The last thing you need when you move is to open yourself to identity theft, potential fraud or late fees because a notification or bill went to your previous address. Though easy to put off until later, updating your contact information is one of the most important things to do when you move and are changing your mailing address. Unfortunately, it's not as easy as simply changing your address with the Post Office.
Addresses to change when moving
Use this change of address checklist to figure out which government agencies, businesses, charities, and individuals need to know your new address and how to make sure they get it.
Ensure all of your identification is up to date by visiting your state motor vehicles department or going to its website to make the change. Fees may vary by state. Also, note that a new passport may not be required when you change your address. You will need a replacement passport only if you change your name, your passport is full or if it has been lost or stolen. Otherwise, you can wait to update it when it expires.
Change your address at the post office or for a $1.10 "verification fee" online at www.usps.com. Changing your address online is a much quicker process. Once you’ve completed a simple form and paid the verification fee, you’ll receive immediate confirmation. At the post office you’ll face a similar process but without the fee and with a 5-business day turnaround for your confirmation.1
If you run a home-based business, update your address with the Internal Revenue Service and any state and local revenue and business-licensing organizations. Also, you should revise any business-related materials listing your address such as invoice templates or auto-pay for clients and vendors, business website contact info, email, business cards and marketing materials, and sites where your business may be advertised such as online directories and social media.
Your employer needs your current address for more than just holiday cards! An updated address is essential for tax purposes. You can inform your employer of your new address by filling out a new W-4 form.2
Handle these directly to ensure timeliness and help prevent identity theft. Places that should know your new address include:
- Banks and credit unions
- Credit card companies
- Cellular providers
- Mortgage holders
- Homeowners or condo associations or cooperatives
- Vehicle financing providers
- Credit-monitoring services
- Health-care providers
- Insurance companies
- Clubs (e.g., book, wine, fruit, flowers, chocolate, etc.)
Many of these include the ability to change addresses with their bills or statements. Otherwise, paper or online procedures vary according to the level of fraud prevention in place. Changes of address reported to creditors or billers are updated with credit-reporting agencies, so there’s no need to contact them.
Forgetting these could be a big inconvenience or worse. Organizations you pay annually may include your community association or homeowner association, which would continue to send a bill if you’re moving but will be renting out your house or timeshare.
As with paper bills, handle these directly via the billing companies' websites.
Update your newspaper subscription if you’re staying in the paper’s coverage area. Otherwise, cancel it. Update all magazine subscription addresses. This can typically be done online or with a phone call.
Moving is a good time to stop unwanted catalogs and solicitations from charities or political organizations you no longer support. For the ones you want to keep, contact them directly or go online to update. Otherwise, you can tap free services, such as CatalogChoice.org and DMAChoice.org or certain mobile apps, to update your preferences. This is also a good time to update email preferences with the same companies or organizations.
Keep in mind the online stores or other services with which you interact. If they keep your credit card on file, you will want to update your billing and mailing address.
Charities and membership organizations
Depending on the organization, you may be able to handle this online or you may need to call or write.
Handwritten or even typed letters may be few and far between these days, but it’s still important to alert family and friends of your new address and your new phone number if you use a landline and can’t transport your existing number. Upcoming holiday greetings, family letters, birthdays and anniversaries offer an ideal opportunity to share your new contact info.
Your voter registration address can be changed through several methods. You can visit your state’s website and re-register to vote online with your new address or complete the same process by mail (though this will take longer). In some states, you can also update your voter registration address by phone.3
When exactly to change your address when moving
You’ll want to act early to ensure your mail arrives at the right place when you move in! The USPS will begin redirecting mail to your new address approximately 7-10 days after the start date you indicate on your change of address, so submitting it about two weeks prior to moving should leave plenty of time. You can expect to receive a Move Validation Letter at the address you’re leaving as well as a Customer Notification Letter at your new address within 5 days before your change of address start date.4
How much is a change of address
Changing your address is not an expensive process. Besides the $1.10 fee for doing it online, most people won’t pay anything more. If, due to special circumstances, you require a duplicate copy of your confirmation letter, then a $60 fee will apply. Beware outside sites pretending to be affiliated with the USPS. These sites may charge upwards of $40 and the change of address may still never process.4
Another thing you’ll want to make sure you take care of before you move is getting a new homeowners or renters insurance policy. Get a quote today and stay protected from the moment you enter your new residence.
1 https://www.usa.gov/post-office, Accessed March 2022
2 https://www.sapling.com/5510061/change-address-forms, Accessed March 2022
3 https://www.usa.gov/change-voter-registration, Accessed March 2022
4 https://faq.usps.com/s/article/Change-of-Address-The-Basics, Accessed March 2022