Can I Pick Up My Package From USPS?
November 17, 2023
In 2022, the United States Postal Service (USPS) had 689.9 million customer visits.
If you ever visited a U.S. post office, you may have done so to mail a package. However, you can also go to a post office to pick up a parcel, especially if you expect to receive one soon.
How do you pick up a package from a post office before USPS delivers the item to you? What options do you have to pick up your package? Do you need to pay any fees to claim your item?
This article tackles these questions and discusses whether picking up your package from a post office is worthwhile. This article also explains what package pickup is and what you must present to claim your parcel.
If you haven’t visited a post office, FindPostOffice.org’s online search can help locate one near you. You can search post offices by ZIP code, state, city, and geolocation to help make your search convenient and fast.
USPS Package Intercept: How to Pick Up Your Package From USPS Before Delivery
Picking up your package from a United States Postal Service (USPS) facility before it gets delivered is possible, but the process can be complex. Picking up or intercepting a parcel requires advanced planning to ensure the pickup runs smoothly.
The following sections will guide you through the package pickup process.
How It Works
Suppose you expect to receive a package and plan to intercept it. You can request the destination post office to hold the item for you or return it to the sender. To do so, follow these steps:
- Verify your shipment’s eligibility for USPS Package Intercept.
- If your parcel is eligible, log in to your USPS account at www.USPS.com and submit an online request.
- After submitting your request, USPS will provide an estimated cost consisting of the intercept fee and applicable Priority Mail postage. The Postal Service will then attempt to intercept and redirect your package.
- If the shipment gets intercepted, USPS will charge an intercept fee plus any applicable postage. As of July 2023, the intercept fee is $17.
- USPS will hold your package at the local post office for pickup or redirect your shipment to the original sender.
Paying for Package Intercept
USPS redirects all intercepted items as Priority Mail. Thus, you must pay the applicable Priority Mail postage unless you initially send the item via Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, or First-Class Mail.
You won’t get charged if USPS doesn’t intercept the shipment. But if the intercept is successful, USPS will apply the non-refundable package intercept fee per request.
Determining Eligibility: What Is Eligible and What Is Not Eligible
Items eligible for pickup or package intercept are as follows:
- Domestic USPS mail services with an extra services barcode or USPS Tracking
- Packages measuring up to 130 inches (in) in total length and girth
On the other hand, the following items are not eligible for intercept:
- USPS Marketing Mail periodicals and products
- Items addressed to a commercial mailing receiving agency (CMRA)
- Items redirected to a P.O. box
- Nonmailable items and parcels with surface-only transportation markings
Notify USPS if You Will Pick Up Your Package
What if you visit a USPS location to pick up a package without notifying USPS beforehand? USPS may not have the item or not hand the parcel to you.
When you consider the volume of orders USPS fulfills daily, you should notify USPS regarding your plan to pick up your package. This way, the postal worker can locate and prepare your package before you arrive to pick it up.
Mark the “Hold for Pickup” Option on Your Shipping Label
You can specify where to pick up your package when creating a shipping label. Doing so removes the option to deliver your parcel to your address.
The “Hold for Pickup” feature is a unique service USPS offers through the “Intercept a Package” service that allows you to hold a package for pickup or redirect an undelivered domestic shipment to a new destination.
If you select “Hold for Pickup,” you can instruct a specific USPS facility to hold your package so you can collect it yourself. When your package arrives at that facility, USPS will notify you that your item is ready for pickup.
To use this service, follow these steps:
- Visit the USPS website and go to the “Hold for Pickup” page.
- Follow the steps to choose which package you want to hold for pickup and where it will be held.
Call Your Post Office and Pick Up Your Package
You can contact your local post office if you need assistance picking up your package. The staff may be unable to assist you at all times, especially if they work in a larger facility, but they can direct you to the people who can.
Although this method isn’t the most efficient mode for holding your package for pickup, USPS can generally accommodate your request and is willing to help you with your shipment needs.
To pick up a package addressed to you, notify the USPS facility that you’ll pick up your parcel. Remember to bring a valid photo identification (I.D.) when you visit the location during business hours.
How to Start the Package Intercept Process
Before you request a package intercept service, determine whether your item is eligible for this service.
For example, a package with USPS Tracking and a length and girth not more than 130in can qualify for package intercept.
When your package qualifies, the intercept reroutes your item to your chosen address before the final mail delivery stage.
Can You Pick Up USPS Packages if a Delivery Was Missed?
You can request an intercept for a missed package delivery by asking USPS to hold your package until you can visit the post office and get it yourself.
In most cases, USPS will attempt redelivery the next business day. But it’s possible that the issues that prevented delivery on the first day can occur again, making it a challenge to drop it off the following day.
In such cases, you can call the post office to ask them to hold your package until you can visit later to pick it up.
“Where Do I Pick Up Packages That Have Been Intercepted?”
You can pick up your intercepted package at your local post office, USPS distribution center, or your specified address.
Can USPS Inform You About a Package’s Location Before Intercepting?
Before requesting a package intercept, you must know your parcel’s location. One way to do so is to call USPS. Since packages must have tracking to qualify for pickup, as mentioned earlier, USPS can tell you its general location.
For example, the staff can tell whether your item has left a distribution center and is in a truck en route to their facility.
With this information, you can decide whether you want to intercept the package or not.
Few More Methods
Regardless of your package’s original eligible mail class, USPS relabels your item as Priority Mail and assigns it a new mailing barcode and applicable extra services. Using the original tracking number, you can continue tracking the intercepted item’s status.
For extra services, you can choose from the following options:
- Signature Confirmation
- Adult Signature Required
- Adult Signature Restricted Delivery
- Insurance (only if the original shipment has insurance and only at the initial stated value)
Although there’s no limit to the number of packages you can request for pickup, only packages weighing up to 70 pounds (lbs) are eligible for pickup.
Additionally, you can request by 2:00 AM Central Time (C.T.) on the day you request free package pickup.
USPS does not guarantee it can intercept the item before delivery. However, if the item is eligible, the post office can exert reasonable effort to locate your item.
Suppose your package contains hazardous materials. It must meet all labeling, packaging, and other mailability standards in the applicable international mail manual (IMM) or domestic mail manual (DMM).
The Postal Service offers three options for picking up your outgoing mail:
- Package Pickup: This service lets you schedule a free pickup for the next or designated delivery day.
- Pickup on Demand: This option can work for picking up mail on a specific date and time. USPS charges a pickup fee per trip, regardless of the number of items for pickup.
- Collection Service: This service refers to prepaid mail deposited in a collection box or prepaid mail that you directly hand to a postal employee or letter carrier.
Is It Worth Picking Up Your Packages at the USPS Office?
Because package intercept and package hold can cost money, you may wonder if the benefits you receive are worth your payment.
The following sections discuss the reasons to consider picking up your packages before USPS delivers them.
Fewer Lost Packages
If you’ve had parcels lost during a scheduled delivery, package intercept or package hold can help prevent or minimize the chances of losing packages.
Using these services allows USPS to pay extra attention to your packages. With more eyes on your parcel, the likelihood of loss can be much lower.
Fewer Stolen Packages
If you live in a place with a significant incidence of porch piracy, package intercept can help add security to your packages.
Porch pirates are people who steal packages from others’ homes.
Since the post office holds your parcel until you pick it up, you don’t have to worry about packages getting left at your front door without protection.
When USPS delivers your package, it can take a while before the postal carrier arrives at your address. If you don’t want to wait too long, package intercept and package hold lets you pick up your package upon its arrival at the post office.
After picking up your package, you can immediately open the item, bring it home, and use it.
Tracking Info Breakdown: How to Track Your Package With USPS and Where to Go to Track Your Package
The USPS.com website offers a convenient online package tracking tool. To track your shipment, follow these steps:
- Identify your tracking number.
- Visit the USPS Tracking page.
- Enter your item’s tracking number in the search box and click “Track.”
USPS will frequently update your shipment’s information regarding your item’s status, location, and estimated delivery time.
What Is Package Pickup?
Sometimes, picking up your package from a USPS location may be preferable to having the courier deliver your parcel to your address. Read the following sections to learn more about USPS Package Pickup.
How Does Package Pickup Work?
USPS Package Pickup and Pickup on Demand works in the following ways:
- Package Pickup is a free next-day or designated delivery day service regardless of how many items you schedule for pickup.
- Pickup on Demand lets you schedule a pickup at a specific time of day for a fee.
- You can schedule pickups from Monday to Saturday until 2:00 AM C.T. of your preferred pickup day.
- You can modify or cancel a scheduled pickup request until 2:00 AM C.T. of the pickup day.
- Individual items cannot exceed 130in in length and girth and 70lbs in weight.
Package Pickup Lets You Request a Package Pickup When Your Mail Is Delivered
Suppose you’re expecting a delivery tomorrow but have an appointment in the city that day, and you may not be home to receive the package. Also, your appointment’s location is closer to a post office than your home.
With the USPS Package Pickup service, you can notify the post office that you want to pick up your package on that day instead of having the courier deliver the item when you’re not home.
The Postal Service Has Three Different Options for Pickup of Outgoing Mail
As mentioned earlier, you can request pickup through three options:
- Pickup on Demand
- Package Pickup
- Collection Service
These services give you a choice on how you want to claim your package for your convenience.
Benefits of Using Package Pickup
As explained in an earlier discussion, requesting package pickup may give you a lesser chance of having your package lost or stolen than when the courier delivers it or leaves it at your doorstep.
You also benefit from receiving your item faster since you don’t have to wait longer for the courier to deliver the package to your address.
Limitations on What Can Be Picked Up Using Package Pickup
Aside from restrictions on hazardous materials and size and weight limits, other limitations include presenting the following items to a USPS employee at a post office location:
- Mailpieces weighing more than 10 ounces (oz) or more than 1.5in thick bearing postage stamps
- International mailpieces requiring a customs declaration form and bearing postage stamps
- International mailpieces with an incomplete customs declaration form, such as those using a Click-N-Ship application
Why Does Package Intercept and Package Hold Have Fees?
USPS Package Intercept and Package Hold services have additional fees because of the extra work postal workers must do to locate and hold your package.
When packages and letters pass through the USPS sorting system, workers only need to sort them based on the destinations. But if a package has a flag for holding or intercepting, employees must take time and effort to track that item and keep their eyes on it.
For example, postal workers must ensure they hold the package and not put it on a truck to its final delivery destination.
What About a Package Hold?
Holding your package differs from intercepting one because holding doesn’t involve rerouting the item to another location. Instead, the courier holds the parcel at the next location along the delivery route.
For example, you order online from Amazon and know that USPS routes your package through the Tampa post office in Florida. If you live nearby, you can visit that location and decide to pick up your package there instead of waiting another day.
In such circumstances, you can request a package hold at the Tampa post office. This way, you tell USPS to put that package aside at that specific location instead of delivering the item to your address.
Show Up Early
Notifying the post office staff about your request to pick up your package can let you determine when it will likely arrive at their location. This way, you can schedule when to go to the post office and show up early.
You may miss the delivery if you don’t arrive early or notify the post office about your pickup request.
What Does the Customer Need to Present if Picking Up Their Mail at Their Local Post Office? What Do You Need to Pick Up a Package at USPS?
Suppose the courier delivers your package, but you’re not home to receive it. The delivery person can leave a redelivery notice instructing you to pick up the item.
If you prefer picking up your mail at the post office, you must present a valid photo I.D. and the notice left by the mail carrier.
Can You Pick Up Your Package From USPS Without I.D.?
For your safety and that of other customers, USPS requires you to bring a valid I.D. to pick up your package. If you forgot your I.D., you must return to where you left it and bring it when you pick up your item again.
Can You Pick Up Your Package From USPS Early or Before Delivery?
After notifying and confirming your package pickup at the post office, you must retrieve your parcel immediately after it goes through final processing. Showing up early allows you to pick up your item before it gets loaded onto a truck for final delivery.
Can You Pick Up Your Package From a USPS Distribution Center?
Logistics and distribution centers usually process mail and distribute it to local post offices and other small facilities.
If you want to pick up your package from a USPS distribution center, consider using USPS Package Intercept. You can use this service to reroute your package or hold it for pickup later.
Important Details to Remember
At the end of the day, you have several options to pick up your package before the courier sends it out for delivery. These options include holding, redirecting, or rerouting your packages.
Contact USPS if you want to request a package pickup and determine if your item is eligible for these services.
- How long will USPS hold a package?
If you don’t pick up your item in five days (three days for Priority Mail Express), the post office will attempt to notify you again.
If you still don’t pick up your parcel within 15 days (five days for Priority Mail Express), USPS returns the item to the sender.
- Can USPS tell me where my package is before I initiate an intercept?
You can ask USPS where your package is to determine whether picking up your item is the right choice.
For example, USPS can tell whether your package is currently out for delivery. This way, you’ll know whether your mail arrives in a few hours or sooner and decide whether to intercept your item.
- Can I pick up my package if USPS missed a delivery?
Suppose you aren’t at home to receive your package. The postal carrier can leave a notice about the attempted delivery at your door.
The slip usually tells you the courier will reattempt delivery on the next business day. However, the note can also request you to pick up the item at the post office.
- How does Hold for Pickup work at USPS?
USPS Hold for Pickup allows you to designate the post office that will hold your mailpiece for pickup. Your addressee can visit the post office to claim the item instead of having the courier deliver the item.
- What is the difference between USPS “Hold for Pickup” and USPS “Hold Mail”?
While “Hold for Pickup” lets you instruct a post office or distribution center to hold a specific package, “Hold Mail” is an instruction to hold all letters, parcels, and other mail from being sent to a particular address.
For example, if you are on an extended vacation, you can request USPS to hold your mail until you return.
- Will USPS leave my package somewhere other than the delivery address?
USPS is usually not interested in delivering your package to addresses other than the one printed on the shipping label. However, you can instruct USPS to hold your parcel until you can visit the post office and pick up the item yourself.
- Where do I pick up my mail if it cannot be delivered?
If USPS cannot deliver your mail for any reason, the Postal Service will notify you through email, phone, or text. USPS will give you an option for redelivery or direct you to the post office holding your parcel.
- Can a customer have someone else pick up their held mail?
If you’re picking up mail for someone else, you need a written and signed authorization from the addressee and a valid photo I.D. The authorization gives you permission from the addressee to pick up the item.
- Where do I pick up accountable mail?
If you want to pick up accountable mail but are unsure where the item is, contact USPS through the following ways:
- Online: Look up the tracking or barcode number with the USPS Tracking feature.
- By phone: Call the USPS Customer Service number at 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777).
- Where can the customer pick up mail that is being held?
You can claim your mail at the pickup location written on the back of the redelivery notice.
You can then visit the post office on or after the date and time indicated on the notice to pick up your item.
- Is your package held up by USPS?
Suppose you purchase something online and have it shipped through USPS. You can assume the Postal Service will handle the delivery from start to end.
Sometimes, other shipping companies like Federal Express (FedEx) move your package before handing it to USPS for the final mile delivery.
- What mail classes are eligible for package pickup?
The following services are eligible for package pickup:
- Priority Mail Express
- Priority Mail
- USPS Ground Advantage
- Global Express Guaranteed
- Priority Mail Express International
- Priority Mail International
- First-Class Package International Service
The service commitment for Priority Mail Express items varies depending on when you mail the parcel, the deposit location, and the destination.
- SIZE AND SCOPE
- USPS Package Intercept
- USPS Package Intercept® – The Basics
- Carrier Pickup Free Pickup Saves a Trip to the Post Office
- Package Pickup & Pickup on Demand®
- PROCESSING FACILITIES
- Hold for Pickup Service