How to change your address: A complete checklist

Of all of life’s events, some find moving to be among the most stressful. That’s because moving—whether it’s down the block or cross-country—requires time, energy, patience and plenty of planning. The sheer number of logistical details needed to get settled at your new address can feel overwhelming. 

Here are a few tips to help smooth your transition and keep your finances on track. 

Key takeaways

  • You may need to change your address with other federal government agencies as well as with the U.S. Postal Service.
  • You can keep your driver’s license and car registration up to date by contacting the Department of Motor Vehicles in your state.
  • You can avoid a lag in utility services by setting up accounts before you move. 
  • If you tell your current or last workplace about your new address, you should have the necessary documents to file tax returns.

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1. Complete a U.S. Postal Service change of address

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) should be your first stop for an in-person or online change of address form. To stop mail from going to your old address, you can select the date you want the mail forwarding service to start.

If you’re moving abroad, you’ll need to fill out this form to have your U.S. mail delivered overseas through a forwarding company. 

Other important federal government agencies

Other government agencies, like the Internal Revenue Service and Social Security Administration, need separate notifications to change your mailing address. If you’re a veteran, you’ll also need to contact the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

2. Update your driver's license, vehicle registration and other IDs

Many states require you to update the address on your driver’s license or non-driver ID card, including Real ID, within 30 days of your move. If you’re moving out of state, add license plates and vehicle registration to the list. You can do this by finding your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Documents you might need to complete the updates include your current license as well as your Social Security card.

3. Change your voter registration information

Even if you move within the same state, you need to inform your state’s board of elections of the move. Each state has its own rules for voter registration. You can find out what your state requires by visiting Vote.gov.

4. Keep financial services and insurance companies in the loop

Let your bank, online payment platforms, credit card companies and insurance providers know about your move. If you’re not set up for online bill payments, your mail—especially bills—can be delayed by weeks or months before reaching your new address.

Creating online accounts to pay bills electronically (and automatically) can help keep payments—such as car payments—on track.

5. Leaving a job? Make these important work-related updates

It can be difficult to get information from former employers after you’ve left the company. Employees come and go, and contacts always change. Putting miles between you and an old job can make it even harder. Get copies of payment records before you move in case you need proof of employment history. 

Also, make sure your previous employer has your new address so you get the forms you need to file your tax returns.

6. Utilities: Get connected at your new address (and disconnect from your old one)

Contact utility providers at your new address, create new accounts and set service start dates. This way, you won’t have to worry about service disruptions when you move in. Contact utilities at your old address so you’re not paying for two places at once. It’s also a good idea to keep a record of your timely past payments to phone, gas, electric, water and cable companies.

7. Alert health care and other professional service providers

If you’re moving out of town or state, you’re likely going to have to find new health care providers. Before you go, alert your current medical and dental providers and keep their information on file in case you need them to release records to your new providers. 

Don’t forget to fill recurring prescriptions before you move and have them transferred to your new area pharmacy.

Also, tell other professional service providers such as your lawyer and accountant about your move. This way, you can be sure you’ll receive any bills or time-sensitive materials they send. And if needed, they may be able to refer you to someone new.

8. Get school records and transcripts before you go

If you or your kids are transferring schools, you can collect educational records (like grades and test scores) to take to the new school. It can make the enrollment process easier.

9. Return (and retrieve) odds and ends

Return library books, rented appliances or property, and gather up any possessions loaned out or stored locally.

10. Cancel local subscriptions and update your online delivery information

Gym memberships, local newspapers, and contracts with exterminators or lawn professionals—make sure anything you’re paying for at your current address is canceled or transferred. 

And don’t forget to register your address change with any online retail delivery services and apps, whether that’s for food or other items.

11. Consider sending colleagues, friends and family a note

A simple “I’ve moved!” card or email to all your contacts will let everyone know where to find you.

How to change your address in a nutshell

Moving can be exciting but stressful. Whether you’re relocating across town or across the country, keep this list handy to help make your move easier. Doing as many tasks as you can ahead of time could help you avoid potential headaches from delayed services or late payments. Then you can concentrate on settling into—and enjoying—your new home.

Looking for additional help with your move? Learn how digital tools from Capital One could help you manage your money during your move and beyond.

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