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Expat Mail Forwarding (the why, how and what in 2020)

 
 
Moving abroad- whether for work, retirement or other reasons- can be equally exhilarating and nerve wrecking. There are mixed emotions of sadness at leaving behind family and friends and the thrill of starting a new adventure.
 

One question that expats often miss in the hustle bustle of moving, is what will happen to the paper mail that they get at home. Even if you have moved your banking online and get most bills via email, there are still many pieces of mail for example from the IRS, tax notices, new credit cards, renewed Drivers License, and other paperwork that comes only via mail.

 

USPS will forward mail internationally for a steep cost. You can enroll in the USPS forwarding service, which costs $21.10 retail or $19.35 if you enroll online. There’s an additional cost of $21.10 for each week of service. So about $84.40/month and Priority Mail items are are sent at an additional cost. Ouch!

 

US Airlines

 

Depending on what country you move to, getting mail can be difficult.  And keeping a US address even when you are overseas is important if you bank in the US or expect to deposit any checks in the US. Many companies, not to mention government services, require one, even if it is not your official residence.
Which begs the question:

 

How do I forward my mail to another address overseas?

 

You can do that via the USPS by getting a PO Box, and the USPS will forward your mail to your international destination. Other options include:


(1) Ask a family member or a reliable friend to pick up your mail daily

(2) Forward your mail to a family member’s or friend’s home address

(3) Use a professional mail forwarding service

 

Let’s start by looking at how you go about getting a PO Box, and then we will move on to the other options we just mentioned.

 

How to Get a PO Box with The United States Postal Service

 

To make this as easy as possible to understand, we are going to go through each step in detail, so you can decide whether this is the right option for you. Just make sure you don’t make any set-in-stone choices yet since we still have to tell you about the best way to go about your expat mail forwarding.

 

Step One: Choose a PO Box Size

 

The United States Postal Service offers 5 different PO box sizes. Namely extra small, small, medium, large, and extra large. Thankfully, they also tell you what each of these can hold! We will have a closer look at them now:

 

  • Extra small (3 inches x 5.5 inches) — this one can hold around 10 to 15 letters or 2 magazines (rolled up). The depth is around 14.75 inches which is a universal size throughout all PO boxes.
  • Small (5 inches x 5.5 inches) — this option can hold around 10 to 15 letters or 5 magazines (rolled up).
  • Medium (5.5 inches x 11 inches) — this one can hold large envelopes and magazines that are stacked flat.
  • Large (11 inches x 11 inches) — if you receive larger packages, you will want to go with this one. It can hold around 2 shoeboxes and 10 to 15 letters at the same time.
  • Extra large (12 inches x 22.5 inches) — this one can hold a number of flat rate boxes and parcels, along with letters too of course.

 

Step Two: Reserve Your PO Box

 

Once you know which size will suit you best, you need to search for the post office that is nearest to your home. Then, just click “reserve a new PO box”.

 

Step Three: Pick Your Payment Period

 

There are multiple payment periods that you can select. It is up to you and your financial needs as to which one will fit you best.

 

Step Four: Enter Your Contact and Billing Information

 

You will be asked to supply the obvious information like your first name, last name, address, card number, security code, expiry date, and a few other bits. After you have hit “submit”, you are able to move onto the final step.

 

Step Five: Validate Your ID and Pick Up Your PO Box Keys

 

By law, you have to validate your identity in person. So, you need to go down to your PO box location with two forms of government-approved ID. The primary form needs to be a federal, state, or tribal photo card. You can choose from the following:

 

  • State driver’s license
  • Non-driver’s ID card
  • US Armed Forces card
  • Uniformed Service ID card
  • US passport
  • US passport card
  • US university identification
  • Corporate identification
  • Any card issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
  • US naturalization certificate
  • US citizenship certificate
  • Tribal identification card

 

The secondary form can be one of these:

 

  • Lease agreement
  • Deed of trust
  • Mortgage agreement
  • Voter registration card
  • Vehicle registration card
  • Home insurance policy
  • Form I-94
  • Vehicle insurance policy
  • Utility bill

 

After they have been approved by the person at the post office desk, your keys will be handed over to you. Then you can do a little celebration dance because the PO box is yours!

 

Ask someone to pick up your mail daily

 

Works short-term. Long term though… not really. If your close friend or brother asks you to pick their mail for a week, that’s fine. You can help out! But picking up their mail daily for a month or a year sounds crazy. Plus, are you comfortable when your friend or sibling looks through your bank statements or W4 form?

 

person giving out mail

 

Forward your mail to a friend’s home

 

Are you comfortable with your friend or sibling looking at your tax documents or W4’s? Even if you can compromise your mail privacy and confidentiality, you still have the issue of getting it to yourself. Are they going to go to the Post office and mail your stuff every week?

 

Use a mail forwarding service

 

A mail forwarding company receives your mail, gives you near real time access to it so you can view it, read the contents and have it bundled and forwarded to your new home or office or any place in the world.

 

Can USPS forward mail internationally?

 

As we mentioned briefly earlier, you can ask the USPS to forward your mail overseas. But it is ridiculously expensive. It would almost be more worthwhile to fly back to pick up your packages, parcels, and letters up yourself!


The best way to get your mail securely, in near real time so you can act on it as soon as needed, is to use a professional mail forwarding company.

 

USPS mail

 

How do mail forwarding services work?

 

Mail forwarding services give you a US address which you use to redirect your mail to. You fill out a change of address form with the USPS and tell USPS to start sending your mail to the new address.  When your mail arrives at this address, the mail forwarding company will usually
 
 
– upload it to a Virtual mailbox, which you can access via a secure login
– you can see images of your envelopes and boxes along with other info like sender, weight, dimensions of boxes etc.
– you can take actions on your mail to have it opened and scanned to read contents
– you can store your mail for some time and then have it bundled and shipped together to your new home
 
At US Global Mail, we have helped over 80,000+ expats with our mail forwarding service.
 
 

Top Reasons Expats Need Mail Forwarding

 

Shop Any US Website. Whenever you are overseas, that can make getting items from your favorite US companies in the mail, a problem or a difficult attempt. Many companies do not ship overseas or if they do ship, then you can expect to pay some very high shipping fees. With a US address, you are able to receive all those items at your US location, and from there we can ship them to you at up to 80% off the typical cost you would.

 

Direct Access To Mail. When getting a virtual mailbox, you are able to stay on top of mail 24/7, with your own login credentials. It’s a bit similar to e-mail, only for mail & packages. Log into your account, request a mail scan or have some item shipped; all with the click of a button.

 

Cloud Storage. When you get mail, all items are scanned and uploaded into your virtual mailbox. You can receive an unlimited number of mail items to your address with unlimited storage. You can also store your items up until 180 days, free of charge. And eve if you do need to store items for a longer period of time, it only costs a few additional cents for your item. Saving files online, makes accessing files more reliable and a cheaper option for your mail.

 

Privacy. When you have mail clerks are the company you work at, handle your mail and ship to you, then you probably have a series of people that get to your mail before you do. With a virtual mailbox, you are the first one to access all important documents from your phone or computer, without a bunch of intermediaries. Communication with customer service can be done within the app as well; so any request you need, can be completed within just a few clicks.

 

It’s More Reliable. The alternative to having a professional company handling your mail, is having some relative or friend picking up mail on your behalf, heading over to the post office and shipping them out. As you can realize, over the course of several weeks and months, this can turn into a part time job for your friend. And even if you did have someone so committed to just deal with your mail, they probably would have to work it into their schedule to get it shipped to you in time (making up for several delays, or mistakes in forwarding on your items.) When you have a professional mail forwarding company handling this on your behalf (and especially a company like US Global Mail that has been around for 20+ years,) you are assured to get your mail on time.

 

How much does mail forwarding cost?

 

US Global Mail plans start from $10/month. You can view our plans and pick one that works best for you. USPS mail forwarding is $84.40/month. Here’s a comparison cost chart of some of the common services.

 

Is a Smart Mailbox Going to be Your New Best Friend?

 

The likely answer is, yes! Virtual mailboxes are a fantastic way to make sure all your important documents reach you, no matter where you are in the world (which expats benefit greatly from, of course). But to give you a better idea, let’s go through all the advantages you will gain by opening a smart mailbox.

 

Trustpilot reviews

 

1. Mail Security and Privacy

 

Identity and package theft is a growing concern throughout most countries these days (sadly). It just isn’t safe to have your parcels and letters left in a previous neighbors’ box or outside their door anymore, especially if you have moved overseas.

 

With a virtual mailbox, this won’t be a concern anymore.

 

You get access to your mail online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Not to mention that your delivery is guaranteed. There won’t be any missed or stolen packages anymore. You can cross that off your “things to stress about” list!

 

By now, you are probably wondering how all of that is possible. Don’t worry, we will tell you how it works.

 

Firstly, the apps use industry-leading security that will always work. Yep, we’re talking bank-grade encryption here — your mail security is not a joke to us! Any information that travels through our warehouses and servers is protected against hackers and thieves.

 

Secondly, all the staff members are aware of the privacy policies, compliances, and controls they must abide by in order to give you the best service imaginable. So, no matter where you are in the world, your US mail will be kept safe from your old neighbors, nosy family members, and the government. Basically, privacy is our middle name.

 

Thirdly, 2-step verification is enabled on all accounts to ensure it is really you trying to look at your incoming mail. It isn’t just your username and password you need, but also a secondary bit of information to ensure complete security, all the time.

 

Finally, you can always change how you handle your mail data. Whether you want to back it up, download it, or delete it entirely, it’s up to you.

 

2. Check Your Mail Any Time

 

Since you are an expat, you probably aren’t going to be in your old home country all that often, right? Not to worry, with a virtual mailbox you can access all your mail, no matter where you are in the world.

 

Missing important bills or documents is a thing of the past!

 

3. Never Have to Enlist People’s Help with Your Mail Again

 

Asking a previous neighbor or your old colleagues to take care of your mail until the next time you fly over to sort it can be incredibly stressful. You are likely to receive important documents such as tax notices, IRS letters, passport renewals, credit cards, insurance paperwork, bills, and checks that you won’t want people snooping through. Makes sense!

 

In this case, a smart mailbox is definitely the right way to go. You can have your super-important letters scanned immediately so you can sort them out on the day they’re delivered. And, you can make sure everything is bundled up and shipped to your new overseas address insanely quickly.

 

4. You Can Still Shop In the USA

 

Depending on where you live now, they might not support the importation of American goods. As an expat, you are bound to be fairly frustrated by this — hence another reason to set up a virtual mailbox. You can shop online in the United States of America, have it shipped to that address, and then tell the expert mail handlers that you want it sent to your current address. It’s as easy as a, b, c!

 

5. You Will Be Saving the Planet

 

You know as much as we do how annoying spam mail is — supermarket coupons, pizza deliveries, gym brochures — and you won’t even be in the US to be able to use them, so why bother getting them forwarded by the USPS?

 

With a smart mailbox, the professional handlers will discard anything that is clearly spam before they upload your mail every day. You won’t even have to see the annoying stuff. The best part is, these pizza deliveries advertisements won’t just be going to the landfill. Instead, they are recycled to ensure we do our bit to save the trees.

 

6. You Can Have the Same Mailing Address for the Rest of Your Life

 

Yup, you read that right; we thought we would leave the best till last!

 

We are going to assume that you’ve moved a lot in your life. Correct? We thought so. And with each move comes all the boring paperwork — including changing your address with the USPS, your driver’s license, passport, and everything else. It’s hard work.

 

But that all changes with a virtual mailbox. Regardless of where you move, your mailing address can stay the same. Perfect, isn’t it?

 

The Bottom Line

 

Here at US Global Mail, we have helped over 80,000 expats find freedom with their mail thanks to our awesome smart mailbox. We can’t help to start making your snail mail dreams come true! If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to get in touch. We are always happy to help.

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NY, CA, TX, FL – what state should your mail forwarding address be in 2020? The answer will surprise you!

So, when you are ready to sign up for a mail forwarding service after you do all the due diligence (rates, plans, shipping prices, trustworthiness etc,) do you look for a service that lets you reserve an address in the same state you are moving out of?

 

Don’t. Your mail forwarding address should be state-agnostic. Really, its a virtual address, in the cloud. So the state does not matter one bit. There are far more important criteria that you should consider, when choosing this important service. Click here for a list of important factors to consider & associated pricing.

 

One of the biggest advantages of moving forward with a virtual address is that it does not have to be tangibly associated with your actual physical location – wherever that might be on the planet today.

 

There’s absolutely no reason whatsoever you could be sitting on a beach in Miami while using a virtual address based out of New York City – using that same address when you decide to spend a month in Thailand, a week in Moscow, or a weekend in Paris.

 

In fact, some would argue that the biggest leverage you get out of a virtual address is the fact that it isn’t ever tied to your physical location. Why waste that big benefit when you don’t have to?

 

Let’s dig a little bit deeper into where you should set up your virtual address moving forward!

 

World traveler stepping on the top of a Globe map

 

Does the state of my address matter? Will I become a resident & pay taxes in the state in which I have my mail forwarding address?

 

Once you fill out a change of address form with the USPS, it will forward your mail to that address, irrespective of where in the US it is. And US laws don’t make you liable for taxes in any state without living there. Just having an address in the state does not mean you become a resident of that state.

 

Just to be perfectly clear, this means that you can have a mailing address set up through your forwarding service based out of Reno, Nevada while your business, your job, and your entire life is headquartered in Saginaw, Michigan.

 

There’s no rules, no regulations, and no laws restricting you from having this kind of setup. On top of that, there’s absolutely zero penalty whatsoever to having your mailing address physically separate from your physical address.

 

As long as you still pay your state and federal taxes based on the rules, regulations, and laws dictating that based upon your physical location and where you have earned your income you have no worries at all.

 

On the flip side of things, it’s important to understand that you are not going to be able to use this mailing address from a company like US Global Mail as proof of residency somewhere else.

 

Florida citizens do not have to pay state income taxes, but that doesn’t mean that a US Global Mail based out of Tampa, Florida while you are living and working in New York City gives you those same tax benefits.

 

That’s just not the way the system works and it’s critically important that you understand that going forward.

 

How does it work?

 

You can simply forward your mail from your existing address to the address of the mail forwarding company, and no one will be wiser! That is no one will know what your new address is – they will keep sending you mail at the old address and USPS will redirect it to your  new address. The redirect request with the USPS will work for 6 months at a time and will have to be renewed. This option is also great when you don’t want to move your address permanently and expect to cancel the mail forwarding service at some time in the future.

 

There are a whole host of other benefits you get to take advantage of when you move forward with a mail forwarding service like US Global Mail, too.

 

We are talking about benefits like:

 

  • Extra anonymity and privacy with these kinds of mailing addresses
  • The ability to eliminate junk mail from your life forever
  • An opportunity to know EXACTLY what has been sent to you before you check your mailbox
  • An opportunity to digitize your entire mail reception history for your own personal records
  • The chance to search that digital record quickly, easily, and effectively
  • Check-cashing services that have all checks redirected to your bank directly to be deposited ASAP

 

… And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

 

It’s not hard to see why so many people choose to take advantage of mail forwarding services today.

 

Condominiums in downtown Miami

 

Fancy/Premium addresses:  Mail forwarding companies or commercial mail receiving agencies (CMRA’s) sometimes will offer a choice of several states and addresses to you. Your personal mailbox number could potentially be in New York, Florida, Texas, California, the possibilities are endless! However, these fancy or “premium” addresses can come at a steep price; often a discreet +$14.99 is hidden somewhere! Watch out. And don’t pay for something you absolutely will get no additional value out of. Instead choose the service that works best for your needs.

 

Truth be told, those “premium addresses” are almost never worth the extra price tag.

 

Sure, the vanity address can be cool – for little while – but who is really paying attention to your address (your mailing address, anyway) enough for that to matter?

 

The odds are pretty good that they shine out those premium, fancy vanity addresses will wear off pretty quickly. Well before the price tag comes down, anyway.

 

All the money you would have spent on those vanity addresses can be redirected to get a couple of months – or even a year – of quality mail forwarding and mail scanning services from an organization like US Global Mail, without missing out of any of the benefits those addresses would have brought to the table.

 

When is having an address in a particular state important?

 

If you have a business and you are based in Florida and you need to bill your customers, it makes total sense to have a billing address in the city or at least the state you operate from. From a customer standpoint, it looks less suspicious. They won’t have to question the authenticity of who they are sending their money to. Certain health care providers will also require you to reside in the state you are covered in to maintain your insurance rates. The rates for insurance coverage can vary state-to-state. If you like the plan you currently have, it would be very important to maintain an address in your current residency state. If you are trying to be discreet about moving or traveling abroad, then you do have the anonymity of maintaining your residency state address. Other than those few areas though, there’s no issue in having an address in a different state; rather it’s just a preference. In that case, those options are certainly available to you!

 

The real big benefit in moving forward with a mail forwarding service that lets you pick where your new mailing address is located is the freedom you are afforded with that choice.

 

If you want your customers to feel like you are more of a local business than you are, by all means pick and address near where most of them live – even while you run that business from across the country or across the world.

 

If you want your customers to feel like you are more of a “global business”, don’t be shy about picking a mailing address in any of the major financial hub cities in the country – cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Boston.

 

If you just want an extra layer of security and protection when you give up your mailing address, pick and address that sits squarely in middle America. Something in Ohio, something in Iowa, and something in Wisconsin works just as well as anything else!

 

The freedom for you to pick and choose where you are new mailing address is located is a huge advantage you don’t want to overlook.

 

The Dallas skyline

Vanity Addresses: are they really worth it?

 

So, you’ve researched a few mail forwarding companies; one company offers a real street address in Nevada. Another company offers 3 street addresses (one in Wisconsin, one in Texas, and one in New York etc.) In this example, let’s say the Wisconsin address is their standard address. The Texas and NY addresses are premium (meaning they cost more.) Standard mailbox prices are usually “free”, or, included in the price of membership. The prices for a premium address can range anywhere from an extra $4.95 per month and all the way up to $12.95 per month.

 

So the real question is: what is the value in these “premium” addresses? Is it just the address itself? The location? Convenience? Why would you want to pay extra for a mailing address? Here you will find, transparent pricing with no hidden fees nor unnecessary addresses that beef up your bill.

 

It all comes down to your expectations, your budget, and the kinds of services that come included with that new “premium” address.

 

If you are paying a mountain of money for nothing more than a vanity address, is it really worth the extra expense, headache, and hassle to move forward?

 

Or would you rather spend that money on a full-service, top to bottom mail scanning and mail forwarding organization that offers a whole host of other benefits on top of a new, discrete mailing address?

 

The choice is yours and yours alone. Only you will be able to know what your best fit the be.

 

Payment Example

 

You want a personal mailing address to give out to your friends and family and you want a separate address for your bills and taxes, all on the same account of course:

 

  • Standard mailing address on an individual plan, $25/mo
  • Premium mailing address on an individual plan $25 + $4.95/mo
  • Separate 1583 forms for the addresses which need to be notarized
  • One forwarding request (you can only have one open at a time via USPS), then reach out to everyone who needs your change of address

 

A lot of the premium address locations are UPS storefronts. Not a private office or warehouse that deals specifically with commercial mail and package forwarding, a UPS store. Which is why these addresses are not equipped to handle all incoming mail and packages. They literally are not built for it. On top of that, each location will handle mail differently, since the UPS stores are not owned or managed by the CMRA, the possibility of errors occurring increases dramatically.

 

Delayed access to mail

Another issue with using vanity addresses is that often times the mail from those addresses is sent to the company central warehouse for processing. This means a delay for 3-5 business days on your mail. Using the company central warehouse address gets you access to your mail much quicker.

 

For example, at US Global Mail, we enter all mail received within 12 – 24 hours in customer virtual mailboxes.

 

Access to digital mail through the virtual mailbox

Final thoughts:

 

In a nutshell, if you absolutely cannot live without an address in a particular state, use the mail redirect option with the USPS and keep forwarding your mail. That lets you keep your address intact.

 

Otherwise, simply do a permanent change of address with the USPS and rest easy. You will get your mail via a Virtual Mailbox anyway!

 

At the end of the day, it really does come down to your goals, your expectations, and your budget.

 

There are a lot of options out there to pick and choose from – including moving forward with the USPS. But services like US Global Mail provide a lot of benefits that the USPS simply cannot provide right now and may never be able to offer in the future, too.

 

Look at how you hope to take advantage of these mail forwarding services today and in the future and choose a service that’s going to best align with those goals. Find a service that is affordable, reputable, and reliable and you won’t have any headache or hassle moving forward.

 

Best of luck!

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Expat Resources

Compliance in Global Mobility

Straight forward shipping not always so straight forward!

 

In the ever changing landscape of Global Mobility, one constant remains- Compliance. Compliance of laws and regulations whether they be immigration, tax or social. 

 

Compliance is not simply the threat of a fine or loss of face publicly but also adhering to regulations which are the only way to achieve a goal. One such goal for global companies with an international population is effectively distributing mail internationally, especially when the company is handling their expat mail internally.

 

Every country has their own shipping regulations and these tend to be lengthy lists of do’s and don’ts , not just related to what can/cannot be shipped but also what sizes can the items be shipped in. to make things even more complicated, these regulations change all the time, and often without notice. The burden of keeping abreast on these rests solely on the shipper.

  

Things can go wrong very quickly when shipping regulations are not strictly adhered to. Here are some real life examples that have happened:

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From Brazil? Shop US sites & SAVE!

Did you know you can find cheaper prices online versus buying the same products in Brazil (even when you factor in shipping charges)?!  Check out this infographic US Delivered made, for more details:

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7 Great Package Forwarding Services

Aside from mail forwarding, there are instances where you would like to only shop from the U.S, but due to some retail stores not being able to ship internationally, it then becomes a hassle.

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Expat Resources By Country Information

What Is A Mail Forwarding Service?

When you move from one home to another within or outside the US, you want to make sure you get your mail at your new address. Mail as in: tax notices from IRS, health care information from insurance companies, paper statements, bills, checks, federal notices, magazines, journals etc.
This happens via a mail forwarding request. Mail Forwarding is a service that allows you to get your mail from your old home at your new one. Increasingly that new home for your mail is now your device!

Physical mailbox in the cloud filled with paper mail

Will I get paper mail, in 2020?

 

Despite the technological advances in our lives, there are still a bunch of things that are only be delivered via paper mail. These include:

 

  • IRS notices – tax info, and bills
  • Social security – info, benefits and checks
  • INS notices – immigration notices
  • Credit and Debit cards
  • Passports
  • Drivers Licence
  • Jury duty notices
  • Hand written notes and cards

 

How does mail forwarding work?

 

When you move from one address to another, your mail needs to move too. You can either inform everyone who sends you physical mail- like your bank, the government, IRS, etc. of the new address, or you can simply forward your mail from your old address to the new one by filling out the change of address form with the USPS, when moving within the country.

 

Man & dog are running and a bird is carrying paper mail away with it

Moving within the US

 

So, how do you forward your mail to another address? You go online or to your local post office and fill the change of address form. 
 
There are 2 options when moving your address:

Permanent change of address: USPS will update your old address to your new one in their system. Any mail addressed to your old address will come to your new address.

This is a permanent change.

We recommended it when moving overseas or when you wish to keep one permanent address for life. And never have to deal with the hassle of changing your address again.

With this change, you should get a Virtual Mailbox so you can move as many homes or countries as you wish without ever changing your permanent address.

                                *  *  *

Temporary change of address: This method changes your address anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 months at a time.

After the duration of change of address expires, USPS will stop forwarding your mail from the old to the new address.

The mail will start going back to your old address, unless you renew the forwarding again. You can do this again for 6 more months.

USPS does not state what happens after 6 months, but you could keep doing it on and on forever, if you wish.

Be prepared for delayed mail in the change of address process, mostly due to ineffectiveness of the US postal system.

The upside is this is a free service provided by USPS.

 

Man waiting for the mail next to an empty mailbox

Moving outside the US

 

USPS will forward mail internationally, but for a steep cost.

 

You can enroll in the USPS overseas mail forwarding service, which costs $21.10 retail or $19.35 if you enroll online. There’s an extra cost of $21.10 for each week of service.

 

The service will cost you $84.40/month. You will also pay shipping for all Priority Mail items that USPS will ship immediately as they are received.

 

Not a cost effective way to forward your mail overseas.

 

How long does it take for mail to be forwarded to a new address?

 

If there’s one thing certain in life, other than taxes, that is the fact that people will keep moving in the near future. According to reports, about 35.5 Million Americans move each year from some place to another.

 

We have already discussed what mail forwarding is, and why it’s something you probably want to consider when moving. Time is money however, and depending on your move date, you may want to get ahead of time & start right away the mail forwarding process. 

 

After you have completed your online application with the USPS, it will take about 10 to 15 days for your mail to show up in your Virtual Mailbox

 

Keep in mind, you’ll also need to fill out a 1583 Form which grants us permission to process & handle mail for you.

 

Person being sleepy

 

Mail forwarding can be such a convenience when the time comes where you need to move. Think about it; it saves all the hassle of emailing or calling friends & relatives and ensuring they got the new address you will be moving to.

 

Once you have decide to do a change of address, your friends or family will still get to address the same location on the envelope, and then the USPS knows automatically (given that you’ve completed the mail forwarding process) what address to send it to. 

 

But then that raises the question: Does forwarded mail take longer to arrive?

 

There is a lot of buzz online and horror stories on forwarded mail taking weeks for it to arrive to your new address. It is true that sometimes there are factors that can contribute to a piece of mail that is being forwarded to a new address, to be delayed. 

 

The short answer is no; forwarded mail does not take longer to arrive. 

 

USPS package distribution warehouse

 

Understanding how mail forwarding works, may be a good way to understand why your new address would not delay the delivery of your mail. 

 

When someone decides to send you some piece of mail, it is initially sent to a USPS station responsible with sorting out incoming mail. If you have completed the mail forwarding process with them, then by default they will know to change (re-address) the package that is intended to be sent to you. What that practically means, is that this re-address of your package, is a bit more instant than you’d imagine. 

 

Should I choose temporary or permanent mail forwarding to forward my mail?

 

The answer depends on your move:

 

  • Or moving cities within the US?
  • Or moving homes within the same city?
  • Are you moving to a permanent or a temporary home?

 

The best solution is to get a permanent address for life so you never have to change it again, no matter how many times you move.
Kind of like your cell phone number – you don’t change that anymore when we move, why keep changing your permanent address?

 

If moving overseas, you will need to keep a US address for many reasons. A permanent change of address makes sense in this case.

 

If moving within the US or within a city, it depends on your preference whether you wish to get mail at home, a PO Box or  a Virtual Mailbox. If former, do a change of address with USPS as mentioned above.

 

If you do not wish to give out your home address because you want it to stay private, or you get business mail or you get mail at different homes, you can have all that mail consolidated and be available via a Virtual Mailbox.

 

User interface of the virtual mailbox on a computer & smart phone

 

A mail forwarding service like US Global Mail will help you get your mail via a Virtual Mailbox, no matter where you move. You can see, read and take action on your mail online, which makes life so much easier and mail handling so easy.

 

How To Forward Mail

 

Step by step of how it works: You sign up with a mail forwarding company and get a US address. This address is your anchor while you move around the globe. Your mail forwarding sign up will also come with a Virtual Online Mailbox. The process is simple:

 

  1. You get a local US address (make sure it is a street address, not a PO box). The State your address is in or place does not matter as long as it in the US.
  2. You fill a change of address form at post office fill online informing USPS that you have a new address where you mail should be delivered.
  3. Your mail and items start arriving at the mail forwarding company. The mail forwarding company then uploads the items to your online virtual mailbox.
  4. You  see those items online and decide what you want to do with them. Depending on the features offered by the mail forwarding provider, you can get mail opened and scanned or shipped, get items packed together and shipped, discard any junk mail etc.

 

What to look for in a mail forwarding service?

 

Unlocking the mystery of mail forwarding services: here are 10 things you should look for in a mail forwarding service.

 

Child at the "love locks" tourist attraction in Paris

 

There are many, many companies out there that offer mail forwarding services. Before we tell you about all our research, here is a word of caution: never sign up for one from Craigslist or such services. These might be scammers trying to get your mail!

 

What to look for when signing up with a mail forwarding company?

 

Of course, we think we are the best but you should look around and choose one that will work best for you. We want you to choose us only if we are a good fit for you. When shopping around, look for:

 

  1. Reputation: how long has the company been around, BBB rating, reviews, how secure is your mail with them
  2. Prices: how upfront and clear is their pricing, how competitive are their shipping rates.
  3. Plans: do they offer comprehensive plans for your/your family?
  4. Shipping Rates: This is a biggie! And can add up your costs significantly. Check if the service charges “retail” shipping rates meaning they don’t give you any discount on shipping and keep the discounts they get from shippers like UPS, FedEX, DHL etc for themselves?
    Or do they offer  you discounted shipping rates so you can ship for a lot less when you need to ship your mail or other items to yourself.
  5. Customer service: do they have a way for you to talk to them, do they have live phone and chat support, or is it a bot and what is the email response time? When you need a shipment to sent out asap or when you need a mail piece scanned within the hour, this matters a lot.
    At US Global Mail, we ship all requests received by 1pm the same day. And our email response times are usually less than 4 hours.

 

We did a comparison of the more popular mail forwarding companies to see how they stack up against each other. You can see the info pasted below and a larger chart here.

Mail forwarding price comparison chart