• Home >
  • Blog >
  • Understanding What Is a Permanent Mail Forwarding Address: A Complete Guide

Understanding What Is a Permanent Mail Forwarding Address: A Complete Guide

What is a permanent mail forwarding address? It’s an essential service for anyone facing a permanent move or in need of a consistent address for their mail. This article will give you a straightforward rundown on establishing a permanent mail forwarding address, the costs involved, and the peace of mind a permanent forwarding address can offer by ensuring your correspondence is always within reach.

Key Takeaways

  • A permanent mail forwarding address with USPS is designed for businesses or for long-term relocation, and it offers secure and consistent mail delivery irrespective of geographical changes.
  • Setting up a permanent mail forwarding address requires filling out the appropriate USPS form either in-person or online, with a $1.10 identity verification fee for the online process and options for extended forwarding services at additional costs.
  • Mail forwarding includes crucial services like First-Class Mail and Priority Mail Express, with an initial forwarding period of 12 months for first-class mail and six months for periodicals, with extension options available.

Defining Permanent Mail Forwarding

A permanent mail forwarding address, as the name suggests, is a service that ensures your mail reaches you, irrespective of your geographical location.

  • Unlike temporary mail forwarding, the permanent solution is designed to keep your mail from being delivered to an old address indefinitely, thereby protecting crucial correspondence from falling into the wrong hands.
    • This can be particularly useful for long-term relocations or businesses that need a consistent and secure address for receiving mail.

Setting Up Your Permanent Mail Forwarding Address with the USPS

Establishing a permanent mail forwarding address with USPS involves selecting the appropriate form, filling it out either online or in-person, and specifying a start date for mail forwarding.

Let’s delve into the steps:

Choosing the Right Form

The first step in setting up a permanent mail forwarding address involves selecting the correct USPS form.

  • The PS Form 3575, also known as the Mail Forwarding Change of Address Order, is the go-to form for this process.
  • Obtain this form as part of the free Mover’s Guide Packet available at USPS locations, fill it out with the necessary personal details, and submit it with valid identification such as a driver’s license.
  • The form you select depends on the nature of your move.
    • There’s an Individual Change of Address Form for when one person or multiple members of a household are moving to different locations.
    • The Family Change of Address Form is ideal when all members of a household with the same last name are moving to the same new address.

Online Setup Process

Setting up a permanent mail forwarding address online is a convenient alternative for those who prefer digital platforms. The process involves:

  1. Submitting the change of address form on the official USPS website.
  2. Having a valid ID for identity verification.
  3. Selecting the type of move.
  4. Filling out the form.
  5. Paying an identification verification fee with a valid credit card.

Once you complete the online form, USPS sends a confirmation email with a code. This code is necessary for verifying your change of address request, ensuring that your mail reaches the right location.

In-Person Application

For certain situations, such as international moves, applying for permanent mail forwarding in person is indispensable as the online process may not apply.

  • The in-person process involves visiting a USPS location, obtaining the Mover’s Guide packet, and filling out the Change of Address (COA) form it contains.
  • Once you’ve filled out the form, you must submit it to a postal worker.
  • It’s essential to present valid identification when submitting the completed PS Form 3575 to ensure secure and accurate mail forwarding.

The Costs Associated with USPS Permanent Mail Forwarding

  • While setting up a permanent mail forwarding address in-person with USPS is free, the online setup requires an identity validation fee of $1.10.
  • For those seeking added flexibility, USPS offers a Premium Forwarding Service Residential, which requires a $21.90 initial setup charge and an ongoing weekly fee.
  • To better understand the expenses associated with these services, it’s important to consider the USPS mail forwarding cost in your decision-making process.
  • Any changes to the start or end dates or cancellation of the Premium Forwarding Service Residential must be completed by the Monday before the shipment date.
  • If you initially set up the service online, you can make these adjustments online as well.
  • USPS provides an option to extend mail forwarding beyond the initial six-month mail forwarding period for an additional fee.

Advantages of a Permanent Mail Forwarding Address

A permanent mail forwarding address offers numerous benefits, especially for businesses and frequent movers.

  • It provides a consistent contact address, allowing individuals and businesses to maintain seamless communication despite changes in their physical location.
  • For those who frequently change their residence or travel often, the service offers convenience by handling their correspondence without the need to update mailing details with every move.
  • A permanent mail forwarding address allows flexibility in sending mail to any chosen address.
    • This is particularly beneficial for individuals who don’t want to be tied to a fixed P.O. box location.

What Happens to Different Types of Mail?

With USPS’s permanent mail forwarding service, the following mail services, including priority mail services, are forwarded piece-by-piece to your new address through the USPS mail forwarding service. 

  • To make USPS mail forwarding work efficiently, the following services are included:
  • First-Class Mail Service
  • Periodicals
  • Priority Mail
  • Priority Mail Express
  • First-Class Package Service
  • Generally, forwarding for first-class mail and packages lasts for 12 months, while periodicals are forwarded for only 60 days.
  • Some types of mail, like USPS Marketing Mail, Package Services Mail, and standard mail such as advertising mail, catalogs, books, and circulars, are typically not forwarded unless requested by the mailer.
  • Services like Media Mail and USPS Retail Ground mail require payment for forwarding.
  • If needed, an extension of mail forwarding beyond the initial 12 months may be requested under certain conditions.

How to Manage and Update Your Permanent Forwarding Address

Managing and updating your permanent mail forwarding address is a straightforward process. Here are the steps:

  1. Sign up for the standard mail-forwarding service, which is effective for six months.
  2. If you need to extend the service, you can do so for a fee. Extended mail forwarding costs a minimum of $19.95.
  3. The maximum duration for USPS mail forwarding is 24 months for permanent relocations.

When you change your address, your Informed Delivery access is temporarily suspended to prevent unauthorized access.

  • To restore access at the new location, you must enter the validation code received by mail at your new address.
    • This validation code, along with the confirmation codes sent after you register a change of address with USPS, are critical for managing your mail forwarding settings and ensuring the information is accurate.

Transitioning to a New Address: Tips and Best Practices

Moving can be a daunting process, but by following some tips and best practices, you can ensure a smooth transition.

  • One of the most critical steps is to update your address with all relevant parties to maintain communication and service continuity. This includes:
  • Personal Contacts
  • Financial Institutions
  • Subscription Services
  • Clubs and Organizations
  • Tax Agencies
  • The Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Utility Companies
  • Insurance Providers
  • Employers
  • Additionally, USPS sends out a move validation letter and a confirmation code to both your old and new addresses.
    • You should use this code to confirm the completion of your address change, ensuring that your mail reaches the correct location.

Additional Mail Forwarding Solutions Beyond USPS

While USPS offers a reliable mail forwarding service, there are additional solutions that offer enhanced features and security beyond the traditional post office.

  • For instance, a virtual mailbox service provides an address to send mail to, which is then processed, scanned, and made accessible digitally from anywhere, providing flexibility and convenience.
    • Digital mail solutions can automatically sort and digitize incoming company mail and route it to the appropriate recipients within the organization, improving efficiency and reducing paperwork.
  • Mail forwarding services also offer a physical street address for receiving mail.
    • The mail can then be viewed online, and forwarded to various locations as required.
  • By using forward mail, these services provide an advantage for businesses as they can handle deliveries from multiple couriers, which is important for diverse types of mail and packages.
  • Certain services offer enhanced privacy by not disclosing the recipient’s personal address while providing secure mail handling at continuously monitored operation centers.
  • Companies like Anytime Mailbox offer private mailbox rentals with real street addresses, professional staffing, and security, providing an added layer of convenience and security as an alternative to the local post office.

The Impact of a Permanent Forwarding Address on Business Mail

In the business world, consistency is key. Having a fixed, unwavering address for handling client communications can significantly influence a company’s professionalism.

  • A permanent mail forwarding address enables businesses to maintain a professional image, no matter where the company is physically located.
  • When a company undergoes an address change, it’s critical to employ a specific Change of Address Form designed for the comprehensive transition of business mail.
  • This ensures that all business correspondence is correctly rerouted, preventing any loss of critical communication.

The Role of Confirmation Codes and Validation Letters in Mail Forwarding

Confirmation codes and validation letters play a crucial role in the mail forwarding process.

  • When changing your address online, USPS charges $1.10 to verify your identity and then emails a confirmation code.
    • This code allows you to manage your mail forwarding request, ensuring a smooth transition.
  • After submitting a mail forwarding request in person, USPS sends a confirmation letter to the new address within five business days.
    • This letter is another layer of verification, ensuring your mail forwarding request is accurate and secure.
  • Recipients should use the confirmation code to oversee their mail forwarding settings online and ensure the information is accurate upon receiving this validation letter.


  • A permanent mail forwarding address is an essential tool for maintaining seamless communication in our ever-changing world.
  • Whether you’re an individual moving homes, a frequent traveler, or a business maintaining a professional image, a permanent mail forwarding address offers a practical solution for your mail handling needs.
  • From the straightforward setup process to the numerous benefits and the various alternatives available, a permanent mail forwarding address provides a convenient, secure, and flexible solution for managing your mail.
  • The next time you’re planning a move, consider setting up a permanent mail forwarding address and experience the convenience and peace of mind it offers.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long does USPS permanent mail forwarding last?

  • USPS permanent mail forwarding lasts for six months, but can be extended (for a fee) for up to 24 months for permanent relocations.

What types of mail are forwarded in the USPS permanent mail forwarding service?

  • The USPS permanent mail forwarding service forwards First-Class Mail service, periodicals, Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express, and First-Class Package service.

What are the costs associated with USPS permanent mail forwarding?

  • Setting up permanent mail forwarding with USPS is free in person, but online it requires a $1.10 identity validation fee, with potential additional fees for premium services. Consider your options based on your needs and convenience.

How can I manage and update my permanent mail forwarding address?

  • To manage and update your permanent mail forwarding address, use the confirmation codes and validation letters sent by USPS. You can also extend the service for a fee.

Are there mail forwarding options beyond USPS?Yes, there are various mail forwarding options beyond USPS, such as virtual mailbox services, digital mail solutions, and private mailbox rentals, each offering enhanced features and security.