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USPS Change of Address
This FREE, easy Change of Address Guide will help you:
• Save time
• File online
• Reduce junkmail and telemarketing calls
Related terms :
USPS change of address form, USPS change of address online, USPS move, post office change of address, IRS change of address, DMV change of address
USPS Change of Address: The Details
Moving can be a stressful time. There are dozens of tasks to track and accomplish, and there never seems to be enough time to get it all done. In the midst of all this, you don't want to neglect telling the right people about your new address and phone number. This article will help make the process easier.
Step 1- Confirm your new address.
At first this may seem a bit odd. After all, how could you possibly confuse the address of your new home?
Actually, mistakes are made more often than you might think. With the number of potential new places you may have visited, how busy everyone is and the general level of moving stress, you might easily make an error.
The first place to verify your new address is with your realtor, new landlord or apartment complex. Once you have that, if you're moving within the United States, you'll want to go to the U.S. Post Office website (http://zip4.usps.com/zip4/welcome.jsp) and enter your address in the blanks provided. There are three reasons for doing this:
First, you'll find out how the postal system codes your address. They often have different names for the city, and sometimes different spellings for the street name than what you'd expect. Further, they often have a different idea of what goes on the infamous "address line 2" than what you might imagine. If you use the post office's official version, you'll speed things up and reduce the chance for errors.
Second, you'll find out what your ZIP + 4 code is. Mail that carries the full 9 digits of your ZIP Code, instead of just the usual 5 digits, can often be delivered faster and more accurately. This comes in handy if you're waiting on a check or other important documents.
Third, if you're going into new construction, you'll find out if your street is even registered with the U.S. Post Office yet, and whether the developer changed the street name (which sometimes occurs) between the time the original plans were filed with the post office and what may appear on your street currently.
Save yourself the embarrassment of having to change your address twice- verify your address first. :-)
Step 2- Begin making a "contact list" of everyone you need to notify.
Two months prior to move, start saving envelopes and mailing labels from mail you receive in a "COA" (Change of Address) box or file. This is a great starting point for specific addresses to change, and return addresses to file for future reference.
Be sure to take a close look at bills you receive, including the envelope they send for returning your payment. They often have directions on how to change your address with their organization, and sometimes even have forms in their payment coupon or payment return envelope.
Step 3- File your change of address with the U.S. Post Office.
Filing a change of address form with the post office is what many people think of regarding a new address. This process accomplishes two goals:
There are two types of address change you can file: permanent and temporary. Why file a temporary change of address instead of a permanent one? It comes down to controlling your privacy.
- it forwards mail from the old address to the new address,
- it allows companies that subscribe to the National Change of Address Service (or NCOA) to be notified of your new address
The information in a permanent change of address is made available to all those companies who subscribe to the National Change of Address service, while information filed through a temporary change of address usually isn't. So, if you file a temporary change of address with the post office and notify each mailer individually, you can cut down on the amount of junk mail you receive.
The post office offers both a traditional, paper-based form (free) for address changes and an online filing option ($1 fee to discourage fraud- see see USPS Movers Guide.
You'll need to specify when your move is taking place, as well as whether the move is for just one person or the entire household.
It's a good idea to file 4-6 weeks in advance, although many post offices can begin forwarding mail after just a few days. You'll definitely want to have your mail taken care of so that none of it is arriving on Moving Day itself.
IMPORTANT NOTE: A post office change of address DOES NOT take care of everything. There are a few notable shortcomings to the process:
Therefore, definitely register with the post office, but also use a secondary service and/ or notify important contacts individually.
- Limited mail types.The post office will be forwarding first class mail and most periodicals. It does not forward "standard mail" (formerly known as bulk permit mail or just "bulk mail.")
- Limited time. It only lasts for a defined time period.
Step 4- Set up your new phone number.
You might be wondering why this step on changing your phone number comes before the remainder of the steps on changing your address. The answer is an easy one- most organizations will ask you for your new phone number at the same time you give your address change. If you don't have your new phone number, you'll have to contact them all over again when you get it. That wastes lots of valuable time and effort.
Depending on how much time you have before your actual move date, you may want to check out some alternatives:
Investigate using a VOIP phone alternative. There are several services that use a high speed internet connection instead of a traditional phone line to provide you with home phone service. They vary greatly both in price and perceived quality. For example, Vonage runs about $24.95 and includes most long-distance and a wide of services with high perceived quality, while MagicJack runs about $19.95 for an entire year but has had many websites complain about the quality. Use the one that best fits your needs.
Consider using only your cell phone and eliminate your land line altogether. This option is becoming more popular every year, and saves most individuals thousands of dollars over a lifetime. You'll need to make sure that you get adequate cell phone reception inside your house before you make the switch, but it's definitely something worth considering.
Whichever phone option you choose, once you have the phone number you wish to use, you can move onto the next step.
Step 5- Block "junk mail" and telemarketers.
One of the great things about moving is the chance to get a fresh start. And part of your fresh start can be reducing the number of telemarketing calls and amount of "junk mail" that you receive:
Telemarketing: Visit see USPS Movers Guide to list your home and cell phone numbers as "off-limits" for unsolicited telemarketing calls. It will not block calls from charities or organizations you already do business with, but it virtually wipes out all other forms of telemarketing. It's completely free and is run by the federal government.
Junk Mail: To stop unsolicited direct mail solicitations, otherwise known as "junk mail," you might want to try this. The Direct Marketing Association, or DMA, sponsors a list of addresses that companies should not send direct mail solicitations to. It isn't 100% foolproof, but does a fantastic job at drastically limiting the amount of direct mail you receive. Again, it's completely free, and you can sign up at https://www.donotcall.gov/register.reg.aspx. It will even let you select which types of mail you would prefer to not receive. NOTE: Many times companies will send special offers to households that just moved, including some significant coupons and discounts- you will not generally receive those if you enroll in the DMA service, so you may choose to wait until after you've settled in for a couple of months before enrolling.
By setting up your new address with these two free services, you can get your household off to a fresh start.
Step 6- Start notifying your contact list.
Once you have completed Steps 1-5, it's time to start notifying those on your contact list. If you had a chance to start building your contact list in Step 2, you should have at least a small list of people and organizations to begin notifying.
The two most obvious ways to tell people about your new address are by phone, email, online forms and the mail. Personally, we recommend email and online forms. In cases when those options are inconvenient or not available, try the phone. Keep track of which senders you have notified, indicating when the change is to go into effect and anyone you may have spoken to (for phone notifications).
To keep from being overwhelmed, try reserving a small amount of time each day to notify a few contacts. Within two weeks you should have most of your mission accomplished.
Step 7- Use mail with yellow address correction stickers as a follow-up list.
The last step is one of the easiest, but it's often overlooked. When the U.S. Post Office forwards mail from a change of address, it needs to provide the new address on the actual mail pieces so that they can continue onto their new destination. The Post Office has traditionally done this using yellow stickers with the new address applied to the mail pieces themselves. So you will likely find several pieces of mail daily at your new location with these yellow address correction labels. That's the good news.
Unfortunately, it also means that whoever mailed the piece used your old address. And unless they are notified, your mail will be delayed until the mail forwarding period expires, and will cease arriving altogether after that expiration date.
To avoid this issue, we recommend keeping all the outer envelopes with the yellow labels in a special box. Then once a week, compare the senders against your "sender notification list," and notify anyone you haven't previously. This will minimize the number of people you miss, accelerate future mail delivery and reduce the burden on the post office.
Change of Address Checklist- Utilities
- Cable and/ or satellite television
- Cell phone service (you may be able to keep your current carrier after the move)
- Internet and/ or broadband cable line provider
- Local phone service
- Long distance phone service
- Propane tanks and service
- Recycling pick-up (depends on your municipality)
- Sewer service (depends on your municipality)
- Security system (you may want to suggest to the new resident to pick up the same service
- Trash pick-up (depends on your municipality)
- Water (often this can be done at the same time as the water service)
Change of Address Checklist- Non-Utilities
- Accountant/tax preparer
- Alumni associations
- Babysitter/ child care provider
- Banks (auto loans, checking accounts, credit cards, home equity, IRAï¿½s, mortgage, safe deposit box, savings account)
- Business cards (order new ones)
- Cell phone provider
- Child care/ daycare
- Courts, especially for traffic tickets or local disputes
- Credit bureaus
- Credit card issuers
- Department of Motor Vehicles
- Diaper service
- Dry cleaning pick-up and delivery
- Family members
- Health clubs
- House cleaning service
- House of worship
- Insurance providers (auto, health, life, other vehicles)
- IRS (form 8822)
- Lawn care
- Luggage tags (replace existing ones)
- Magazine subscriptions
- New business cards
- New employer
- Newspaper subscriptions
- Old employer
- Parent-teacher association
- Pet sitter/ dog walker/ pet day care
- Pharmacy (BONUS: get year-to-date expense summary for taxes)
- Physical therapist
- Physician (BONUS: get referral for new location)
- Post office
- Professional organizations
- Retirement plan holders
- Return address labels (order new ones)
- Schools (BONUS: get copies of transcripts)
- Snow removal service
- Social Security Administration
- Swimming pool maintenance (pool cleaning, pool opening or closing)
- Swimming pool memberships
- Veterinarian BONUS get vet records and recommendations
- Water delivery service
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