USPS GPS Tracking

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March 21, 2024

On average, USPS (United States Postal Service) processes and delivers 23.8 million packages daily.

With this number, you might wonder how the carrier ensures the safe and timely delivery of those parcels.

Tracking is a tool that USPS provides its customers to help them monitor mailpieces through status notifications. 

But how does USPS tracking work when sending an item through its network? Does USPS live GPS (Global Positioning System) tracking work? 

What is the meaning of each USPS tracking message? What can you do if your package does not arrive at the recipient’s address?

This article discusses how USPS Tracking works to help you stay on top of your shipment. It also lists and explains various tracking notifications.

Expecting a USPS delivery? Go to FindPostOffice.org, your one-stop website for information regarding U.S. post offices. Our free search tool also features blogs to help you learn how to use USPS Tracking.

Does USPS Have Live GPS Tracking?

The official USPS website (USPS.com) does not have any information verifying the claims of other websites that USPS offers live GPS tracking. It is unlikely that USPS offers this live tracking feature.

How Does USPS GPS Work?

USPS doesn’t offer a service titled “USPS GPS.” However, the carrier offers Informed Visibility, a feature that leverages GPS tracking information from carrier handheld scanners, allowing you to obtain shipment details.

GPS tracking enables location monitoring through the Global Positioning System, allowing people to track an object or entity remotely.

The GPS is a network of well-spaced satellites orbiting the Earth. This technology allows people with ground receivers to determine their geographic location.

USPS Test: Mailed 4 Packages With GPS Trackers to See How Quickly They Got There

Concerns about USPS package delivery reliability and speed occasionally arise, especially during the holiday season.

An experiment involving four GPS-tracked packages sent from Tampa, Florida, to Seattle and Jacksonville showed that Priority Mail and First-Class mail arrived faster than expected.

How Does USPS Tracking Work?

Suppose USPS or any of its shipping partners has your mail or package. In that case, their agents will scan the shipping label of your trackable item as it goes through the mailstream.

Generally, the tracking procedure begins when the mailpiece’s sender or USPS delivery partner notifies the system about the package’s arrival.

Automated Processing Equipment Takes Care of the Initial Tracking

The USPS automated processing and sorting equipment usually creates tracking scan events before your parcel arrives at your local post office.  

Sometimes, a USPS shipping partner offers temporary scan information while the package is within its system before the parcel arrives at a USPS facility.

Once your mailpiece reaches your local post office, subsequent scans will be conducted using handheld MDDs (mobile delivery devices).

Manual Scans Track the “Final Mile” Deliveries

GPS coordinates can usually be located within 10 meters of a particular location. The information you will get depends on the scans conducted at various delivery locations.

In 2002, USPS introduced the Managed Service Points (MSP) program to scan barcodes at your local post office (delivery unit) and particular points along your postal carrier’s route. 

The stop-the-clock (STC) scans happen during delivery or attempted delivery.  

USPS representatives use intelligent mail devices (IMDs) to scan tracking barcodes. The information taken from these scans helps measure postal service efficiency and provides users with a way to track parcels.

USPS rolled out MDDs in 2013. These devices record GPS locations along the mail carrier’s route. 

MDDs can also give GPS details even when a tracking barcode is scanned as “Delivered.”

The scans generated by MDDs are transferred to the USPS regional intelligent mail server (RIMS) network, a cloud-based system that uses GPS to provide users with updated reports.  

Recipients Can Track the Shipping Progress of Their Package

Recipients can use the tracking code generated during the shipping label creation to monitor their package’s delivery journey through the USPS network. These parcels can be tracked online or through text updates.

USPS offers product tracking and reporting (PTR) scan events as the mail or package is processed within the postal system. 

The scripted scan events give a brief description of the parcel’s status during scanning.

The Tracking System Isn’t Perfect

The USPS Tracking system has many benefits, but it is not error-free.

Package tracking depends on user familiarity, network connectivity, and customer compliance with USPS policies:

  •  Device failure can also lead to missed scans. As a result, postal workers may have to enter the data manually.
  • Network connectivity issues may delay scanning or lead to inaccurate GPS location data. 
  • Satellite signal obstructions, like tall buildings and mountains, may prevent scanned data from getting to the RIMS network.  
  • Rain can also disrupt the MDD’s laser scanner’s ability to capture the tracking barcode.

The USPS Inspector General conducted an audit in 2019 and found that a relatively small percentage of STC scans occur in the post office rather than at the delivery site.  

This info suggests some shipments were pre-scanned as delivered before leaving the post office for delivery.

How Does the USPS Shipping Process Work?

The answer to this question depends on whether you’re shipping domestically or internationally and what item you’re sending.

For instance, here’s a step-by-step guide to sending a letter or postcard abroad:

  1. Check if you can deliver your mailpiece to the recipient’s country or region.

Some services are restricted to certain locations or for a specific mailpiece type or amount. Visit the USPS’ Individual Country Listings for details on eligible countries.

Determine the available services according to what you want to send and the parcel’s endpoint. Then, narrow your decision based on price, delivery time, and product features.

  1. Select a postcard or envelope.
  2. Address your mail or package using the guidelines suggested by USPS.
  3. Calculate and apply postage.
  4. Send your mail by placing it in your mailbox, handing it off at a post office counter, or depositing it in a USPS blue collection box.

Can You Track the Exact Location of a Package?

Visit the USPS Tracking page and input the USPS tracking number on the mailing receipt or label. You must be able to check the status and current whereabouts of your USPS package.

Not Every USPS Package Can Be Tracked

Remember that not every mail or package has a tracking number. Postcards and First-Class Mail letters without additional services fall into this category. 

How Long Will USPS Keep My Delivery Records for Tracking?

As of 2023, access to tracking information regarding nonsignature items is restricted to 120 days. Tracking information for signature items is accessible for two years. 

USPS Tracking Plus can extend access to the tracking data for 6 months up to 10 years for a minimal fee.

How Can I Track My First-Class Mail Letters With USPS Tracking?

First-Class Mail does not offer USPS Tracking. 

Although First-Class Mail letters, postcards, and flats are ineligible for USPS Tracking, those items are eligible for extra features that provide barcodes for scanning. 

You can purchase these extra services to obtain specific tracking information.

How Do I Track My USPS Package?

You can monitor USPS packages through the following means:

  • Online 
  • By phone 
  • By smartphone
  • By text 

Text Tracking

To monitor your package through SMS (short message service), text to 28777 (2USPS), indicating your tracking number as the message’s content. Standard data and message rates may apply.

Check Your Tracking Number Online

The type of mail delivery and tracking details available depend on the mailing option or add-on features you bought at the time of mailing.

Whether you are the shipper or recipient, you can monitor your item online via USPS Tracking on the United States Postal Service website.

Track Your Package Using the USPS Mobile App

Download and install the USPS Mobile application for iPhone and Android. 

To request tracking information, customers can visit Contact USPS for the phone number and operating hours.

Users can call 1-800-877-8339 for telecommunications device for the deaf or teletypewriter (TDD/TTY).

Customers can also listen to automated messages 24 hours, seven days per week.

Sign Up for Informed Delivery

You can get a preview of your day’s USPS packages or mail with Informed Delivery notifications:

  • Receive Daily Digest emails that preview mail and parcels scheduled to arrive soon.
  • Track and organize your parcels in one easy-to-access platform.
  • See photos of your inbound letter-sized mail (grayscale, address side only).

What Is the Format of the USPS Tracking Numbers?

The U.S. Postal Service values transparency and accountability regarding mail and package delivery services. For this reason, the carrier operates a tracking system and generates tracking numbers for each package and mail. 

So, what does a USPS tracking number look like? 

The USPS tracking number format typically consists of 20 to 22 digits without symbols or letters. Here’s an example: 9400 3867 3858 3000 0000 43. 

These tracking codes have unique formats and characteristics, ensuring each parcel or letter is identifiable while in transit to its final destination.

USPS Tracking Number Format Examples

You can obtain a USPS tracking number by choosing one of the following postages. 

Here are a few examples of what these codes might look like:

  • Collect On Delivery Hold For Pickup: 9203 4000 0000 0134 0000 00 
  • Certified Mail: 9407 3000 0193 0000 0000 00
  • Global Express Guaranteed: 82 000 000 00
  • Priority Mail Express: 9270 3000 0000 0300 0000 00 EA 000 000 020 US
  • USPS Tracking: 9400 2000 0000 0000 0000 00
  • Priority Mail: 9205 5000 0000 0238 0000 00
  • Priority Mail Express International: EC 000 000 192 US
  • Registered Mail: 9208 7000 0000 0100 0000 00
  • Priority Mail International: CP 000 011 090 US
  • Signature Confirmation: 9202 4000 0000 0060 0700 00

Where Is My USPS Tracking Number?

You can see your tracking number from these sources:

  • Your post office delivery receipt
  • Your sales receipt if you paid for insurance at the post office
  • Your email confirmation if you sent an order from USPS.com

What Is USPS Interception?

For an additional cost, USPS Package Intercept lets the shipper or recipient stop delivery or reroute a letter, package, or flat that is not out for delivery or already shipped. 

Most domestic shipments with a tracking or extra services barcode qualify for Package Intercept. You can only submit a request for Package Intercept online.

Why Is Package Tracking Useful?

USPS Tracking service offers end-to-end mailpiece tracking and is available for most domestic shipments that are large enough and addressed to local places.

These locations include the following:

  • APOs (Army or Air Force Post Offices)
  • DPOs (Diplomatic Post Offices)
  • FPOs (Fleet Post Offices)
  • Destinations and ZIP codes within the U.S. territories
  • Freely Associated States

How Do I Add USPS Tracking to My Parcels to Be Shipped Out?

You can add USPS Tracking to your parcels through the following ways:

  • At a post office: USPS Tracking automatically activates once you pay the postage on your eligible mail service at the post office retail counter.

Use the tracking number printed on your mailing receipt to access shipment information.

  • Online: Sign up for a USPS.com account to generate and print USPS Tracking labels, purchase mailing or shipping services, or buy stamps.

The tracking label prints the label affixed to the item and a receipt with the tracking number. 

Log into your USPS.com account to check tracking information or your mailpiece’s status.

Note: When you pair a USPS Tracking package with an extra service, you can obtain proof of delivery, like a signature. 

Regardless of your chosen method — at the post office service counter or online at USPS.com — you can access USPS Tracking information.

When Will My USPS Package Arrive?

Below are the expected delivery periods for different mail classes:

  • Priority Mail Express: Guaranteed one to two calendar days 
  • Priority Mail: One to three business days 
  • Package services: Two to eight business days 
  • USPS Ground Advantage: Two to five business days
  • First Class Mail: One to five business days 
  • Parcel Select Lightweight: Two to eight business days

What Should I Do if My Mail Hasn’t Been Delivered?

Say seven business days have passed since you submitted your online help request form, but your mail or parcel has yet to arrive.

You can request a Missing Mail search by providing the following info:

  • Sender mailing or shipping address
  • Recipient mailing or shipping address
  • Description of the contents, including what it is and the model, brand, size, or color, whenever applicable
  • Container size and type of envelope you chose
  • Identifying information, including USPS Tracking numbers, the mailing date on your receipt, or Click-N-Ship (CNS) label receipt
  • Photos that could help USPS recognize your item

I Haven’t Received My Package, but the Tracking Number Says It Was Delivered

There are several reasons why the USPS tracking status marks your parcel as “Delivered” even though you cannot find it.

These reasons may include placing the item in a hidden location, incorrect shipping address, misdelivery, theft, human error, technical problems, or unfavorable weather conditions.

Should I Be Worried if USPS Tracking Info Hasn’t Been Updated in 3 Days?

As shown above, the USPS may consider an item lost if tracking information has stayed the same for seven days. 

Suppose you notice your tracking number is not updating and suspect the shipment is missing. In that case, you can order a missing package search with USPS.

What Does It Mean When USPS Tracking Hasn’t Been Updated for a Few Days?

Suppose your package hasn’t been updated in a few days. In that case, there could be a scan issue or a case of temporary misplacement.

Sometimes, packages aren’t scanned at stopovers, making it seem like there’s no delivery progress. Other times, the carrier might be running late.

Check the Tracking Information to Make Sure Your Package Isn’t at a Shipping Partner Facility

The following tracking notifications indicate that your package is not within the USPS network yet:

  • “Picked Up By Shipping Partner, USPS Awaiting Item” 
  • “Departed Shipping Partner Facility, USPS Awaiting Item”
  • “Arrived Shipping Partner Facility, USPS Awaiting Item.”

Suppose the tracking message says your parcel is with a USPS shipping partner. In that case, the shipment may go through USPS once the shipping partner has at least 50 packages to drop off.

Shipping partners usually offer logistical services to retailers at USPS’ discounted Parcel Select rates and send packages out to USPS as soon as possible. 

However, it may take two to eight days before packages reach USPS.

If Your Package Is in USPS’ Possession

As mentioned, USPS provides PTR (product tracking and reporting) scan events during mail processing.

However, not every single scan will be listed in your tracking status. The scans may only be listed if they are considered “external.”

Depending on the delivery distance, the typical route of items as they move through the USPS mail stream is as follows:

  1. The sender drops off the parcel at a post office.
  2. USPS representatives transport the package to a sorting facility near the sender.
  3. The parcel is loaded onto a truck or plane for transport to another sorting facility.
  4. The package arrives at the recipient’s local post office.
  5. The last-mile postal carrier picks up the package for final delivery.

Is Your USPS Package Stuck in Transit?

There may be a lapse in tracking updates while your package is “In Transit.”

You might see an “In Transit” status if your parcel has not had a scan within 18 hours.

During this time, your item may be on a truck or plane en route to your local post office or another USPS facility.

The item may also be on a loading bay waiting for dispatch. 

Meanwhile, various factors, including the delivery distance, traffic conditions, and weather, can affect how long your item will have an “In Transit” status.

USPS doesn’t scan mailpieces while they are “In Transit” or waiting to be picked up, delivered, or processed.

If your parcel is in transit and the weather is adverse, the tracking info might indicate “Weather Delay.”

Have There Been No USPS Tracking Updates After “Arrival at Unit”?

An “Arrival At Unit” tracking scan event means your parcel has arrived at your local post office.

The clerks at the post office can sort items quickly and mark them as “Out for Delivery” by the next business day.

Suppose your package’s status shows “Arrival at Unit” for a long time. In that case, you can contact your local post office to check if there’s an issue.

Does Your USPS Tracking Say Out for Delivery, but You Still Haven’t Received It?

Say your delivery status shows “Out for Delivery,” but you haven’t received your package within the day. In that case, your USPS might return the parcel to the post office.

If a delivery problem occurs, the mail carrier or local post office may re-scan the package and upload a new status indicating the cause of the problem.

Generally, an “Out for Delivery” tracking scan event means your parcel has left your local post office and is on a postal carrier’s vehicle en route for delivery within the day.

Once a package has been scanned as “Out For Delivery,” it should mean that your package has left your local post office and is on a postal carrier’s truck on route for delivery that day. 

The USPS website says they aim to deliver everything by 5:00 PM. However, the expected delivery time may be as late as 8:00 PM (or even later in some instances).

Common Reasons Your Package Tracking Status Has Not Updated

Here are four common reasons why your package tracking status remains unchanged:

  • The shipment is in transit, so there’s no update until it arrives at the next location.
  • The package is waiting to be unloaded, loaded, sorted, or processed
  • Your postal carrier or local post office did not scan the item or had a scanner malfunction or signal disruption.
  • There’s a problem scanning the label or barcode.

Less Common Reasons Your Package Tracking Is Not Updated

Below are less likely causes of why your package tracking is not updated:

  • The package barcode or label is illegible or missing.
  • The postal carrier did not scan the barcode after a delivery attempt.
  • The package was sent to the USPS Mail Recovery Center.
  • The parcel was damaged during sorting or processing.

What Are USPS Tracking Notifications?

You can view tracking status updates for your mail or package on the USPS website anytime. These USPS tracking notifications have different meanings.

When you input a USPS tracking number onto a tracking site, you will receive relevant updates from the USPS delivery service.

What Do My Tracking Statuses Mean?

USPS offers package tracking status scans. Below are some of the most common statuses, meanings, and ways to respond to them. 

What Does the “Delivery Exception, Local Weather Delay” Status Update Mean?

A “Delivery Exception, Local Weather Delay” status update or USPS event code 57 may mean the package could not be delivered due to local weather conditions.

What Does “Alert” Mean on My Tracking Status?

An “Alert” status appears when USPS encounters an unexpected issue during the shipping process, such as a recipient’s refusal to accept the parcel or a mistaken address.

What Does the “Visible Damage” Status Update Mean?

A “Visible Damage” status info or USPS event code 12 may mean that USPS noticed and recorded a damaged delivery.

What Does the “No Such Number” Status Update Mean?

A “No Such Number” tracking notification may mean USPS will return the parcel to the sender.

This scenario might happen due to an incomplete, missing, or inaccurate delivery address, making the package undeliverable.

What Does the “Arrival at Unit” Status Update Mean?

The “Arrival at Unit” tracking message or USPS event code 07 may mean the mailpiece has arrived at the local post office on the specified date and is ready for delivery.

Generally, if the mail or package arrives before 9:30 AM, post office personnel will deliver them within the day. Parcels arriving after 9:30 AM will be delivered the next business day.

My Shipment Tracking Status Says “Delivered,” but I Can’t Find My Parcel or Mail. Where Is It?

You may encounter this situation when the USPS tracking system identifies your expected package as “Delivered” but has yet to arrive at your address. 

Several factors, including human error,  technical issues, or unfavorable weather conditions, can cause this unfortunate event.

What Does the “Customs Clearance” Status Update Mean?

USPS facilities collect postal service fees from the recipient for each item on which customs duty or Internal Revenue tax is due.

Internal postal agreements approved the postal service fee to reimburse the costs for clearing goods through customs and collecting customs duties at delivery.

What Does the Status Update USPS Package Status “Payment of Charges” Mean?

The status “Payment of Charges – Item Being Held, Addressee Being Notified” may mean the customs duty or value-added tax is due for an international mail or package. 

What Does the Status Update Pre-shipment Mean?

This notification may mean a shipping label has been generated with a USPS Tracking number. Still, USPS has yet to receive the package.

Upon the package’s receipt, USPS will process and transport the parcel to the delivering post office. The system will provide the estimated delivery date.

How Long Does It Usually Take to Deliver an International Package With USPS?

Here are the expected delivery periods for some international USPS services:

Mail ClassDelivery Time
Priority Mail International6 to 10 business days
Priority Mail Express International Flat Rate (Envelopes)3 to 5 business days
Priority Mail Express International3 to 5 business days
First Class Package International Service11 to 20 business days

What Does the Status “In Transit to Next Facility” Mean for USPS Tracking?

This tracking message may mean the package is moving through the USPS mail stream and is scheduled to arrive on the expected delivery date. 

What Is USPS Collect on Delivery (COD)?

Collect on Delivery is a service that allows the shipper to collect from the recipient money for postage, merchandise, fees, or any combination thereof. 

Each COD item has an ID (identification) number, providing delivery confirmation.

What Does USPS Signature Confirmation Mean?

This extra service can provide you with the following information:

  • The recipient’s name and signature
  • Time, date, and location of the delivery

Signature Confirmation requires the recipient (or a designated person at the delivery address) to sign for the package.

USPS Tracking Plus

USPS Tracking Plus enables customers to extend their access to the tracking details of their package on USPS.com. 

As of 2023, the tracking information for non-signature mail or packages is accessible for up to 120 days. 

In contrast, users can access tracking information for signature items within two years. 

For a small fee, USPS Tracking Plus can grant people access to their package’s tracking history for an extended period (from an additional 6 months up to 10 years).

USPS Tracking Plus also allows you to request a USPS Tracking Plus Statement via email anytime.

Benefits of USPS Tracking Plus

With this premium tracking feature, you can access your online tracking record for up to 10 years for domestic shipments and 7 years for international items.

Additionally, you can use your USPS Tracking Plus Statement in the following ways:

  • As proof of delivery to resolve claims and disputes
  • As an official, authentic source of data that financial and legal bodies may accept
  • As essential evidence of mailing and delivery or delivery attempt for legal or court purposes

What Is USPS Informed Delivery?

Informed Delivery is a no-cost feature that shows preview images of inbound mail. It also offers status updates regarding incoming and outbound parcels. 

You can see these notifications in a morning Daily Digest email or anytime through the dashboard from your computer, phone, or the USPS Mobile application.

Informed Delivery by USPS

Items go through high-speed sorting machines as they move through the USPS network. 

These devices take a picture of the mailpiece’s front (the side displaying the address).

Informed Delivery typically provides grayscale images of soon-to-arrive mailpieces. However, you will also see color images, like magazines or catalogs.

Furthermore, Informed Delivery lets you know the status of incoming and outbound parcels.

USPS Electronic Signature Online

USPS eSOL™ (USPS Electronic Signature Online) allows you to sign for Priority Mail Express, Signature Confirmation, and insured items over $500 electronically.

This service authorizes clerks and carriers to deliver your items without requiring a physical signature.

Simple Ways to Manage Your Mail

One of the most frustrating experiences is eagerly awaiting a package only to find out you won’t be home within the estimated arrival time.

Imagine ordering an awesome home accessory from Amazon or eBay, anticipating delivery, only to find out you must conduct business in another city for a while.

Below are suggestions for managing your mail to fit your current needs.

Forward Mail With USPS Tracking

If you’re moving, you can reroute your USPS mail to your new address. 

Mail forwarding may start within three days of your filed request. However, USPS recommends allowing up to two weeks for this service.

Change Your Address

As of May 2023, when you file a change of address (COA) request online, you must take these steps to verify your identity:

  1. Register online to get a verification link or code on your mobile phone or go to a local post office and bring a valid photo ID to finish the identity verification process in person.
  2. Pay the $1.10 identity verification cost.

After the approval of your COA request, you’ll get confirmation and instant access to valuable coupons from local third-party retailers. 

Your COA request lasts 12 months, but you can pay to prolong it for 6, 12, or 18 more months.

USPS Package Intercept

  This service allows you to have your mail intercepted before it reaches its destination.

Customers submit their request, which is then sent to the destination delivery unit (local post office) listed on the mailpiece.

USPS Package Intercept is a domestic service unavailable for international, APO, FPO, and DPO destinations or mailpieces requiring customs clearance. Your Package Intercept request is valid for 10 days after you submit it.

Reserve a P.O. Box

A P.O. box can help you keep your personal and business mail separate. This locked mailbox is stored in a post office facility.

You can rent a P.O. box by following these steps:

  • Get it online: Search, reserve, and pay for a P.O. box at a local post office.
  • Pick up your keys in person: Bring your signed application and two forms of ID to the post office housing your P.O. box to obtain your keys.
  • Receive mail at your convenience: Flexible hours let you check your P.O. box on your preferred schedule.

USPS Hold Mail

This service can secure your mail at a local post office facility for up to 30 days while you’re away. 

Sign up for a forwarding service to allow USPS to hold your mail longer or redirect your mail.

How Long Will USPS Hold a Package?

Here are three steps in filing a USPS Hold Mail request:

  1. Register for or sign in to your USPS.com account.
  2. Visit “USPS Hold Mail” and go through the verification process.
  3. Once you’ve successfully authenticated your identity, you won’t have to go through this step again for your current address.

Hold for Pickup

This service lets your mailpieces be held at a designated post office for pick up by a specified recipient rather than having a carrier attempt delivery. 

You can access this service when you buy postage for eligible items with specific methods. 

The designee or addressee should present an acceptable primary form of ID to retrieve the item from the post office. 

Schedule Redelivery Service

Suppose USPS missed you when it attempted to deliver your package. 

In that case, you can schedule a Redelivery online using your item’s barcode or tracking number. You can find these codes on the back of your “PS Form 3849, We ReDeliver for You!”

USPS Delivery Instructions

Using the USPS Delivery Instructions service, the intended recipient or addressee can specify how USPS should deliver inbound mailpieces or shipments before they get delivered.

What Is the USPS Delivery Instructions Service?

This free program lets the package’s addressee control where the USPS delivery person should place the parcel for retrieval.

This location may include areas on your property (for example, the front door), at a nearby post office, or even at a new address.

How Do I Leave Mail or Package Delivery Instructions for USPS?

Say your mail product is eligible for the Delivery Instructions service. In that case, follow these steps and online prompts:

  1. Click “Delivery Instructions” next to your order tracking number.
  2. The system will prompt you to sign in to your USPS.com account. You can create an account at that time if you do not have one.
  3. Follow the prompts to determine if your address is eligible, and then provide instructions for delivery. 

Do I Have to Pay Extra Costs for the USPS Delivery Instructions Service?

The amount you have to pay depends on which Delivery Instruction service you choose. 

  • No Cost Options
    • Delivery to a neighbor’s home (should be along the same carrier route)
    • Delivery or redelivery to a particular location at your address
    • Hold for Pickup at a local post office (those within your ZIP code) 
  • Postage or Upgrade Fee Options
    • Hold for Pick up at a post office situated in a different ZIP code
    • Directing mail items to another domestic address (outside your carrier’s route or your ZIP Code)
    • Accessing extra features (when eligible)
    • Upgrading mail service to Priority Mail Express or Priority Mail

Will There Be Any Email Notifications Regarding My USPS Delivery Instructions Request?

Yes. Based on the option you selected when you set up Delivery Instructions, you will get one or more of the following:

  • An email confirming the success of your request 
  • A confirmation email verifying the delivery of your shipment
  • An email, if you requested something that requires payment and the actual postage exceeds the estimated postal cost given when you requested
  • For items needing repackaging, an email containing the new USPS Tracking number
  • For undeliverable items, a notification regarding the reason for non-delivery

Has USPS Changed International Services on Its Packages?

USPS changed the names of some international service options, which you should note when choosing between USPS services.

For instance, Airmail — also known as Letter Post — is now called First-Class Mail International. 

This mailing option is available for small packages weighing up to four pounds (lbs) or 1.8 kilograms.

What and Where Do the USPS Deliver?

USPS ships everything from postcards and letters to packages from various retailers and businesses. 

Customers can choose from USPS’ fast delivery options to send their mailpieces faster, including the First-Class and Priority Mail choices.

USPS delivers packages and mail to the United States and more than 190 countries worldwide.

What Is Needed to Track a United States Postal Service or USPS Shipment?

To track your USPS parcel, use your package tracking number displayed on your USPS shipping label or through your Stamps.com account.

How Long Do USPS Services Take to Deliver?

USPS delivery times for domestic addresses (within the U.S.) vary depending on the service, from overnight with Priority Mail Express to over five days with Parcel Select Ground.

Estimated Delivery Times for the U.S. Domestic and International USPS Services

Below are the estimated delivery periods for international and domestic shipments.

  • Domestic Shipments
    • Priority Mail Express: Overnight to many locations in the U.S.
    • First Class Mail (letters): 1 to 3 business days
    • Parcel Select: 2 to 8 business days
    • Priority Mail Flat Rate: 1 to 3 business days
    • Priority Mail Regional Rate: 1 to 3 business days
    • First Class Package Service: 1 to 3 business days
    • USPS Retail Ground: 2 to 8 business days
    • First Class Mail (large envelopes): 1 to 3 business days
  • International Shipments
    • Priority Mail International: 6 to 10 business days
    • Global Express Guaranteed: 1 to 3 business days
    • First Class Mail International (letters): 6 to 20 business days
    • Priority Mail Express International: 3 to 5 business days
    • First Class Package International Service: 6 to 20 business days

How Late Does the USPS Deliver?

USPS aims to deliver everything by 5:00 PM (local time) Monday through Saturday. 

However, the following unexpected circumstances can cause late-hour deliveries:

  • Heavy traffic
  • Severe weather conditions
  • Natural disasters
  • Changes in carrier routes
  • Staffing fluctuations

What Is the Expected Delivery Window in USPS Tracking?

You may see an “Expected Delivery Window” (ExDW) message when checking the status of your item. This window is a two-hour period when you can expect your parcel to arrive. 

Delivery within that timeframe is not guaranteed. However, you may still receive your mailpiece by the end of the day if it does not reach you within the expected time slot.

What Are the Expected Delivery Times or Schedule for USPS Priority Mail International?

As shown above, the usual delivery time for Priority Mail International ranges from 6 to 10 business days.

How Do You Get Free USPS Shipping?

USPS does not offer no-cost shipping services. But you can get free USPS mailing supplies at USPS’ online store.

How to Send an International Mail or Package With USPS

Here are seven steps for sending an international USPS parcel or mail:

  1. Find the country you’re sending the package to in the International Mail Manual’s Individual Country Listings. The list will also inform you of what you’re not allowed to ship to the intended destination.
  2. Check which mailing option you can use based on what you want to send and where you plan to send it. Refine your decision based on price, delivery speed, and included features.
  3. Pack your box securely to protect the contents and ensure the box arrives in good condition:
    • Use a sturdy box with enough space to cushion fragile products and prevent items from rolling around.
    • If you reuse a box, ensure shipping labels, old markings, and addresses are covered or blacked out completely.
  4. Write the address parallel to the package’s longest side, and ensure the postage and address will fit on the same side.
  5. If you plan to use stamps or pay for postage at a nearby post office, consider using the International Postage Calculator to estimate the cost of your postage.
  6. You have to submit a customs form when you send items abroad. All customs forms should be computer-generated.
  7. Once your shipment has the correct postage, address, and customs form, how you send it will depend on the following factors:
    • The item’s size and weight
    • Whether you used stamps or paid for postage online 
    • If the item has a computer-generated customs form

What Is USPS’s International Shipping Service?

USPS international mail services are available in over 180 countries, including Canada, Great Britain, Mexico, Japan, and Australia. 

Global Express Guaranteed (GXG), Priority Mail Express International, and Priority Mail International options include international tracking and some insurance.

What Is the USPS Click-N-Ship Service?

Click-N-Ship (CNS) brings the post office to your desktop. Sign in to USPS.com and generate professional shipping labels  — with or without postage. With CNS service, you can do the following: 

  • Pay for postage using any major credit card.
  • Estimate and compare rates.
  • Purchase PC (personal computer) Postage labels on USPS.com.
  • Search for a ZIP code.
  • Standardize your addresses.

What to Do When a Mail or Parcel Gets Stuck in Customs

Suppose your package is long overdue, or you think it got stuck in customs. In that case, you can contact your local post office and file a search request.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) only tracks parcels into or out of its facilities if you have a detention notice issued by CBP. Otherwise, CBP will be unable to locate your package even if it holds it.

What Happens if I Miss My USPS Delivery?

As mentioned above, you can reschedule your parcel or mail delivery. Say you received a “PS Form 3849 – We ReDeliver for You!” form. In that case, USPS attempted delivery to you but encountered the following scenarios:

  • The mail receptacle, such as your mailbox, neighborhood cluster box, or parcel locker, was full.
  • The mailpiece was too large to fit in your mail receptacle.
  • A signature, postage, or fees are required.

What Do I Do if My USPS Package Is Missing?

Before you file a search request, if your mail or package has tracking, check USPS Tracking to verify its current status. 

Submit a USPS online help request form before you initiate a missing mail search. Use your desktop computer to send your form.

When Does USPS Consider My Package Missing?

Again, Missing Mail is mail that did not arrive by the expected delivery date. This classification applies to parcels that are lost, undelivered, or late.

If the item has been lost, missing, or late for seven days or more, you can file a request for Missing Mail search.

Do You Need Assistance With Your International Shipment?

Say you need help regarding your international shipment. In that case, you can visit www.usps.com/international to find specific details about global shipping options and claims for international mail.

What Languages Are Offered on USPS.com?

As of 2023, USPS allows customers to view its web pages in Simplified Chinese and Spanish. USPS plans to offer more language options in the future.

Do You Want to Talk to a Real Person in USPS Customer Service? Are You Experiencing Problems Regarding Your USPS Shipment?

You can contact the USPS Customer Care Center by filing a domestic or international claim online or by calling 1-800-275-8777.

For U.S. domestic deliveries, you can also access the USPS email service at https://emailus.usps.com/s/. If you live in the U.S., visit your local USPS office to seek assistance. 

How Do I Contact USPS Tracking Customer Care Service?

As mentioned, you have several options for connecting with USPS customer service representatives who can help resolve your issue and get back on track.

USPS Customer Service Email and Contact Number

As shown above, you can seek help from USPS via the following methods:

What Happens if USPS Loses My Package?

You can notify USPS of a lost USPS package by submitting a claim at the USPS claims page. You can get a refund for lost mail if the package is insured.

The recipient or sender can file a claim, but they must present the original purchase receipt.

Improper Tracking Scans

Improper scans are those conducted in violation of USPS’s policies regarding how and when items are to be scanned.  

Note that improper scans represent a tiny percentage of the billions of proper scans performed.

Does USPS Charge Their Packages by Size or Weight?

Your mailpiece’s weight is a crucial factor in determining postage cost. Generally, the weightier the item, the more it costs to ship.

For First-Class Mail, weight and shape affect the price.

For Priority Mail, the price depends on a combination of size, weight, and delivery distance. Priority Mail pieces exceeding one cubic foot (1,728 cubic inches) are subject to DIM (dimensional weight) pricing.

Where Is My USPS Package?

Understanding USPS package tracking statuses can help you determine what to do when your parcel is missing, late, or misdelivered. 

What Is USPS (United States Postal Service)?

USPS is an independent agency with a delivery service that can cover all areas in the U.S. 

The institution does not rely on tax dollars for operating costs. It depends on the sale of postage, shipping services, and products to fund its operations.

USPS prides itself on having over 33,000 retail outlets and one of the most frequently visited federal government websites. 

Moreover, USPS delivers 44% of the world’s mail, generating the agency a $78.8 billion annual operating revenue in 2022.

Lastly, USPS manages over 630,000 employees, making it one of the country’s largest employers.

About USPS Tracking

As you know, the USPS Tracking service offers end-to-end item tracking. 

This article has in-depth information on how to use the service, what type of information the service gives, and more convenient ways to search for tracking information.

USPS Tracking FAQs

  1. Does USPS deliver on Sundays?

USPS delivers parcels on Sundays, depending on the mail class you choose and the metro area in which you live.

In December 2018, USPS sent over 8 million packages on Sundays to residential addresses across the U.S.

  1. How do I complain about my USPS package shipment?

You can file a complaint with your mail service by phone, online, or in person at a USPS facility:

  • Check the status of your package or use USPS’ Email Us form to send a complaint online. 

Select the reason behind your complaint, including delivery concerns about USPS agents or facilities.

  • Call 1-800-ASK-USPS or 1-800-275-8777 or TTY: 711.
  • Visit a local post office to speak with its station manager.
  1. Can I track my package without using a tracking number?

Remember to hold on to your retail receipt. USPS cannot track or locate mail or packages without their respective tracking numbers.

  1. What is an Intelligent Mail Barcode?

USPS uses an Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) to sort and track cards, letters, and flats. This tool offers increased flexibility by allowing many services to be integrated within one barcode. 

  1. How many times will a USPS agent attempt to deliver my parcel?

The USPS agent will usually make a second delivery attempt the next working day if you cannot receive it during the carrier’s first attempt.

  1. Why did updates to my international package tracking status stop?

When a package’s tracking has stopped updating, it may be due to a slight delay in the delivery or a lag in the tracking system registering the mailpiece’s progress. 

If your package has passed its expected delivery date for a week, contact your retailer or seller to see if they can provide more information.

  1. Is international shipping dependable?

Yes. International mail in the U.S. moves through one of five International Service Centers (ISC) in Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, New York, and San Francisco.  

Each center has been recognized as a global leader in international mail processing with an IPC (International Post Corporation) Certificate of Excellence award. 

  1. How do you sign for a USPS package?

You usually sign a USPS package in person. Still, you can provide an e-signature (electronic signature) for an eligible mail or package. 

Ensure that you’re enrolled in Informed Delivery. Opt-in to USPS eSOL by clicking on enrollment ads in Informed Delivery page. (Alternatively, you can log into your USPS.com account and go to the “Preferences” page in the company profile.)

Scroll to the item and select “Apply your USPS Electronic Signature Online.”

When more information on the item appears, click “Apply” in the “Your USPS Electronic Signature Online” section.

  1. Can you see where your USPS driver is?

USPS does not offer a real-time mail carrier tracker because customers cannot track down their delivery person and get their mail before delivery.

Say you know when a mail carrier usually arrives at your address. In that case, you can have an idea of how far they are before they reach your house. 

  1. Why is my USPS package not moving?

Your parcel or mail could be stuck in transit for many reasons: item loss or damage or even a USPS tracking system failure. Short staffing at USPS facilities may also lead to item misplacement or mislabelling.

  1. Why is my USPS package pending?

This scenario may mean the USPS clerks have physically accepted your package, but it has yet to arrive at the sorting facility.

  1. Where do I get optimal USPS Universal Tracking?

USPS doesn’t seem to offer this tracking service on their official website. That said, USPS offers USPS Tracking Plus, which can extend access to tracking details.

  1. Why is my USPS tracking number not updating?

As mentioned, there are several reasons why your USPS tracking scan does not update. Tracking info might be unavailable for a newly dropped-off package or if USPS still needs to scan it.

If your package status remains unchanged after several days, there could be a scan error or a temporary misplacement.

References

  1. One Day in the Postal Service
    https://facts.usps.com/one-day/
  2. Informed Visibility
    https://gateway.usps.com/eAdmin/view/knowledge?securityId=IVAPP
  3. GPS tracking
    https://www.techtarget.com/whatis/definition/GPS-tracking
  4. USPS Tracking® – The Basics
    https://faq.usps.com/s/article/USPS-Tracking-The-Basics
  5. How to Send a Letter or Postcard: International
    https://www.usps.com/international/letters.htm
  6. USPS Tracking Plus® – The Basics
    https://faq.usps.com/s/article/USPS-Tracking-Plus-The-Basics
  7. Types of First-Class Mail®
    https://faq.usps.com/s/article/Types-of-First-Class-Mail
  8. USPS Tracking®
    https://tools.usps.com/go/TrackConfirmAction_input
  9. Where do I find my tracking number
    https://tools.usps.com/go/TrackConfirmAction_input
  10. USPS Package Intercept
    https://www.usps.com/manage/package-intercept.htm
  11. Find Missing Mail
    https://www.usps.com/help/missing-mail.htm
  12. Where is my package? Tracking Status Help
    https://faq.usps.com/s/article/Where-is-my-package
  13. 712 Customs Clearance and Delivery Fee
    https://pe.usps.com/text/imm/immc7_002.htm
  14. Compare International Mail Services
    https://www.usps.com/international/mail-shipping-services.htm
  15. Collect on Delivery
    https://faq.usps.com/s/article/Collect-on-Delivery
  16. What is Signature Confirmation™?
    https://faq.usps.com/s/article/What-is-Signature-Confirmation
  17. Informed Delivery by USPS
    https://www.usps.com/manage/informed-delivery.htm
  18. USPS Electronic Signature Online®
    https://faq.usps.com/s/article/USPS-Electronic-Signature-Online
  19. Standard Forward Mail & Change of Address
    https://www.usps.com/manage/forward.htm
  20. Simple Ways to Manage Your Mail
    https://www.usps.com/manage/
  21. Receive Mail & Packages
    https://www.usps.com/manage/
  22. PO Boxes
    https://www.usps.com/manage/po-boxes.htm
  23. USPS Hold Mail Service
    https://www.usps.com/manage/hold-mail.htm
  24. Hold for Pickup Service
    https://faq.usps.com/s/article/Hold-for-Pickup-Service
  25. Get the Mail You Missed Redelivered
    https://tools.usps.com/redelivery.htm
  26. USPS Delivery Instructions™ – The Basics
    https://faq.usps.com/s/article/USPS-Delivery-Instructions-The-Basics
  27. USPS Tracking Number – How to Track a Package
    https://www.stamps.com/usps/how-to-track-a-package
  28. USPS Delivery Times, How Long Does USPS Take To Deliver?
    https://www.stamps.com/usps/usps-delivery-times/
  29. How to Send a Package: International
    https://www.usps.com/international/preparing-international-shipments.htm
  30. International Services
    https://www.usps.com/international/
  31. Click-N-Ship
    https://about.usps.com/postal-bulletin/2004/html/pb22136/clicknship.html
  32. Mail – Lost / Missing package
    https://help.cbp.gov/s/article/Article-122?language=en_US
  33. Redelivery – The Basics
    https://faq.usps.com/s/article/Redelivery-The-Basics
  34. Field Information Kit: USPS.com and USPS Mobile
    https://about.usps.com/postal-bulletin/2011/pb22324/html/kit.htm
  35. USPS test: We mailed 4 packages with GPS trackers to see how quickly they got there
    https://www.wtsp.com/article/news/investigations/10-investigates/usps-tracking-holiday-mail-shipping-dates/67-8591f88b-c43a-4102-b1fa-d222022fd9f2
  36. How Weight Affects Prices
    https://pe.usps.com/businessmail101?ViewName=Weight
  37. About the United States Postal Service
    https://about.usps.com/who/profile/
  38. USPS Sunday Delivery
    https://www.stamps.com/usps/usps-sunday-delivery
  39. File a U.S. Postal Service complaint
    https://www.usa.gov/postal-service-complaint
  40. Intelligent Mail® Barcode
    https://postalpro.usps.com/mailing/intelligent-mail-barcode