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How Long Does USPS Forward Mail?

Are you worried about receiving all your packages after you move? Fill out a USPS Change of Address Form and have your mail forwarded either temporarily or permanently. If you are at or moving to a new location, how long does USPS forward mail? Here is everything you need to know about mail forwarding with the US Postal Service.

How Long Does USPS Forward Mail?

To continue receiving mail when you are away from your primary residence for between 15 days and one year, you must file a request for a change of address. You may start receiving forwarded mail in at least three business days after submitting your request. In some rare instances, it may take up to two weeks for the requested change of address to be effected and your emails forwarded to the new address.

If you wish to have your mail forwarded for a period longer than 12 months, there’s the option for “Extended Mail Forwarding Service” that goes for an extra small fee. The service offers extended mail forwarding period of 6, 12, or 18 months. You get to choose your preferred duration.

However, USPS will also send you an email reminder one month before the end of your mail forwarding service to ensure you take appropriate measures to avoid missed deliveries.

How to Change Your Address for USPS to Forward Mail 

When it comes to changing your mail delivery address, USPS offers two main options. They include:

Option 1: At the Post Office

With this method, you need to physically visit your local USPS offices. Proceed as follows:

Step 1: To begin with, you will need to submit a “valid photo ID”at the nearby United States Postal Service (USPS) Post Office.

Step 2: Get a free “Mover'sGuide packet” by requesting one.

Step 3: Complete the enclosed “PS Form 3575” and return it to the postal office attendant.

Step 4: After verifying your identity using your photo ID, they will handle your request to change your address.

Option 2: Online Application

If you do not wish to visit your local USPS offices, you have the option of making the change online. Here is how that works:

Step 1: Visit the “Official USPS Change of Address” webpage.

Step 2: Select “Individual,” “Family,” or “Business” as appropriate, then fill out the Form accordingly.

Step 3: Identify yourself: You can receive a verification number or link via text message or email if you opt for online verification.

Step 4: The online identity verification attracts a small fee of only $1.10. You will need to pay that amount for your identity verification to be processed.

Step 5: USPS will send you an email with a confirmation code which you’ll use to complete the verification process.

Step 6: The US Postal Service will send you a welcome package containing discounts from its business partners to the new address.

Step 7: Henceforth, USPS will forward your mail to your new address as they come in.

With that done, your subsequent mails will be forwarded to the new address.

Why Should I Consider Having USPS Forward My Mail?

Mail forwarding service by USPS comes with a number of advantages. Some of these include:

  • Access to all your vital correspondence from friends, family, and businesses.
  • A mail forwarding service comes in handy when unexpected mail arrives, such as when an application you submitted years ago finally gets approved or when a long-lost acquaintance chooses to send you a birthday card or package.
  • It makes for easy access to other local government amenities and services available for area residents.
  • Once the mail change is effected successfully, you will then continue enjoying all the associated benefits of USPS Mail forwarding service, just as was the case with your previous address.

Which Form Should I Fill Out for USPS Forward Mail Service?

PS Form 3575

The United States Postal Service will forward mail to you if you fill out the necessary Form as per your preference. Customers must file a PS Form 3575, Change of Address, with the US Postal Service before mail forwarding can begin. Here are the three distinct COA forms, along with instructions for filling each one out:

1. Individual form:

This is form is to be filled by individuals including your family members, college roommates, and anyone else who wishes to relocate to a new place and would love to receive all their mails in their new residence.

2. Family form:

This form is to be filled by all your family members, if at all the entire family is relocating to a new residence. Among other prerequisites is that all the members filling the form must have the same surname.

3. Business COA form:

Companies of small businesses that are relocating and would wish to have their mails forwarded to their new address should have this form filled.

USPS Customer Mail Forwarding Options

USPS Customer Mail Forwarding Options

Every USPS customer can choose from three different mail forwarding services:

1. Temporary Change of Address:

Temporary Change of Address (COA) allows for the “piece-by-piece” forwarding of mainly (First-Class Mail service and Periodicals) for a set length of time. But do not allow for the forwarding of USPS Package Services Mail or Marketing Mail.

2. Permanent Change of Address:

The US Postal Service will “piece-by-piece” advance your (First-Class) mail for 12 months and your periodicals for 60 days if you submit a permanent Change of Address (COA) order. But won't typically forward your USPS Package Services Mail or Marketing Mail. Additionally, mailing companies can get their customers' new addresses when they ask for them through mailer endorsements.

3. Premium Forwarding Service Residential Service (PFS-Residential Service):

For a price, PFS-Residential Service consolidates a household's mail into a single weekly “Priority Mail” shipment. A one-year extension of the service is possible. In addition to the no-cost temporary and permanent Change of Address (COA) options, PFS-Residential is also available.

You can begin the PFS-Residential process at any Post Office retail counter or online at; select “Receive” and then “Forward Mail” from the drop-down menus.

How Does USPS Mail Forwarding Work?

How Does USPS Mail Forwarding Work

There is no significant difference between permanent and temporal address change for USPS mail forwarding service.

  • Mail forwarding for a temporary change of address is virtually the same as mail forwarding for a permanent change of address.
  • However, what's different is that you'll fill in a mail forwarding end date for a temporary change of address (up to six months in the future).
  • So, you'll leave this part of the Form blank if the move is permanent. In this case, mail forwarding will continue for 12 months.
  • Otherwise, everything else about the two services is the same. For example, both ensure that USPS will continue to deliver your First-Class mail for a specified period.
  • In both cases, it's a free service, except if you complete the COA form online. If you file online, there's a $1.10 identity verification fee.

With that said, will USPS's forwarded mail take longer to be delivered? Read on.

Does It Take Longer For USPS To Deliver Forwarded Mail?

The delivery time of forwarded mail is longer than that of standard mail. Mail sent via forwarding might take up to 12 days to reach its destination, whereas First-Class mail often reaches in seven days or less.

Note that redirected mail must be processed twice; thus, it takes longer to arrive.

  • The first step in the delivery process is to send the mail to the address indicated.
  • After reaching the regional sorting office, employees will note the new address and affix a new label.
  • After then, the mail gets redirected to the new address.

Due to the redirection made after your mail reaches the first destination postal office, are there additional charges? Here is what we found out. Read on!

Does the USPS Charge To Forward Mail?

After filling out the USPS Change of Address form, you will get your standard mail forwarded at no cost.

  • However, Premium Forwarding Service (PFS) alternatives are available from USPS and the free regular mail forwarding service. In addition, PFS-Residential will gather all of the mail sent to you or any family member and deliver it to your new location in one convenient package weekly. This service has a one-time setup cost of $20.10 ($22.75 in person). After that, the price is $22.75 each week.
  • In addition, Premium Forwarding Service Commercial enables corporate clients with a current street or box address to divert their mail temporarily to a domestic corporate address.
  • Afterward, your mail is sent through Priority Mail or Priority Mail Express.
  • In addition, the Premium Forwarding Service Commercial has a registration fee of $20.90.
  • The mail's class and the desired reshipment interval determine each subsequent shipment's cost.


If you have been wondering How Long Does USPS Forward Mail, now you know. USPS forwards mail for up to 12 months after requesting a change of address. However, you may extend the forwarding mail service for up to 18 months at a cost. It’s recommended to understand the difference between temporal, permanent, and PFS Residential Services before filling out the Change of address form.

Doug Wein

Doug Wein is an independent consultant and coach, working with sustainability-minded businesses and professionals to help them clarify and achieve their most critical goals. He has provided strategic sustainability consulting to Fortune 500 companies across a wide array of industries, including food & agriculture, retail, manufacturing, real estate, green building, and waste & recycling. His coaching work helps clients develop leadership skills, spread bold ideas, transform organizations, and ultimately create positive change. Doug has led strategy development trainings in small teams and in groups of over 650 professionals at such premier sustainability venues as the Greenbuild Conference. Doug has led people and organizations for over fifteen years. He has an MBA from the Ross School of Business and an MS from the School of Natural Resources and Environment, having graduated from the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan. His undergraduate degree in Psychology is from Pitzer College. When he’s not coaching, Doug is often attempting to invent new culinary sauces to delight his wife, building treehouses, or exploring the backyard with his two-year old.View Author posts