Does Forwarded Mail Go To The Old Address First? (Checked)

Moving is a stressful time, and there are many things to make sure you get done before you head out of one door and into another.

One of those key things is setting up mail forwarding to ensure that your mail gets to you quickly. The United States Postal Service automates mail forwarding once you fill out the appropriate form.

How the United States Postal Service Handles Mail Forwarding:

When a customer puts in a mail forwarding request, the United States Postal Service will process their paperwork. On the stated date, the mail will be sorted at the mail facilities and automatically routed to the new address without going to the old address first.

What Does “Forwarding Mail” Mean?

In a nutshell, getting your mail forwarded is how the postal service sends mail from your old address to the new address you designate.

This helps ensure that you don’t miss mail from companies, organizations, or individuals you didn’t inform of your new address.

Forwarding mail takes place at mail sorting centers. Once the mail is collected and dropped off, it goes through a machine that orients and scans the mail. It also checks for postage, and if there is appropriate postage on the package, the postmark is printed over the postage so that you can’t use stamps more than once.

Computers then read and analyze the handwriting or typed addresses on the front of an envelope or package and compare it to the database of addresses. Your address will have a flag in the database when you forward your mail.

The forwarded mail is then sorted and reprinted with the new address. When you receive your mail, you’ll see that it has your new or temporary address on that yellow sticker that covers up the address written or printed on the original piece of mail.

Will My Mail be Forwarded to My New Address?

If you fill out the form for a temporary address, all will be forwarded for a minimum of 15 days and up to 364 days.

However, you can set an ending date for your mail forwarding for a temporary move. For example, if you’re planning to be a caregiver for a family member at a different address for three months, you can set up your mail to come to you for just that time and then return to your home address.

If you fill out a permanent change of address, your mail will be forwarded for varying amounts of time-based on the mail category.

First-class mail and packages will be forwarded for 12 months, as will priority mail, retail ground mail, and library/bound printed matter/media mail.

Periodicals like magazines and newsletters will be forwarded for 60 days.

How Long Does it Take for Forwarded Mail to Arrive?

Your mail should arrive on or near the same day as it arrived at the old address.

This happens because your mail is sorted and redirected to your new address at the facility.

Where Do You Update Your New Address?

To update your new address and get your mail forwarded, you can go to the United States Postal Service website.

If you want to complete the form online, you need to follow the instructions and pay a $1.10 fee. If you’d rather go to the post office, you can get all the required forms in-person at a United States Postal Service office.

If you’re moving to an international address, you must go and fill out the form in the office.

How Do I Check If Mail Is Sent to My Old Address?

If you’re not getting mail at your new address, the first thing to do is go onto the United States Postal Service website and make sure that you set up your mail forwarding correctly.

If it has been, but you still feel you’re missing mail, you can go to your old address or send a friend or family member to the old address and ask if the new resident is receiving mail.

Hopefully, any mail that makes it to your old address will be handled appropriately by the person who gets it. Someone has to write “return to sender” on the envelope and put it back in the mailbox.

The mail will go back to the postal facility when they do that. At that point, it will likely be sorted correctly and forwarded to your new address.

How Do You Forward Someone Else’s Mail?

If you are sending someone’s mail, you don’t have to do anything to make sure that it gets forwarded. If you know their new address, you can certainly mail it directly.

However, if you don’t know it, you can send their correspondence as you usually would.

If you’re authorized to do so, you can fill out the form for another person. If you help a parent or child move, it is fine for you to fill out the form with their information.

You can find this information under the subheading “preparer information” at the bottom of the form. A statement says you certify you’re authorized, but there aren’t any additional forms to fill out.

Families moving to the same new address who all share the same last name can fill out a single form completed by a single person for everyone in the household. However, families who have members with different last names will need to fill out individual forms for every person moving.

How Long Does It Take to Get Your Address Updated Properly?

Although mail forwarding can begin as soon as three business days, the United States Postal Service suggests that you turn in your change of address for two weeks.

You can designate the day you would like your mail forwarding to begin.

What Responsibilities Do I Have To Continue Getting My Mail?

You will need to update billing and mailing addresses for your services, such as your bank, the IRS, any state or local agencies that you interact with, and any company or organization that sends you critical mail.


Change of Address, The Basics | United States Postal Service