A lot goes into planning a vacation- booking flights, finding a place to stay, packing, etc. However, if you’re planning an extended trip, another issue you have to take care of is where to have your mail sent while you’re gone.
Well, in this article, we’ll discuss what you need to know about USPS’ vacation mail forwarding service, including how to set it up, extend it, or cancel it, so keep reading!
What Is USPS Vacation Forward In 2024?
USPS offers a free temporary mail forwarding service that customers can use to receive mail while on vacation in 2024. Customers can request to have their mail forwarded for a period of 15 days up to 6 months by completing a temporary change-of-address form. This period can be extended for an additional 6 months by completing a second change-of-address form.
To learn more about setting up temporary mail forwarding while you’re on vacation, check out this guide for useful information!
How Do I Forward My Mail While on Vacation USPS?
To have your mail forwarded to another address while you’re on vacation, you’ll need to complete a temporary mail forwarding request with USPS.
This request can be filed either online or in person.
Although the changes can take effect in as little as 3 days, the postal service recommends completing your request at least 2 weeks in advance to make sure the changes are registered in time.
To complete your request online, go to USPS’ Change-of-Address form. You’ll be asked to provide the following information:
- Your contact information (name, email address, phone number)
- What type of move it is (temporary or permanent)
- When to start mail forwarding
- Your current address and the forwarding address
After completing the form, you’ll be asked to pay an identity verification fee (currently priced at $1.10) using a credit or debit card.
USPS charges this fee to prevent fraud by making sure your card information matches who you’re claiming to be.
Once you’ve completed the form and paid the verification fee, you’ll receive an email confirmation of your request.
In addition to showing a summary of your request, the email comes with a code that can be used to modify or cancel your request if need be.
You’ll also receive a printed copy of your request (called a Move Validation Letter) in the mail within 5 days of submitting your request.
While submitting a temporary forwarding request online is the easiest way, you can also do it by filling out PS Form 3575 at the post office, and handing it to a clerk.
Note that completing the form in person is free (i.e. there’s no identity verification fee to pay).
Can I Extend Vacation Mail Forwarding Through USPS?
USPS allows vacation mail forwarding for a period ranging from 15 days to 6 months when you complete the temporary change-of-address form.
However, if your plans change, you can extend your forwarding request for up to 6 months more. In total, this will give you 364 consecutive days of mail forwarding.
You can request an extension by submitting a second change-of-address form that begins on the first day of the second 6-month period you’re requesting.
This period can end at any time you like, so long as it doesn’t exceed 365 days from the initial start of your mail forwarding request.
As with the first temporary mail forwarding request, USPS recommends completing the second request at least 2 weeks before the expiration date of the first 6-month period.
Doing so ensures that there won’t be interruptions to your mail delivery.
Can I Cancel USPS Vacation Forwarding?
If you decide to go home early, and no longer need your mail forwarded, USPS makes it easy to modify or cancel your mail forwarding request.
To do this, head to USPS’ Change-of-Address cancellation page.
Here, you’ll be asked to provide the confirmation number you received (either by mail or email) after completing the temporary change-of-address form.
You’ll also be asked to provide your new ZIP code (i.e. the ZIP code your mail has been forwarded to).
Click the “Get Started” button at the bottom of the page.
From there, you’ll be taken to a page where you can cancel your request. You can also make edits or extend your request depending on your plans.
Is USPS Vacation Mail Forwarding Free?
USPS temporary mail forwarding is completely free!
First-Class mail and periodicals (e.g. newspapers and magazines) are included in this free forwarding service. However, periodicals can only be forwarded for 60 days.
Premium shipping services like Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express and First-Class Package are also forwarded for free.
With this free service, USPS forwards your mail as it’s received. In other words, you may get a few pieces of mail at a time, or you may go through boom and bust periods.
If you want more predictable delivery, you can opt into the USPS Premium Forwarding Service.
Enrollment in this service means that the postal service gathers all of the mail you receive in a week, bundles it together, then sends you a stack of mail once a week.
This service costs $21.95 to enroll online, plus $23.90 for each week you’re enrolled.
What Mail Cannot Be Forwarded on Vacation Through USPS?
While USPS’ mail forwarding service is pretty comprehensive, there are some types of mail that can’t be forwarded.
Such items include the following:
- Marketing Mail (e.g. flyers, circulars, advertisements)
- Media Mail*
It’s also worth keeping in mind that newspapers and magazines can be forwarded, but only for 60 days. You should look for an alternative solution if you’ll be gone longer.
*Media Mail packages can be forwarded, but you’ll have to pay a fee for the forwarding.
USPS makes it easy for travelers to have their mail forwarded while on vacation. All you need to do is submit a temporary change-of-address form.
What’s more, if your plans change, you can modify your mail forwarding request, and resume regular delivery at your primary address in just a few minutes.