How Long Does It Take For Mail Forwarding To Start?

Written by
Amber Hobert
Published on
January 4, 2023
Table of Contents

If you're moving to another country and need to keep receiving mail at your home address, you might wonder precisely how long it will take before the service starts. Many people worry that they won't receive their mail while the forwarding service takes effect, but it's typically not an issue if you choose the correct mail forwarding service to forward your mail and give them ample time to do their job.

Moving to another country isn't an easy decision for many people. However, it can become necessary if your job requires you to relocate or if you're sponsored by your partner who has moved overseas for work reasons. If that's the case, you might wonder how long it takes mail forwarding to start in most countries and how to get it set up in the first place.

If you're moving out of state or even a country, one of the last things you want to worry about is your mail coming after you've moved out. Fortunately, there are mail forwarding services that will ensure your mail gets sent directly to you once you've moved from your old address, no matter where you have gone. Here's how long it takes for mail forwarding to start after signing up.

Mail Forwarding Kickstart Process

The first three days

If you're unfamiliar with mail forwarding, here's what you need to know:

Mail forwarding is a type of mail service that allows individuals who reside in one country but work or own property in another country to receive their mail and packages from home (or send them back) at an address in the other country. Most commonly, mail forwarding services are provided by international shipping companies like UPS and DHL, which have terminals worldwide.

This mailing service can be helpful for people who live abroad and want to receive their goods from home. Nowadays, many residential properties come equipped with a mailbox on the street level that serves as a place for individuals worldwide to drop off letters and packages when they visit someone. But if you don't live in a house, how do you get your mail when moving overseas?

Enter...mail forwarding! Mail forwarding ensures that even if your current residence doesn't provide a traditional mailbox, deliveries will still find their way to your door. And the best part about this type of service is that it typically starts within three days of requesting! That means you'll only have to wait two weeks until your first package arrives.

However, remember that the period between the receipt of items sent and delivery varies depending on where you live. For example, it takes a few more days for USPS International Priority Mail Items to arrive than the United States First Class Package International Service Items. Contact an expert to ensure your mail is forwarded according to your specific needs.

The next two weeks

You have just moved out of your old house. You have sold all your furniture, boxes are being loaded into a van, and you start loading suitcases into the car with all of your possessions. It's almost time for you to close on the sale of your house. But one thing is missing—your mail!

Before you go, there are some things that you can do so that the transition from the old address to the new address goes as smoothly as possible because changing your address is not easy.

You should also explore different mailbox services available in your new neighborhood. Here are five means that will help you successfully move and start receiving mail at your new home right away:

  • Get an advance mailing label from USPS.
  • Mail your change-of-address form to the post office where you want your mail forwarded.
  • Call customer service at USPS mail forwarding if they ask for confirmation of what street and city you want your USPS mail forwarded to.
  • Keep checking online or by phone until customer service says that they've processed the change-of-address request.
  • Request forwarding every day until customer service says that they've processed the change-of-address request.

If you're moving before the end of July, then there will be no delay in delivery because you would have informed your mail carrier earlier. If you're moving after July 31st, then your first batch of mail might be delayed up to ten days, but this is typically only a temporary delay.

If you're worried about these delays and need immediate access to important documents, then consider getting postal delivery for an additional fee ($25-$30/month).

It may take up to three weeks before your mailbox starts delivering any letters, parcels, or packages that were sent before the date when your Change of Address Form was received.

After three months

It can take roughly two weeks to three months from the application approval date before receiving your completed new address. The address approval process typically takes about three weeks. Still, seven weeks is estimated on average because sometimes applications are returned with questions needing additional information before processing.

After approvals are complete, you may receive two postcards at your old and new addresses if more information or confirmation is needed from your end. If you don't respond within 30 days, an address update will be initiated automatically.

Is Mail Forwarding Worth It?

Mailing services can be expensive, and sending a package overseas can take weeks. Most people assume this has to do with distance, but that's not always the case. The problem is with outdated customs procedures, untrained staff, economic conditions, and many other issues.

While mail forwarding companies work on these issues, there are some things you can do in the meantime to make international shipping easier on yourself. Make sure you know your destination country's customs regulations so you don't have any delays getting your packages across the border.

Look up specific guidelines on what documents or payment methods they require before releasing your shipment, and make sure you have them ready when crossing into their territory. If there is an issue with your shipment, make sure to find out who is liable for damages before proceeding, so both parties know who pays for what if anything goes wrong.

FedEx International Priority® and DHL Express offer guaranteed delivery times even though they may cost more than standard mail forwarding services (remember - there are no such guarantees).

Services Offered By Mail Forwarders

Many think everything will go smoothly and seamlessly once they set up mail forwarding. But actually, there are many other things you'll need to take care of before that becomes a reality.

Many questions arise during the process, like, how long does the mail forwarding service take to start? Or do I have to show up in person at the post office when starting my mail forwarding?

Check out these seven crucial points to be ready for your relocation:

  • You'll need USPS to forward all your old address information to your new one. Depending on where you're moving, it can take anywhere from two to three months to complete this process.
  • You'll also need to notify the IRS about any changes in your mailing address since you might not be getting any tax forms now that you live far away from home.
  • Your bank should also know where you're moving, so make sure you contact them as well. They may ask for updated information, such as a credit card number or account number, so make sure this is available before contacting them.
  • In some cases, your doctor's office needs to know too. If you haven't told them yet, make an appointment with your physician as soon as possible.
  • You should notify all utilities if you're moving. These include phone lines, gas lines, electric lines, etc.
  • Update any subscriptions that deliver services to your house, such as magazine subscriptions and deliveries from Amazon Prime. Be prepared to pay more than usual due to the increased shipping costs associated with sending products halfway across the country.
  • Finally, take note of how long the mail forwarding will last so you have enough time to update federal agencies, the services you have signed up for, friends and family.

Once all aspects are taken care of, you can focus on enjoying your stay elsewhere.

Ten Important Tips For Mail Forwarding

Mail forwarding makes it possible to continue receiving your mail while you are away from home. This provides more than convenience — it also helps to protect your privacy and the security of your valuables (like keys).

However, there are some things you should be aware of before choosing to have your mail forwarded. Here are ten tips to help you reap the many benefits of using mail forwarding while avoiding any potential problems.

Check your new address online

If you're relocating and don't want to lose any mail, it's time to get your mail forwarded. But before you cancel the old address, there are a few things you should know. First, be sure to ask the post office if they charge an extra fee for forwarding. Second, check that your new address is correct on all of your documents (e.g., driver's license, passport).

Third, ensure all the bills and letters going to the old address will be mailed before canceling it. Fourth, find out if the current address provider charges a monthly fee or service fees to keep the old address active after it has been canceled. Lastly, be careful not to let your bank account information fall out of date by informing them of the change in addresses well ahead of time.

Subscribe to your mail

Before switching over to a mail forwarding service, there are a few things you'll need to take care of. This will ensure that you're ready when it's time to cut off all ties with your old address and start afresh with your new one:

  • Call your current post office and let them know you plan to use a mail forwarding service soon.
  • Create an account with the mail-forwarding company of your choice.
  • Let everyone who currently sends you mail know about the change in your mailing address.
  • Schedule any necessary appointments at the DMV or other government agencies (to get an ID card).
  • Check your bank account to make sure everything is set up correctly.
  • Pack up everything from your old place (don't forget anything!).
  • Keep in close contact with your friends and loved ones, so they can also adjust their addresses!
  • Unsubscribe from junk mails - this is especially important if you don't want them filling your mailbox once they find out where you live!
  • Make sure all of your bills are paid before moving out.
  • Finally, move day!

Keep your old address active

If you are still living at your old address, don't give it up. You may need it in case of an emergency. Also, the mail forwarding service may take a while to catch up with you if they haven't started receiving your mail yet. You'll also want to ensure that your mail forwarding service will send all of your mail (i.e., junk mail) to your new address.

Update your credit cards and other documents

  • Use snail mail, not email, to notify the IRS of your forwarding address.
  • Update your address with Social Security or call the relevant contact line to update your card.
  • Change or cancel driver's licenses and car registrations with the Department of Motor Vehicles. You may need a replacement vehicle title as well.

Get insurance cards and licenses transferred

  • Fill out the form to transfer your insurance cards and license.
  • Wait one week before picking up your mail in case of any errors or warnings from the company that you are transferring your mail.
  • Gather up all of your belongings and go pick up your mail from the previous post office. Make sure you bring identification so they can verify that you can legally collect it.

Stop mail when moving in

Most mail forwarding companies require you to stop mail before they can take care of it. That means stopping everything, including your address and checking account.

When you stop the mail at your previous residence, make sure you have new contact information handy and that the forwarding company has a forwarding address available for you.

Save yourself postage, consider e-billing

  • Check if your bank will send e-bills automatically. This way, you won't have to remember to do it monthly or keep track of everything coming in and out.
  • Go digital with paperless billing. The less you get paper bills, the better!
  • Opt for online bill pay through your checking account's website. It's easy and convenient. Plus, it can be a timesaver when paying those monthly bills that come in fast and furious!

Remember what you have forwarded

  • Think about if you need a PO Box or not. If you live in an apartment and/or don't have a driveway, you might want to get a PO Box instead of forwarding mail.
  • It is best to set up a business name, so your personal name doesn't show up on the envelope.
  • There are other ways of getting packages besides through the mailbox.

Document everything with notes and pictures

It is essential to document how mail forwarding works and what you will need before starting. Create an index card or contact list of every person who should receive forwarded mail and fill in the contact information, including where they should send their mail.

Scan all bills, statements, letters, photos, etc., into PDF files and upload them to your cloud storage or email account. You'll also want to set up forwarding for your credit cards if you plan on using the service long-term.

Tell everyone about your new address

When you're moving, it's nice to have a forwarding address. This will inform your friends and family of where to send you mail while living in your new place. So, when it comes time to relocate, be sure to get a temporary mailing address.

Get Mail Forwarding Services

Whether traveling internationally or moving within the country, forwarding your mail to your new location can be extremely helpful. Especially if you cannot check your mail at your new location and don't want to miss important correspondence while you're gone.

Fortunately, mail forwarding services can take care of this for you, saving you time and effort and helping you receive packages sent to your old address.

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