Contents Index


F000 Basic Services

F020 Forwarding


F020 describes the handling of change-of-address orders. It also discusses the forwarding of mail with a change of address and any additional postage that may be incurred.

1.0 Change-of-Address Order

1.1Normal Time Limit

Records of permanent change-of-address orders are kept by city delivery post offices for 18 months, for forwarding and for address correction purposes, from the end of the month when the change takes effect. A record of change-of-address orders from general delivery to a permanent local address without time limit is kept 6 months. A record of change-of-address orders to other than a permanent local address is kept 30 days.

1.2Time Limit Extension

When a customer notifies the post office of a permanent change in mailing address or the USPS changes a customer’s mailing address, the postmaster may extend the forwarding period for 1 additional year if mail is regularly received addressed to the old address. To qualify for this extension, the customer must show that a financial hardship will ensue if extended forwarding is not granted. The customer must also show that reasonable effort is being made to notify correspondents of the new address.

1.3Temporary Forwarding

A customer temporarily moving away may have mail forwarded for a specific time, but not to exceed 12 months. The customer must show beginning and ending dates in the change-of-address order.

1.4Individual at Business Address

A customer may inform the post office of a change of address by using Form 3575 or other written or personal notice. A change of address may not be filed with the USPS for an individual’s mail addressed to an organization, or to the individual at his or her place of employment, business, or other affiliation either during or after the termination of the employment, business, or other relationship. The organization may change the address (but not the name) on mail to redirect it to such individuals; obliteration of any barcode on the piece prevents missorting on automated equipment.

2.0 Forwardable Mail


Forwarding is available for all classes of mail, subject to the corresponding conditions described in F010.


The address (but not the name) may be changed and the mail reforwarded as many times as necessary to reach the addressee.

2.3Discontinued Post Office

All Express Mail, First-Class Mail, Periodicals, and Package Services addressed to a discontinued post office may be forwarded without added charge to a post office that the addressee designates as more convenient than the office to which the USPS ordered the mail sent.

2.4Rural Delivery

When rural delivery service is established or changed, a customer of any office receiving mail from the rural carrier of another office may have all Express Mail, First-Class Mail, Periodicals, and Package Services forwarded to the latter office for delivery by the rural carrier without added charge, if the customer files a written request with the postmaster at the former office.

2.5Converted Service

Mail addressed to post office, rural, or highway contract route boxholders is delivered to customers residing in the affected area until June 30 following establishment of, or conversion to, city delivery service or for 90 days, whichever is later.

2.6Mail for Military Personnel

All Express Mail, First-Class Mail, Periodicals, and Package Services addressed to persons in the U.S. Armed Forces (including civilian employees) serving where U.S. mail service operates is forwarded at no added charge when the change of address is caused by official orders. This free forwarding also applies to mail for household members whose change of address is caused by official orders to persons serving in or who are civilian employees of the U.S. Armed Forces. If the official permanent change of station order is to an overseas APO/FPO address, military authorities forward mail between the United States and those addresses; forwarding is limited to 60 days.

2.7Mail Addressed to CMRA Customers

Mail addressed to an addressee at a commercial mail receiving agency (CMRA) is not forwarded through the USPS. The CMRA customer may make special arrangements for the CMRA operator to re-mail the mail with payment of new postage. A CMRA must accept and re-mail mail to former customers for at least 6 months after termination of the agency relationship. After the 6-month period, the CMRA may refuse mail addressed to a former customer.

3.0 Postage for Forwarding


Forwarding postage is computed by using the forwarding office as the origin office.

3.2Express Mail

Express Mail is forwarded without charge.

3.3First-Class Mail

First-Class Mail (including postcards and stamped cards) and Priority Mail are forwarded without charge when postage is fully prepaid by the sender.


Periodicals publications (including publications pending Periodicals authorization) are forwarded without charge for 60 days when postage is fully prepaid by the sender.

3.5Standard Mail

Generally, Standard Mail is subject to collection of additional postage from the mailer when forwarding service is provided by charging the Standard Mail weighted fee on all returns. Shipper Paid Forwarding, used in conjunction with Address Change Service (F030), provides mailers of Standard Mail machinable parcels an option of paying forwarding postage at the single-piece First-Class or Priority Mail rate as applicable for the weight of the piece. Mail that qualifies for Bulk Parcel Return Service (BPRS) is returned at the BPRS per piece charge if the mailer uses one of the ancillary service endorsements that specifies BPRS (e.g., “Return Service Requested—BPRS”).

3.6Package Services

Package Services is subject to the collection of additional postage at the applicable rate for nonlocal forwarding. Unless endorsed “Change Service Requested,” all Package Services is delivered as directed without additional postage charge when the old and new addresses are served by the same post office. The addressee may refuse any piece of Package Services that has been forwarded. This refusal does not revoke the right to have other Package Services forwarded. If the addressee does not want to pay forwarding postage for all Package Services, the addressee must ask the postmaster of the new address to use Form 3546 to notify the postmaster of the old address to discontinue the forwarding of Package Services.

3.7Special Services

Certified, collect on delivery (COD), Delivery Confirmation, insured, registered, Signature Confirmation, and special handling mail is forwarded without additional special service fees, subject to the applicable postage charge (to a domestic address only).

DMM Issue 58 (8-10-03)