How Many Digits Is a USPS Tracking Number?

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March 24, 2024

Even the best tools can’t benefit you if you do not know how to use them. This scenario applies to the USPS Tracking service, a feature allowing customers to monitor their package’s delivery status. 

One USPS Tracking-related issue that affects many shippers is tracking number concerns.

Ever wonder why USPS (the United States Postal Service) tracking numbers are alphanumeric codes and what each of these strings of letters and numbers means?

FindPostOffice.org is your ultimate resource for all things related to post offices. Our site offers crucial information regarding 31,330 U.S. post offices.

This article discusses the USPS tracking number format, including how many digits USPS tracking numbers contain. 

Whether you’re an everyday citizen or an eCommerce business owner, you might wonder about the following:

  • How the USPS tracking system works
  • What USPS tracking numbers look like
  • Whether tracking numbers for various USPS products follow a specific format or are just random arrangements of letters and numbers
  • How to get a USPS tracking number

Read on to learn more about the USPS tracking system, how it notifies its users, what each notification means, and what to do when the system isn’t updating. 

What Does USPS Tracking Number Look Like?

The U.S. Postal Service values accountability and transparency regarding its mail and package delivery services.

That’s why the shipping carrier runs a tracking system and designates tracking numbers for each mail and package. But what does a USPS tracking number look like? 

The USPS tracking number format is often a sequence of 20 to 22 digits without any letters or symbols — for instance, 9400 3867 3848 2000 0000 43. 

These tracking codes have specific formats and characteristics, ensuring each letter or parcel is identifiable while in transit to its intended recipient.

USPS Tracking Number Example and Format

You can use USPS tracking numbers to monitor any package provided you shipped them using an eligible USPS service.

Each package has a tracking number to enter into the USPS tracking search tool. The following sections list and explain various USPS tracking number formats.

USPS Tracking Format Explained

You can get a USPS tracking number if you purchase one of the following postages. Here are some examples of what these numbers might look like:

  • Collect On Delivery Hold For Pickup: 9203 4000 0000 0134 0000 00 
  • Certified Mail: 9407 3000 0191 0000 0000 00
  • USPS Tracking: 9400 2000 0000 0000 0000 00
  • Global Express Guaranteed: 82 000 000 00
  • Priority Mail: 9205 5000 0000 0234 0000 00
  • Priority Mail Express International: EC 000 000 191 US
  • Registered Mail: 9208 7000 0000 0000 0000 00
  • Priority Mail International: CP 000 011 000 US
  • Priority Mail Express: 9270 3000 0000 0000 0000 00 EA 000 000 000 US
  • Signature Confirmation: 9202 4000 0000 0000 0000 00

Anatomy of a Tracking Number

The tracking number formats vary depending on the USPS shipping method. As mentioned, they usually consist of 20 to 22 digits. 

But USPS tracking numbers can also be alphanumeric codes (a combination of letters and numbers).

Generally, a tracking number looks like any of these three examples:

  • Format 1: 9405 6000 0000 0191 0000 00 (22-digit tracking number)
  • Format 2: Less common versions may only have 10 digits.
  • Format 3: EC 000 123 000 US (begins with two letters, followed by nine numbers, and capped with “US”)

What Do the First Four Digits or Numbers Stand for in USPS Tracking Numbers?

As you learned, mailing class determines how the tracking number will look like. The first four (sometimes five) numbers typically define the service code. You can determine which mail service you purchased using these digits.

Understanding the First Four Digits

For example, here are eight of the most common prefixes and what USPS product they indicate:

How Does the U.S. Mail Service Tracking Work?

USPS or U.S. Mail service offers shippers tracking features. This service generally works through a series of actions associated with shipping parcels at a local post office:

  • USPS Label Creation: USPS generates labels with tracking numbers and barcodes.

Labels identify your package’s progress through the USPS’ mail stream, allowing you to track your parcel regardless of whether USPS or a third-party courier manages the delivery.

  • Label Scanning: USPS employees or delivery affiliates scan the label’s barcode to update the delivery progress.
  • Package Acceptance: Tracking begins when the USPS employee inducts your package into the shipping carrier’s delivery system.

USPS Tracking ends when the package arrives at its official shipping address and the recipient accepts the delivery.

  • Online Tracking Update: USPS Tracking lets you see your parcel’s route to the destination. This way, you don’t miss crucial information regarding your package.

Track U.S. Mail Service by Number

When you go to the retail counter at a post office, the employee will give you a receipt containing the tracking barcode. Keep the receipt safe while the package is in transit.

Enter this number in the USPS tracking search box to access crucial delivery information.

How Long Is a USPS Tracking Number Good for?

You may use your tracking number for as long as you can access your tracking records.

USPS stores records of mail classes and services for a specified period. Consider the following retention periods for each USPS service: 

  • Priority Mail Express: two years
  • Certified Mail: two years
  • Numbered International Mail: two years
  • Registered Mail: two years
  • USPS Tracking: 120 days
  • Adult Signature Required or Adult Signature Restricted Delivery Mail: two years
  • Signature Confirmation: one year

How to Find Your USPS Tracking Number

Below are some steps and suggestions to help you find your USPS tracking number:

  • The first thing you should know is which USPS product offers tracking services.  

By default, USPS doesn’t provide tracking with all its postage. 

USPS postages offering tracking features include Priority Mail, Collect on Delivery, Certified Mail, Registered Mail, USPS Tracking, Global Express Guaranteed, and Signature Confirmation.

You can get a tracking number if you purchase these postages. 

Suppose you chose a shipping method not included in the list above. In that case, you must pay extra to get a tracking number.

  • Save the USPS receipt for the tracking number lookup. 

You can usually find your shipping label on the receipt or slip. If you can’t locate the tracking number on the receipt, ask one of the postal workers to assist you. 

As you know, tracking labels contain a string of digits. 

  • You can also view the tracking number in your shipment’s email confirmation. You usually get an email with the label number after placing your order.
  • Your account may also display the USPS label number, depending on where you shipped your package.

Once you find the tracking number, go to the USPS website.

You will see a blank space on the USPS homepage for entering tracking numbers. Type the code there, then click enter to check your package’s status.

How to Track a USPS Package

USPS provides several package tracking methods. One of the most convenient ways to monitor your parcel is to visit USPS’ official website (USPS.com) and submit your tracking number.

Here are alternative ways to look for USPS tracking statuses:

  • Contacting USPS directly via their hotline at 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777) and providing your code to get the most up-to-date tracking information 
  • Texting “28777” with your USPS tracking number as the message to get a delivery status update
  • Using the USPS mobile application for Android and iPhone

Where Is My U.S. Mail Service Package?

Again, one of the easiest ways to view your item’s whereabouts is by inputting your tracking number in the USPS Tracking page’s search box. If you cannot use this option, you can also text or call USPS.

The USPS system displays a tracking notification describing your package’s shipment progress. For instance, a “Delivered” status will show the recorded delivery date, time, and location where USPS placed your shipment.

USPS Tracking Tips

Here are seven tips for tracking your package:

  1. Duplicate your USPS tracking number and keep a copy safe. You can print the tracking I.D. (identification) from the USPS website or your confirmation email for future reference.
  2. Use a printer that prints small text, like a laser or inkjet print. Print on plain white paper without a background via a regular inkjet printer.
  3. Track packages by providing the recipient’s address on the USPS website or calling 1-800-ASK-USPS.
  4. You can keep your shipment in its original box. However, remove anything likely to damage the tracking number (like scissors) or any material that could reveal its contents.

    Pencils and pens might stain your parcel’s label, so keep these items away from the tracking label.
  5. Wait some time before sending a replacement item for stolen or lost goods. 

    When unsure if your item was stolen or lost, call 1-800-ASK-USPS and request an investigation.
  6. If your mail or package has been marked as “Delivered” but still hasn’t arrived, contact USPS immediately and submit a report.
  7. Use an expedited delivery option to receive your package faster than regular mail. Note that there might be no tracking info for these services.

USPS Postal Service Tracking

USPS has a tracking service that lets you check the current status of your sent mail, packages, and other items. 

The USPS Tracking feature is available on the USPS website to track your parcel’s latest status.

USPS Tracking consists of two parts:

  • USPS package status: This part displays your shipment’s status like “In Transit,” “Out for Delivery,” or “Delivered.”
  • Tracking history: The history shows the status of your parcel, together with your shipment’s relevant historical data from origin to destination.

First-Class Package Tracking

USPS Tracking is available for First-Class Package Service-Commercial (FCPS-C) and First-Class Package Service-Retail (FCPS-R) mailpieces for no additional charge.

Meanwhile, First-Class Mail postcards, letters, and flats aren’t eligible for USPS Tracking. But you can buy extra services that provide scanning barcodes for these items.

USPS Certified Mail Receipt Tracking

You can monitor the status of a Certified Mail receipt using the tracking number you received when you handed your mail at the post office. Tracking your mail’s receipt helps ensure that it reaches its destination safely.

USPS First Class International Tracking

USPS does not track First-Class Mail International. This service also does not offer insurance. Also, First-Class Mail delivery speed depends on the destination.

U.S. Ground Mail Tracking

USPS offers tracking services for Parcels Select (a Ground Tracking feature) without a minimum order limit or additional charge. 

U.S. Mail Service Parcel Select Ground Tracking

Parcel Select customers receive free tracking services from USPS without being charged an additional fee.

U.S. Mail Service International Tracking

As shown above, USPS offers tracking for some international packages, depending on your shipping service. These options include the following:

  • Priority Mail Express International
  • Priority Mail International
  • Global Express Guaranteed (GXG)

U.S. Mail Service First Class Tracking

First-Class Mail packages, letters, and postcards don’t qualify for USPS Tracking. Instead, you can buy extra services that scan barcodes for these packages.

U.S. Mail Service Priority Mail Domestic Tracking

With U.S. Mail Service Priority Domestic Tracking, you can track the progress of Priority Mail packages within the U.S., including estimated arrival times and shipment progress.

U.S. Mail Service Priority Mail International Tracking

For overseas shipments, U.S. Mail Service Priority Mail International Tracking allows users to receive updates about the delivery progress of their Priority Mail package, even as it moves across national borders.

U.S. Mail Service Priority Mail Express International Tracking

This service allows you to ship items to around 180 countries, including Mexico, Canada, and Australia. 

When using Priority Mail Express, put all forms into P.S. Form 2976-E (a transparent plastic envelope that can keep and protect various customs documents needed for clearance).

Priority Mail Express International allows users to track mail or packages shipped internationally. Delivery is within three to five business days.

How to Track USPS Certified Mail

You can track Certified Mail via the USPS Tracking service on the USPS website. Just provide your mail’s tracking number on the following pages:

  • On the USPS home page
  • On the USPS Tracking section of the “Quick Tools” menu
  • On the “Send” or “Receive” dropdown option in the USPS menu bar

USPS Money Order Tracking

Money orders differ from personal checks. They have no direct connection to a personal bank account, such as a savings or checking account. 

Instead of accessing the accounts of such financial entities, you use cash to purchase money orders. Sometimes, institutions like USPS accept debit cards. 

The money order won’t appear in your bank transaction record if you purchase it with cash. Still, you can track money order payments by contacting the issuer. 

USPS Return Receipt Tracking

You can request a return receipt by mail by providing the necessary information on the USPS website’s tracking system.

Get a copy of your return receipt by mail by visiting www.USPS.com and clicking “Tracking” under “Quick Tools.” You can also call 1-800-222-1811 toll-free.

U.S. Mail Service Intelligent Mail Barcode or U.S. Mail Service IMB Tracking and Tracing

The Intelligent Mail barcode, or IMb, is a mailing program that tracks letters, cards, and flats. 

The IMb codes contain a 65-bar barcode that mailers can use to monitor mail more efficiently and enhance mail stream visibility. 

IMb is a highly versatile tool that allows users to request and integrate different services into one barcode.

U.S. Mail Service Delivery Tracking

As you know, USPS can provide users with timely updates regarding their mailed items. 

Recipients and senders can monitor shipment progress through a unique tracking code assigned to each parcel. They can use this feature to estimate delivery dates. 

The following sections discuss delivery tracking in detail.

U.S. Mail Service Expected Delivery Window

When you view your parcel’s status, the USPS tracking system may display the Expected Delivery Window (ExDW). This window is a two-hour period when you can expect your package to arrive. 

U.S. Mail Service Parcel Select Delivery Time

  Parcel Select deliveries typically take two to eight business days. Suppose you ship to remote areas of distant places like Hawaii or Alaska. In that case, the delivery time will likely be longer.

U.S. Mail Service Delayed Mail and Packages

When your package or mail is delayed or redirected, USPS offers several options to help check your item’s status in the mail system.

For example, USPS’ service guidelines can tell you how many days you may have to wait before contacting USPS to report a delayed shipment.

USPS’ mail volume changes daily, so the carrier cannot guarantee delivery on schedule 100% of the time.

U.S. Mail Service Tracking Statuses

You will see tracking status updates for your package or mail on the USPS website at various times. Below are some examples of USPS tracking updates and their meanings.

What Does In-Transit Mean in U.S. Mail Service?

This notification means USPS is currently processing or transporting the package to the delivering post office. 

These tracking scans may appear many times from the same facility and on different days while the package travels.

You can sign up to receive text or email tracking alerts to monitor your package. Additional tracking details will be displayed when the parcel has arrived and is out for delivery.

What Does Out for Delivery Mean in U.S. Mail Service?

This notification lets you know USPS sent the package for delivery to meet the agreed-upon delivery date.

What Does Delivered Mean in U.S. Mail Service?

This tracking notification means the package has been delivered with a recorded time, date, and delivery address. 

Suppose your package has a delivered status, but you can’t find it. In that case, your carrier may have moved it to a safer location, such as the following:

  • Mailbox 
  • Areas out of street view, such as under mats or near back entrances
  • Garage
  • Porch
  • Areas protected from weather
  • Exterior doors and any outside areas where the package could be placed

What Does Return to Sender Mean?

Here are possible reasons for receiving a “Return to Sender” tracking update:

  • No such number”: The address details, such as an apartment number, were incorrect or incomplete.
  • Moved, left no address”: The recipient has recently relocated without establishing a forwarding address.
  • Addressee unknown”: The recipient cannot be located at the address on the tracking label.

“Inbound Out of Customs” Meaning

International shipments are subject to U.S. Customs clearance. 

If you’re expecting a shipment from outside the country, you might get an “Inbound Out of Customs” tracking alert.

Other Tracking Statuses

Here are additional tracking status updates you may receive from USPS Tracking:

  • “Forwarded” or “Forwarded Processed”: The mail is being forwarded to another address. This scenario may be due to a change of address (COA) request or the package being delivered to the wrong post office.
  • “Redelivery Scheduled”: A redelivery was scheduled, or you were notified of a second delivery schedule before USPS returns the package to the sender.

Does USPS Tracking Start With 1Z?

No. Tracking numbers that begin with “1Z” are usually shipped via UPS (United Parcel Service). UPS also uses tracking numbers containing 7 to 20 characters.

U.S. Mail Service Tracking Not Updating

A typical reason for tracking information not updating is terrible weather. 

Still, it is best to contact USPS customer service for an up-to-date status report. 

When the tracking status of your package stalls, it does not necessarily mean your item is not moving. 

Your parcel may be en route to the given destination and should arrive around the estimated time.

What Are the Reasons Behind Tracking Not Updating?

Sometimes, the tracking progress of your package is not accurate. Here are possible reasons why your USPS tracking is not working:

  • The package has yet to be shipped: This status happens when you search with an old tracking number or fail to input a tracking number. 
  • Damaged or unreadable barcode: A damaged or hard-to-read barcode may cause an issue since some post offices manually enter the barcodes to scan packages.
  • The package wasn’t scanned: A postal employee must scan the parcel to update your USPS mail tracking progress. 

If your tracker isn’t updating, it may be because updates have yet to appear or the scan has yet to be performed.

How Long Does It Take for Tracking Information to Show Up in the U.S. Mail Service?

USPS Tracking usually begins when the sender or USPS shipping partner informs USPS to expect a package.

The Postal Service updates the item’s scanning information once scans are available. The carrier continues to do so until the recipient receives the package.

“My Package Shipped by U.S. Mail Service Shows No Tracking Information”

Although USPS offers delivery confirmation, some mailing services don’t provide tracking. 

So, some packages shipped through USPS offer little or no tracking information.

USPS scans and confirms package delivery only when the parcel arrives at the post office and upon delivery. 

“I’ve Received My Packages, but Still, U.S. Mail Service Tracking Is Not Updating”

Tracking may take time to update, even if packages are delivered.

Still, ensure that you typed in the correct tracking number. If the problem persists, the fault may be on the carrier’s end.

U.S. Mail Service Package Not Moving for a Week, a Month, or Stopped

USPS can experience a temporary surge in deliveries. However, while the company strives to process parcels quickly, some packages may take longer to manage.

Suppose your package’s tracking status has stayed the same for some time. It doesn’t necessarily mean it has been stolen, lost, or damaged.  

The shipment could still be in transit or awaiting processing and should be scanned.

How Does U.S. Mail Service Premium Tracking Work?

USPS Tracking Plus is an upgraded version of USPS Tracking, offering users the following benefits:

  • Access to online tracking history for up to 10 years for domestic shipments and seven years for international products
  • Documentation of mailing and delivery or delivery attempts for court and legal purposes
  • USPS proof of delivery to resolve claims and disputes
  • Official authentic information that financial and legal entities may accept

Sending USPS Packages

You now know USPS offers tracking options for specific mailing services. Still, you should know the crucial guidelines for shipping with USPS. The following sections discuss what you can and can’t send with USPS.

What Can You Send With USPS?

You can send anything from letters to large items with USPS, provided you follow the shipping carrier’s shipping guidelines.

Remember the following factors when shipping with USPS:

  • Some products are prohibited (completely forbidden).
  • Some items are restricted (allowed under specific conditions).
  • HAZMAT (hazardous materials) might be banned or restricted.

What Can’t You Send With USPS?

You can’t send these items in the U.S. mail:

  • Air Bags
  • Ammunition
  • Liquid Mercury
  • Marijuana (medical or otherwise)
  • Hemp (cannabidiol, a compound found in marijuana, is allowed but restricted)
  • Explosives
  • Gasoline

Priority Mail vs. Priority Mail Express

These two USPS shipping options offer expedited delivery. However, they differ regarding costs, features, and delivery timeframes.

The following sections summarize the distinctions to help you decide which mailing service meets your needs.

USPS Priority Mail

This USPS service offers fast and reliable shipping. Priority Mail provides no-cost package pickup at your location, offers tracking, and covers up to $100 of insurance for most shipments. Its service label includes fields for outgoing and return addresses.

How Long Does Priority Mail Take?

The delivery period for Priority Mail changes, but it usually takes one to three business days for local shipments.

U.S. Mail Service Priority International Delivery Times

Priority Mail International delivery estimates may vary based on the parcel’s destination. Shipping to countries near the U.S., like Canada or Mexico, often takes six working days.

Priority Mail Express

This premium USPS service guarantees domestic delivery in one to two business days, providing an excellent solution for urgent shipments.

What Is Priority Mail Express Service?

This service is one of the USPS’s most efficient domestic shipping services.  

With Flat Rate Envelopes, you can send more packages, including those weighing over 70lbs. You can buy a Priority Mail Express postage and label online or at a post office. As of 2023, prices start at $28.75.

USPS Certified Mail

This mailing service allows senders to get a mailing receipt as proof of shipping. Certified Mail requires the recipient’s signature upon delivery. 

Customers can also pair it with the Return Receipt Service, providing them with a copy of the recipient’s signature through the mail or online.

Say you want to verify delivery information. You can do so via the following ways:

  • Inputting the Certified Mail service number on the USPS website (USPS.com)
  • Calling USPS via phone with the Certified Mail service number
  • Through a bulk electronic file transfer (for bulk senders who submit an electronic manifest to the USPS)

Furthermore, Certified Mail offers enhanced delivery features, ensuring shipment only to the addressee or their authorized representative.

Certified Mail Costs (Plus Mail Postage and Other Fees)

The fee for Certified Mail depends on the delivery destination, item type, and extra services. 

For instance, Certified Mail costs for retail letters start at $3.35. Added features like restricted delivery or return receipts can affect the overall cost.

U.S. Mail Service Priority Mail International Standard and Express Service

Priority Mail International and Priority Mail Express International allow customers to get updates regarding the delivery progress of their Priority Mail parcel for overseas shipments, even as the package moves across national borders.

These services allow customers to ship parcels to around 180 countries, including Australia, Mexico, and Canada.

Priority Mail Express International and Priority Mail International let users track packages or mail for most destinations. 

However, this tracking option is unavailable for Priority Mail International shipments using flat-rate envelopes or small boxes.

The estimated delivery time for Priority Mail International is 6 to 10 business days. In contrast, Priority Mail Express International deliveries may arrive within three to five business days.

U.S. Mail Service Global Express Guaranteed

The GXG, or Global Express Guaranteed service, is an international expedited delivery service USPS offers in collaboration with FedEx (Federal Express). 

GXG is available at over 16,000 participating retail stores throughout the U.S.

U.S. Mail Service Business Solutions

USPS enables business partnership opportunities by providing the following shipping services:

  • Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM)
  • Shipping best practices
  • Package pickup and drop-off
  • Pricing calculator
  • Shipping services, like Click-N-Ship
  • Postal exporter
  • Marketing campaigns

U.S. Mail Service Parcel Select Ground

USPS offers Parcel Select Ground, an economical delivery service for bulky shipments. 

Customers who opt for this mail class can ship packages weighing up to 70lbs. Rates differ according to a mailpiece’s weight, dimensions, and delivery proximity.

First-Class Mail vs. First-Class Package Service

USPS can ship letters, postcards, and large envelopes via its First Class Mail service. This option delivers in one to five business days for items weighing up to 13 ounces.

In contrast, First Class Package Service is USPS’ lowest-cost option for small packages weighing 15.99 ounces or less. 

With its fast delivery within three days, this mail class is a USPS shipping method often used to send time-sensitive material by the finance and pharmaceutical industries.

What Is U.S. Mail Service First Class Package International?

FCPIS (First-Class Package International Service) is a cost-effective way to ship lightweight packages to around 180 countries. 

You can mail parcels weighing up to 64oz (4lbs) with contents valued up to $400. As of 2023, the shipping fee for First-Class Package International deliveries starts at $15.75.

3 Tips for Packing Boxes Safely

One of the most frustrating situations in life is eagerly awaiting a parcel, only to find the item inside broken upon arrival.

Imagine buying an awesome decor piece from Amazon, counting the days until delivery, and finding out it broke in transit.

Ensuring items are packaged securely is essential to prevent such mishaps. Below are three tips for packing boxes safely so they arrive intact at their destination.

#1 Save Money by Fitting Your Items to the Size of the Box

You should verify if your item fits optimally inside the box. USPS mailing costs vary depending on package weight, size, and delivery address. 

It helps to measure your parcel, ensuring it meets USPS size standards. 

Suppose you give inaccurate dimensions and don’t pay the DIM (dimensional) weight rate (when it applies). In that case, you usually pay a dimension-noncompliance fee.

For Priority Mail, you will pay extra for shipping a nonstandard size item if your parcel has the following measurements:

  • 22 and 30 inches long: Add $4
  • Over 30 inches long: Add $15
  • Over 3,456 cubic inches (2 cubic feet): Add $25

#2 Prevent Loss, Pack Everything Well

Losing an item from the mail is one of the most frustrating things in life. It can be costly for the sender and upsetting for the recipient.

Here are some tips to ensure this scenario doesn’t happen:

  1. Use a sturdy box to protect the items inside. 
  2. Pack fragile items with cushioning. Use affordable items, like bubble wrap, newspapers, or old t-shirt materials, as cushions.
  3. If you’re recycling an old box, remove the old logos, shipping labels, or address information you used before.
  4. Seal the box and ensure it’s flat on all sides. Remember to reinforce the closed flaps once you’re done.
  5. Print the USPS shipping label or write the addresses with a permanent marker. 

Put the return address in the top-left corner and the delivery address at the center of your package.

 #3 Ask USPS Employees for Help to Calculate Costs

Many people make mistakes regarding the service type they need and how to calculate the costs.

Visit a post office for specific suggestions regarding your desired service, depending on how soon you need the mailing service and the item’s size and weight).

The staff at the post office will calculate your postage and deliver your package.

Letters and Cards

Whether an official document or a handwritten note, a letter or a card holds sentimental and professional value.  

Ensuring these items reach their destination safely is just as crucial as shipping parcels. So check if they’re appropriately sealed and addressed to avoid mishaps. 

If the contents are highly valuable, consider using a padded envelope or tracking service as an extra precaution.

U.S. Mail Service Delivery Hours

USPS aims to deliver mail and packages by 5:00 PM local time from Monday to Saturday. 

However, unexpected circumstances, like heavy traffic, staffing shortages, natural disasters, severe weather, and route changes, can cause delivery delays.

U.S. Mail Service Sunday Delivery and Saturday Delivery Hours

USPS delivers on weekends for some mail classes or services. However, schedules differ depending on the sender’s location and the recipient’s address.

Does U.S. Mail Service Deliver on Saturdays?

USPS ships on Saturdays, with estimated delivery times varying according to the parcel’s intended location.

Postal employees’ Saturday shifts follow the same pattern as their Monday-to-Friday routine. They deliver packages between 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM for every delivery service.

Does U.S. Mail Service Deliver on Sundays?

Yes, depending on the mail class and the metro area you live in, the U.S. Postal Service delivers packages on Sundays. 

If you pay extra, USPS delivers on Sundays for the following mailing services:

  • Priority Mail Express (pay an additional fee of $12.50)
  • Priority Mail (for large metro areas only)
  • First Class Package Service (for large metros only)

What Does Customs Do?

Customs inspects shipments from abroad to ensure compliance with export and import regulations. Customs also determines whether duties or taxes are owed.

Does the Customs Clearance Process Work?

As mentioned, customs officers examine all incoming merchandise and may impose additional fees if necessary. 

Even if you list your item as a gift on your customs invoice, it still has value, and customs officers may inspect it.

You must specify what your package contains to clear customs smoothly.

U.S. Mail Service Package Lost or Stolen: What to Do?

If your USPS package is lost or stolen, file a claim online, provide proof of value, and give all necessary information, such as mailing address and product description.

What Is U.S. Mail Service Informed Delivery?

U.S. Mail Service or USPS Informed Delivery lets customers check their shipments, allowing them to preview soon-to-arrive packages.

Users can see their package’s photo when they sign in to their USPS account and access the Informed Delivery dashboard. Informed Delivery also enables recipients to sign electronically upon parcel receipt.

My Tracking Number Doesn’t Work, What Should I Do?

Before the invention of the internet, people had no way of knowing anything regarding their packages while in transit.

Today, most shipping companies can update customers about an item’s delivery status via a tracking code.

But what if you entered the tracking number only to receive an error notification or no updates?

While this scenario can be distressing, there are typical explanations and steps to address the problem based on the carrier:

FedEx

FedEx updates shipment details once it receives the package. 

Say you used your tracking number or reference I.D. (identification) but don’t see any delivery update. Your package is likely at the shipper’s original location.

FedEx will keep you informed after its representatives pick the package up until it arrives at your door.

Other reasons for the FedEx tracking number not working include input errors, system delays, and technical glitches.

Recheck the code, wait a while, or consult FedEx customer service for help.

UPS

Likewise, UPS tracking numbers may experience activation delays. You might have to wait 24 hours after you handed the package before seeing any information regarding your shipment. 

Also, check whether you entered the correct code. If issues persist, contact the shipping carrier’s customer support. 

USPS

As shown above, USPS tracking numbers typically only work after their first scan. 

Suppose you still don’t see any delivery notification days after you shipped the package. In that case, you can contact the local post office for assistance.

What Is the U.S. Postal Service?

USPS is the only shipping service provider with a delivery service that covers every location in the U.S. 

The entity does not depend on tax dollars for operating expenses. It relies on the sale of services, products, and postage to finance its activities.

USPS has 34,000 retail outlets and one of the most visited federal government websites. 

Additionally, USPS handles 44% of the world’s mail, bringing the agency a $78.8 billion operating revenue in 2022.

Lastly, USPS oversees 516,750 career employees, placing it among the top employers in the country.

What Does a UPS Tracking Number Look Like?

UPS tracking numbers may appear in the following formats:

  • 1Z3333333333333333 
  • 333333333333 
  • T3333333333
  • 333333333

FAQs

  1. How can I track regular mail or packages without a tracking number?

You usually can’t monitor a package without a tracking number or code. You’ll also be unable to know the status of your shipment.

However, note that postcards, periodicals, and First-Class Mail letters don’t have tracking numbers. As shown above, only select mailing services, like the following, have tracking numbers:

  • Collect On Delivery Hold For Pickup
  • Global Express Guaranteed
  • Priority Mail
  • Certified Mail
  • USPS Tracking
  1. How do I track a USPS international mail or package?

You can track USPS international mail or packages via a USPS tracking number:

  • Global Express Guaranteed: Tracking to all destinations
  • Priority Mail International: USPS Tracking for most destinations (unavailable for flat-rate small boxes and envelopes)
  • First‑Class Package International Service: USPS Tracking for most destinations 
  • Priority Mail Express International: USPS Tracking for most destinations

As mentioned, you may find that destination restrictions apply to various services. So you should check the terms of your mail class with USPS.

Online tracking information typically includes the date and time the package left the U.S., when it arrived, and when the delivery was made or attempted.

  1. Can a USPS tracking number have 26 digits?

As mentioned, USPS tracking numbers typically consist of 20 to 22 digits. As cases involving 26-digit USPS tracking codes are unusual, it is best to check with USPS if such codes are valid. This security measure will also ensure that you avoid being scammed.

  1. How many numbers should be in a USPS tracking number?

The answer to this question depends on the mail class you used to ship your letter or parcel. 

For instance, USPS Tracking, Certified Mail, and Priority Mail might contain 23 digits. In contrast, GXG may only have 10.

  1. What do USPS Priority Mail services tracking numbers start with?

As shown above, USPS Priority tracking numbers may start with 9205 (Priority Mail) or 9270 (Priority Mail Express). 

Still, it’s best to confirm with your local post office whether your tracking number is accurate.

  1. Are there fake USPS tracking numbers?

USPS tracking numbers aren’t fake if the USPS tracking system displays legitimate delivery progress. 

However, some criminals use fake tracking credentials to scam USPS customers. 

For example, one report showed that some scammers disguise themselves as government representatives to get USPS customers’ account usernames and passwords, PINs (personal identification numbers), or other sensitive information.

  1. How long does First-Class Mail take?

With First Class Mail, domestic shipments generally arrive in one to five days. 

You can buy First-Class Mail Forever stamps for $0.66 (the current 1oz price). This stamp will never expire, even if the First-Class postage rate increases.

  1. How do you find a USPS post office?

You can use FindPostOffice.org’s online search tool to get information regarding the 31,000+ local post offices in the U.S., such as retail opening and closing times.

  1. How long does it take for international First-Class Mail?

With First Class Mail International, shipments generally arrive in 7 to 21 days. However, USPS does not guarantee a specific delivery date or time. Mail may travel to its destination by air, ground, or a combination of the two.

  1. When will my letter carrier or mail arrive?

The answer to this question depends on when you shipped your product and what mailing class you purchased.

  1. What can I do if my mailpiece hasn’t been delivered?

Suppose you think your mail or package is lost or delayed. In that case, follow these steps to help USPS find your mail:

  1. Check USPS Tracking to see your mail’s current status.
  2. Complete USPS’ online help request form before you file for a missing mail search.
  3. Say seven business days have passed since you completed your online help request form, and your package or mail hasn’t arrived. In that case, send a Missing Mail search request to USPS.
  1. How do you deliver your package with U.S. Mail Service?

U.S. Mail Service or USPS shipping usually starts with bringing your parcel to the mailbox or the local post office.

A postal worker can then take your package along with other shipments. USPS will ship your item to a mail sorting facility via trucks.

  1. How do I track a U.S. Mail Service return receipt?

You may receive the Return Receipt by mail (with an original signature) or electronically (a copy of the signature).

You can track your return receipt via mail when you access www.usps.com (under “Quick Tools,” select Tracking) or call toll-free 1-800-222-1811.

References

1. USPS Tracking
https://tools.usps.com/go/TrackConfirmAction_input
2. USPS Tracking® – The Basics
https://faq.usps.com/s/article/USPS-Tracking-The-Basics
3. How to find your tracking number
https://faq.usps.com/s/article/How-to-find-your-tracking-number
4. Contact Us
https://www.usps.com/help/contact-us.htm?_gl=1*1g6n9k2*_gcl_au*MTAxMjU0ODcxMi4xNjkxOTQ5Mjc2
5. Types of First-Class Mail®
https://faq.usps.com/s/article/Types-of-First-Class-Mail
6. International Mail & Shipping Services
https://www.usps.com/international/mail-shipping-services.htm
7. Parcel Select
https://faq.usps.com/s/article/Parcel-Select
8. Priority Mail Express International
https://www.usps.com/international/priority-mail-express-international.htm
9. PS 2976
https://about.usps.com/forms/ps2976b.pdf
10. Priority Mail Express International
https://www.usps.com/international/priority-mail-express-international.htm
11. Intelligent Mail® Barcode
https://postalpro.usps.com/mailing/intelligent-mail-barcode
12. Where is my package?
https://faq.usps.com/s/article/Where-is-my-package
13. USPS Parcel Select Ground
https://www.stamps.com/usps/parcel-select/
14. Tracking Support
https://www.ups.com/us/en/support/tracking-support.page
15. USPS Tracking Not Updating – The Truth & Guide
https://geekzowns.com/usps-tracking-not-updating/
16. Domestic Shipping Prohibitions, Restrictions, & HAZMAT
https://www.usps.com/ship/shipping-restrictions.htm
17. Priority Mail
https://www.usps.com/ship/priority-mail.htm
18. Priority Mail Address Label
https://store.usps.com/store/product/shipping-supplies/priority-mail-address-label-P_LABEL_228
19. Priority Mail Express
https://pe.usps.com/businessmail101?ViewName=PriorityMailExpress
20. Mail & Shipping Services
https://www.usps.com/ship/mail-shipping-services.ht
21. Certified Mail® – The Basics
https://faq.usps.com/s/article/Certified-Mail-The-Basics
22. United State Postal Service Pricing
https://mn.gov/admin/government/mail/usps-pricing
23. Priority Mail International
https://www.usps.com/international/priority-mail-international.htm
24. Make sure USPS international tracking is available for your package.
https://www.stamps.com/usps/international-package-tracking/
25. Priority Mail Express International
https://www.usps.com/international/priority-mail-express-international.htm
26. Global Express Guaranteed® Service Guide
https://about.usps.com/publications/pub141.pdf
27. How to Do Business with USPS®
https://www.usps.com/c360/images/business/SMB_Onboarding_DIGITAL.pdf
28. First-Class Mail
https://www.usps.com/ship/first-class-mail.htm
29. USPS First Class Package Service
https://www.stamps.com/usps/first-class-package-service/
30. Delayed mail and packages?
https://faq.usps.com/s/article/Delayed-Mail-and-Packages
31. USPS Sunday Delivery
https://www.stamps.com/usps/usps-sunday-delivery/
32. Informed Delivery by USPS
https://www.usps.com/manage/informed-delivery.htm
33. About the United States Postal Service
https://about.usps.com/who/profile/
34. Size and Scope
https://facts.usps.com/size-and-scope/
35. How to Track a USPS International Package
https://www.stamps.com/usps/international-package-tracking/
36. Smishing: Package Tracking Text Scams
https://www.uspis.gov/news/scam-article/smishing-package-tracking-text-scams
37. Find Missing Mail
https://www.usps.com/help/missing-mail.htm
38. Domestic Return Receipt
https://about.usps.com/publications/pub370/pub370_v10_revision_012016_tech_005.htm