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How Does US Postal Change of Address Work in California?

Written by: Jody Adams
Last updated: January 31, 2024

The process of updating your address with the United States Postal Service (USPS) in California is designed to ensure that you continue to receive your mail without interruption when you move.

US Postal change of address service is a vital step in your moving process, and understanding how it works will help you manage it efficiently. Here is an overview of how the USPS change of address process works in California.

Step 1: Determine the Type of Address Change

Before submitting a change of address request, decide whether you need a temporary or permanent address change.

  • Temporary: If you are moving to California for a limited period (e.g., a short-term work assignment or an extended vacation) and plan to return to your previous address, you can request a temporary change of address. The USPS will forward your mail for a specified period, up to 12 months.
  • Permanent: If you are moving permanently, you should submit a permanent change of address request. The USPS will forward your mail to your new address indefinitely.

Step 2: Submit a Change of Address Form

There are two ways to submit a change of address request:

  • Online: Visit the USPS website to submit your request. You'll need to provide your full name, old and new address, move date, and a valid email address. A $1.10 identity verification fee will be charged to your credit or debit card.
  • In-person: Visit your local post office and request a PS Form 3575 (Change of Address Form). Complete the form with the required information, and submit it to the postal clerk.

Step 3: Receive a Confirmation

Upon submitting your change of address request, USPS will send a confirmation to your email address (if you submitted the form online) or by mail to your old address. Keep this confirmation as a record of your request.

Step 4: Mail Forwarding Begins

The USPS will start forwarding your mail to your new address within 7-10 business days after receiving your change of address request. First-Class Mail, Priority Mail, and Express Mail are forwarded for 12 months, while periodicals (e.g., magazines and newspapers) are forwarded for 60 days.

Step 5: Update Your Address With Other Organizations and Agencies

While the USPS change of address service helps redirect your mail, it's essential to update your address with other organizations and agencies, such as banks, utility providers, and government institutions, to ensure you receive all essential correspondence.

Step 6: Monitor Your Forwarded Mail

Once your mail starts being forwarded to your new address, keep an eye on any mail that may still be arriving at your old address. If you notice mail not being forwarded, contact the sender to update your address directly with them.

Step 7: Be Aware of Mail Forwarding Time Limits

Remember that the USPS mail forwarding service has specific time limits. First-Class Mail, Priority Mail, and Express Mail are forwarded for 12 months, while periodicals are forwarded for 60 days. After these periods, your mail will no longer be forwarded. Make sure you have updated your address with all relevant organizations and agencies to avoid missing essential correspondence.

Step 8: Notify the USPS of Any Issues

If you encounter any issues with mail forwarding or notice mail not being redirected correctly, contact your local post office or USPS customer service. They can assist with troubleshooting the problem and ensuring your mail reaches your new address.

Step 9: Inform the USPS if You Move Again

If you move to another address within California or another state, submit a new change of address request with the USPS. This will ensure that your mail continues to be forwarded to your most recent address.

Step 10: Keep Track of Important Contacts

Maintain a list of important contacts, such as friends, family members, and businesses, and ensure they have your updated address. This will help minimize the chance of lost or misdirected mail, even after the USPS forwarding service period has ended.

Key Takeaway

The administrative tasks of moving are already stressful. Fortunately, there are grants and assistance available to lighten your load. For struggling families, some charities offer assistance with moving expenses.

By following these additional steps and maintaining an authoritative understanding of the USPS change of address process in California, you can further ensure that your mail reaches your new address promptly and consistently. This comprehensive approach will help you stay connected and informed throughout your move and the transition to your new home.

If you are looking for more information on how the US Postal Change of Address process works in California, be sure to check out our resources at Gov Relations.

Jody Adams
Jody Adams is an accomplished editor-in-chief with a deep understanding of social care and government benefits issues. With a background in journalism and a master's degree in Public Policy, Jody has spent her career shaping the narrative around social policies and their impact on society. She has worked with renowned publications, effectively bridging the gap between complex policy analysis and public understanding. Jody's editorial expertise ensures that vital information on social care and government benefits reaches a broad audience, empowering individuals to make informed decisions.
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