USPS Tracking Scan

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March 23, 2024

With about 127.3 billion in mail volume processed in 2022, the United States Postal Service’s achievement in delivering that volume of mail and packages is no small feat.

But even with the Postal Service’s best efforts to send your parcel to its destination, there can be moments when you want to know your shipment’s whereabouts for peace of mind.

Fortunately, USPS Tracking can help you determine your package’s delivery status.

How does USPS Tracking help monitor your parcel? What does a USPS Tracking number look like? What are the different tracking notifications you’ll likely encounter?

In this article, you’ll learn about USPS Tracking and how to scan a tracking code. This article also discusses finding the tracking number on your package and the possible reasons your tracking status isn’t updating.

If you need to drop off a package for mailing, FindPostOffice.org can help locate a post office near you. FindPostOffice.org also provides helpful articles on tracking and other shipping-related topics to help you become an informed shipper.

What Is USPS Tracking?

USPS Tracking is a feature that lets you check your mail and package delivery status through USPS. Once you enter an item’s tracking number into the search box on the USPS.com website, you can get updates on your parcel’s latest delivery information.

Track Delivery of Your USPS Shipments

Suppose you own an online business selling products on Amazon or eBay and need to ship goods to your customers. When you print a USPS shipping label, you can email its tracking link information to your buyers.

Providing your clients with a USPS tracking number keeps them updated on their orders’ delivery status. Simultaneously, making your clients’ package details readily available can demonstrate excellent customer service.

“How Can I Track My USPS Parcel?”

You can track your USPS package through the USPS website or a third-party tracking site. Locate your USPS tracking number on the shipping label and enter the number into the search field.

The tracking page will then display notifications showing your package or mail’s status and updates regarding its location and expected delivery date.

“How Can I Track My International USPS Package?”

Tracking international packages works in the same way as described earlier. Some third-party tracking pages allow you to track more than one package simultaneously.

Although the U.S. Postal Service includes tracking services, other couriers subcontracted by USPS can also handle your package during delivery, especially international shipments. USPS Tracking should be able to show this information.

“How Do I Scan My Package’s USPS Tracking Code?”

Suppose you want to ship an item and scan its tracking barcode or quick response (Q.R.) code. All you should do is bring the package to your local post office, and a USPS employee will scan the code for you.

Does USPS Scan Packages for Tracking?

Whenever USPS or its shipping partners possess your item, the package’s label gets scanned several times throughout the mail stream. Tracking starts when the shipping partner or item’s sender sends USPS an electronic notification regarding the package.

How Does USPS Scanning Work?

After handing over your package to USPS for delivery, tracking proceeds with the postal worker accepting your parcel for transit. Tracking ends when the courier delivers the item or the recipient picks it up.

You can access this tracking information throughout this process using your item’s USPS Tracking number.

USPS Tracking Number Format: What Is the Format of the USPS Tracking Numbers?

Your package’s USPS Tracking number appears as a 22-digit number, as demonstrated by the sample format below:

9400 1000 0000 0000 0000 00

Other USPS services also have different tracking number formats. Examples of these formats are as follows:

ServiceFormat
Priority Mail ExpressEA 000 000 000 US or 9270 1000 0000 0000 0000 00
Priority Mail9205 5000 0000 0000 0000 00
Registered Mail9208 8000 0000 0000 0000 00
Certified Mail9407 3000 0000 0000 0000 00
Priority Mail Express InternationalEC 000 000 000 US
Priority Mail InternationalCP 000 000 000 US
Global Express Guaranteed82 000 000 00
Collect on Delivery Hold for Pickup9303 3000 0000 0000 0000 00
Signature Confirmation9202 1000 0000 0000 0000 00

“Where Do I Find My Tracking Number?”

You can find your item’s tracking number in the following places:

  • The shipping receipt from the post office
  • The sales receipt you receive upon buying insurance at the post office
  • The email confirmation you receive after shipping from USPS.com
  • The confirmation email from an online retailer
  • The USPS Tracking label’s bottom peel-off portion

What Does a USPS Tracking Label Look Like?

Preprinted labels typically have a peel-off portion at the bottom that you can retain for tracking and recordkeeping. The following sections briefly describe two types of USPS Tracking labels.

USPS Tracking Retail Label

A USPS Tracking retail label usually contains a tracking number below the barcode.

Label 400, USPS Tracking Label, Front

This label’s appearance resembles the retail label. Mailers who prefer the electronic option use this label instead. However, retail customers can also use this format.

“How Do I Access Tracking Information?”

The tracking and delivery information you receive depends on the mail class or add-on services you purchase during mailing. Whether you’re the sender or recipient, you can track your parcel through the following ways:

  • Online: Use the USPS Tracking tool on the USPS website
  • By text: Send your tracking number to 28777 (2USPS)
  • By smartphone: Download the USPS Mobile app for iPhone or Android devices
  • By phone: To obtain tracking information, customers can go to Contact USPS for the phone number and hours of operation

What Are USPS Tracking Notifications?

When you enter a USPS tracking number onto a tracking site, the USPS delivery service will provide all status updates. However, knowing what these statuses mean can also help you understand what’s happening.

The following sections discuss these statuses you’ll likely encounter when viewing your package’s tracking information.

U.S. Mail Service Tracking Statuses

To understand the details of a USPS package event update, learn the various tracking notifications listed below:

  • Shipping label created, USPS awaiting item: Your package’s shipping label has been made, and your item awaits transfer to a USPS facility.
  • Arrived at USPS facility: The item has arrived at one of USPS’ facilities.
  • Arrived at post office: The parcel is at a local post office and is ready for delivery.
  • Arrived at USPS regional facility: Your parcel has reached a distribution center or regional facility.
  • Departed USPS regional facility: The item has left a distribution center or regional facility.
  • Processed through facility: Your package has been registered or processed at a facility and will soon ship overseas.
  • In transit to the next facility: The parcel is heading to a different facility.
  • Arrived shipping partner facility, USPS awaiting item: Your package is with a third-party courier and will soon be transferred to USPS for the final delivery.
  • Departed shipping partner facility, USPS awaiting item: Your item has left the third-party courier’s facility and is heading to USPS for final delivery.
  • Out for delivery: The courier is delivering your package.
  • Out for delivery, expected delivery by: The postal carrier is delivering your package and will arrive at a specific time.
  • Delivered, in/at mailbox: The courier has delivered the parcel to the recipient’s mailbox.

USPS Has Delivered Your Package Without a Delivery Status Update

Suppose your package has been delivered, but its “out for delivery” status hasn’t changed in the last few hours or days. Consider checking around your home to determine if the package has arrived. The courier may have delivered your item but not updated the status.

“I’ve Received My Packages, but Still U.S. Mail Service Tracking Is Not Updating”

Tracking not updating is possible, especially during the holidays when there’s a rush of mail packages. In such situations, USPS can experience a slowdown.

During such events, the courier can skip scanning to help move the packages quicker. This situation can lead to your package’s tracking information not updating.

“I Dropped Off My Package, but It Still Hasn’t Been Scanned Yet”

If you ship your package with USPS through a third-party courier, it’s possible that scanning can take longer than expected. Some reasons for this delay are as follows:

  • If you drop off your package after business hours, USPS may not scan your item until the next day.
  • Your parcel may be in the queue at a USPS facility.
  • The postal workers scanning your package may not have scanned it on the day when you dropped it off.
  • The post office where you dropped off your package may not have initially scanned it due to high mail volume.

What You Can Do

If tracking information has not appeared several days after dropping your package off at USPS, consider visiting your local post office or contacting USPS customer service to ask what happened to your shipment.

Another way to address this issue is to file a missing mail search request to prompt USPS to update your package’s tracking scans.

Possible Reasons Behind USPS Tracking Not Updating

Your package’s tracking information may not update for numerous reasons. Some of these reasons may be within the courier’s control, while others may be due to external factors. The sections below briefly discuss these reasons.

Bad Weather Conditions Can Disrupt USPS Tracking

Weather can slow down your courier and cause your mail or package to take longer to reach the next station. For example, heavy rains or snow can prevent the delivery truck from leaving the facility.

Bad weather can also damage the tracking barcodes, rendering them unreadable to the scanner and preventing the status from getting updated.

Package Not Scanned or Updated

The tracking barcode can get torn or smudged during handling, causing the scanner to be unable to read it. Although the post office can manually input barcodes, there are times when shipping schedules are tight, and the postal worker can miss the scan.

Package Not Moving (Yet)

During peak periods, a USPS facility can operate at such a high capacity that it struggles to keep up with the considerable mail influx.

This increase in mail volume can slow the mailing process, causing your package to get stuck in that facility longer than expected.

Package Lost Somewhere

Despite USPS’ best efforts to deliver your package safely, there’s still the possibility that mail can get lost somewhere along the way. For example, your mail can fall off a truck or conveyor belt.

Update Delayed by the Carrier

Sometimes, the carrier’s circumstances can cause your package’s tracking status to take longer to update. For instance, the person scanning has finished their shift before scanning your item. The other personnel might put your package in the truck or return it to the distribution center.

Package Has Been Delivered Without a Delivery Update

As mentioned, the courier can deliver your package without updating its tracking status. For example, the recipient receives the box, but the tracking system takes too long to change your item’s delivery information.

“What Do I Do if My USPS Tracking Number Isn’t Updating?”

Suppose you want to know your parcel’s delivery status but can’t get real-time information because the tracking number isn’t updating. In this case, the following sections can help you track packages whose statuses don’t update.

Check Your USPS Tracking Number

As mentioned, you can find your package’s tracking number on the shipping receipt you receive when mailing your item to the post office. Input this number in the search box on the USPS website.

You can also find the tracking number in your confirmation email and the peel-off portion of your USPS Tracking label.

Contact USPS Customer Service

When you call USPS customer service and speak to a representative, the tracking information they will see is the same as what appears on USPS Tracking.

However, if you still want to speak with a representative regarding another issue with your package, call 1-800-222-1811.

Go to the Post Office

If you need help using the tracking number or calling USPS customer service, visit your local post office. The postal staff will do what they can to assist you regarding package tracking.

Wait a Few Days to Get Tracking Details

If you’re expecting a non-urgent shipment whose tracking status isn’t updating, waiting a few days may not be a big deal. Expect some delays if the mail class used to send your item isn’t guaranteed.

However, if your parcel is time-sensitive, you may need to contact USPS customer service for assistance.

About the U.S. Mail Service: What Is the United States Postal Service (USPS)?

The U.S. Postal Service is the United States’ only delivery service that reaches 160 million residences, business locations, and post office boxes (PO boxes) nationwide.

USPS relies on product, service, and postage sales to fund its operations and receives no tax dollars for operating expenses. Among the services the Postal Service provides is USPS Tracking.

USPS Tracking provides end-to-end item tracking for most shipping services addressed to the following destinations:

  • Domestic locations
  • Army Post Offices (APOs), Fleet Post Offices (FPOs), and Diplomatic Post Offices (DPOs)
  • ZIP codes in U.S. territories and freely associated states

USPS Customer Care Service Contacts

You can contact the USPS Customer Care Center at 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777) or send an email through USPS.com’s customer service page.

If you need to file a claim or need technical assistance, call 1-800-344-7779.

FAQs

  1. What does “awaiting delivery scan” mean?

An “awaiting delivery scan” status from USPS can mean any of the following things:

  • The mail carrier forgot to scan your package when loading it onto the vehicle for delivery.
  • The carrier has not scanned your item after dropping it off at your address.
  • Your parcel was scanned for delivery but never dropped off at its final destination.
  1. How long does it take for tracking information to show up on the U.S. mail service?

After your item gets scanned, the tracking information can take up to 24 hours to update on the USPS site.

  1. Can I track USPS parcel shipments for free?

Tracking is automatically included when you pay for the following USPS domestic and international services:

  1. How can I track First-Class Mail letters with USPS tracking?

One extra service you can add to First-Class Mail as a substitute for USPS Tracking is Delivery Confirmation, such as through Certified Mail.

This extra service provides the ZIP code and the delivery time and date when the courier delivered or attempted to deliver your pieces of mail.

  1. What does “alert” mean on my tracking status?

An “alert” status means you should expect a delay in your package’s arrival due to inclement weather or natural disasters in the area.

  1. Is there any way to speed up tracking updates?

USPS has sole control over moving your packages faster and speeding up tracking updates. Thus, it’s unlikely that you can control how fast or slow USPS will update your item’s tracking information.

  1. When will I receive a USPS tracking update?

As mentioned, receiving a tracking update on your parcel can take up to 24 hours.

Your package’s delivery distance can also influence how frequently you receive tracking updates.

  1. What should I do if my USPS tracking number isn’t updating?

Contact USPS customer service or head to your local post office to inquire about your package’s tracking information. If your parcel isn’t time-sensitive, you can wait a few more days for the status to update before calling USPS.

  1. How long does USPS take to update tracking after drop-off?

Suppose you drop off your package at a post office and do not receive an update. One likely reason is that USPS hasn’t scanned your item yet.

For example, when you drop off your parcel after business hours, expect the tracking information to update the next business day.

  1. How do I track my parcel with USPS Text Tracking?

To track your package via text messaging, send your item’s tracking number as SMS to 28777 (2USPS). Standard data and message rates may apply.

  1. How long will USPS keep my records for tracking?

The Postal Service will retain your item’s tracking data for 120 days. If you have USPS Priority Mail, Certified Mail, or Registered Mail, USPS will store its records for two years.

References

  1. A DECADE OF FACTS & FIGURES
    https://facts.usps.com/table-facts/
  2. USPS Tracking® – The Basics
    https://faq.usps.com/s/article/USPS-Tracking-The-Basics
  3. USPS Tracking®
    https://tools.usps.com/go/TrackConfirmAction_input
  4. Contact Us
    https://www.usps.com/help/contact-us.htm
  5. About the United States Postal Service
    https://about.usps.com/who/profile/
  6. Mail & Shipping Services
    https://www.usps.com/ship/mail-shipping-services.htm
  7. International Mail & Shipping Services
    https://www.usps.com/international/mail-shipping-services.htm