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What Is Mail Forwarding? How Does It Work?

Also known as hybrid mail, post offices and other mail service providers will typically offer a mail forwarding service.

This virtual post office box will redirect mail once addressed to one location to a different address, during a given period, according to your country’s laws and regulations. In fact, most customers turn to mail forwarding when they change addresses.

This article will delve into mail forwarding and how it works. We’ll also tell you how long it usually takes for mail to be forwarded and what you should look for in a mail-forwarding company.

Written by Wade Paul
Last Updated 11 months ago

Wade Paul

Founder & Editor-In-Chief

Wade Paul is the founder and editor-in-chief at

Mail Forwarding and How It Works

In the United States, the USPS acts as an independent federal agency that offers postal services, such as mail forwarding, to the public. You can still opt for a private forwarder, but you’d need to fill out USPS form 1583.

As you might already know, some private mail forwarding companies will often offer features to help you sort your mail online via a virtual mailbox.

Among these features, the option of scanning your mail is usually included. This makes getting rid of junk mail and successfully forwarding your desired mail to your current address a piece of cake.

Moreover, private mail services will assign users a brand new address where they can receive their US mail and packages for a monthly service and shipping fee.

Once the ordered packages become available, the customer can instruct the forwarding company on how, when, and where to ship their mail. Customers can also pick which shipper they wish to use — FedEx, DHL, UPS, and even USPS.

If you want to consolidate multiple packages into one, we suggest checking out private companies such as MyUS,, Splice Packages, and Shipito.

Why Should I Use Mail Forwarding Services?

Expatriates, long-term travelers, retirees, and international shoppers who wish to shop online for US products will sometimes need a local address to get products delivered.

Also, many online retailers do not ship overseas, and other border restrictions might affect shipping fees and turnaround times. This is where mail forwarding comes in as a clutch, as it will help those looking to keep their PO boxes organized.

How to Forward Mail: Step By Step

First, you’ll need to sign up with a mail-forwarding company, therefore getting a US address. This brand new address will be your anchor as you travel around the globe, and it will also come with a Virtual Online Mailbox.

If you’re worried about the process, don’t stress it. You’ll get a local US street address and fill out a change of address form at the post office to inform USPS that you have “recently moved” and need your mail delivered to your new place.

Then, your packages will arrive at the mail-forwarding company, which will upload these items to your online virtual mailbox. You’ll then be able to decide what you want to do with each of them, depending on what features your provider offers.

Most companies will provide the option to get your mail opened, scanned, or shipped. Others will also help you discard junk mail and consolidate some of your favorite packages into one.

How Long Does It Take for Mail to Be Forwarded?

Once you’ve completed your online application with USPS, mail will start showing up in your Virtual Mailbox after 10 to 15 days.

Although your friends and family might still address the previous location on the envelope, USPS will know where to forward it. This will grant the company permission to handle your mail.

There are many horror stories on forwarded mail taking weeks to arrive going around on the internet. Even though we can’t deny some factors might delay a package, this doesn’t mean it will always take longer to reach your new home.

How to Change Your Address?

You can either change your address online or at a local post office. If you choose the former, you just have to go to the Official USPS Change of Address® website and select how long you wish your mail to be forwarded.

Then, you’ll need to pay the $1.10 identity verification fee and complete the appropriate online form. After that, USPS will email you a confirmation code you’ll need to modify or cancel your address change request.

Once you receive a welcome kit from USPS partners at your brand new address, mail will start rerouting piece by piece.

If you’d rather change your address at a local post office, you’ll have to request a Mover’s Guide packet and fill out the PS Form 3575 it provides.

Final Thoughts: What to Look For In a Mail Forwarding Company?

Many companies out there offer mail-forwarding services, and we thoroughly encourage you to do your research before signing up. Still, there are several factors to consider when making the final choice.

First, you should find out how long the company has been around. Checking online reviews and their BBB rating will help ensure your mail will be safe with them.

Then, look into the plans they offer, their benefits, and how upfront and clear their pricing is. This way, you’ll know how competitive their shipping rates are compared to your other options.

Finally, top-notch customer service will come in handy when you’re facing trouble or in need of a quick shipment. Companies with live phone and chat support, ready to get you out of any bumps in the road, will always beat bot-programmed email responses.

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