Post offices and other mail service providers typically offer a mail forwarding service, commonly known as hybrid mail or virtual post office box services, to redirect mail destined for one location to another — usually for a given period of time. In the case of the United States Postal Service’s First Class Mail it is generally for a period of one year. British Royal Mail provides a service called Mail Redirection, enabling redirection for up to two years. Customers of such a service usually, but not exclusively, use mail-forwarding when they change addresses.
The mail forwarding service offered by postal authorities should be distinguished from private mail forwarding services. Private mail forwarding services tend to offer additional services and needs that might not be provided by governmental services, such as mail scanning services, online mailbox management and a selection of domestic and international delivery options.