USPS Hold for Pickup

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May 25, 2023

Sometimes, you are unsure if you will be in town to pick up your package. If that is the case, then a USPS Hold for Pickup service can be a good option.

This article discusses how USPS Hold for Pickup service works. It gives you insight into how you can get USPS to hold your package for pickup and how to pick up the mail that is being held at your local post office. 

This article also explains how long you can place your mail on hold and how you can authorize someone to get your mail that’s kept under USPS Hold for Pickup service. 

FindPostOffice.org can help you access information about post offices and USPS special services like Hold for Pickup. Read on to learn more about this particular service, among other key information.

What Is USPS Hold for Pickup?

USPS Hold for Pickup is a special service that intends to deliver your package to a USPS facility where you can go later and pick it up. 

Does USPS Have a Hold for Pickup Service?

USPS (U.S. Postal Service) offers a Hold for Pickup service. If you’re the recipient of the package, you will get a notification from USPS through your email address once your package arrives at a USPS facility near you.  

The email contains the address and the working hours of the facility that holds your package. Bring a valid I.D. matching your name with the name on the shipping label when you go to the USPS facility to pick up your package. 

In Which Service Does USPS Hold for Pickup Work?

You can only use USPS Hold for Pickup service with Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, and First-Class Package Service.  

Can You Ask USPS to Hold Your Package?

You can ask USPS to hold your package by filing an intercept request on the USPS website. 

USPS Package Intercept is a special service intending to redirect a domestic shipment that has not been released or delivered. 

This service is available for flats with a tracking or extra service barcode, letters, packages, and all mail classes except Standard Mail and Periodical Class Mail (for magazines, newspapers, and other publications). 

How to Request USPS Hold for Pickup

Here are three ways to request a USPS Hold for Pickup service: 

Retail Location (Post Office)

Head to the nearest local post office. Once you get there, ask the local sales and service associate at the counter to process your Hold for Pickup request exclusively available for Priority Mail Express

You also need an 11-HFPU label for such a request. Make sure to get a pack of 10 from the postal store. Use the self-service kiosk to help locate the available Hold for Pickup locations. 

USPS.com

You can request USPS Hold for Pickup from your Click-N-Ship account. USPS offers Click-N-Ship, an online postage service that allows individuals to create pre-paid shipping labels for specific mail classes, such as Global Express Guaranteed, Priority Mail Express International, Priority Mail International, Priority Mail Express, and Priority Mail using their own computer and printer. 

You can also choose the Package Intercept feature or follow the USPS delivery instructions of USPS.com.    

USPS Web Tools API for Commercial Customers

USPS Web Tools are eCommerce application program interfaces or APIs, which you can use for customer service centers or online stores for free. 

You can request USPS Hold for Pickup from the USPS Web Tools using this process:

  1. Visit USPS.com and register for an account. Log in to your USPS account and go to the business solutions tab at the top of the screen. Click “manage business mail.”
  2. Choose the “shipping for business” option on the left-hand side. From the Web Tools section, click get started located at the bottom of the page. 
  3. Select “register now.”
  4. Fill in the form and click “submit.”

Printing the Hold for Pickup Labels

Suppose you want to print the Hold for Pickup labels from your home printer. Stamps.com can help you with that.   

  • Click the “batch” or “packages” tab and type in return and delivery information. You can opt for SDC-1200 or a 4×6 shipping label with plain paper as the print medium. 
  • Select the order. Click edit for batch shipment or choose additional options in the packages tab.
  • Select “Hold for Pickup.”
  • Select or enter the mailpiece, mail class, and weight. 
  • Specify the recipient’s address. 

Times for Pickup

There are 31,000 locations in California, Texas, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, and other states for the Hold for Pickup service available for Priority Mail Express. The time for pickup depends on the Priority Express service standard. You can pick up your Hold for Pickup shipment by 10:00 AM, 12:00 PM (noon or midday), or 3:00 PM. 

A post office can be one of the Hold for Pickup locations where you can get your shipment within five calendar days. 

However, you cannot send Priority Mail Express to military members in the APO (Army Post Office), FPO (Fleet Post Office), or DPO (Diplomatic Post Office). Priority Mail Express Hold for Pickup service is not available for those destinations. 

Can Someone Pick Up a Package at a USPS Facility Before Delivery?

Several individuals in the U.S. are willing to get their hands on their packages as soon as possible. 

Some may drive to the local USPS facility to pick up their package before it gets loaded onto a truck and sent out for delivery. Others may pick up their package at a post office nearby. 

For these reasons, USPS came up with package intercept and package hold. These two options allow you to get your package even before the agency delivers it to you. 

USPS Package Intercept

USPS developed an intercept option to control how packages are delivered. This service is exclusive to domestic shipments and only applies to packages that have not been sent out for delivery. 

How Does Package Intercept Work, and What Are the Time Limits?

USPS intercepts items at the post office upon request. The agency either returns the items to the sender or holds them for pickup at the delivery destination but not to a P.O. box (post office box). Note that certain conditions apply for a package intercept service. 

Requests for USPS Package Intercept are active for seven business days from the date of the request. 

Paying for Package Intercept

All intercepted packages are redirected as Prior Mail, so you must pay the applicable Priority Mail postage. Exceptions apply to packages that were originally sent using First-Class Mail, Priority Mail Express, or Priority Mail.    

Determining Eligibility

Since USPS Package Intercept is not a guaranteed service, you must determine what items are eligible for this service. 

What Is Eligible?
  • Items whose total length and girth length is not more than 108 inches
  • Domestic USPS mail services with a USPS Tracking or extra services barcode 
What Is Not Eligible?
  • Mail items redirected to a P.O. Box
  • Items addressed to a CMRA (commercial mailing receiving agency)
  • USPS Marketing Mail periodicals and products
  • Nonmailable items with surface-only transportation markings or packages bearing hazardous materials markings 

Who Is Eligible to Submit a USPS Hold Mail Request?

Individuals at an eligible address or their authorized representative can submit a USPS Hold Mail request. 

Suppose you cannot make the request yourself. In that case, your authorized agent can schedule a USPS Hold Mail request for a specific address by providing all the information necessary to complete the request. 

How to Submit a USPS Hold Mail Request

You may submit a USPS Hold Mail request online or in person. 

For online applications, you can create a USPS.com account and submit your request to the USPS Hold Mail service. 

Suppose you submit USPS Hold Mail before 2:00 AM. Central Time can start on the same postal business day. However, if you submit USPS Hold Mail after 2:00 AM, Central Time can start on the next postal business day at the earliest.

Postal business days are Mondays through Saturdays, except for postal holidays. 

For in-person applications, head to your local post office and fill out PS form 8076, Authorization to USPS Hold Mail. You can locate the post office address and phone number using the post office locator. 

When you request a USPS Hold Mail in person, in writing, or by calling  1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777), your local post office location or the customer care center must accept your request before the end of office hours to complete it by the next scheduled delivery. 

Online submission of USPS Hold Mail service only applies to some addresses. When USPS Hold Mail service is unavailable for an address, customers must submit their request in person.   

The customer care center cannot process requests for unqualified (partial or incomplete) addresses. 

How to Edit, Change, or Cancel a USPS Hold Mail Request

You will receive a USPS Hold Mail confirmation number if you receive your request online. USPS will link you directly to the USPS Hold Mail application.

A confirmation number allows you to edit, change, or cancel your USPS Hold Mail request. 

How Long Can Someone Place Mail on Hold?

You can place mail on hold for a minimum of three days and a maximum of 30 days. If you need mail delivery to be held longer than 30 days, you must register for a USPS Forward Mail service

Technical Assistance Provided for Online USPS Hold Mail Service

You may contact USPS if you experience difficulties submitting your USPS Hold Mail request online. 

USPS technical support team can assist you when a website application or form does not work properly. Give them a call at 1-800-344-7779. Their hours of operation are from Mondays through Fridays, 8:00 AM to 8:30 PM. You can also contact them on Saturdays from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM. 

Notifications

Commercial shippers can ship a package using the Hold for Pickup service. USPS will notify them via email or text message when they include their email address and contact details in the shipping services file. 

Retail customers should provide the recipient’s phone number on the Priority Mail Express label 11-HFPU. 

Types of Automated Notifications

Once your parcel arrives at the post office, the receiver will get a pickup reminder on day three for Priority Mail Express and day five for other mail classes. 

Suppose you send a package, but it is being returned to you. You will receive a notification on day five for Priority Mail Express and day 15 for other mail classes.

FAQs

  1. Is your package held up by USPS?

Sometimes, other shipping partners are the ones that handle your package before it gets into a USPS facility. 

Some individuals who buy items online or have their package shipped using USPS may assume that the agency will handle the shipment from start to finish. For this reason, using the tracking information is necessary to determine whether USPS holds your package.

  1. Can USPS packages be picked up if delivery was missed?

Yes. You may initiate an intercept, asking USPS to hold your package until you drop by the post office and get the item yourself. 

  1. What does it mean when your mail is marked “USPS Hold For Pickup” or “HFP”?

Your mail is marked as USPS Hold for Pickup or HFP if the delivery personnel cannot make it to you. The delivery personnel will use a yellow Hold for Pickup tag and put it on your door. The tag indicates that they cannot deliver your package, informing you that you need to send someone to come and get your item. 

Once the mailman places the tag on your door, you have until 8:00 PM to get your item. Your package will be returned to the post office if you fail to reach your door in time. 

Still, you can authorize someone who lives with you to get your item. This person should have a signature confirmation and be present to sign for the package when it arrives. 

  1. What do customers need to present if they choose to pick up their mail at their local post office?

Customers must present a valid I.D. photo if they opt to pick up their mail item at the post office facility specified on the notice. Recipients should also bring the PS form 3849, a redelivery notice left by the carrier informing you that there’s an attempt to deliver your mailpiece.

  1. Where can customers go to pick up the mail being held?

Customers should head to their local post office pickup location. They should refer to their redelivery notice for the information they need. 

They can go to the post office to pick up the item on or after the time and date specified on the PS form 3849 delivery notice. 

  1. Where do I pick up accountable mail?

You can pick up accountable mail online by checking the tracking number or barcode number using the USPS tracking feature. You can also call 1-800-ASK-USPS. 

An accountable mail needs a signature and payment of fees from you or your representative before delivery can be completed. 

  1. Can I authorize somebody else to pick up my USPS Hold Mail?

You can authorize somebody else to pick up your USPS Hold Mail. You only need written authorization and a photo I.D. You can write the authorization directly on the back of PS form 3849 or on blank paper and sign it. 

Suppose your representative has the same last name and address as yours. In that case, they cannot pick up accountable mail on your behalf unless a standing order is in place. 

A standing delivery order on file is a permanent authorization unless revoked. 

You can also follow the instructions on the back of the PS form 3849 should you wish to send a representative to pick up your accountable mail item. 

  1. How do I get my mail once my USPS Hold Mail request ends?

You can get your mail once your letter carrier delivers it. You can also pick up your mail at your local post office on the ending date you specified when you filed for a USPS Hold Mail request.

Present one of the acceptable forms of identification if you pick up your mail. Note that regular mail delivery will resume the following postal business day. 

Suppose your letter carrier delivers your accumulated mail. In that case, the letter carrier will leave a copy of PS form 3849 if your mail exceeds your mailbox size. They will also return your overflow mail to your local post office location for pickup.  

  1. Can I pick up my USPS Hold Mail earlier than initially requested?

You can pick up USPS Hold Mail earlier than initially requested. However, USPS will automatically cancel the “hold” on your USPS Hold Mail request. Regular mail delivery will also resume on the next postal business day. 

  1. What if my USPS Hold Mail did not start or stop as requested?

Contact USPS if your USPS Hold Mail did not start or stop as requested. An agent will document your concern so that local post office personnel can address it. 

  1. How will a COA (change of address) affect USPS Hold Mail?

A change of address can affect USPS Hold Mail. So make sure to submit a normal USPS Hold Mail request for a new or current address. 

Suppose the USPS Hold Mail request is for the old address. In that case, you should cancel the forwarding order before submitting a USPS Hold Mail request. 

Head to your local post office facility to cancel the COA. Following the cancellation of the COA, you may submit your USPS Hold Mail request. 

Meanwhile, the COA overrides the USPS Hold Mail request if you submit the COA later. 

  1. Why can USPS not verify my identity online? How can I put my mail on hold?

USPS takes security and privacy seriously. For this reason, the current online USPS Hold Mail request process requires customers to complete identity verification. 

You cannot request USPS to email an identity verification code once you fail to verify your identity within the USPS Hold Mail application. Instead, you should follow the prompts in the application to request a verification code.  

USPS will send a letter through First-Class Mail and expect it to arrive within three to five business days. You may also head to your local post office and fill out PS form 8076, authorization to hold mail.  

References

  1. USPS Hold for Pickup: A Useful Service from USPS
    https://usps-track.us/blog/usps-hold-for-pickup-a-useful-service-from-usps/
  2. USPS Package Intercept® – The Basics
    https://faq.usps.com/s/article/USPS-Package-Intercept-The-Basics
  3. USPS Package Intercept
    https://www.usps.com/manage/package-intercept.htm
  4. USPS Hold Mail® – The Basics
    https://faq.usps.com/s/article/USPS-Hold-Mail-The-Basics#How_can_I_submit
  5. Contact Us
    https://www.usps.com/help/contact-us.htm?_gl=1123ycgq_gaMTEwNzU0MzAyNS4xNjcwNjQwODUx_ga_3NXP3C8S9V*MTY3MTU4MjI1NS4yNi4xLjE2NzE1ODU5NDQuMC4wLjA.
  6. What is Signature Confirmation™?
    https://faq.usps.com/s/article/What-is-Signature-Confirmation
  7. Picking Up Mail that is Being Held at Your Post Office
    https://faq.usps.com/s/article/Picking-Up-Mail-that-is-Being-Held-at-Your-Post-Office
  8. PS Form 3849 Redelivery Notice
    https://faq.usps.com/s/article/PS-Form-3849-Redelivery-Notice
  9. USPS® Mail Requiring a Signature – Accountable Mail
    https://faq.usps.com/s/article/USPS-Mail-Requiring-a-Signature-Accountable-Ma