Most bulk or presorted mailings must meet "move update" requirements. "Move update" refers to methods for making sure that the person or business you are mailing to is still at the address you have for them. USPS requires this so that they don't have to redirect mail for persons or businesses that have moved, if they are already giving you a discount postage price for presort or bulk mailing.

Postage Saver Low-Cost Software for Postal Bulk Mail All Presorted First Class, Standard Class, and Parcel Select Lightweight mailings must meet move update requirements. Periodical Class and Bound Printed Matter mailings are exempt from move update requirements.

Generally, it doesn't matter whether you "are sure" that all the addresses are up to date, and that nobody has moved. You still have to comply with the move update requirement. An exception is if everyone on the list contacted your company directly and gave you their address within 95 days before you send your mailing. This applies ONLY if the customer contacted your company directly. If you bought or downloaded a list from another source, you cannot use this exception even if you know the list is up to date.

The most common free way to comply with the move update requirement is to simply add "OR CURRENT RESIDENT" or "OR CURRENT OCCUPANT" to your addresses. You can add this as a separate line directly under the name. By doing this, you give USPS permission to deliver the piece of mail to whoever is at the address shown, even if that's not the person or business to whom you've addressed the piece. So, it doesn't matter if the person or company whose name is in the address has moved away.

But you may not want to put "OR CURRENT RESIDENT" on your mail, since it may give the impression that the mail is "junk mail", or because you don't want the mail left with someone other than the addressee. There are other ways to meet the requirement, but they are not free.

Here are details on all the different ways you can meet the move update requirement: By the way, move update is NOT the same thing as "CASS certification". CASS certification is another list-checking process used in bulk mailing. CASS certification is used for barcoded mailings, which require complete, accurate zip+4 codes. Sometimes you need both move update and CASS certification. Other times you may need one or the other or neither. We have more information on CASS certification on our page on barcoding.

How do I prove to USPS that I have met the move update requirement?

You are not required to submit proof that your mailing meets the move update requirement when you submit your mailing. You simply check the applicable box on your postage statement for the move update method that you used. (For Parcel Select Lightweight, you don't even do that, since that question is not asked on the postage statement for that class of mail.)

Of course, when you sign the form you are declaring that the information provided is true. And, if USPS finds that a substantial number of your mail is going to outdated addresses, it can ask for records showing that you actually used the method that you indicated, and can also charge a fine for too many out-of-date addresses.

Here's where you indicate your move update method on the postage statement for Standard Class bulk mail (Form 3602-R or 3602-N):

move update boxes on postage statement

How do I use "Or Current Resident" to meet the USPS move update requirement?

The easiest and least expensive way to comply with the move update requirement is to simply add "OR CURRENT RESIDENT" or "OR CURRENT OCCUPANT" to your addresses. You can add this as a separate line directly under the name. By doing this, you give USPS permission to deliver the piece of mail to whoever is at the address shown, even if that's not the person or business to whom you've addressed the piece. So, it doesn't matter if the person or company whose name is in the address has moved away.

Similarly, mail that is addressed simply to "OCCUPANT", or something similar, and which has no specific name in the address, also meets the move update requirement.

If you are using Presorted First Class, you should be aware that by putting "OR CURRENT RESIDENT", or a similar line, on your mail, your mail will no longer be forwarded or returned to you if the person or business has moved. (This is not an issue for Standard Class bulk mail, since Standard Class is not forwarded or returned unless you pay extra for that service.)

You cannot use "OR CURRENT RESIDENT", or a similar line, when you are also using an endorsement line like "Address Correction Requested". Also, you cannot use "OR CURRENT RESIDENT" or similar on mail addressed to overseas military addresses (like APO addresses).

"OCCUPANT" and "OR CURRENT RESIDENT" are called "Alternative Address Formats". If you choose to use this method to comply with the move update requirement, you should check "N/A Alternative Address Format" as your move update method when you fill out the postage statement for your mailing.

move update na box

How do I use the "Directly Acquired" method to meet the USPS move update requirement?

Any address that you receive directly from an addressee automatically meets the move update requirement, but only if you received it from the addressee within 95 days before the date you send your mailing.

So, if you are mailing parcels to fill orders that you have received within the past 95 days, you do not need to do anything further to meet the move update requirement. Or, if you are sending advertising pieces to potential customers who provided their addresses within the past 95 days, you are automatically in compliance.

BUT, this does NOT apply if you are not the company that actually acquired the addresses. For example, if you bought a list from a mailing list company, or if you gathered a list from public records, then you cannot claim you have "directly acquired" the list from the addressees. A list of owners of homes purchased in the past 95 days would NOT meet this requirement, unless your own company acquired the addresses directly from the home owners.

If you use this method, USPS can ask you for evidence that the addresses were directly required. Such evidence could include things like order records, phone records, etc. as applicable to your situation.

If you use this method, you should check the "Alternative Method" box and print "Directly Acquired Addresses" near the box.

move update directly aquired indication

How do I use "Address Service Requested" to meet the USPS move update requirement?

If you don't want to use the "Current Resident" method, and your addresses weren't "directly acquired" within the prior 95 days, then the next least expensive method for small mailers is to track address changes by requesting USPS address corrections every time you mail (or at least once every 95 days), and then updating your mailing list every time you receive an address correction.

You will meet the move update requirement if you have mailed to the same addresses within the previous 95 days, you used one of the USPS address correction options, such as "Address Service Requested", when you mailed, and you updated your list with all the new addresses you received from USPS.

But note, you can NOT use this method to meet the move update requirement the first time you mail to these addresses, even if you put "Address Service Requested" on the pieces. To meet the requirement, you must have requested address change information on a PREVIOUS mailing ... otherwise, your current mailing might have incorrect addresses.

Several USPS address correction options can be used to meet the move update requirement. They include "Return Service Requested", "Change Service Requested", and "Address Service Requested". There are different costs and requirements for each option. Some options provide information in printed form while others are electronic. Here's a good summary of the address correction options from USPS.

Depending on which address correction option you choose, you should check Ancillary Service Endorsement (for hardcopy notifications), ACS (for electronic Address Change Service) or OneCode ACS (when using barcodes that are encoded to request address change information).

Check one of the three options shown:

move update address change options boxes

How do I use National Change of Address (NCOA) matching to meet the USPS move update requirement?

If your mailing doesn't fit any of the other categories, then your only other option is to update your list by matching it to the National Change of Address (NCOA) database.

You don't actually buy the NCOA database. The NCOA database is licensed to a limited number of list processing companies in order to maintain the privacy of those who submit change-of-address forms to USPS. To access NCOA, you upload your mailing list to one of the licensed list processing companies, which then matches your list against the NCOA database and returns address changes to you. (Software that "includes" NCOA does not actually include the NCOA database, but is simply uploading your list to a list processing company.) Some list processing companies we have used are: A list processing company will usually offer two NCOA options: NCOA18 and NCOA48. NCOA48 checks your mailing list against the past 48 months worth of address changes submissions. NCOA18 only looks at the past 18 months. NCOA48 is more complete if this is the first time you are checking your list. But, it's also more expensive. NCOA18 is less expensive and meets the move update requirement.

One bonus from NCOA matching, in addition to getting current addresses, is that your list is generally CASS-certified at the same time. If you're paying for CASS certification in order to barcode your mail, adding NCOA matching often costs very little more. If you're paying for NCOA and you are not already barcoding, you might consider doing so to benefit from lower postage rates.

If you choose to use this method to comply with the move update requirement, you should check "NCOALink" as your move update method when you fill out the postage statement for your mailing.

move update NCOA box

How do I meet the USPS move update requirement if a law prohibits me from updating addresses without permission from the addressee?

On rare occasions, a law might prohibit you from using an address other than the address last provided by the addressee. So you cannot update the address with NCOA information.

For example, in some states, an address in a voter registration or drivers license file cannot be changed without a request from the addressee.

USPS allows an exception to the move update requirement in such cases, but requires the mailer to still run the list through NCOA and then contact each addressee that shows a changed address.

The mailer must apply for the exception and receive permission from USPS. For details of this process and to apply for the exception, contact the move update department at the USPS National Customer Support Center, at 800-238-3150.


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