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How to change your address

It might not be as overwhelming as it seems

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    When you move, updating your address — on top of all the other important things you have to do — can seem pretty overwhelming. And while some companies charge a fee for this service, it’s really not that difficult as long as you know what to do.

    The place to start is with the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). When you update your address here, you can get any mail sent to your old address forwarded to your new one. That way, if you forget to change your address with one or two places, you can just wait for the mail to be forwarded to your new address and handle it then.

    Key insights

    • Changing your address with the USPS takes only a few minutes and costs $1.10.
    • Most state DMVs require you to change your address within 30 days — or you could face a fine.
    • It’s a good idea to transfer your utilities a few weeks before you move to avoid service interruption.

    How to change your address with the USPS

    Updating your address with the USPS is pretty straightforward. To change your address with the USPS online:

    1. Visit USPS.com/move.
    2. Fill in your information and answer any questions (you can also update your voter registration at this time).
    3. Pay the $1.10 fee to change your address online. This charge is an identity verification fee to prevent fraud and ensure you’re the one making the change.

    As the USPS warns: “You don't need to pay a separate company to change your address. Scammers may charge $40 or more to do what you can do for just $1.10 using the ‘Who is moving?’ section of the official USPS.com website.”

    If you prefer, you can also visit your local post office to change your address in person. If you choose this option, simply go to the closest USPS location and request the Mover’s Guide packet, which includes PS Form 3575. Fill out this form, then give it to a postal worker there or drop it in the outgoing mail slot.

    You should receive a confirmation letter at your new address in five business days.

    Where else to update your address

    Updating your address with the USPS is probably the most important step in this process, but it’s not the only place you’ll need to update your information. Rather than waiting until you miss an important bill or lose a package to your old address, go ahead and tackle each item below as soon as you can.

    The DMV

    Some states require you to change your address within a certain number of days, usually 30 — although some states, like California, require you to do this within 10 days of your move. If you wait too long, you may have to pay a fine.

    If you’re moving within the same state, you may be able to update your address online without a visit to your local DMV. If you’re moving to a new state, you’ll likely have to visit your local DMV in person. Check your DMV’s website for more information.

    To change your address at the DMV, you may need proof of your new address. If you don't have a utility bill yet, you can bring your new mortgage or lease agreement instead.

    » LEARN: 8 cheap ways to move across the country

    Your employer

    Even if your paychecks go directly into your bank account via direct deposit, you should still update your information with your employer. That way, come tax season, your paperwork is sent to the correct address.

    To update your information with your employer, simply email your manager or HR department with your new address.

    Billing agencies

    There are a few billing agencies you’ll need to contact in order to change your address. A few of the most important are your local utilities, bank, credit card companies and other financial institutions.


    You’ll want to switch your utilities as soon as you know your new address so you don’t miss a day of service — and so you don’t pay too long for your old utilities. As Nick Valentino, vice president of market operations at Bellhop, said: “In many cases, people move away and continue to pay a bill for months before they catch this mistake on their bank statements. The resident is none the wiser, and the cable or utility is happy to double-bill the same address.”

    To transfer utility service:

    1. Call your current utility provider to arrange shut-off on the appropriate day.
    2. Call your new utility provider to turn on service on the appropriate day (usually closing day or moving day for rentals). Not sure who your new provider is? Ask your real estate agent or property manager, or visit your city or county website.
    3. Do a final meter reading before you leave your current place. Record this number in case you get any unexpected bills after you move.

    If you’re canceling your internet service rather than transferring it, Valentino recommends keeping the conversation short and sweet.

    “Cable and internet companies in particular can make this process as painful as possible,” he said. “One good shortcut for getting through those phone calls more quickly is to tell them you're moving to an area where they don't provide services. This will quickly put an end to their attempts to keep you as a paying customer.”

    Bank and credit card companies

    The process for changing your address with your bank or credit card company depends on the institution, but a good place to start is to log into your account to see if you can do this online. It may be as simple as updating your address in your profile settings.

    If you can’t do this online, try one of these options:

    1. Contact customer support. Call the number on the back of your credit card or on your latest bank statement and alert the company of your new address.
    2. Update your address by mail. Send a letter requesting a change in address to the address on the return envelope associated with your latest bill.
    3. Visit your local branch. If you have a branch close to you, simply stop by and ask to change the address on your account. You’ll probably need proof of identification and your new address.

    Other financial institutions

    You might also need to change your address with the following (though this isn’t an exhaustive list):

    For each of these, you can update your address either online through a customer portal or by contacting the company directly. Fortunately, though, even if you miss one or two places, you’ll still have your mail forwarding set up through the Postal Service.

    » MORE: 19 things to do when moving into a new house

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      Can I change my address online with USPS?

      You can update your address online with the USPS, and the post office recommends it. The process takes just a few minutes online and costs only $1.10. That said, you can change it in person if you prefer.

      When should I change my address?

      For billing agencies and the DMV, you should change your address a few days after you move. For mail, you should change your address shortly before moving. For utilities, including water, heat, electricity, cable and internet, you should do it a few weeks before you move. This will ensure you have everything set up at your new house when you arrive, and your service will shut off at your old address on the appropriate date.

      How long does it take for mail forwarding to start?

      The USPS says it may begin within three days of a submitted request, although it recommends allowing up to two weeks. All mail will be forwarded as it comes, so it may come regularly and often for a while as you work through updating your address at other agencies and companies.

      Do you have to change your address?

      By law, you have to change your address with the DMV. For companies that send you bills or payments, like credit card companies, health insurance companies or the Social Security Administration, it’s important that you update your address with them to stay up to date. For other institutions, like magazines or alumni societies, it’s up to you whether you update your address.

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