If you’re relocating or going away for a short time, you probably wonder what will happen to all your mail(letters and packages).
This is where mail forwarding comes in; it prevents you from losing your mail and guarantees they get to your new location.
Here’s all you need to know about mail forwarding.
What is Mail Forwarding?
Mail forwarding is a special mailing service that redirects mail to wherever you move. It allows you to retrieve mails from an old address to a new one.
When moving from one home to another, you want to ensure you receive all mail—old and new—at your new address.
Mails like: tax and federal notices, paper statements, utility bills, journals, and magazines. This can be made possible via a mail forwarding request.
How Does Mail Forwarding Work?
As explained earlier, mail forwarding helps redirect your mail to your new address when you relocate.
As you move, your mail needs to move too. You can inform the people who send you physical mail like your bank, the government, etc. of your new address, or you can forward your mails from the old address to the new one.
When your forward request has been processed, your new address is submitted into the national address database, so when a package or a letter is mailed to your old address, your new address is detected at the origin. Then, a barcode for your new location is printed on your mail.
This way, you never lose any of your mail as they are automatically redirected to you.
Now, there are two address options when forwarding mail
Permanent Change of Address
If you choose this option, your old address is replaced with the new one, and any mail sent to the old address will come to the new one. It is permanent.
Permanent change is recommended when moving abroad or moving to a permanent location.
Temporary Change Of Address
Using this option, you can change your address anywhere from 2weeks – 6 months at a time.
Once this time expires, your mail stops being forwarded from your old address to your new address.
It starts going to your old address until the mail forwarding is renewed
How to Forward Mail
The forward mail service is mostly used by individuals when they are moving out of their residential address.
But, it isn’t the only reason for forwarding mail. There are different cases for forwarding mail, and the actions to take in each scenario are different. Here’s how to forward mail in different cases.
1. Forwarding mail to yourself
In this case, you’ve received a mail at your old address and want to forward it to your new address. First, you’ll need to make a mail-forward request. This can be done online via the USPS website or by visiting the post office. Here’s a simple step-by-step guide.
Step 1. Visit your local post office
Visit your local post office a few days before you move to order a change of address. You’ll be required to fill out a form. You can also skip the hassle by visiting the post office’s website.
You will need to write out all the necessary address changes correctly and provide two forms of identification.
Step 2. Select change of address
Select between a permanent address and a temporary address. Choose the appropriate number of times you want your mail forwarded if you decide to go with a temporary address
You can choose anywhere from 2weeks – 6month at a time to change your mail address.
After this time ends, you may extend the service for another 6 months by filling out the change of address form again.
How do I know my forwarding request was successful?
Once you’ve filled out the form and successfully submitted it, a Move Validation Letter will be sent to your new address after 5 working days.
If you filled out your form online, a change of address mail would be sent to your inbox alongside a confirmation code.
2. Forwarding Other People’s Mail
If someone moved out of your address, and you keep receiving their mail, there are three options for you.
a)Cross out the old address(your address) on the mail with a thick black permanent marker so the mail doesn’t get delivered to your address again. Do not cross out the recipient’s name to whom the mail is addressed.
Then on the mail, write “forward to” above the recipient’s name. Write the new address underneath the old one if you know it. If you do not, call the recipient to ask about their new address.
Now place it back in your mailbox to be picked up by the mailman or take it to the post office.
b) If you know the recipient, visit the post office to request a form to change the old address to the new one so you won’t have to receive their mail again.
c) If you do not know who the recipient is or where their new address is, write “Moved-Return to Sender” in big block letters above the person’s name.
This way, the mail will be returned to whoever sent it so they can ask the recipient for a new address.
3. Received Mail by Mistake
If you’ve received mail intended for an unknown recipient, it should be due to a mistake in address by the sender.
Contact your local post office to send someone to pick up the mail, or better still, inform the mailman, who’ll return the mail to the post office until it is claimed.
How long does mail forwarding last?
The mail forwarding service period ranges from 10 -12months. It differs in every postal service. Some services last up to a year. This means for a whole year. You do not have to worry about your letters or packages going missing.
However, some services allow you to extend mail forwarding for up to 18 more months. 18 months is the maximum.
To purchase this extension, you can fill it out on your change of address request form.