US Postal ServiceĀ® Move Update Standards

Effective November 23, 2008, the US Postal ServiceĀ® (USPS) put into effect the new Move Update Standards. This is the USPS's attempt to reduce the amount of undeliverable mail (UAA - undeliverable as addressed) processed each year.

The Postal Service believes these revised standards are crucial to the continued vitality of the postal system. In fiscal 2004, the USPS handled almost 10 billion pieces of UAA mail, at a cost of almost $2 billion. It expects that the move update requirements will result in better address quality and a reduced volume of UAA mail.


As part of the revised standards, the USPS will require:

  • Mailers will need to increase the frequency of move update processing from 185 calendar days to 95 days prior to the date of mailing.
  • Compliance with the new standards for all Standard Mail - letters, flats, parcels and non-flat machinables - as well as presort-rate First Class Mail.

Authorized Move Update methods include:

  • NCOALink
  • FASTForward MLOCR processing (letter mail only)One Code ACS (Address Change Service) in conjunction with Intelligent Mail barcode and a mailer ID.
  • Address Change Service used with an ACS participant code and an on-piece ancillary service endorsement - e.g., adding "Return Service Requested."
  • Use of an on-piece ancillary service endorsement without ACS.

Alternative methods include:

  • Legal Restraint Method - where a mailer must demonstrate a valid legal reason that prevents them from changing address information without prior approval.
  • 99% Accurate Method - where a mailer must demonstrate that their list management technique maintains address quality of at least 99%.

Mailers using an alternative address format such as the recipient's name "Or Current Resident," "Resident," "Business Occupant," or "Postal Customer" are not subject to the Move Update standards. The alternative address format cannot be used on mail pieces with extra service such as "Delivery Confirmation," with any ancillary service endorsement, or mail addressed to an overseas military post office.


For more information, access the appropriate section of the USPS's Domestic Mail Manual.


Give us a call with any questions (800) 995-0570