Moving and Updating Your Address with the United States Postal Service
With more than 40 million Americans moving from one part of the country to another each year, the problem of addressing mail is one of the biggest. As stressful as the process of relocating is, issues arising from letters being delivered to the old address can be even worse. However, the United States Postal Service has eased the burden somewhat by taking all the formalities associated with an online change of address.
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Internet Change of Address Explained
Commonly abbreviated ICOA, it is a valid notification of a change in address submitted to the USPS. Previously, the changes had to be reported in person at a Post Office. Now, the same can be accomplished online at a secure website provided by the Postal Service, located at moversguide.usps.com. All documentation associated with the procedure is issued online through the website. In order to prevent fraudulent notifications, the USPS requires a valid debit or credit card to be used during the verification procedure and is charged with $1.00 to cover the verification cost.
The exact time you submit the ICOA affects how the procedure ends. If you submit the notification before leaving your old address, the USPS will mail a Move Validation Letter to the original address. Submitting it after you moved to the new location will instead result in a Confirmation Notification Letter being mailed to your new place of residence. In all cases, a change of address online will generate a confirmation e-mail that will be sent to your inbox. While e-mail delivery is instantaneous, the official letters usually take a week to arrive.
Of course, the USPS also allows for standard methods of submitting change of address requests. You can use the change of address online system to fill out and print your request. It can then be mailed out, handed over to the mail delivery man, or submitted at your local post office. The standard method of submitting a notification by filling out a Post Service Form (number 3575, Change of Address Request) is also available.
Interestingly, Mover’s Guide also offers coupons and special offers for printing after submitting an ICOA request, intended to help you during and immediately after the move. Additionally, a special Welcome Kit is typically sent to your new address along with the Confirmation Notification Letter.
There are a couple of limitations in place. The potentially most annoying one is the time-out limit on the Mover’s Guide page, which logs the user out automatically after thirty minutes as a security measure. The second is perfectly rational: USPS does not accept changes of address to foreign locations at all.
Moving is a stressful affair, no matter the distance. In this context, moving matters associated with change of address online is a wise move on the part of the United States Postal Service. With Internet availability increasing fast across the country, it makes the process much less cumbersome and stressful. And that’s a very good thing under any circumstances.