USPS Available for Pickup


November 21, 2023

The United States Postal Service (USPS) serves 152.2 million residential and 12.7 business delivery addresses in the U.S., based on 2022 statistics.

With such a broad service coverage, successful delivery to recipients’ addresses can sometimes be challenging. The USPS delivery may fail if the postal worker or driver cannot reach your address.

In such a situation, you may notice an “Available for pickup” status in your item’s tracking information.

What does this message mean? What circumstances can cause your package to have this status? If you want to pick up your parcel, what are the steps to claim it?

This article explains what “Available for pickup” means and how to pick up your package with this status. This article also discusses how long USPS will hold your item until you arrive for pickup.

If you need to pick up a shipment but do not know its location, use’s online search tool. This feature lets you find a post office near you or narrow your search by city, state, or ZIP code.

What Does “Available for Pickup” Mean?

The “Available for pickup” status means your parcel is being held at the post office, waiting for you to pick up it up. 

This status may appear if the courier does not deliver your package to your address. In this case, you must visit the post office, where the staff can hand the parcel to you.

When your parcel is available for pickup, its status will likely not change to “Out for delivery” or a similar message anymore. In other words, your item will no longer go further along the delivery process until you take action. You must collect your package in person, usually at the post office.

“Why Is My Parcel Available for Pickup?”

There are a few possible reasons your parcel becomes available for pickup, such as delivery failure or no attempt to deliver. The following sections discuss these reasons.

Their Delivery Attempt Failed

You may get the “Available for pickup” message when USPS attempts to deliver your parcel but fails. This situation can happen for several reasons, such as when you wrote the address incorrectly, nobody was home at the time of delivery, or there were no safe places for the courier to place the parcel when no one was home.

Other reasons include something blocking the driver from accessing your home or the shipper paying the wrong postage amount and needing to settle the difference before you can receive your item.

You can miss your parcel delivery when any of these situations happen, so you must go and pick it up, even if the fault is not yours.

A delivery failure will usually prompt the postal worker to leave a slip telling you why they cannot deliver and which post office from which you can collect your item.

Suppose the delivery failure was due to the address being incorrect or the driver not gaining access to your property. In this case, the courier will not leave a slip.

They Did Not Attempt to Deliver

In some cases, the courier may not have tried to deliver your parcel at all, even when you were in your house all day waiting for the package to arrive.

This event can be frustrating, especially when you freed your schedule for that day expecting a delivery but not receiving the package.

Because there was no delivery attempt, you may not receive a note indicating the driver’s arrival near your place. When this event happens, your parcel’s tracking status can change from “Out for delivery” to “Available for pickup.”

This nondelivery can occur when the employee delivering your piece of mail misses your parcel when collecting the shipments in the morning.

Furthermore, the postal staff must transfer numerous mail to their vehicles, so missing a parcel or two is possible. This scenario can likely cause your item’s status to get swapped to “Available for pickup.”

Still, even though this nondelivery is not your fault, USPS may not resend the parcel to your address. In this case, you are expected to pick up the item instead.

“Can I Just Go Pick Up My Package From USPS?”

Because USPS will often not attempt redelivery, you will likely need to pick up your parcel from a Postal Service location. Pickup can be a hassle if you have a tight schedule, especially since you paid for shipping.

Suppose the courier attempted delivery, but you were away from home to receive the package. You will usually receive a delivery slip notifying you of the delivery failure.

Whether or not you receive one of these slips, check your parcel’s online tracking information. This information should inform you which post office your package has been sent to for pickup.

You must visit the correct post office indicated on the slip when picking up your item. If you go to a different location, the courier may not deliver your parcel between those places.

Also, carefully check your item’s USPS tracking information to avoid a mix-up that may cause you to go to the wrong post office, especially if several such locations are nearby.

Suppose you are unsure about what to do or need help locating your parcel using USPS Tracking. In this case, you can contact USPS and ask the customer service representative for advice.

What to Do When You Get USPS Available for Pickup

Aside from getting the “Available for pickup” status, you may receive a Postal Service notification, usually in your mail or at the front door of your address, informing you of the failed delivery.

USPS may occasionally attempt to redeliver your item, or you can arrange a reattempt yourself. If neither solution works, the post office will keep your package. You will have to visit this location later to pick up your parcel.

To claim your USPS package from the post office, you must first locate your item’s exact address. To do so, visit the Postal Service website’s tracking system and enter your registered information. The system should provide you with your shipment’s status and current location.

Once you obtain this information, head to your package’s location to pick up your delivery.

“Who Can Collect the Parcel? How Long Should I Have to Pick Up My Package?”

Despite some hassles discussed in this article about picking up your item from the post office, this option gives you control over where and when to receive your package. However, the Postal Service will not permanently store your parcel.

How Long Will USPS Hold a Package?

If the courier returns your package to the post office after a failed delivery, you have 15 days to pick it up from that facility.

The courier will send you a notice on the first day and a final one five days later.

“How Do I Pick Up a Package From USPS?”

When preparing to claim your package from USPS, one of the first things to do is to bring an identification (I.D.) form and verification code for confirmation with the post office.

Next, visit the post office where your item is and inform the receptionist that you have a package to pick up.

What Does the Customer Need to Present When Picking Up Mail at Their Local Post Office?

In most cases, the staff will ask only for your I.D. However, they can also ask for additional information, such as your package’s tracking code.

Ensure that you present a valid photo I.D. You must also bring the P.S. Form 3849 (redelivery notice) that the mail carrier left at your address.

“What Happens if I Don’t Pick It Up?”

If you’re the recipient and you don’t claim your package from the post office within 15 days, the courier will return the item to the sender, which can incur new delivery charges.

Therefore, ensure to pick up your package within the period indicated. Once USPS marks the item for return to the shipper, you cannot do anything to change this situation or get the parcel redirected to you.

Suppose you decide not to accept the package for some reason. You can tell the post office staff that you refuse to receive it, and they will return it to the sender.

“How Do I Know Where My Parcel Is?”

The delivery slip you receive may contain information about where your parcel is by the time the “Available for pickup” status appears on the item’s tracking information.

If you do not receive the slip, you must visit the USPS Tracking page and enter the item’s tracking number into the box. When your package is available for pickup, the status should show where to pick up the item.

Contact Your Local Post Office Facility

If you have questions regarding your Package Pickup or Pickup on Demand request, call or visit your local post office. You can also visit and call the customer service hotline at 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777).

You can also contact the USPS technical support team by calling 1-800-344-7779 if you encounter difficulties with any of the following:


  1. Is USPS still doing pickups?

USPS allows you to schedule a pickup, and a Postal Service worker will pick up your item during their regular delivery time.

To schedule a pickup online, go to, navigate to the “Quick Tools” menu, and click “Schedule a Pickup.”

  1. Where can the customer go to pick up mail that is being held?

If you are the recipient of the mail, you can go to your post office pickup location indicated on the redelivery notice. Ensure to pick up the item on or after the date and time specified on the slip.

Note that when you look up an item via USPS Tracking, the post office information may not appear immediately after a delivery attempt. 

Instead, the post office’s name, location, and business day operating hours will show up when the package returns to the post office.

  1. Where do I pick up accountable mail?

Suppose you receive the redelivery notice and want to pick up your accountable mail but are unsure where the item is held. You can do any of the following:

  • Visit the USPS website and enter the barcode or tracking number on the USPS Tracking page.
  • Call the USPS Customer Care Center at 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777).

USPS customer service representatives are available during the following schedules:

  • Mondays to Fridays: Between 8:00 AM and 8:30 PM Eastern Standard Time (EST)
  • Saturday: Between 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM EST
  • Sundays and holidays: Closed

Accountable mail requires a signature, payment of fees, or both from the recipient or their representative before the completion of the delivery. 

The recipient (addressee) or their authorized agent must be physically present to sign for accountable mail when delivered by a mail carrier.

  1. Can a customer have someone else pick up their held mail?

When picking up mail for someone else, you must have that person’s written authorization and valid photo I.D. 

You can have the authorization written on the back of the delivery notice or on plain paper signed by the addressee saying you have permission to pick up their mail.

Suppose you have the same last name and address as the person to whom the mail is addressed. You can only pick up that mail on their behalf if a standing delivery order (a permanent authorization) is in place.

Should the original recipient want to send someone else to pick up an accountable mail item, they should follow the instructions on the back of P.S. Form 3849.

  1. What is Package Pickup?

If you have outgoing mail, the Package Pickup service allows USPS to pick up your parcel from your location. The Postal Service has three options for picking up your package:

  • Pickup on Demand: This service can work when you need to pick up mail on a specific date. The courier will charge you a pickup fee per trip, regardless of how many items you schedule for pickup.
  • Package Pickup: This service lets you schedule a free pickup for a designated day or the next delivery day.
  • Collection Service: This service comprises prepaid mail, typically handed to a letter carrier or postal staff, or prepaid mail deposited in a collection box.

Your letter carrier can pick up packages with return merchandise, prepaid postage, or both via the following services:

  • Priority Mail Express: This mail service’s commitment varies depending on when you mail the item, where this item’s destination is, and where you deposit the mail.
    • If you want the Priority Mail Express guarantee for your mailing, present the item to a post office acceptance employee.
    • Consider contacting your local post office for your area’s guarantee details, such as estimates on whether Priority Mail Express packages picked up via Package Pickup service or given to a letter carrier will meet that day’s cutoff.
  • USPS Priority Mail
  • USPS Ground Advantage
  • Returns
  • International services, such as:


  2. Picking Up Mail that is Being Held at Your Post Office
  3. Contact Us
  4. Package Pickup & Pickup on Demand®