USPS Forwarded Package


March 23, 2024

According to statistics, an estimated 15.3 million American households, with an average family size of 2.3 members, move annually. Meanwhile, three million people move between states yearly in the United States.

People who have regular subscriptions, are part of a mailing list, or receive email and packages regularly might need help to manage deliveries between relocation and change of addresses. 

However, the United States Postal Service Mail Forwarding service is one solution to resolve this problem. 

What happens when USPS forwards packages, and how can it help people who move temporarily or permanently?

This article explains the USPS Mail Forwarding service and how it works. It also addresses the different problems that people encounter while using this service.

Furthermore, this write-up provides tips on reducing forwarding problems like deliveries to wrong addresses and cases of missing or lost packages.  

Mail Forwarding is a complex process requiring proper coordination with local post offices near your old residence and your current address. 

You can get the location and contact information of over 31,330 USPS retail facilities and post offices by visiting Our website provides quick access to post office information like contact numbers, addresses, operating hours, and holiday schedules. 

What Does USPS Package Forwarding Mean?

Package Forwarding is a USPS service where your mail or packages are rerouted to a different address besides one’s primary address. 

Most people use forwarding when they temporarily relocate to another location and wish to have mail delivered to their home address to a specified place. However, if you plan to move to a new address, you must apply for a change of address instead of forwarding.

When USPS Says “Forwarded,” What Exactly Does That Imply?

Receiving a “forwarded” status in your tracking notification means that USPS has delivered your package to the forwarding address. However, if you did not apply for forwarding, then there may be a problem with your parcel. 

Likewise, when you have applied for forwarded but haven’t received a notification, it may be that the new address is wrong. You may need to contact customer service to resolve the issue. 

After a Change of Address

You’ll receive the “Forwarded” status after you’ve applied for a change of address. Once you get this notification, USPS personnel will redirect your package to your new address. 

The ZIP Code Is Wrong

You may receive the “Forwarded” status because you have used the wrong ZIP code. Remember that if you get the ZIP code wrong, it can change the entire address. 

A ZIP (Zone Improvement Plan) code is a five-digit number used to identify a particular postal delivery area in the country. 

Moving or Relocating

You may need help to choose whether a change of address is better when you move or just temporarily relocate. However, to make your decision-making easier, you can follow this tip. 

If you’re relocating for 15 days to 12 months, it’s advisable to submit a temporary change of address request. However, if you’re going to move permanently, then submitting a permanent change of address is the right course of action. 

Getting Started

When you’re contemplating using mail forwarding, you should plan. Even though the USPS forwarding service starts as early as three business days after submitting a request, it’s best to wait up to two weeks. 

Once your request is processed, mail shipped to your old address is redirected to your forwarding location piece by piece. 

What Mail Is Forwarded

The following are the types of mail USPS can forward:

  • USPS can forward First-Class Mail and periodicals like magazines and newsletters for free.
  • USPS can forward Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express, and USPS Ground Advantage for free.
  • USPS can forward Media Mail, but customers must pay shipping costs to deliver the parcels to their new mailing address.
  • USPS Marketing Mail can’t be forwarded.

How to Change Your Address Online

To change your address online, visit and check the Change of Address page. While on this page, you have to do the following steps:

  • Choose whether you’re an individual, family, or business. 
  • Have your identity verified online. You’ll receive a verification code or a link on your mobile phone.
  • Pay the verification fee ($1.10).
  • After a successful verification, USPS will email you the confirmation code. You’ll need the confirmation code to edit or update your request later.
  • Around five business days before the change of address start date, USPS sends you a customer notification letter with a confirmation code to your new address. 
  • You’ll receive a welcome kit with coupons from USPS partners.
  • If online verification is not possible, USPS will send an email with the instructions and barcode to accomplish the change of address process. 

Once your charge of address is confirmed, packages get redirected to your new address piece by piece. 

How to Change Your Address at the Post Office

You can also change your address by visiting your local post office. You only need to provide photo identification and an accomplished P.S. Form 3575 (Mail forwarding Change of Address form). 

Once you complete filling out P.S. Form 3575, you can submit it to a retail associate and wait for them to process your USPS Change of Address request. 

Related Mail Services

Aside from the actual mail forwarding service, USPS provides other services that help you manage and direct the delivery of your parcels. Here are some USPS services that you can also use.

USPS Hold Mail Service

Instead of having your mail redirected to others while you’re away, you can request USPS to pause your mail deliveries by using USPS Hold Mail

If you’re away, you can request your local post office to hold all the mail addressed to you. The post office can hold your mail from 3 to 30 days. Once you return from your trip, you can ask the post office to deliver all your held mail to you or pick it all up yourself. 

Extended Mail Forwarding

When you request USPS Mail Forwarding, the standard time for this service is 12 months. However, you can request an extension to this forwarding service. You can request an additional 6, 12, or 18 months. Remember that the most you can ask for an extension is 18 months. 

You can purchase this extended mail forwarding service at the time of your first request or have it added later. USPS notifies you one month before your mail forwarding expires so that you can pay for additional months. 

Remember that you can’t refund an Extended Mail Forwarding once you’ve requested and paid for it. Also, the Extended Mail Forwarding service is only available for permanent change of address. 

Premium Forwarding Services

You can also purchase the Premium Forwarding Service options offered by USPS. When you use these options, your local post office will have your mail packed up and forwarded in weekly Priority Mail shipments to residential addresses. 

For commercial businesses, you can have mail shipped daily, weekly, or monthly via Priority Mail or Priority Mail Express. This service is helpful for businesses that use Post Office Boxes (P.O. Boxes) with mail coming in volume. 

Stop or Forward Mail for the Deceased

In cases where your loved one has passed, you have two options. The first is to request the post office to stop delivering mail to the deceased address. 

The second is to continue receiving mail or packages addressed to the person who passed, provided you have documentary proof authorizing you to manage the correspondence of the deceased person. 

If you choose the second option and share the same address with the deceased individual, you can accept and open your loved one’s mail when needed.

Suppose you want to forward the deceased person’s mail to another address. In that case, you can do so by “neatly” crossing out your address and then writing “Forwarded to” and the new address. 

After doing so, you can place it in your mailbox for pickup, drop it in a blue collection box, or bring it to your local post office. If you need updated contact information for the nearest USPS retail facility or post office, visit 

Would You Still Receive Your USPS Package if It Was Forwarded?

You can, but you need to contact USPS to check the status of your package. You would then have to coordinate with the local post office to retrieve forwarded packages. 

Why Was Your USPS Package Forwarded to a Different Address?

One of the most common reasons for mail being forwarded to another address is a wrong ZIP code. Remember that a single change in the ZIP code numbers can change the delivery address. 

Another reason is that you or the shipper provided an incorrect forwarding address. If you encounter this problem, you can contact customer service via the company’s hotline or the USPS website.  

What Should You Do if Your USPS Package Was Forwarded to the Wrong Address?

Let’s say a USPS delivery courier forwarded your package to the wrong address. In that case, you can follow the tips in the two scenarios below. 

Case #1:

Suppose a USPS delivery courier forwarded your mail to an old address. In that case, you can contact USPS to redeliver the package to your address or have it held in the post office. 

Sometimes, USPS personnel may send your mail to the Mail Recovery Center (MRC), where you can claim it. If left unclaimed, USPS may return the packages to the sender. 

The MRC is the Postal Service’s “lost and found” facility. All undeliverable or non-returnable parcels go to the MRC for processing. The MRC disposes of undeliverable items by:

  • Donating useful items to nonprofit organizations
  • Trashing, recycling, or shredding unusable items
  • Having items with value auctioned 

Case #2:

If you’re the recipient and USPS forwarded your package to the wrong address, you can contact the post office. Also, you can have the sender or shipper handle this issue with the post office. 

Remember that a single wrong digit in the ZIP or postal code, the misspelling of a street address, or an incorrect suite number can result in delivery problems and delays. 

You can also expect the recipient of the wrong delivery to contact the post office or return the parcel

However, if the package isn’t returned, you can contact the shipper to discuss refunds or replacements. You can also request a lost package case at the post office, especially if a mailing option’s insurance covers the package.

To avoid this situation or lessen the risk of forwarding mail to the wrong address, double-check all the information you put into your shipping labels. Always ensure that you write the correct address before shipping. 

How Do You Tell if Your USPS Package Was Forwarded?

You will know where and when your USPS package was forwarded through your tracking number. You use this number by typing it in the search bar of the USPS Tracking system. 

You’ll get notifications that inform you about the status of your parcels. When your package is forwarded successfully, you’ll get the notification “Forwarded for Delivery.” 

What Is the Average Delivery Time for a USPS Forwarded Package?

USPS informs customers that mail forwarding may start within three business days after submitting a request. However, there are cases where you have to wait for up to two weeks. USPS forwards your mail to your new address as it comes, piece by piece. 

What’s the Best Way to Track a Forwarded Package?

One easy way to track a forwarded package is to use the tracking system provided by the shipping company. In the case of USPS, you can use its tracking system via its website to monitor your package’s status. 

To track a USPS package, you must have a USPS account and a tracking number.

You can also use the following methods for tracking your USPS packages: 

  • Email notifications: You can receive email updates by enabling it via the USPS Tracking website and clicking “Text and Email Updates.” 
  • By phone: You can also receive tracking information by calling 1-800-222-1811 or customer service at 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777).
  • Through text messages: You can text your tracking number to 28777 (2USPS). You’ll receive a message containing the status of your package. Note that standard message or data rates may apply when using this service.

How Does Tracking of a Forwarded Package Work?

Tracking is a complex system that uses barcode scanning technology to update and monitor package statuses. When a parcel reaches a USPS facility, it gets scanned by the postal machines.

Once the package is scanned, the USPS Tracking system gets updated, and you receive a notification. The scanning and updating process continues until the package is delivered and received by the addressee. 

What Happens if Your Package Is Lost?

USPS considers a parcel lost if the delivery didn’t happen at the expected delivery date. If the package remains missing or lost for seven days or more, you can do the following: 

  • File a missing mail search request on
  • File a claim, especially for insured items (USPS advises customers to wait 14 days after the missed delivery date to file a search request).
  • Visit your local post office for assistance in submitting a missing mail request.

How to Avoid Having Your USPS Forwarded Package Sent to the Wrong Address

  • Always double-check your address before shipping packages. Ensure that the address you give the shipper is accurate and error-free.
  • Get package insurance to avoid paying additional shipping fees when the shipment is delivered to the wrong location. 
  • Consider using a P.O. Box if you’re temporarily moving elsewhere. 

What’s the Meaning of Tracking Status, for Example, Forwarded for Delivery?

The “Forwarded for Delivery” status means that your package is being delivered to the forwarding address. Other shipping companies have different ways of notifying customers about their package status. 

Here are some of the tracking notifications for forwarded packages used by shipping companies like DHL (Dalsey Hillblom Lynn), UPS (United Parcel Services), and FedEx (Federal Express). 

Forwarded Package Tracking Notifications With DHL Express

  • Shipment Pickup: A DHL delivery driver has picked up your package.
  • Processed at Local Warehouse: A DHL facility sorted and processed your package, preparing it for shipping.
  • Departed from Local Warehouse to Departure Airport: Your package is set for air delivery.
  • Arrived at Destination Warehouse: Your package has arrived at the destination warehouse.
  • Clearance Processing Complete: For packages coming from abroad, this notification means that your package has cleared customs. 
  • Departed from Central Warehouse to Local Warehouse: Your package arrived at a local warehouse.
  • Forwarded for Delivery: Your package is with a delivery courier heading to the mail forwarding address.

Forwarded Package Tracking Notifications With UPS

  • Pickup Scan: A UPS delivery courier has picked up your package.
  • Warehouse Scan: This notification informs you that your package got sorted and processed at a UPS facility and readied for shipping.
  • Departed from the Facility, Arrived at Facility, and Export Scan: UPS consolidates your packages and loads them onto a plane for shipping.
  • Arrived at Facility, Departed from Facility, and Import Scan: Your packages arrived at a central sorting facility
  • Your Package Is Pending Release from a Government Agency: A notification that informs you that your package is going through customs.
  • Your Package Is at the UPS Distribution Facility: Your package arrived at a local warehouse and will soon be delivered to the indicated delivery address.

Forwarded Package Tracking Notifications With FedEx

  • Picked Up: A FedEx delivery driver has picked up your package.
  • Left FedEx Origin Facility: This notification means your package has already left a local depot and is heading to the main depot or airport for transport.
  • In Transit: Your package is currently traveling to the destination.
  • At Destination Sort Facility: Your package arrived at a sorting facility before shipping to a local destination.
  • At Local FedEx Facility: Your package arrived at a local warehouse and is ready to ship to local areas.
  • On FedEx Vehicle for Delivery: This notification informs you that your package is with a delivery courier and is headed to the provided delivery address.

A Better Alternative to USPS Mail Forwarding

You can use a virtual mailbox to help manage your package deliveries. A virtual mailbox is a service that provides a 24/7 address that will sort and receive your packages and scan them to provide you with digital copies of your items. 

Unfortunately, USPS doesn’t provide virtual mailboxes for customers. However, one option that people can use is the USPS P.O. Box service. You can purchase this service from your local post office. This receptacle will receive your mail at any time and will hold them until you pick them up. 

If you need to purchase a P.O. Box, you can head to your local post office. You can get the contact information of over 31,330 USPS retail facilities in the country by visiting


  1. Zip/Postal Code
  2. Standard Forward Mail & Change of Address
  3. Extended Mail Forwarding*MTY5ODY5NTUxMS4xODguMC4xNjk4Njk1NTExLjAuMC4w
  4. USPS Tracking® – The Basics