I left my former company 3 years ago and I left my 401k under the management of their 401k company. Now I want to roll it over. I sent a certified letter to them last week, and they got it. Then I called the person that is responsible for handling this form and confirmed that he got it. It has been a week now and the 401k company say they still have not received the forms.

Here are my questions:

  1. How long does the 401k roll-over process typically take? Why so long?

  2. Is there any law requiring the former company to process the rollover request?

  • 5
    One week isn't very long. Stuff sits in inboxes. Jun 27, 2013 at 17:42
  • One week is definitely not long enough to start getting pissed off
    – littleadv
    Jun 27, 2013 at 17:57
  • Edited to make this less a rant, and more a viable question. Jun 27, 2013 at 20:34
  • 1
    does the paperwork from the first plan specify how long they have to respond? Mine have. Is the person you are talking to in the employer or in the investment company? Jun 27, 2013 at 21:21

2 Answers 2


I rolled over IRAs and 401ks a couple of times, never did it take less than a month from the beginning to end. I suggest patience. You can ask for an overnight check delivery for a fee (I ended up doing that after they lost the first check in the mail, cost me $25).


My experience has been that there was a one week buffer built into the process. The company only generated checks once a week, and if you missed the deadline you had to wait an additional week. The website should explain the process.

Once the check was generated there was a delay getting it to the new company via mail. Plus the time for the new company to process the check.

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