Moving: Change of address notifications

Changing your address when you move can sometimes feel as exhausting as unloading a moving van full of boxes. Having an organized checklist of all of the institutions and individuals you need to notify can reduce some of the stress you’re feeling and help to make sure nothing slips through the cracks.

Using these lists as a guide, create a list tailored to your specific needs.

Two weeks before your move you’ll need to call your utility companies to set dates to end your service at your old place and subscribe to utilities at your new place. These utilities are usually:

  • Electric
  • Water
  • Gas
  • Telephone
  • Cable and internet
  • Sewer
  • Postal service
  • Trash collection
  • Regular home care service providers (lawn care, snow removal, etc.)

Then, once you’ve arrived at your new place, the adventure will begin to notify individuals, government entities, companies, and organizations of your address change. If you drive, always start your address change process by notifying the Department of Motor Vehicles. In some states, you have less than a month to update your records. After the DMV, I recommend setting a goal to make five notifications a day. You won’t feel overwhelmed when you do only a little bit each day, and you’ll be done in less than two weeks.

By no means is the following list a comprehensive one, and not all groups on the list may apply to you, but it’s possible you’ll need to change your address with the:

  • Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Post office (if you didn’t take care of it with your utilities)
  • Bank (and don’t forget to order new checks)
  • Voter registration
  • Human resources and payroll where you work
  • Magazine subscriptions
  • Insurance companies (auto, home/renters, life, workers comp, etc.)
  • Doctors offices
  • Schools (yours/your kids)
  • Cell phone company
  • Credit card companies
  • Loan companies
  • Personal and professional clubs, licensing boards, organizations, and memberships with benefit plans (like AAA for your car)
  • Places of worship
  • Gym memberships
  • Lawyer
  • Financial advisor/investment firms
  • Accountant
  • Possibly the IRS (Form 8822), especially if between filing and receiving a return/refund or if you pay quarterly taxes
  • Regular deliveries (such as restaurant delivery places or CSAs)
  • Friends and family

Many businesses, organizations, and government entities now will allow you to change your address online. Save yourself some time by checking out a group’s website before hitting the streets.

Also, be sure to check the comments to this post for even more suggestions from our readers.

23 Comments for “Moving: Change of address notifications”

  1. posted by Leah on

    I live in Canada, and when I moved, I was able to call my provincial govt. and get 5 address changes together, including medicare, voter and car registration. It helped out a lot, especially after moving 4 times in 5 years. I never want to see another box for a VERY long time!

  2. posted by M on

    If you’ve got govt bonds, you need to notify the Dept. of the Treasury directly – check their web site for info. If you don’t, you might not get your next interest statement which you need for tax filing.

  3. posted by jcard21 on

    For banks, I would walk into my branch and hand them a Change of Address Notification (CoAN).

    Although your article didn’t explicitly state it, any CoAN should be IN WRITING, including its effective date, especially to friends and family.

    I’ve always had a printer print up CoAN cards with my new address and its effective date.

    PS: You can still email the same info, but, I know at least a dozen of my friends and family (ages 30-82) with computers who DON’T keep digital address books. They keep scraps of paper stuck in a paper address book. Sad! :-)

    Me? My computer stores everyone’s current and previous addresses for the last 25+ years, and the dates they moved! (assuming they notified me in writing or via email.)

  4. posted by ccherry on

    Library, your overdue notices need to get to you

  5. posted by Joanne on

    Previous employers if you have a pension there.

    I found the US post office will notify many mailers of your new address. Last time I moved something triggered a lot of discount cards from restaurants and home improvement stores, too.

  6. posted by Chris on

    If you are in the UK, check out http://www.iammoving.com/ which provides a handy online tool for doing exactly this.

  7. posted by Tanya Z on

    If you have most of your utility/banking/credit card statemens coming electronically, you generally won’t have to worry about missing your statement. All of the junk mail goes through NCOA process, so if you filled out Change of Address at the post offce, you would not have to worry about some annoying but dangerous offer (gotta hate those balance transfer checks!) getting into the wrong hands.

  8. posted by jocelyn on

    + Humane Society for pet registration.

    I’ve taken a found cat to the Humane Society- had it scanned for a chip, only to find the listed address in their database was out of date.

  9. posted by Katie on

    This is also a helpful list for a change of name. I was married almost 8 months ago and I’m still realizing I’ve missed a few!

  10. posted by Nan on

    We have moved eleven times but not for the past 20 years or since computerization took over just about everything so my system may be dated. The minute I knew a move was coming up, I got a large supply of change of address cards from the post office and started filling one out for each piece of mail as it arrived. Some things have a change of address form incorporated in the mailing or a special procedure to follow. I immediately prepared the paperwork to be sent at the appropriate time. In the case of personal friends, I purchased “We’re Moving” cards at a stationers, filled in the relevent information and addressed them as names came to mind or we had contact with them. Your Christmas card list, if you have one, is a good starting point. This system worked pretty much without a hitch and left me free for other things as moving day came closer.

  11. posted by Kristina on

    This is so fascinating, what a long list. I live in Sweden and you just notify a special service (https://www2.adressandring.se/privatperson) that you’ll be moving and when, you do it by filling in a form on the web. And that’s that. Of course you might still want to tell your friends about your new address if you wan’t them to visit you :-).

    Thank you for a wonderful and informative blog.

  12. posted by Ariane Lee on

    It was my first time to move in to another house. And I think one of the important things to do before moeving aside from verbally telling your neighbor where you’re going is to send printed change address announcements to your neighbors or to your landlord so they can forward your mail or communicate with you if someone comes looking for you.

  13. posted by Java Monster on

    Also, please make sure you give the post office *the correct address*!!

    I still get junk mail and credit card offers for a family I’ve never met, and don’t know their actual address. And I did tell the post office (USA) about the mix-up. They’re damned lucky I’m not the sort of person to steal an identity and use their cc offers!

    I also still get mail, the ocassional cemetary bill and tax statement for the former owners of our house. All their mail gets recycled, along with the previous family’s mail.

    Now, if only certain relatives of mine, who have known for 10 years now that we’ve moved & stayed in this one location, would update their address books. It’s not that hard! Especially when important lawyer type letters are involved. Sheesh.

  14. posted by Marjory on

    And, this seems stupid, but keep a copy of not only your own addresses, but also those of your employers.

    Anyone applying for a Department of Defense clearance has to list every single one of those. Depending on the level of clearance, someone may actually visit those locations and ask about you. When my husband applied for a clearance as part of his job, we were visited by some very nice FBI guys, who wanted him to draw maps of the rural locations. Years later, a very nice FBI lady stopped by my farm, for the very same reason.

  15. posted by Erika on

    I disagree with almost all of these except utilities and changes of address that are required by law. I’ve always been very lazy about changing my address, usually just leaving the USPS to take care of forwarding my mail. During my most recent move last year, I was determined to be more organized and conscientious. It turned out to be a waste of time.

    Almost all of my address changes never took effect until after the post office forwarded my mail at least once. In other words, those organizations did not heed my request for an address change even with a one month lead time.

    The worst of it was my credit card company. I took the time to call and wait on hold for 20 minutes (because my credit card company won’t offer an online change of address option). Several days later, all of my purchases were denied because the address I was using wasn’t matching up with what they had on file. Another 20-minute call later, I found out that no one bothered changing my address when I requested it. My financial services company and my employer similarly did not change my address until months after my move.

    The next time I move, I’m going back to letting the post office handle almost all of my mail forwarding and notifications.

  16. posted by Erika on

    I also still get mail, the ocassional cemetary bill and tax statement for the former owners of our house. All their mail gets recycled, along with the previous family’s mail.

    Is that legal?

  17. posted by Vanessa on

    Two things:

    - for some reason most magazine subscriptions take FOR-E-VER to change your address (in my experience sometimes longer than the postal service will forward your mail) so I’d call and tell them the new address as soon as you know it

    - if you’re not a U.S. citizen you are legally required to notify USCIS of your physical address within 10 days of moving

  18. Avatar of Erin Doland

    posted by Erin Doland on

    @Erika — It is illegal to open/destroy mail that is accidentally delivered to the wrong address (for instance, if the mail carrier accidentally put your neighbor’s mail in your mail box, and it has your neighbor’s name and your neighbor’s address on it). If the mail actually has your address on it, though, it’s not considered mail theft if you open it since it was legally addressed to your home (at least as far as I understand the information on the USPS website).

    From a “good citizen” point of view, it’s probably nicer to return the item to the local post office and let them know of the mistake and its ongoing nature. They can notify your postal carrier so he/she stops delivery of the other person’s mail to your home.

  19. posted by Rachel on

    I don’t take former residents’ mail to the post office (Who has time for that? That could mean taking several trips to the post office in a month!), but I don’t throw it away either. I just put “Please forward” on the envelope and stick the items back in the mail. I feel, at that point, I’ve done all I can. If there is no forwarding address, then that’s not my problem.

  20. posted by Reid on

    I can’t believe no one has mentioned private mail forwarding services yet! If you move frequently (or travel a lot), just get all your mail to sent to a rented address, then you can have it forwarded anywhere in the world. Much faster and more reliable than the post office! See http://bit.ly/gs0Zvk

  21. posted by Heather on

    Wow, lots of great information! I’m bookmarking this post for next time I move.

    I’ll add another tip: Notify your credit card companies and banks before you leave home, especially if you are moving cross-country by vehicle. If you don’t have time to do the full change of address (or don’t know your new address yet), at least put a travel notification on your account. A travel notification is usually pretty easy to do, and most banks will let you do it through their websites.

    You will use your credit/debit cards multiple times on the road, including gas, hotels, and meals. When you arrive at the new place, you will likely purchase things for the new home, replace things that you left behind, and buy cleaning supplies and other incidentals. If your credit card company hasn’t been notified that you are traveling, and they see hundreds of dollars in out-of-state purchases, and they can’t reach you at your home phone, they may start to deny your purchases.

  22. posted by CM on

    We moved recently. Similar to Nan, we just notified our bank, credit card company, employers, and utilities in advance. Everything else we did as mail got forwarded to us. The post office will forward mail for a year.

  23. posted by okgirl on

    What a great idea! I’ve actually printed this page out and am marking it off as I go. I never would have remembered things like AAA (not until I needed it in an emergency, of course). The IRS link was especially helpful. I did five today and have ten more to do. Only took about an hour, so I have no excuses not to do it. Thanks, Erin!

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