Temporary Change of Address: How to Notify USPS and Manage Mail Forwarding (2024)

By Alex Hawkins | July 24, 2023

A black mailbox with red flag in front of a home

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Unlike a permanent change-of-address (COA) request, a temporary change of address is perfect for those who are relocating from their homes for 15 days up to one year. The following guide will walk you through the steps needed to establish a temporary change of address with the U.S. Postal Service and set up mail forwarding for your time away.

 


 

Temporary Change of Address vs. Permanent Change of Address

USPS offers two change-of-address options—temporary and permanent. Both choices allow you to forward mail from your current mailing address to a new location. However, the extended mail forwarding timeline will vary.

A permanent change of address notifies the post office to send your mail to the new address provided indefinitely. This option is suited for anyone buying a new home, switching apartments, or relocating across the country.

A temporary change of address forwards your mail for up to one year. After the specified time period, your mail carrier will once again deliver mail to the original address. For many people, a temporary change of address is most beneficial when they go to school, travel for work, or spend part of the year at a vacation home.

 


 

Temporary Change of Address Process

It may seem daunting to request a temporary COA. Read the steps below to help simplify the process.

Place a Change-of-Address Order

You can place a COA order online or in person. Requesting an official USPS change of address at USPS.com is often the easiest and fastest route. However, we recommend visiting your local post office if you have questions about the process or want to verify everything is correct.

Below are the steps to follow to request a temporary change of address online:

  1. Gather important information, including your current and temporary address, start date for mail forwarding, and end date for forwarding services.
  2. Visit the USPS Portal to begin the COA process.
  3. Fill out all necessary information on the electronic forms. If your temporary address is a PO box, enter it in the street address field.
  4. Verify your identity through a one-time passcode or verification link.
  5. Pay associated fees for identity verification using a credit or debit card. USPS charges $1.10 for identification.
  6. Wait for a confirmation email to ensure your change of address is set up correctly.

Notify USPS of a Temporary Address Change

The online system notifies USPS immediately when you submit an address change on the official website. However, it’s important to check your email for a confirmation of your request. If you don’t receive any communication confirming the address change, contact the U.S. postal service customer care department directly.

Manage Forwarded Mail

On top of settling into a new short-term location, you need to decide how you will handle mail. Some people put their mail on hold. However, establishing a temporary change of address ensures you still receive important messages and letters. The USPS will forward all First Class Mail for free, but may not forward packages and other types of mail. You’ll have to either pick them up from the post office or pay a fee to have them shipped to your temporary address.

Update Driver’s License Information

In addition to establishing a temporary COA for your move, you may be required to update your driver’s license if you’re moving out of state or establishing residency in a new location within your current state. Follow the steps below to update your license:

 


 

Our Recommendation

Changing locations temporarily for work, school, or an extended vacation can be exciting. However, you don’t want to miss any important mail or letters sent to your old address while you’re away. To ensure you receive your mail promptly, work with your local post office in person or online to establish a temporary change of address and mail-forwarding services. File your temporary COA before your move to start receiving your mail seven to 10 business days after your effective move date.

 


 

Temporary Change of Address FAQ

How long can you temporarily change your address?

You can temporarily change your address with the U.S. Postal Service for a period of 15 days to six months. After this initial period, you can extend your temporary change of address up to one year.

What mail cannot be forwarded?

The U.S. Post Office only forwards certain mail for a temporary change of address. The following mail often cannot be forwarded:Bulk mailGovernment checksMagazinesPost from government agencies, such as the DMV or IRSSocial Security communications

Can I change my address temporarily online?

Yes, you can change your address temporarily online. An online change-of-address request results in a $1.10 fee to cover identity verification. The service is free if you visit a local post office and request a temporary address change.