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How Long Does Mail Forwarding Last?

How Long Does Mail Forwarding Last

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On average, nearly 30,000 Americans move every year. Whether it’s for school, a new job, or love, it can be an exciting yet stressful time of your life.

One thing that might be giving you anxiety is your mail. You’ve taken care to change the mailing address on everything, but it’s very possible you’ve missed a few.

Getting mail forwarding can be a great way to switch your mail from your old address to your new one. That way, you don’t have to worry about it not reaching you.

But how long does mail forwarding last? Can you use this forever or is it just a temporary service? Read on to find out.


How Long Does Mail Forwarding Last?

Your main question is probably this: How long does USPS mail forwarding last? Well, it depends.

There are two types of mail forwarding with the USPS: temporary and permanent. There’s also the Premium Forwarding Service (PFS) Residential Service and Extended Mail Forwarding you can add.

Either way, you’ll have to pay a little over $1 for the identity verification fee. Then you’ll fill out the correct form. You can do this either online or at your local post office.


Here’s more about each type of mail forwarding.

Temporary Change of Address

This service is for people who are only relocating for a short period. For example, you might be staying at your second house temporarily, or you’re visiting your relatives for a long trip.

In this case, you can have your mail rerouted for anywhere between 15 days to 1 year.

With a temporary change of address, you can have First-Class mail and periodicals forwarded piece-by-piece to your temporary address. The USPS won’t forward USPS Marketing Mail or Package Services Mail, so if you need these things, you’ll have to use a different service.


Permanent Change of Address

A permanent change of address forwards your mail piece-by-piece to your new address too. 

This service forwards First-Class mail for 12 months. You can also get periodicals forwarded for 60 days, but not USPS Marketing Mail or Package Services Mail.

This service forwards premium shipping services for free too, such as Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express, and First-Class Package. If you want Media Mail and USPS Retail Ground, then you’ll pay the cost of shipping from the post office to your address.


Premium Forwarding Service Residential Service

If you need mail forwarding for longer, then you can get PFS-Residential Service for both temporary and permanent changes of address. You can get up to an extra year, and it offers a single weekly shipment of all mail to your new address.


Extended Mail Forwarding

This other option gives you more flexibility. You can extend mail forwarding for 6, 12, or 18 months. However, this is only available for permanent changes of address.

Be certain of the period you want, as there are no cancellations or refunds given.


What Happens After Mail Forwarding Ends?

All good things come to an end, and USPS mail forwarding is no exception.

Once the mail forwarding period ends, USPS will return your mail to the original senders. On each piece, they’ll attach a label with your new address. They’ll do this for 6 months.

You don't want to miss out on important mail and letters
You don’t want to miss out on important mail and letters

Use a Virtual Mailbox Instead

The USPS is great for short-term mail forwarding. However, it can be a pain if you want this service for longer than 2.5 years and/or you’re switching addresses constantly.

An excellent alternative is a virtual mailbox. Not only do virtual mailbox companies receive and forward your mail, but they also scan and upload it so you can easily view it online. Plus, they send your packages onward too, which is super convenient.


How to Set Up Mail Forwarding With a Virtual Mailbox

Does mail forwarding with a virtual mailbox sound good to you? Then you’re probably curious about how to set this up.


Here are the simple steps to follow.

Get an Account

Find an outstanding provider like Business Anywhere. You’ll provide your full name, email address, and password.

Next, pick the location for your virtual mailbox; this is a physical address where your mail and packages will be sent to. With Business Anywhere, you can choose from AZ, FL, NM, and WY.

Lastly, check out the available plans. If you choose our business, you’ll get unlimited scans and uploads with every choice. The main difference is how many recipients there are.


Send in the Postal Authorization Form

Before you can start sending and receiving mail, you’ll need to fill out the postal authorization form from the USPS. This paper authorizes others (such as Business Anywhere) to open and forward your mail. You can’t proceed without this form, as opening someone else’s mail without formal permission is a federal crime.

In addition to filling out the form, you’ll also need to get the form notarized. We do have an online notary service that’ll make things more convenient for you.


Set Up Mail Forwarding

After the paperwork’s received and filed, you can go ahead and set up mail forwarding.

Log onto our dashboard and you can input the address you’re currently at. If you’re traveling to several places, don’t worry, as you can change the addresses as many times as you want.

Use the dashboard to direct us to open, forward, archive, shred, or recycle your mail. This means you don’t necessarily have to get the physical mail where you’re at, as you can just view it online.


Make Sure You Get Your Mail

So how long does mail forwarding last? With the USPS, it can be anywhere between 2 weeks to 2.5 years. While this suffices for most regular moves, it might not be enough for you.

In that case, a virtual mailbox is what you need. You can use this service indefinitely and change the address multiple times. In addition, you can view the scanned pieces from anywhere in the world.

Redirecting mail will be easy, affordable, and flexible. You’ve got nothing to lose with a virtual mailbox!

Don’t risk your mail getting lost in your move. Sign up now for a virtual mailbox with Business Anywhere.

About Author

Picture of Rick Mak

Rick Mak

Rick Mak is a 30-year veteran businessman, having started, bought, and/or sold more than a dozen companies. He has bachelor's degrees in International Business, Finance, and Economics, with masters in both Entrepreneurship and International Law. He has spoken at hundreds of conferences around the world during his career on entrepreneurship, international tax law, asset protection, and company structure. Business Anywhere Editorial Guidelines

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