Saturday, December 4, 2010

R2I Change of Address - Checklist

One of the key things to do during your move from US to India, is providing "Change of Address". Should I be giving change of address to Post Office, Bank, 401k Provider, Social Security Administration, etc.,? Can I give foreign address to institutions in US? Can I setup mail forwarding from US to India? This post is intended to address some of the commonly asked questions on R2I Address Change.

(Also read: Return to India (R2I) - 25 things to do)

When returning from USA, you should have given the change of address to all the concerned parties, so that they can mail you the income tax statement. Otherwise, you may have to chase each of them to send you soft copies by email. Hopefully, you gave the address of a friend who lives in his/her own house. That way, you don't have to worry about change of address when your friend shifts his/her house. Inform/remind your friend that he/she may receive your income tax statements from different sources. This will help them to keep an eye on it.

Post Office - Giving "Change of Address" to your post office is one of the important things you should do. It is recommended to give the address of a friend who owns a house (A friend who rents a house may move around). Also, the friend has to be very reliable. He/she shouldn't miss important mail communications to you.

(Note: There are services that provide you a local P.O Box address in US and does international mailing of shipment to India. I don't have much details on them and I'm not sure how reliable they are)

Employer - Your employer would have to send your W2 statement at the end of the financial year. You would need that to file your tax returns. You need to give your employer the address to which they've to mail your W2 statement. You can give your India address or ask your employer to ship the W2 statement to your friend's address. Your friend can courier it to you or scan it and send it to you, for filing the tax returns online.

401K Provider - Depending upon the provider, you can give a foreign address. For ex., Vangaurd would allow you to maintain a foreign address for your 401k account. (Also read: R2I - 401(k) closure FAQs)

Bank / Credit Cards - Many banks allow you to provide a foreign address for communication. However, it is recommended to call the banking institution to confirm the same. In todays "hi-tech" world, you can do most of the transactions online and even get your monthly statements online. You can also give your friend's address in the Bank for communication.

Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) - You can give a foreign address in some of the DMVs. For example, Oregon DMV allows you to do that. Call & check with your DMV directly.

Jury Duty/Voters List - If you are a US Citizen, you can do the address change on voters list, in your DMV office itself. You're called for Jury Duty based on the records in Secretary of State offices (which they get from DMV) & Voters list. You can call your "State Election Offices" to do the change in Voters list (if DMV doesn't offer that service)

Social Security Administration - No address change required. However, you need to keep IRS informed about your address change. You should fill Form 8822, to notify IRS about your address change. SSA doesn't maintain your address records if you are not getting benefits currently (i.e., until you reach your retirement age). SSA gets the information from IRS (Internal Revenue Service). So, keep the IRS informed about your change of address. You can notify IRS regarding the address change by using Form 8822.

SSA would start tracking your address (on its own) only after you reach your retirement age. You can refer to the following FAQ on SSA website that provides additional information:

(Also read: How can I get my Social Security benefits/money?)

Post R2I - Once you returned to India, there is no "formal" process to notify India government about R2I. If you have a PIO you may need to get it registered, at the FRRO. If you have an OCI, you don't need any registration.

In general, I would recommend you to give a friend's address for all the institutions in US, from whom you would receive correspondences. That way, the mail doesn't get lost/missed during international shipment.

US Citizens - US Citizens should let the consulate or nearest embassy know that they're residing/traveling in a foreign country. They should let the consulate know about the change of address -

The following website provides additional address change instructions for US Citizens.

Note: This blog post provides a list of common places where you have to change your address. This isn't a comprehensive list.

Also read:

R2I Planning Guide
Returning to India - 25 things to do


  1. As usual - a helpful post. thanks a bunch or raw vegetables !!!

  2. Hi I am moving to India soon. Thank you so much for this information it is really helpful....I had a quick question regarding address change...

    1. Do you advice giving a friends or India address to the IRS, USCIS and DMV.

    I am a bit worried giving different address everywhere...thanks in advance

  3. I recommend giving the address of a reliable friend who lives in his own permanent house in US. Some organizations do not accept Indian address.

  4. Fantastic read! I've added your RSS feeds to my Google reader.
    My web site - Transfer UK Pension


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