Post details: Your Mail


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Your Mail

Figuring out your mail when you're moving can become a tricky business. The following questions and answers will explain the mail forwarding process and help you plan when to do what.


Q. Which form do I need to fill out to have my mail forwarded?
A. Use the easy online change of address form from the postal service.

Q. Do I need to fill out a form for each person in my home?
A. If your entire family is moving to the same address and each member has the same last name, you need to fill out only one Change of Address Order form. For all other cases, each individual moving must fill out a separate form.

Q. When should I fill out my Change of Address Order form?
A. This should be done at least 30 days before you move or as soon as you know your new address and the date of your move. The post office will forward to your new address mail that has your old address on it beginning on the "Start Date" you noted in Section 2 of the Change of Address Order form.

Q. How long will it take before I get forwarded mail at my new address?
A. If you send in your Change of Address Order form 30 days before you move, it could take three to five days after your indicated "Start Date" for your mail to be forwarded from your old address to your new one, depending on how far you've moved. This delay will be longer if you wait until the week of your move or until after your move before sending in your Change of Address Order form.

Q. How can I help my mail arrive at my new address as quickly as possible?
A. At least 30 days before you move, notify everyone who sends you mail what your new address will be and the date of your move. Many bills and statements have an area for making an address change notification. Notification postcards are available at your local post office. They will be marked "PS Form 3576."

Q. When is the best time to inform magazine and newspaper publishers of my move?
A. You should let all publishers know at least four to six weeks before you move. Take an address label from each of the publications you receive. Tape each address label securely to the space on the notification postcard in the area for your old address. Fill out the rest of the card and mail it to the publisher.

Q. What about the mail that has the endorsement "Do Not Forward"?
A. Mail sent with these words is not forwarded. Normally, for permanent moves, mail endorsed "Do Not Forward" is returned to sender with your new address information provided. However, if your move is only temporary, this mail is returned to the sender without your new address information. Temporary movers need to notify mailers directly to inform them of new addresses.

Q. How long will the post office forward my mail and what are the costs?
A. First-Class, Priority, and Express Mail: All forwarded for 12 months at no charge.
Second-Class Mail: Forwarded for 60 days at no charge. Includes newspapers and magazines.
Third-Class Mail: Not forwarded unless requested by the mailer. Includes circulars, books, catalogs, and advertising mail weighing less than 16 ounces.
Fourth-Class Mail (Parcel Post): Forwarded locally for 12 months at no charge. Forwarding charges paid by you if you move outside the local area. Includes packages weighing 16 ounces or more not mailed as Priority Mail.

Temporary Moves

Even if your move is only temporary -- such as going to college or heading south for the winter -- you should still notify everyone of your new address and the time period in which it should be used. This will help ensure you receive all your mail in a timely manner.

Pay special attention to your magazine and newspaper subscriptions. The Postal Service will forward these items for only 60 days from the date of your move. After that, it's up to you to inform the publisher of your temporary new address. Also, pay special attention to financial institutions. They often request their mail not be forwarded.

Finally, when you fill out the Change of Address Order form, please indicate a "date to discontinue forwarding," and be sure to notify the postmaster at your old address if this date changes.

Better Homes and Gardens



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