines the best of all that PO boxes have to offer with real, physical street addresses that never change when you move. We were talking about the virtual mailbox services provided by US Global Mail.


Over the last 20+ years, US Global Mail has been making sure that their customers enjoy much more modern mailing solutions than anything the USPS brings to the table. We are talking about a permanent “street address” for your virtual mailbox instead of a PO Box, giving you extra privacy but also giving you the opportunity to accept all packages from mail carriers and delivery services that the USPS cannot accept themselves. On top of that, you’ll also get to take advantage of mail forwarding solutions to any address around the world, mail scanning and mail digitizing solutions, and even check depositing options that you’ll never get out of the United States Postal Service.


If you are interested at all in everything that US Global Mail has to offer, or if you have questions you’d like to have cleared up, reach out to their team directly as soon as you have a chance. But they’ll be able to answer all of your questions, they’ll be able to tell you everything about their service you need to know, and they’ll even be able to tell you whether or not the services are right for your needs and your budget.


Reach out to them today.

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