USPS Ground Tracking

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June 28, 2023

Picture this scenario: you buy an item from the online market for a loved one’s special occasion. The seller sends the package via USPS (U.S. Postal Service) and informs you that it should be delivered three days after shipment.

Three days later, you have yet to receive the item, and you don’t know its whereabouts or what happened to it — whether it got lost or stolen.  

To make matters worse, the USPS system notified you that the parcel had already been “delivered.” Understandably, this situation can be pretty upsetting. 

Fortunately, USPS Tracking lets you monitor ground and international packages’ movements, so you don’t have to get all anxious regarding their delivery statuses.

If you want to know your parcel’s status, contact USPS via phone or email or request information at your local post office.

Visit FindPostOffice.org to search for local post offices. This website offers a tracking tool for and provides crucial information regarding 31,330 post offices Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago, Miami, New York, and other cities in the United States.

Are you looking for USPS services with tracking features and want to know how to access them? Or did you ship an item using a USPS service with a tracking option and want to learn the meanings of other USPS Tracking status updates?

It is advisable to know the necessary steps if your parcel appears stuck in transit and needs a tracking status update.  

This article lists and explains various USPS services with tracking features and the meaning of each USPS tracking notification.

Learn more about the timeframe for USPS package deliveries and what to do when you don’t receive any USPS tracking updates.

What Is USPS Tracking?

The United States Postal Service (USPS) features a tracking service that you can use to monitor the real-time status of your sent packages, letters, and other shipments.  

You can purchase USPS Tracking service on the USPS website to check your package’s latest status.

USPS Tracking consists of the following:

  • USPS package status: This part indicates your shipment’s status like “out for delivery,” “alert,” “in transit,” or “delivered.”
  • Tracking history: This record shows your package’s status and your shipment’s relevant historical information from origin to destination.

What Is USPS Ground Service?

USPS Retail Ground service is ground shipping for thick envelopes, packages, and tubes (with a maximum weight of 70 pounds) that don’t have to be delivered using the First-Class Mail service.

What Is USPS Parcel Select Ground?

USPS offers Parcel Select Ground, an affordable delivery service for large or heavy shipments. Customers who buy this mail class can send packages weighing up to 70lbs. Rates depend on the mailpiece’s dimensions, weight, and delivery distance.

How To Use Parcel Select Ground

This USPS service has five unique variants with particular requirements and standard rates. Here are the five service options:

  • Parcel Select Ground mainly targets online shipping clients with no minimum package order requirement.
  • Parcel Select Ground – NDC (network distribution center) Presort’s base requirement is 50 mailpieces. The packages must be presorted to determine NDC destinations.
  • Parcel Select Ground – Destination Entry, like the NDC Presort, has a base requirement of 50 Parcel Select Ground pieces.
  • Parcel Select Ground – ONDC Presort works similarly to the two service options above and is only available on a minimum requirement of 50 Parcel Select Ground pieces. Packages must also be presorted to select destinations.
  • Parcel Select Ground – Lightweight may be helpful for merchants with packages that weigh less than 1lb. For packages to qualify for this service, they are subject to meet a specific volume.

USPS Parcel Select Ground Is Best For Cheap, Slow Shipping

USPS Parcel Select Ground is a convenient option for retailers transporting heavy or large packages under 70 pounds cheaply.

Delivery Areas For USPS Parcel Select Ground

This service lets you deliver parcels to every U.S. address, including PO boxes and military addresses.

How USPS Parcel Select Ground Rates Are Calculated

USPS Parcel Select Ground rates vary according to delivery distance, shipment weight, and box dimensions.

Rates begin at $6.99 for the zones or regions closest to your starting address, then gradually rise the further away the package’s delivery address.

Delivery Times For USPS Parcel Select Ground

Parcel Select shipping can take two to eight days. Suppose you’re delivering to remote areas of faraway regions like Alaska or Hawaii. In that case, your delivery time is likely to be longer.

Restrictions On USPS Parcel Select Ground

The maximum package weight for domestic deliveries sent via Parcel Select Ground is 70lbs, and the combined length and girth should not exceed 130”. 

There are also restrictions on some USPS products, including cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.

USPS Parcel Select Features

Overall, here are the top features of Parcel Select:

  • The best value for money and reliability.
  • Destination entry rates are designed for medium- and large-volume parcel shippers.
  • USPS Tracking is provided at no extra cost.
  • You can deliver your order to any U.S. address, including P.O. boxes and military sites.
  • Packages can weigh as much as 70 lbs. and reach 130 inches in combined length and width around the thickest part. 
  • No fuel, residential, or Saturday service fees.

USPS Parcel Select Ground Insurance

You can insure your mailpieces for up to $5,000 in indemnity to cover loss or damage. 

Insurance fees depend on the item’s declared value. Limitations apply to insuring some products.

Scheduled Pickup

With this USPS ground shipping service, your customers can arrange a pickup.

USPS Parcel Select Ground Tracking

USPS provides tracking services for Parcel Select at no additional charge and with no minimum requirements. 

Additional Information

This service involves longer transit times, which usually means higher risks. Your package will likely be jostled and rough-handled while in transit to your customer. 

That’s why you must pack and seal your mailpieces securely. This way, you reduce the likelihood of potential damage.

Different USPS Status Meanings 

You’ll see tracking status notifications when checking your package’s progress on the USPS website occasionally. Below are a few standard USPS tracking updates and their meanings.

  • Accepted: You might receive the following tracking notifications once USPS processes your package through its system:
    • Origin acceptance”: USPS collected the parcel at the sorting facility corresponding to the ZIP (Zone Improvement Plan) code where you sent the package.
    • USPS in possession of the item”: USPS got the package during the shipper’s pickup window. 
    • Acceptance at destination”: The goods have arrived at the specified USPS processing center or post office.
    • Accepted at USPS facility”: USPS picked up the package at the USPS facility with the appropriate ZIP code. 
  • In-Transit:  This notification indicates that the package is coming to the recipient’s address. “In-transit” shows that USPS is processing or transporting your parcel to a post office.

More tracking information will be available when the package is ready and out for delivery. For example, you could receive an “Arriving Late” notification about a possible delay in your package’s delivery.

  • Out for Delivery: This notification means that USPS has dispatched the package to arrive on the agreed-upon delivery date.
  • Delivered: A “Delivered” status update means your parcel has reached the recipient’s address. This notification shows the recorded time, the shipping address, and the delivery date.

USPS Tracking Plus

USPS Tracking Plus is USPS’ premium tracking service extending the time you can store your package’s tracking history on the USPS system.

Benefits Of USPS Tracking Plus

USPS restricts your access time to a non-signature item’s tracking information to 120 days. In contrast, the access period for tracking information on signature items can last up to two years.

USPS Tracking Plus can prolong your tracking history access for six months to 10 years for a nominal fee. In addition to extending your online tracking details, USPS Tracking Plus allows you to request an email tracking statement.

Other USPS Tracking Plus benefits include: 

  • USPS delivery proof to settle claims and disputes
  • Official authentic data sources that financial and legal parties may accept
  • Documentation of mailing and delivery or delivery attempts for court and civil purposes

Forward Mail With USPS Tracking

If you’re moving, request a change of address to ensure your USPS mail is forwarded to your new residence. 

If you’re only relocating briefly to spend time at your vacation home or do an extended visit to relatives, fill out a short-term change of address request to receive your mail temporarily for 15 days up to 1 year.

What Does A USPS Tracking Label Look Like?

Preprinted USPS Tracking labels include a peel-off strip at the bottom that can be used for records and tracking.

USPS Tracking Retail Label

The USPS tracking number is a sequence of numbers under the barcode.

Label 400, USPS Tracking Label, Front

Retail Systems Software (RSS) creates barcodes for Label 400 customers.

Label 400 is designed for electronic option mailers.

However, an internal-only version of USPS Tracking, called Label 888, has replaced Label 400.

Label 888 is not for sale to the general public but is available for commercial use.

What Is The Usual Format Of The USPS Tracking Numbers?

The USPS tracking number format typically consists of 20 to 22 digits with no letters or special characters — for instance, 9242 3847 3638 30000000 43.  

Depending on your chosen shipping option, this number can differ. For example, USPS Express Mail addresses consist of 13 characters, starting with two capital letters and ending in “US.” A sample is EC 000 000 000 US.

USPS Tracking Number Format

Here are a few examples of what tracking numbers appear for various USPS delivery methods:

  • USPS Tracking: 9400 2000 0000 0000 0000 00
  • Priority Mail: 9204 5000 0000 0000 0000 00
  • Global Express Guaranteed: 82 000 000 00
  • Certified Mail: 9405 3000 0000 0000 0000 00
  • Collect On Delivery Hold For Pickup: 9303 3000 0000 0000 0000 00

How To Parcel Track With USPS Text Tracking

USPS Text Tracking is a feature that customers can use to get shipment status notifications via text message. Standard messaging and data rates apply to this service.

USPS Text Tracking From Your Phone

To monitor shipments on your phone, text 2USPS (28777) using your USPS tracking number as the subject line. USPS sends you a text message detailing your item’s tracking information.

You can text your tracking number plus a keyword to 28777. Keywords allow USPS to provide you with the information you need.

For instance, the keyword “DND” informs you of every delivery attempt. “Pickup” or “UP” also tells you that the package is available for pickup.

USPS Text Tracking From The Website

You can sign up on USPS’ website to receive Text Tracking using your package’s tracking number. The following Text Tracking features are available on the USPS website:

  • Available for Pickup
  • Day of Delivery Updates
  • Package Delivered
  • Delivery Exception Updates
  • Expected Delivery Updates
  • All the options above

What Is The USPS Delivery Instructions Service?

The USPS Delivery Instructions service lets recipients specify where they want the package delivered before it goes out. 

You can pick particular locations on your property, a nearby post office, or a completely different address. To set up USPS delivery information, follow these steps:

  1. Enter the USPS tracking number into the USPS search bar to see if your USPS package qualifies for USPS Delivery Instructions. If your item is eligible, “Delivery Instructions” appear in the “Available Action” sidebar.
  2. Click on “Delivery Instructions.” The system will prompt you to log in to your USPS account. You will need to set it up if you haven’t registered yet.
  3. Read and agree to the terms and conditions, and click the “Continue” button to submit your Delivery Instructions request.
  4. Continue filling in all required fields, follow website instructions, and remember to review your request one last time before sending your delivery instructions request.

Which USPS Services Offer Tracking?

Most USPS services include Priority Mail Express and Signature Confirmation package tracking features. Some services let you monitor packages for free, while others charge a fee — meaning you’d have to pay extra.

If you use USPS to ship internationally, remember that only specific packages are trackable outside the U.S. 

Each country has its scanning resources and agreements. These differences can prevent you from tracking your package despite having a tracking number.

USPS Tracking Statuses

Again, you’ll see tracking status updates when you check your package’s status on the USPS site. Here are some typical USPS tracking reports and their meanings.

USPS Pre-Shipment

The following are two pre-shipment notifications you might receive:

  • “Not trackable”: No tracking information is available since USPS hasn’t reviewed the shipping label yet.
  • “Label created, not yet in the system”: The label was already generated, but USPS has yet to scan it into the system. 

USPS In Transit To Next Facility

This status message indicates that your parcel will be at the next USPS shipping facility. The package moves through various warehouses until final delivery. 

Out For Delivery

This notification indicates that USPS has dispatched the package for delivery to arrive on the scheduled delivery date.

Delivered

A “Delivered” status indicates your package has arrived at its intended destination. This notification includes a time stamp, the destination address, and the delivery date.

Sometimes you’ll receive a more detailed delivery update like “Delivered to Agent.” This notification means USPS handed the package to an authorized representative at home or work.

Alert

An “alert”  may include the following things:

  • Awaiting delivery scan”: An expected delivery event has yet to happen despite the package being marked as “Out for Delivery.”
  • Unable to deliver; problem with address”: USPS had trouble sending the item due to incorrect address information.
  • Refused”: The recipient refused the parcel upon delivery.
  • Dead Mail” or “Sent to Recovery Center”: USPS cannot ship, forward, or retrieve the package, so it goes to the Mail Recovery Center.
  • Forwarded”: The recipient has an existing forwarding order on record, and USPS redirected the parcel to the new address.

What Does Return To Sender Mean?

Here are some notifications regarding delivery attempts that are related to the “return to sender” status:

  • Addressee unknown”: There is no known recipient at the address mentioned in the package.
  • No such number”: An address element, like an invalid apartment number, lacked crucial information.
  • Insufficient address”: The address has insufficient details to allow USPS to ship the package.
  • Vacant”: The residence or building has no occupants.
  • Moved, left no address”: The recipient just relocated without listing a forwarding address.
  • Forward expired”: The recipient’s forwarding order isn’t valid anymore as it has expired.
  • Unclaimed” or “Unspecified”: The parcel returned to the sender for indeterminate reasons.

Other Tracking Statuses

Here are some notifications you might get regarding your package’s delivery attempts.

  • Held at post office customer request”: The designated post office retains the package to fulfill the recipient’s request.
  • Receptacle full” or “Item oversized”: There was no extra space in the delivery receptacle, or the item was too large to fit.
  • No access”: The USPS agent could not reach the delivery address, such as a gated neighborhood requiring an access code.
  • No secure location available”: No package delivery place is considered safe. Also, nobody informed USPS to “leave if there is no response.”
  • Receptacle blocked”: Physical constraints restricted access to the receptacle.
  • No authorized recipient available”: No recipient could accept the package (typically for packages with Signature Confirmation service).

U.S. Mail Service Delivery Tracking

Although most U.S. Mail service products come with a tracking number, it is only the case with some products.  

Therefore, as a buyer, you must ensure the seller did not use a product without tracking features. Otherwise, you would have no clue about your item’s delivery status.

How Does U.S. Mail Service Tracking Work?

Your trackable item’s label gets scanned repeatedly throughout mail processing, whether USPS has it or one of its partner shipping companies does.

Tracking can begin once the sender or their shipping partner notifies you electronically when to expect the package.

How To Track U.S. Mail Service Package

As mentioned above, USPS offers many tracking options. One of the easiest ways to track your order is to visit USPS’ online platform (USPS.com) and use your tracking number.

Here are other options for checking USPS tracking statuses:

  • Contact the USPS customer service directly at 1-800-222-1811 and give shipment details to obtain up-to-date information
  • Download and install the USPS mobile application for iPhones and Android phones
  • Text “28777” containing your USPS tracking number to get a status update

Track U.S. Mail Service By Number

Suppose you have a tracking or confirmation number. In that case, you can enter the information in the appropriate search box to determine your mailing’s delivery status.

How Do I Track A U.S. Mail Service Return Receipt?

You can track your return receipt by mail when you enter the necessary information on the USPS website’s tracking field.

How Long Will USPS Keep Records For Tracking?

USPS keeps data on mail classes and services for a set period. When reviewing the tracking history of delivered items, consider these retention periods:

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

How Long Does It Take For Tracking Information To Show Up On U.S. Mail Service?

USPS Tracking typically begins when the sender or USPS shipping partner notifies USPS to expect a package.

USPS updates the item’s scanning details as soon as scans are available. It continues to do so until the package arrives or is collected by the recipient.

What Is Priority Mail Express Service?

USPS Priority Mail Express offers next-day to two-day guaranteed delivery and flat rate pricing.

The company delivers mail by 6:00 PM on the promised delivery date. If it fails to do so, you get your money back. Priority Mail Express provides fast delivery and competitive prices 24/7 (with few exceptions) to most U.S. addresses and P.O. boxes.

With Priority Mail Express Flat Rate, customers can ship packages weighing up to 70 pounds (lbs) to all 50 states for the same rate. Using the USPS Click-N-Ship service, you can mail from a USPS post office, your residence, or your business address.

The Priority Mail Express rate starts at $28.25 and includes USPS Tracking and coverage up to $100 for most shipments. This pricing also provides proof of delivery signature documentation upon purchase.

U.S. Mail Service Priority Mail Domestic Tracking

Priority Mail is USPS’ bestselling mail service offering domestic shipments within one to three business days, depending on your parcel’s destination. This service includes tracking and insurance and free shipping boxes and envelopes.

U.S. Mail Service Priority Mail International Tracking

USPS suggests using Priority Mail International for overseas shipments weighing over 4lbs. Prices start at $30.35, and this option includes USPS Tracking except for Priority Mail International Flat Rate envelopes and small Flat Rate boxes.

U.S. Mail Service Priority International Delivery Times

USPS can deliver Priority Mail International items within 6 to 10 days. This product offers insurance of up to $100 for nonnegotiable documents or $200 for specific merchandise.

U.S. Mail Service Priority Mail Express International Tracking

Priority Mail Express International provides money-back guaranteed, on-time delivery for select regions when sending time-sensitive items overseas.

Service costs start at $54.75 and provide USPS Tracking and insurance.

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

Priority Mail Express International’s service is efficient, affordable, and dependable, and it ships to 180 countries, including Mexico, Australia, and Canada. Customers can choose from the following shipping options:

  • Weight-based shipping (up to 70lbs) for as low as $56
  • Using free Flat Rate envelopes for mail under 4lbs starting at $54.75

This service delivers within three to five business days and offers a money-back guarantee to specific locations. Priority Mail Express International features USPS Tracking and a free Package Pickup option when shipping from a home or business address.

Other perks include a $100-insurance coverage for nonnegotiable document reconstruction or $200 for lost or damaged merchandise, including missing items, subject to a few exceptions.

How Long Does Priority Mail Take?

Priority Mail arrives at the intended destination in one to three business days and comes with tracking and insurance. Priority Mail Flat Rate allows you to ship packages up to 70lbs to any state for one price.

U.S. Mail Service Business Solutions

USPS gives small businesses partnership opportunities by letting them use the following shipping services:

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

U.S. Mail Service Global Express Guaranteed

This method of shipping is USPS’ fastest international service. Delivery is usually within one to three business days, depending on location.

U.S. Mail Service Expected Delivery Window

Generally, USPS delivers mail between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM, regardless of your delivery service. However, during peak season, mail can be delivered as late as 6:30 PM.

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 service used to sort and track cards, letters, and flats.

The IMb codes feature a 65-bar barcode that mailers can use to track mailpieces better and improve mail stream visibility. IMb is also a highly versatile tool that allows users to request and embed multiple services into one barcode.

How Long Does It Take USPS Ground To Deliver A Package?

USPS Ground usually takes two to five days to complete a package delivery. This service is one of the most, if not the most, reliable and economical ways to ship non-time-sensitive shipments and oversized parcels.

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

For a modest fee, USPS Tracking Plus grants extended access to your tracking records for six months to 10 years. USPS Tracking Plus also lets you receive a tracking statement via email.

U.S. Mail Service First-Class Tracking

USPS Tracking is free for First-Class Package Service-Commercial (FCPS-C) mailpieces and First-Class Package Service-Retail (FCPS-R).

Meanwhile, First-Class Mail postcards, letters, and flats are not eligible for USPS Tracking. Instead, you can buy extra services that scan these products’ barcodes.

How Long Does First-Class Mail Take?

First-Class Mail can deliver your letter in one to five business days and small packages in two to five business days. The cost begins at $4.75 for packages up to 13 ounces (oz), while First-Class Mail Forever stamps charge $0.63 per ounce.

U.S. Mail Service First-Class Mail International Tracking

Tracking service is unavailable for USPS First-Class Mail International. This mail class also does not offer insurance, and the delivery speed depends on where the package is going.

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

First-Class Package International Service is a cost-effective shipping method for light packages that covers nearly 180 countries. 

You can mail packages weighing up to 4lbs (64oz) and containing items worth up to $400. Shipping costs for First-Class Package International shipments begin at $15.75.

How Can I Track My International USPS Package?

International USPS services like Priority Mail International, Global Express Guaranteed, and Priority Mail Express International provide worldwide tracking and insurance.

How Long Does It Take For International First-Class Mail to Arrive?

USPS does not specify a delivery time for First-Class Mail International shipments. The processing times vary from country to country, so it’s challenging to estimate the time it will take for these mailpieces to reach the recipient.

U.S. Mail Service Parcel Select Ground

USPS offers Parcel Select Ground, a low-priced delivery service for heavy or oversized packages. Customers who choose this mail class can send parcels up to 70lbs. Rates vary based on the mailpiece’s weight, dimensions, and location.

U.S. Mail Service Parcel Select Ground Tracking

USPS provides tracking services for Parcel Select at no extra cost and with no minimum order requirement. You can send as many parcels as you need using this service. 

U.S. Mail Service Parcel Select Delivery Time

Parcel Select typically delivers packages within two to eight days.

U.S. Mail Service Package Lost Or Stolen: What To Do

You can do the following for lost or late parcels or mail that’s missing for longer than seven days:

  • Visit USPS.com for more details (read Find Missing Mail).
  • Submit a claim for insured goods within the allotted timeframe.
  • Go to your local post office for assistance with the missing mail request.
  • File a request for the lost mail search at MissingMail.USPS.com.

U.S. Mail Service Tracking Not Updating

When tracking isn’t updating, you must verify that the tracking number you entered is accurate. One possible explanation for not seeing your shipment’s tracking information is the incorrect tracking number on the USPS Tracking page.

What Is USPS’ International Shipping Service?

USPS international mail services cater to over 180 countries, including Japan, Great Britain, Canada, Mexico, and Australia.

USPS International Shipping Services

USPS offers international delivery services tailored to your needs. Choose based on the following:

  • Delivery time and shipping costs.
  • Features like Flat Rate shipping or package tracking and insurance.
  • Some extra services are available online. Others can only be accessed at a post office location.

USPS tools also assist with customs forms (including new requirements for more specific content descriptions in international packages that follow European Union (E.U.) customs rules).

Global Express Guaranteed

GXG (Global Express Guaranteed) is USPS’ most efficient international shipping option. It ships packages weighing up to 70lbs to 180 countries. 

GXG allows worldwide tracking and includes insurance of up to $100.

Priority Mail Express International

Priority Mail Express International guarantees on-time delivery for specific destinations when shipping overseas essentials that must arrive within a week.

Prices for this service begin at $54.75 and include USPS Tracking and insurance.

Priority Mail International

USPS suggests Priority Mail International for overseas shipments weighing over 4 lbs. 

Prices start at $30.35, including USPS Tracking, except for Small Flat Rate boxes and Priority Mail International Flat Rate envelopes.

First-Class Package International Service

FCPIS (First-Class Package International Service) enables you to ship packages up to 4lbs or 64oz, worth up to $400, worldwide. Additional restrictions may apply in the destination country. Delivery confirmation is available in select countries.

Mail and Shipping Service

USPS provides standard and express mail services, letting you choose the delivery method that best suits your needs. Choose the fastest or most economical shipping service depending on the items on your list and when they will arrive.

Priority Mail Express

This service is the quickest domestic shipping service. 

Using the free Flat Rate Envelopes, you aren’t limited to 70 lbs and fewer shipments. Purchase Priority Mail Express postage and shipping labels at a Post Office location or online. Prices start at $28.75.

Next-Day to 2-Day Guarantee by 6:00 PM

Next-day delivery by 6:00 PM is available to most addresses in the U.S., and P.O. boxes have a money-back guarantee.

Priority Mail

Priority Mail is USPS’ bestselling mail service. Priority Mail Flat Rate services include tracking and insurance, packaging materials, and free envelopes.

Purchase Priority Mail postage and shipping labels at a local post office or online. 

Shipping in 1 to 3 Business Days

Domestic shipments usually arrive at their destination in one to three business days, depending on where your shipment begins and ends.

First-Class Mail

Here are the primary features of First-Class Mail:

  • Mail delivered in one to five business days
  • Small packages are shipped in two to five business days
  • Eligible for delivery confirmation options such as Certified Mail
  • One price covers up to 3.5oz with commercially priced cards and letters
  • Best-priced shipping for items up to 13oz
  • Insurance covering damage or loss up to $5,000 for merchandise only
  • Prices are based on weight and shape

Mail in 1 to 5 Business Days and Small Packages in 2 to 5 Business Days

First-Class Mail does a budget-friendly mail service for standard-sized, single-piece mail weighing up to 3.5oz and large envelopes and small parcels weighing up to 13oz. The price starts at $0.63.

Media Mail

Media Mail is a cost-effective method of sending media and educational materials. This service restricts the type of media you can send.

Shipping in 2 to 8 Business Days

The timeliness of Media Mail service to or from destinations beyond the U.S. varies depending on travel conditions.

Using Media Mail

Here’s what you can send using Media Mail:

  • Books (minimum eight pages)
  • 16-millimeter or narrower-width films
  • Printed educational reference charts
  • Medical binders and loose-leaf pages
  • Printed music and exam materials
  • Sound and video recordings
  • Manuscripts and play scripts
  • Computer-readable media

Weight, Size, and Shape Requirements

The maximum weight for packages using this mail class is 70lbs.

USPS Retail Ground

USPS Retail Ground is an economical and reliable option for low-priority shipments. The starting price is $8.95 at a post office.

Shipping in 2 to 5 Business Days

Limited transportation availability may affect service times to and from destinations outside the mainland U.S.

Using Retail Ground

Here are three primary features of USPS Retail Ground:

  • Includes USPS Tracking
  • Suitable for oversized packages that can’t be delivered via Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail delivery
  • Only available at USPS post offices

Note: Department of Defense personnel overseas can use Retail Ground to ship U.S.-bound packages via Click-N-Ship.  

Weight, Size, and Shape Requirements

Here are the size, weight, and dimension requirements for USPS Retail Ground:

  • The weight limit is 70lbs, and the maximum combined girth and length is 130in. You will be charged based on how much your package weighs and how far it goes (the zone).
  • You must pay additional fees for the following:
    • Large, lightweight packages are subject to dimensional weight rates (DIM). 

Suppose your package measures more than one cubic foot (1,728 cubic inches). In that case, multiply length x width x height and divide the product by 166 to calculate the DIM weight in pounds.

If the DIM weight exceeds the actual package weight, you must pay the DIM weight price.

  • Provide accurate dimensions, or don’t pay the DIM weight fee (when it applies). If you don’t, USPS will charge you a dimension-noncompliance fee.
  • You’ll incur an additional charge for shipping a nonstandard size if your parcel has the following measurements:
    • Lengths between 22 and 30 inches: add $4
    • More than 30 inches long: add $7
    • More than two cubic feet or 3,456 cubic inches: add $15

Compare Mail Services

You can compare USPS mail services by starting price (for retail and commercial purposes) and shipping time. Most services already feature USPS Tracking, and you can buy additional insurance and extra services.

What Is U.S. Mail Service Informed Delivery?

Informed Delivery is a USPS service that lets users digitally inspect their mailpieces and monitor packages scheduled to arrive shortly.

Informed Delivery allows everyone in a specific household to see what is being sent to their mailbox anytime, anywhere, even away from home. Users of this service can access the status via a tablet, computer, or mobile device.

The USPS Informed Delivery service lets customers know about their early shipments, previewing their soon-to-arrive parcels.

Users can see a photo of their item when they log into their USPS account and visit the Informed Delivery dashboard. Informed Delivery also allows the customer to sign electronically after receiving the package.

Where Is The Tracking Number On the U.S. Mail Service Receipt?

Tracking numbers are easy to locate since they only contain digits. But some people might need help finding the tracking number on their USPS receipts. 

You can find your tracking number on the post office shipping receipt. You can also get it on your package receipt if you add insurance from USPS. 

What Does “Alert” Mean On a Tracking Status?

As indicated above, an “alert”  could mean the following things:

  • “Awaiting delivery scan”
  • “Dead Mail” or “Sent to Recovery Center”
  • “Unable to deliver; problem with address”
  • “Refused”
  • “Forwarded”

The Meaning of “Inbound Out Of Customs” 

If you’re expecting an overseas package, getting this notification means that U.S. Customs has handed your package over to USPS for delivery.

In contrast, “outbound” means your parcel has passed U.S. Customs and is ready to be delivered to another country.

What Does Customs Do?

In cross-border shipping, customs clearance refers to processing and clearing items through customs based on a country’s laws. This process involves paying fees, taxes, or import duties.

Customs requirements and fees vary depending on the product you’re sending and the country you are shipping to and from. 

So when sending a package from the U.S., the appropriate customs authority in the region charges you according to the value of the item you’re sending.

Does The Customs Clearance Process Work?

Customs officers inspect all items arriving in the country and apply additional fees if necessary. Even if you mark your item as a gift on your customs invoice, it still has value, and customs officers must inspect it.

To ensure your shipment clears customs with minimal or no issues, you must specify the exact contents of your parcel.

This breakdown should include the correct value of each item and your recipient’s contact information. Incorrect or deceptive customs information could result in delays, higher charges, or returned packages.

Package Shipped By U.S. Mail Service Shows No Tracking Information

While USPS offers delivery confirmation, some mailing services don’t enable tracking features. So it’s typical for some of your items shipped via USPS to have little or no tracking information.

USPS automatically scans a parcel with delivery confirmation when it arrives at the post office and when it gets delivered. This service doesn’t include pickup scans or information showing that the courier sent your package.

What Are the Reasons Behind Tracking Not Updating?

Here are four reasons why USPS Tracking does not update:

  • Delayed courier: The carrier may be dealing with delay-causing issues on its side, resulting in scans taking longer than usual. This delay can lead to your package’s tracking information not updating.
  • The barcode is broken or unscannable: Interfering with the device’s operation, a broken barcode can appear unreadable to the scanner.
  • The package is not scanned: Your item’s tracking information requires scanning barcodes to reflect shipping updates. However, USPS may have missed scanning the barcode for some reason. This failure to inspect and record explains why your package’s status isn’t updating.

Sometimes, shipments must pass through multiple facilities and be scanned numerous times before reaching their destination. With more stops, your item is more likely not to be reviewed.

  • Weather situations are unfavorable: Weather often causes shipment delays, which can be why your tracker isn’t updating. For instance, the plane carrying your package might’ve gotten stuck at the airport due to bad weather.

U.S. Mail Service Delayed Mail And Packages

When your mail or package gets rerouted or delayed, USPS offers several options to help monitor your item’s status in the mail stream.

For instance, USPS’ delivery standards can indicate how many days you should wait before contacting USPS to inform them of delayed delivery.

USPS’ mail volume changes daily, so the company cannot always ensure delivery on schedule 100% of the time. 

Still, USPS is committed to accomplishing all shipments by 5:00 PM, local time, from Monday to Saturday, unless delivery is slow or severe weather, traffic, or natural emergencies occur.

What To Do When My USPS Package Is Delayed?

It can be a hassle to lose a package or mail. Whether you’re the sender or recipient, you lose time and money. Fortunately, you can file a formal search request at USPS for delayed shipments.

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

USPS can temporarily experience a surge in deliveries. But while the company strives to handle packages quickly, some parcels can take longer to process than usual.

While monitoring your shipment, you may see an “in transit” status on your item. This notification indicates that your package is heading to its destination. Still, the status can suggest that the shipment has yet to be scanned.

Meanwhile, a non-updating tracking status could also mean that the truck delivering your parcel broke down or got delayed due to inclement weather.

U.S. Mail Service Delivery Hours

USPS makes it a policy to deliver mail and packages by 5:00 PM local time from Monday to Saturday. But since the courier does not guarantee delivery times, packages may arrive at their destination after 5:00 PM.

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

USPS delivers on weekends, but schedules differ depending on your mail class or service.

Does U.S. Mail Service Deliver On Saturdays?

USPS delivers on Saturdays, with delivery time varying based on where the package is along the delivery route. 

Postmen’s Saturday shifts are the same as their Monday to Friday schedule. They make rounds to deliver packages from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, whatever the delivery service.

Still, inclement weather and high holiday demand can delay your mail delivery.

Does U.S. Mail Service Deliver On Sundays?

USPS delivers on Sundays for Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, and First-Class Package Service.

Priority Mail Express charges a $12.50 rate for Sunday delivery. Meanwhile, First-Class Package service and Priority Mail only provide Sunday delivery for major metro areas.

Most USPS post offices don’t operate on Sundays. Although most USPS processing and distribution centers are open on this day to assist with shipping, these facilities are not accessible to the public.

Has USPS Changed International Services On Its Parcels?

USPS has made a few changes to its international service options, which are worth noting for those seeking USPS services.

USPS International Service Options

Here’s a table showing USPS’ international service options, including their starting price and shipping time:

ServiceDelivery TimeCost
Priority Mail Express International3 to 5 Business DaysStarts at $54.75
Priority Mail International6 to 10 Business DaysStarts at $30.35
Global Express Guaranteed1 to 3 Business DaysStarts at $71.10
First-Class Package International ServiceVaries by DestinationStarts at $15.75

How To Contact USPS Tracking Customer Service

You can reach USPS customer service via email or telephone at 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777).

USPS Customer Service

To help customers learn more about USPS products and services, basic information, and how-to steps, USPS has an FAQs (frequently asked questions) page. Inquiries may range from tracking packages to delivery issues.

What Is The United States Postal Service (USPS)?

USPS is the only agency with a delivery service that can reach every location in the U.S. The organization does not receive tax dollars for operating costs and depends on the sale of postage, services, and products to fund its operations.

USPS prides itself on having 34,000 retail locations and one of the most frequently visited federal government websites (USPS.com). 

Additionally, USPS delivers 48% of the world’s mail, giving the agency a $71 billion annual operating revenue.

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

USPS Tracking FAQs

  1. Can I track the USPS truck?

No. You cannot track the USPS delivery truck, but you can monitor your parcel’s latest location using USPS tracking.

  1. I’ve received my packages, but U.S. Mail Service tracking is still not updating. What should I do?

After a post office employee scans your parcel, the tracking system can take up to 24 hours to update the ticket number.

Just ensure that the tracking number you use is correct. You might not see your package’s tracking information because you entered the incorrect number on the USPS Tracking page.

  1. What is the USPS Click-N-Ship service?

USPS offers this service as a prepaid system for shipping mail. With Click-N-Ship, customers can make prepaid shipping labels on white paper, which they can later use to ship their mailpieces. 

  1. What should I do when a parcel gets stuck in customs?

Getting parcels stuck in customs is very frustrating. But during times like these, you can either wait it out or follow the given steps:

  • Contact the seller who shipped you the item you ordered: Confirm if the person who delivered your parcel has the necessary paperwork and documents to expedite customs processing.
  • Check if you have unpaid taxes: Some nations impose specific tax requirements before you can ship packages.
  • Contact USPS: USPS can speed up custom processing but might charge extra for this premium service.
  • Wait: If you’re sure you did everything right, just wait for the package to be cleared.
  1. What is USPS interception?

USPS Interception helps clients return or reroute letters or packages to a delivery location different from the original address.  

  1. Does USPS ever make a mistake while shipping a parcel?

Like other big courier companies, USPS faces various challenges when delivering packages. Consequently, USPS may be unable to ship a parcel on time or at all.

In many cases, the mishaps aren’t the courier’s fault. For example, the sender may have provided an inaccurate or incomplete delivery address, resulting in mistaken or returned shipments.

  1. What are USPS tracking notifications?

USPS will provide notifications or updates regarding your parcel once you enter its tracking number on the USPS Tracking page or other authorized third-party websites.

You can also have USPS send updates to your mobile device via Text Tracking. This service lets USPS deliver text messages regarding your latest tracking activity.

  1. Can you track USPS Ground?

Yes. This option, which people primarily use for single-piece mailings (any mailable matter not required to be delivered via First-Class Mail), includes a free USPS Tracking feature.

  1. How do you get free USPS shipping?

You can’t get free USPS shipping but you can find free shipping materials at a USPS postal store.

  1. Can you track free USPS parcel shipments?

Yes. With services like First-Class Package Service-Commercial and First-Class Package Service-Retail, you can track shipped parcels for free.

  1. Do USPS parcels use subcontractors for their international parcels?

USPS’ policy encourages supplier diversity and innovation among prime suppliers. This rule directs the organization to subcontract with SMWOBs (small, minority, and women-owned businesses).

Couriers may subcontract final deliveries to local couriers in some countries, especially if they don’t have a working local distribution network of their own.

  1. How can I leave delivery instructions?

Using the USPS Delivery Instructions service, you can ask USPS postal employees to leave a package at a particular location at the recipient’s address. This service lets you send shipments to another site or bring the parcel to your post office.

To use USPS Delivery Instruction, do the following:

  • Log in to your USPS.com account. 
  • Click the tracking results link.
  • Go to the “Change Delivery Instructions” page. If you cannot access this page, your package will likely be ineligible for the service.
  1. Where is my U.S. Mail Service package?

You can see your package’s delivery status by entering its tracking number in the USPS Tracking page’s search box.

For instance, if you get a “Delivered” notification, the tracking information will display the recorded delivery time, date, and address where USPS deposited your parcel.

  1. When will my letter carrier or mail arrive?

When checking your parcel’s status, you might also see a message regarding the expected delivery window.

 This information usually refers to a two-hour time slot when the recipient can expect to receive the package.

That said, USPS does not guarantee delivery within the indicated delivery window. Still, the recipient usually receives the parcel by the day’s end, even if the delivery does not happen within the expected window.

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

Check your item’s mail class delivery standard if you have not received the mailpiece. Compare the mail class and progress to USPS Mail Delivery Standards chart.

You can access this comparison chart by entering the mailpiece’s tracking number on the USPS Tracking page and visiting the “Product Information” page.

The delivery time varies depending on the mail class. So, your mailpiece might be in transit and not necessarily lost or stolen.

For instance, Priority Mail usually completes delivery within one to three business days. If you still haven’t gotten your mail within this timeframe, it’s advisable to contact USPS customer service.

  1. How do you get your package with U.S. Mail Service delivered?

You deliver your package via the U.S. Mail Service or USPS by depositing it in a mailbox or a local post office.

Individual shippers or retail businesses do this process once or twice weekly. Larger companies like Amazon or eBay do so almost daily.

A postal worker collects the deposited package and other shipments and transports them to a USPS sorting facility.

These facilities have machines that automatically organize packages according to size and shape. Once they’ve sorted the packages, another device assigns them to the correct destinations.

USPS ground shipments typically deliver domestic shipments using trucks. Meanwhile, international shipments are more complicated as they must get clearance from customs before being sent to the destination country by ship or plane.

Upon the parcel’s arrival in the destination country, customs officials examine the package before allowing a USPS partner local courier to collect and deliver the package.

  1. Where do I discover my tracking or reference number?

Here are places where you can see your shipment’s tracking number:

  • The sales receipt if you bought insurance for your parcel
  • The confirmation email if you had your package shipped using the USPS website or an online retailer
  • The post office shipping receipt
  • The peel-off part of the USPS Tracking label
  1. How do I access tracking information?

The tracking information you can get depends on what mail class or add-on services you bought. You can monitor your package’s status using the following:

  • The USPS Tracking page
  • USPS Text Tracking
  • USPS Mobile App for Apple and Android phones
  • The USPS phone number
  1. Does USPS charge their packages by weight or size?

Yes. For instance, First-Class Mail determines the shipping price by measuring weight and shape.

Meanwhile, Priority Mail considers the size, weight, and distance the package travels.

Priority Mail pieces exceeding one cubic foot are subject to “dimensional weight pricing.”

  1. Do I have to pay extra costs for USPS’s delivery instructions service?

Whether or not you pay extra depends on the delivery instruction service you requested. Basic instructions that do not require an additional fee include the following:    

  • Delivery of the parcel at a particular area on your property (e.g., front door and backyard)
  • Delivery of the package at a nearby post office 

In contrast, the following parcel delivery instructions will cost you extra:

  • Redirect your package delivery to a new residential address outside the carrier’s original route with a different ZIP code.
  • Upgrade your delivery service to Priority Express or Priority Mail.
  • Pick up or hold the package at a post office that is different from the nearest according to your ZIP code.
  1. Will there be any email notifications on my USPS delivery instructions request?

Whether or not you will receive email notifications depends on the option you choose when setting up your delivery instructions. 

You can receive these email notifications:

  • You will get a confirmation email for successfully submitted requests or delivered parcels.
  • Suppose you set up a delivery instruction requiring an extra payment, and the actual postage costs more than the estimated postage indicated at your request. In that case, you will also receive a confirmation email.
  • You will get a new USPS tracking number for items that need repackaging.
  • For undeliverable products, you will receive an email indicating the reason for the non-delivery.
  1. What do I do if my USPS package is missing?

You can ask for a Missing Mail search if you think your package was stolen or lost. 

You must give the following information when submitting a request:

  • Sender’s shipping address
  • Recipient’s shipping address
  • Your item’s description, like the color, brand, size, or model, if applicable
  • Photos to help the USPS staff recognize the item
  • Size and type of envelope or box used
  • Identifying information, such as tracking number, Click-N-Ship label receipt, or the delivery date on your mailing receipt
  1. What is the expected delivery window with USPS tracking?

As indicated above, the estimated delivery window refers to the two-hour time slot you can expect to receive your USPS package.

  1. How do I add USPS tracking to my parcels to be shipped out?

You can add USPS tracking to your shipment by getting a tracking label on your USPS package. This label contains the USPS tracking number that you can use to track your parcel. 

Follow these instructions for adding USPS tracking to your packages:

  • Post Office: If you ship your package at a post office, tracking is automatically activated after you complete the payment at the retail counter.

Upon payment completion, you must be able to check your parcel’s status using the tracking number on your USPS package’s receipt.

  • Online: Register a USPS account and print your shipping label.

Fix the label on your receipts or products. You can monitor the status of your USPS packages using your USPS account. 

If your selected service does not have a USPS tracking service, you must pay extra for the tracking feature. You will see your USPS tracking number in the proof of delivery document.

  1. How do I set up automatic notifications for my USPS packages?

You can receive automated notifications via the USPS website.

 Alternatively, you can get automated email updates when tracking your USPS parcel status by selecting the “Get Updates” option on third-party websites.

  1. How do I send an international package with USPS?

You can ship parcels from the U.S. to other countries through the following options:

  • Send your packages through a USPS post office by paying postage and filling up customs forms.
  • Make and print your own customs form and submit it to a local post office along with your parcel.
  • USPS offers a Click-N-Ship service so you can ship your international packages from the comfort of your home or office. Pay for postage, print customs forms and shipping labels, and schedule a pickup.
  1. How do I track a USPS package without a tracking number?

You can’t track a package without a USPS tracking number. 

If you forgot or misplaced the tracking number, you could check these resources to find it:

  • Your mailing receipt
  • Your online label record if you’ve bought postage online (through eBay, Click-N-Ship, or another service)
  • Your sales receipt
  • The self-service kiosk eReceipt
  • Ask the recipient if they’re currently subscribed to Informed Delivery. If they are, they must be able to see the tracking number on their dashboard
  • Below the barcode attached to the mailed item (see “USPS Tracking – The Basics)
  1. Does USPS insurance include tracking?

Yes, USPS insurance includes tracking options. Insurance may involve information scanning if bought for a mail class with USPS Tracking.

  1. Can I track a USPS package with my name?

You cannot track a parcel with just your name. If an eCommerce seller shipped the package, you could contact them directly to get the tracking number.

You can also sign up for Informed Delivery. This USPS service lets you preview all daily letters and packages sent to your address.

  1. What is the difference between USPS Parcel Select Ground and USPS Retail Ground?

The primary difference between Retail and Parcel Select Ground is their rates.

Retail Ground is the exclusive USPS ground shipping service at any local post office. Meanwhile, Parcel Select Ground is the same ground delivery service but provides lower rates for large packages. However, Parcel Select Ground can only be purchased online through USPS partner sites. 

  1. Is USPS Parcel Select Ground slow?

Yes. USPS Parcel Select Ground is one of the slowest parcel services USPS offers.

  1. Is USPS Parcel Ground cheaper than Priority?

USPS Parcel Ground is an economy shipping option. Hence, shipping your items using this service is less costly than USPS Priority.

References

  1. What is USPS Retail Ground Service?
    https://faq.usps.com/s/article/What-is-USPS-Retail-Ground-Service
  2. USPS Parcel Select Ground
    https://www.stamps.com/usps/parcel-select/
  3. USPS Parcel Select Ground
    https://www.stamps.com/usps/parcel-select/
  4. Price List
    https://pe.usps.com/text/dmm300/notice123.htm?_gl=1b976v7_gcl_au*MTA4MDYzMzgzMC4xNjg3NDIwNjI4#_c139
  5. Insurance & Extra Services
    https://www.usps.com/ship/insurance-extra-services.htm
  6. USPS Tracking Plus® – The Basics
    https://faq.usps.com/s/article/USPS-Tracking-Plus-The-Basics
  7. Standard Forward Mail & Change of Address
    https://www.usps.com/manage/forward.htm
  8. USPS Text Tracking™ FAQs
    https://www.usps.com/text-tracking/welcome.htm
  9. USPS Tracking® – The Basics
    https://faq.usps.com/s/article/USPS-Tracking-The-Basics
  10. Priority Mail Express
    https://www.usps.com/ship/priority-mail-express.htm
  11. Mail & Shipping Services
    https://www.usps.com/ship/mail-shipping-services.htm
  12. International Mail & Shipping Services
    https://www.usps.com/international/mail-shipping-services.htm
  13. Priority Mail Express International
    https://www.usps.com/international/priority-mail-express-international.htm
  14. How to Do Business with USPS®
    https://www.usps.com/c360/images/business/SMB_Onboarding_DIGITAL.pdf
  15. Intelligent Mail® Barcode
    https://postalpro.usps.com/mailing/intelligent-mail-barcode
  16. What are the Types of First-Class Mail®?
    https://faq.usps.com/articles/Knowledge/What-are-the-Types-of-First-Class-Mail
  17. First-Class Mail
    https://www.usps.com/ship/first-class-mail.htm
  18. International Services
    https://www.usps.com/international/#:~:text=Global%20Express%20Guaranteed%C2%AE%2C%20Priority,on%20delivery%20speed%20or%20price
  19. Missing Mail
    https://faq.usps.com/s/article/Missing-Mail-The-Basics
  20. Global Express Guaranteed
    https://www.usps.com/international/gxg.htm
  21. First-Class Package International Service
    https://www.usps.com/international/first-class-package-international-service.htm
  22. Delayed mail and packages?
    https://faq.usps.com/s/article/Delayed-Mail-and-Packages
  23. USPS Sunday Delivery
    https://www.stamps.com/usps/usps-sunday-delivery/
  24. About the United States Postal Service
    https://about.usps.com/who/profile/
  25. Package Services and USPS Retail Ground
    https://pe.usps.com/businessmail101?ViewName=PackageServices
  26. Subcontract Management
    https://about.usps.com/suppliers-diversity/subcontracting.htm
  27. How Weight Affects Prices
    https://pe.usps.com/businessmail101?ViewName=Weight
  28. Find Missing Mail
    https://www.usps.com/help/missing-mail.htm
  29. What is Insurance?
    https://faq.usps.com/s/article/What-is-Insurance