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How to change your address when you move

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by Tom Rains ConsumerAffairs Research Team
pile of mail on desk

It feels like there are a million things on the to-do list when you move. One of these is changing your address with the United States Postal Service and the Department of Motor Vehicles in your state. To help, we’ve compiled a checklist of where you need to change your address after you move.

How to change an address with the USPS

In the event of an address change, visit the official U.S. Postal Service website or call 1-800-ASK-USPS. If you want to change your address in person, visit your local post office and ask for Form 3575. One benefit of changing your address in person is that the USPS waives the $1.05 change fee.

You can make a USPS address change temporary or permanent. A temporary Change of Address Order (COA) forwards mail for a specific period of time, and it typically doesn’t provide forwarding for marketing materials or package services.

After your mailing address is updated, the USPS forwards any mail sent to your old address with your name on it to your new address. This automatic change continues with primary mail for 12 months and periodicals for 60 days, so there’s a grace period for delayed address updates.

How to change an address with the DMV

Most states allow 30 days for address changes after a move.

To make sure your license and vehicle registration are updated, contact the agency in charge of regulating motor vehicles in your state. States have different requirements for when residents need to update their license and registration — some allow 90 days, but others want immediate updates. For more information, visit your state government’s website.

What do I need to change my address on my license?

In some states, you can update a change of address online. In others, you have to do it by mail. Generally, you need the following to change an address in person:

  • A change of address form (search “DMV change of address form” for your state on Google)
  • Personal information like your date of birth, driver's license or nondriver ID number, new and previous addresses and Social Security number
  • Proof of identification
  • Proof of residence

Address checklist: Where do I need to change my address?

In addition to the USPS and DMV, there are a few other places where you’ll need to change your address, such as your bank. If you pay for any subscription services, you’ll have to update your address with those companies, too. Here's our change of address checklist:

1. Change your address for bill pay: Because there can be a delay when companies process an address update, it's best to update mailing and billing addresses a week before your move. Whether you pay bills by mail or automatically online, it's essential to update your mailing and billing address. Review your credit card statements to see where you've used your card recently to make sure every company and payment is covered. You can update your mailing and billing address directly with the relevant companies, including:

  • Online retailers like Amazon
  • Gas, electric and other utilities
  • Cable and internet providers
  • Homeowners insurance, renters insurance and other insurance providers
  • Crowdfunding sites
  • Subscription sites
  • Dentists and doctors
  • Organizations, clubs and charities

2. Change your address with the Social Security Administration: If you receive Social Security payments in the mail, you must notify the government of a change in address. The official Social Security page on address changes is clear and helpful. It's easiest to change your address through a Social Security account online, but you can also do it over the phone or in person at a Social Security office.

3. Change your address with the IRS: Changing an address with the IRS is simpler than you might expect. To notify the IRS, just fill out its official form for address changes. Be sure to contact your state’s department of revenue, as well.

4. Change your address for voting: A change of address is a typical reason for a voter registration update. Use the U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s form to update your voter registration information. Make sure to read your state’s specific guidelines on how to complete this update.

5. Change your address with a bank or financial institution: You need to change your address with your bank so any statements and other important documents go to your new home. Call your bank's customer service line, visit its website or stop by a local branch to see how to change your address on your account and for any debit cards. Read our online banking guide to find a new banking option.

6. Change your address with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Non-U.S. citizens have 10 days to register a new address with USCIS after a move. You can file Form AR-11 (Alien’s Change of Address Card) online using the Change of Address page.

7. Change your address for your credit card: There are three ways to update your address with your credit card company.

  • Log in to your online account and change the address.
  • Call the customer service line.
  • Make the change on a mail-in payment form — these typically have space for address changes on the back.

8. Change your address for magazine subscriptions: To change the address for magazines you receive, visit the publication’s website. The magazine will need your account number, which is usually listed on the mailing label. Several publications also take address changes over the phone.

9. Change your address on Google: Most people take for granted that Google Maps can know where their "home" address is. To update this address, sign in to Google Maps. In the menu, select "Your places," then click "Labeled." Choose Home to update this address. You can check out Google's online help center if you get stuck.

Change of address FAQ

Can I change my USPS address online?
Yes. The USPS offers an official change of address form online.
Do you have to change your address when you move?
Yes. If you don’t change your address, your old mail, including sensitive materials, will likely be sent to the wrong address. It’s your job to inform the proper government agencies, companies and organizations when you move. Keep in mind, also, that many states have a grace period of only 30 days for residents to update their driver’s license address after moving.
When should I change my address?
It's best to make a change of address request seven days before a move. Once you've made your address change with the U.S. Postal Service, it will forward mail to you for 12 months. It's important to update your address everywhere within 12 months after your move, though it's better to do so earlier.
How long does it take for mail to be forwarded to a new location?
Once your mail forwarding request is processed, it can take the USPS up to 10 days to forward new mail to the correct address.

Bottom line

Possibly the most important thing to have when changing your address is a full list of where it needs to be changed. Don't forget to share your new address with any family and friends who’ll need it, too. Otherwise, you could miss out on important notifications in the mail.

If you're still deciding how to go about your move, read our guide on how to choose the best moving companies. If you just moved into a new house, see our tips on how to find the best home warranty or security system.

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Profile picture of Tom Rains
by Tom Rains ConsumerAffairs Research Team

Tom Rains graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2014 with a master’s degree in Professional Writing. Tom’s passion for delivering quality content fuels him to provide consumers with accurate, well-researched information on major life purchases.