First-Class Mail Tracking


January 5, 2023

The United States Postal Office (USPS) provides many shipping options. The First-Class Mail service is the most common USPS mailing option for sending letters and lightweight parcels. 

Does USPS First Class Mail have tracking? How can you track your first-class mail? How long does it take for my First-Class Mail tracking information to show up on USPS? 

This article discusses First-Class Mail tracking. It also explains how to track First-Class Mail, how long it takes for the First-Class Mail tracking information to show up on USPS, and what to do if your mailpiece has not been delivered. 

If you want to ship first-class mail through the post office, you can visit and browse for locations near you. Our website has a directory of more than 30,000 USPS postal offices across the United States.

Does USPS First Class Have Tracking?

USPS First Class Mail comes with tracking options. Tracking is free of charge for First-Class Package Service-Retail and First-Class Package Service-Commercial. 

You can also track your First-Class Mail postcards, letters, and large envelopes if you add additional tracking information services.

How Does Tracking Work?

Tracking starts with an electronic notification from the mailer informing USPS that they are expecting a package. There will be another notification once the USPS office receives the package for transit. 

Tracking ends once the package is delivered or picked up by the customer. 

How Do I Track First-Class Mail?

The tracking information depends on the class of mail or add-on services you chose for your shipment. You can track your item online via text or phone call. 

You can also check the status of your first-class mail through the USPS tracker on their website. Go to the USPS webpage and enter your tracking number in the search box to see the most current status of your package. 

You can also text 28777 (USPS) with your reference number, or download the USPS Mobile app available on iOS and Android to get real-time updates of your mail.

Another option to get an update on your parcel is by calling the USPS customer service hotline at 1-800-222-1811. 

Individuals with hearing or speech impairments can track their package through the USPS Deaf/Teletypewriter (TDD/TTY) service at 1-800-877-8339.

What Does My Tracking Number Look Like?

Most USPS tracking numbers are 22 numbers long. Some tracking number formats have letters in them. 

Below are USPS services and their sample tracking numbers in the correct format.

USPS Tracking9400 1000 0000 0000 0000 00
Priority Mail9205 5000 0000 0000 0000 00
Certified Mail9407 3000 0000 0000 0000 00
Collect On Delivery Hold For Pickup9303 3000 0000 0000 0000 00
Global Express Guarantee82 000 000 00
Priority Mail Express InternationalEC 000 000 000 US
Priority Mail Express9270 1000 0000 0000 0000 00 EA 000 000 000 US
Priority Mail Express9270 1000 0000 0000 0000 00EA 000 000 000 US
Priority Mail InternationalCP 000 000 000 US
Registered Mail9208 8000 0000 0000 0000 00
Signature Confirmation9202 1000 0000 0000 0000 00

Where Do I Find My Tracking Number?

The tracking number of your parcel is on your USPS shipping receipt. The number can also be found in the sales receipt if you add insurance to your package.

If you ordered from an online retailer or booked your shipment through, you can also check for your tracking number in the email delivery confirmation. 

You can also find your tracking number at the bottom peel-off portion of your USPS tracking label.

How Much Is the First-Class Mail With Tracking Cost?

USPS tracking is available for First-Class Package Service-Retail and First-Class Package Service-Commercial with no additional charge.

Meanwhile, USPS First-Class Mail postcards, letters, and flats (large envelopes) are not eligible for tracking. Adding optional services, such as collect on delivery (COD) and return receipt will provide tracking information on your first-class mail item. 

If you are the package sender and want to collect payment for your merchandise, postage, and fees from the parcel’s receiver, COD is the best option for you. 

Return receipt service is a good option for you if you need to know who received and signed your mail. A return receipt provides you with delivery details, such as who accepted the package and the delivery date. 

You can choose either an electronic return receipt (a copy of the signature) or mail it with the original signature. 

How Much to Add Tracking to First-Class Mail?

The COD fee is calculated based on the value of the item and the cost of insurance, whichever is higher. First-class Mail with added COD service has an identification, which allows you to track your first-class mail. 

The return receipt service for first-class mail costs $2 for an electronic receipt that is sent to your email and $3.25 for a mailed receipt. 

How to Add Tracking to First-Class Mail

First-Class Package Service-Retail and First-Class Package Service-Commercial come with tracking for free. 

Add-on services, such as return receipts, will provide tracking information for your First-Class Mail postcards, letters, and flats. 

Tracking First-Class Mail Is Easy With This Method

You can bring your first-class mail and packages to a post office. You can check for post offices near you at

You can also add the tracking number to your item by printing the USPS shipping label yourself at home. 

How Long Does It Take for Tracking Information to Show Up on USPS?

USPS usually updates the status of your shipment within 24 to 48 hours. 

Do not worry if you have not received an update immediately after dropping off your package. There are instances when the postal worker will scan your item the next day if you drop off your package after work hours. 

Tracking Statuses

You can get the status of your USPS shipment in various ways. Below are some possible statuses you may encounter if you track your item. 

  • If the status of your item is “Pre-Shipment Info Sent to USPS, USPS Awaiting Item.” USPS has received details of your shipment electronically. USPS is now waiting for the mailer to hand over the item to them. 

Once your item arrives at the local post office, you will receive a status update and an expected delivery date.

  • If the tracking status says “Arrived at USPS Facility or Departed USPS Facility.” your first-class mail item may be in the processing facility or in transit to the next facility.
  • “Custom Clearance” status means your item has cleared U.S. customs and is ready for transfer to USPS. 
  • The tracking status of your package will be “Received by U.S. Postal Service from U.S. Customs.” once USPS receives your item from U.S. Customs.
  • “In Transit to Next Facility” status means your item is moving along the USPS network. 
  • If the status says your item is “Out for Delivery.” your package has left the post office facility with a carrier and is on its way to deliver that day. 

If you want to know the status of your shipment, you may call or visit the post office. Check post offices near you at

Tracking Not Updating

You can track your USPS first-class mail through various methods, such as website tracker, text messages, mobile apps, or phone calls.

If the status of your item is not updated, check if the tracking number is correct. USPS tracking numbers usually have 22 digits. In some cases, the tracking number includes letters. 

What Are the Reasons Behind Tracking Not Updating?

Once your item has a tracking number, you can check its status in several ways. In some cases, items do not update for some time. Here are some reasons why your tracking number is not updating. 

If your mail tracking is not updating, it can be that your order is still unfulfilled. You can contact the sender regarding the status of your order. Unshipped items are one of the reasons why the tracking is not updating. 

A damaged barcode can cause a delay in updating the status of your shipment. The USPS barcode is a series of bars representing ZIP Codes, ZIP+4 codes, and delivery addresses. 

Another possible reason for the tracker not updating is that USPS has not yet scanned your package’s barcode. 

USPS handles a load of mail every day. In the process of speeding up the delivery process, the carriers can sometimes miss scanning a package. 

Errors in the tracking system can also cause a lack of tracking updates. Moreover, harsh weather conditions can slow down the tracking and delivery processes.  

I’ve Received My Packages, but Still, Tracking Is Not Updating

Do not worry if your tracking information is not updating even though your package was already delivered. In some cases, like during the holiday rush, USPS receives bulk shipments that delay tracking and delivery. 

The USPS Tracking Services

USPS tracking services are free and available for most USPS shipments. You can get your package’s current status and other information by using the tracking number assigned to the package. 

The tracking information in your package includes the delivery information, such as the date and time of delivery, delivery location, and the number of attempts to deliver the package. 

You can add other services that can provide tracking information for other USPS services that do not include tracking. 

First-Class Mail From the United States Postal Service Is Automatically Traced

First-Class Package Service-Retail and First-Class Package Service-Commercial are eligible for USPS Tracking at no extra charge. 

 At the Postal Service

The tracking service of your shipment is automatically activated once you pay postage at a post office counter. 

You will receive a tracking number of your shipment, which you can use to access its delivery information. 

Track the First-Class Letter

First-Class Mail postcards, letters, and flats service do not include tracking. 

If you wish to track your First-Class Mail postcards, letters, and flats, you can purchase extra services that include tracking as add-ons. 


You can print your package label yourself if you are registered as a trusted merchant on websites such as eBay, Paypal, or the online mailing service SendPro. 

Once approved, you can create and print shipping labels at home. 

You will get an electronic receipt containing your tracking number if you purchase an item online. You can use this tracking number to get the status of your order.

The Basics of First-Class Mail

First-Class Mail is a convenient and cost-effective USPS mail method that lets you ship postcards, letters, flats, and packages. 

If your letters and parcels are within the weight limit, you can send invoices, correspondences, media mail, regular mail, and bills via First-Class Mail.

What Is First Class Mail?

There are two types of First-Class Mail. First-Class Mail is a simple and affordable way of sending postcards and envelopes. First-Class Package Service is for lightweight packages. 

You can go to your local post office or through approved shipping services if you want to use the First Class Mail service. Postcards, letters, and flats are ineligible for tracking, but you get additional services that can produce tracking information. 

First-Class Package Service-Retail and First-Class Package Service-Commercial are lightweight packages. 

Retail service is for shipments weighing less than 13 ounces (oz) while commercial service is for packages weighing less than 16oz. 

You can choose retail and commercial first-class services by visiting any local post office or the USPS website. 

First-Class Package Service-Retail is one of the most popular USPS services. The cost of shipping an item through First-Class Package Service-Retail depends on the item’s weight and the delivery distance.  

If you are running a business and ship many packages, it is best to use First-Class Packaging Service-Commercial. First-class commercial packages are cheaper than other services, as USPS offers lower shipping costs if you send large volumes of mail. 

First-Class Mail and First-Class Package Services are not eligible for refunds.

Features and Pricing

The estimated delivery time for first-class mail shipments is one to five business days. The shipping fee depends on the package’s shape and weight. 

The maximum weight for first-class mail letters is 3.5oz, and 13oz for first-class mail envelopes and parcels. 

If you want to calculate the shipping cost of your item, you can use Shipping calculator. 

How to Send First-Class Mail

To mail a letter, write the address on your envelope and place a postage stamp in the upper right corner. You may drop your mailpiece in a collection box or hand it to the mail carrier. 

Delivery Window for First-Class Mail

Generally, first-class mail delivery time is one to five business days for letters and postcards. For small packages, the standard delivery time is two to five business days. 

How Long Does It Take for International First Class Mail?

First Class Mail International typically delivers your mail within 7 to 21 days. 

International First-Class Mail may travel by ground, air, or a combination of both before reaching its destination.

What Can I Do if My Mailpiece Has Not Been Delivered?

Delivery time varies depending on the type of service you choose. Check the window delivery time of your chosen service using its tracking number. If your shipment is still on schedule, sit back and relax.

You can check the USPS website if you have not received your package within the delivery time window. You can also get updates on your item by texting 28777 or downloading the USPS app. 

How Can I Leave Delivery Instructions?

You must be registered on the USPS website to use the delivery instructions service.  Another delivery instructions service requirement is the mailpiece’s tracking number. 

If your package is eligible for the USPS Delivery Instruction service, you can tell the mail carrier to leave the package at your specific address. 

You can also instruct the courier to deliver it to a different address or drop it off at your post office.

Optional Extras to Use First-Class Mail Tracking

Most customers are happy to mail their items without tracking to keep the shipping costs low. However, if you want to add services to your first-class mail, you can choose among the following options below.

Signature Confirmation

Signature Confirmation is a first-class mail add-on where the mail receiver must sign on a receipt upon receiving the package. Only an adult is allowed to sign and receive the parcel. 

The signature confirmation guarantees that your mail reaches the correct address. 

You will receive a copy of the signature and other delivery details in your email. 

It will cost you $2.90 for an electronic copy and $3.45 through the post office. 

Informed Delivery

Informed Delivery lets customers receive information on incoming mail. If you use this service, you can track your mail status free of charge. 

Collect on Delivery

Collect on Delivery (COD) is another USPS product that you can use with your first-class Mail. COD service makes the recipient pay for the fees, such as merchant price, postage costs, and COD fees. 

The sender pays for the return postage unless otherwise stated. 

You can take your COD mail to the post office or hand it to the carrier. However, you cannot drop USPS packages in the mailbox, street letterbox, or any rural mailboxes.

Certified Mail

Certified Mail helps the sender know when the USPS package is delivered and who received it. The sender will receive an electronic verification and mailing receipt after the receiver gets the parcel. 

You can also get a return receipt with an extra fee. The receipt contains the receiver’s signature and is shipped back to you.

USPS Certified Mail tracking costs $3.55. The return receipt costs $2.85 for mail and $1.70 for emails.

Registered Mail

Another extra mail service is Registered Mail. USPS will provide detailed records of your envelopes and parcels if you choose the Registered Mail service.

Priority Mail

You get free tracking with Priority Mail. You can also request free pickups when sending packages. The maximum weight is 70 pounds. 

Priority Mail costs more and offers faster shipping in comparison to First-Class Mail.

Priority Mail Express

You may receive your mail as early as the next day or within two days if you choose  Priority Mail Express. You are eligible for a refund if you do not receive your mail by 6 PM on the second day.


The United States Postal Service has more than 34,000 retail locations across the U.S. If you want to check post offices near you, visit and search for around 30,000 retail post offices throughout the United States.