If you’ve set up USPS Mail Forwarding for a trip or for some other reason, there may be a point at which you need to cancel it to ensure mail goes back to your proper address and doesn’t get misdirected.
Fortunately, this is fairly easy to do, but you will need your original confirmation code and the zip code that you had your mail forwarded to temporarily. These can be entered into USPS’s website, or they can be taken to your local post office. Take some photo ID and proof of your fixed address.
What Is Mail Forwarding?
Mail Forwarding is a service provided by USPS for people who are traveling and need their mail to be directed to a different location for a period of time. If you have to travel for work, for example, you might find mail forwarding useful. Equally, if you are on an extended vacation and you want mail to reach you, you could use this service.
You might also want to use it when you are moving house and in the process of updating your fixed address.
Mail Forwarding simply means that USPS will redirect any mail that is addressed to your fixed abode, and instead send it to the temporary (or new) one. This will be done for every letter and package that arrives with your address on it, and will continue until you ask to cancel the service or the request expires.
There is a small fee for using this service and for forwarding certain kinds of mail, but it is generally fairly low cost, and can offer a lot of convenience. You will usually pay a fee upfront, plus fees for every week that the forwarding service is provided.
Many people use the Mail Forwarding service, but then don’t know how to cancel it when they return home and no longer want their mail to be redirected.
How Do I Cancel Mail Forwarding Online?
For most people, the easiest way to cancel mail forwarding is by going online. You simply need to access the official USPS website and navigate to your account.
Log in with your username and password, and then go into the “Manage your mail” section. From here, click on “Forward Mail.”
When the page loads, scroll to the bottom and click on the link that says “Need to view, update, or cancel…” and wait for the page to load.
From there, you can follow the prompts on the screen to cancel your mail forwarding service. You will need to enter the confirmation code that you were given when you first set up the mail forwarding. You should be able to find this in the email you received when you set up the service, and also on your confirmation letter.
You will also need to enter the zip code of the address that you were temporarily using. When you have done this, click “submit” and wait for the page to load. You should then have the option to cancel the mail forwarding. Click “submit” again, and allow the confirmation page to load before closing the site.
You should now have successfully canceled your mail forwarding service, and mail should soon stop being redirected, although it can take a little time for this change to be processed.
How Do I Cancel Mail Forwarding In Person?
If you would rather not cancel online, you may wish to go into your local post office instead. This is also very straightforward, but you will need to take the same information with you.
You will also need a form of identification, and proof that your permanent residence is yours. A bank statement or utility bill should suffice for this for the proof of residence, while the identification should be photo ID and currently valid.
Tell the employee that you would like to cancel your mail forwarding service and they will provide you with the correct paperwork to fill in. When you have done this, give the form back to the worker and they should put it into the USPS system to process. Again, it may take time for this to take effect, but you have now done everything you need to.
How Soon Will Mail Go Back To My Primary Address?
In theory, mail should go back to your primary address very quickly once you have canceled your forwarding request, but unfortunately, this doesn’t always work. You may find that it takes between seven and ten business days for a request to cancel the forwarding service to be processed.
Of course, mail may still be redirected even after the request has been processed because it might have been handled by staff members before the request was filed. It will therefore carry the forwarding information, and could end up in the wrong place.
It’s a good idea to cancel a forwarding request in advance if possible, or you will find that your mail is still being sent to an address you have left.
What If I Don’t Have A Confirmation Code?
Things can get hectic when you are traveling or moving home. You should put your confirmation code in a safe place or consider taking a picture of it so you have it stored digitally. However, things do still go wrong.
If you have lost your confirmation code, you will need to talk to your local post office, because they’ll need to find other ways to confirm your identity and prove that your wish to cancel the forwarding request is valid. How they do this may vary depending on the circumstances, but be prepared to provide other evidence.
You should be able to do this at any post office, but make sure you take some photograph ID and other proof of identity if possible.
Can I Get A Refund?
If you have canceled your Mail Forwarding service early, you should be eligible for a refund for any unused weeks that you have paid for. If you paid for a six week service and only used four weeks, you may be able to get a refund for the final two weeks.
However, if you have used four and a half weeks, you will probably only get a refund for the final week, rather than for one and a half or two. You will need to request a refund in person at your local post office; this cannot be done online.
Do note that your enrollment fee will not be refunded, even if you have never used the service. This is a fixed fee and cannot be returned to you, regardless of how quickly you cancel. You will only be able to get a refund for weeks of service that you did not utilize.
To get a refund, you will need to fill in a form, and wait for a no-fee money order to be processed. This may take a little time, but could be worth it if you have a few unused weeks that you prepaid.
How Long Will A Mail Forwarding Service Run For If I Don’t Cancel It?
The longest that you can use the Mail Forwarding service for is a year, but it will depend on how you set up the forwarding request initially. If you entered effective dates, the service should stop when you requested for it to stop originally. If you did not enter any dates, it should run for a year before ceasing.
You can sometimes get it extended beyond a year, but only in special circumstances. You will need to discuss this directly with the post office and request an extension, and possibly demonstrate evidence of why it is needed.
It is also important to note that subscription services such as magazines can only be forwarded for sixty days, and you should make efforts to update your address with the magazine provider prior to this point if you wish to keep the subscription. If you don’t, forwarding will cease.
What If I Cancel My Trip?
If you have set up mail forwarding for a trip that then gets canceled, you might be unsure about what to do. You should immediately cancel your Mail Forwarding service as described above, ensuring that mail never gets redirected.
However, it is worth being aware that you won’t be able to do this immediately after making a forwarding request. It will often take up to 72 hours for your forwarding request to show up on the USPS system, so you may have to wait for this to happen.
Until it shows up, you won’t be able to cancel it, which is a frustrating situation to be in. You may wish to contact your local post office to see if they can do anything about it.
How Long Should I Forward Mail After Moving House?
Many people use the temporary Mail Forwarding service when they have moved house, because this gives them time to sort out their address while still making sure that they receive important mail. However, it can be difficult to know how long to keep this service running for.
There are two things you should do here: the first is to make a list of which individuals and organizations send you mail, and the second is to pay attention to what percentage of your mail still has forwarding stickers on it.
Make a list of the individuals who send mail to you and slowly cross off all that have been informed of your change of address. This will help to ensure that you don’t miss anyone. You can order the list in terms of priority, with financial organizations being particularly important for security reasons.
Next, make use of the mail you receive to work out who is still sending mail to the old address. You should be able to tell because it will have a forwarding sticker alongside the old address. Mark these individuals or organizations on your list, and work your way through informing them of the address change.
When you are sure a change has been made on their end and mail starts arriving with your new address on it, cross them off your list. Keep doing this until you are satisfied that everyone has got your new address.
You may wish to keep your mail forwarding service running for another couple of months after this, because it will help to ensure that anyone who got missed from your list gets noticed. It might take time for the last few forwarded envelopes to arrive, and this gives you security against losing any individuals or organizations.
It may also be worth leaving a forwarding address with the people who have moved into your old property. There is no guarantee that they will make the effort to forward mail to you, but it is still a good idea.
Finally, make sure you add your new return address to any mail that you send out, as this gives recipients another opportunity to notice the change of address and update their records.
Getting mail to the right places at the right times can be very challenging, especially if you are only going to be away temporarily. It may not seem worth the hassle of setting up a mail forwarding service for an extended vacation, but if you need important post to reach you, you don’t have many other options.
However, you could consider getting a Virtual Mailbox with US Global Mail. This saves you from having to constantly activate and cancel a Mail Forwarding service, and reduces the risk of mail being misdirected while this is being actioned. A Virtual Mailbox allows you to receive mail wherever you are in the world.
You can request pictures of your mail and choose which pieces you want to be uploaded, and you can also decide when you want mail forwarding to you from the box. This is a super convenient way to ensure that you can stay on top of your mail from anywhere, and it gives you full control of what mail you receive and when.
You can easily set up a virtual mailbox online, and this is perfect for moving house, going on a long vacation, or even just securely accepting packages when you aren’t at home.