USPS Tracking Status Meanings


May 11, 2023

The arrival of a much-anticipated package is one of life’s little joys. 

Whether a loved one’s gift or an online purchase, unboxing a package containing the item you’re looking forward to receiving is a real adrenaline rush.

But what if USPS (U.S. Postal Service) informs you that your package has been “delivered,” but you cannot locate the supposedly delivered package? The situation can be pretty frustrating.

Fortunately, USPS Tracking lets you monitor your package’s movement, so you don’t have to worry about its delivery status.

If you’re concerned about the status of your parcel, contact USPS via email or phone, or inquire at your local post office.

Check out to locate local post offices. This website provides vital information regarding 31,330 post offices in the United States.

Do you want to know what USPS services offer tracking features and how to access them? 

Or did you send a package using a USPS service with a tracking feature and want to understand the meanings of various USPS Tracking status updates? 

It’s best to know what you can do if your parcel seems stuck in transit and needs a tracking status update

Read on to know the timeframe for USPS package deliveries and what to do when you’re not getting any USPS tracking notifications.

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

Tracking USPS Shipments

Thanks to the digitization of specific processes, tracking USPS shipments is relatively more manageable now than in the days of in-person transactions.  

Below is a discussion regarding packages in transit and how to track them using USPS Tracking.

Key Points

With USPS Tracking, you can track shipments domestically or internationally. This USPS feature offers clients the following information:

  • USPS package status: This part shows your delivery’s status like “in transit,” “out for delivery,” or “delivered.”
  • Tracking history: The history displays your shipment’s relevant origin-to-destination data.

Which USPS Services Offer Tracking?

Most USPS services, including Priority Mail Express and Signature Confirmation, offer package tracking features. Some services provide package monitoring for free, while others offer it for a fee — meaning you’d have to pay extra.

However, if you ship internationally with USPS, remember that only some packages are trackable once they leave the U.S. 

Each country has unique scanning resources and agreements. These differences can hinder you from monitoring your package even if you have a tracking number.

“Where Is My Package?”

As indicated above, USPS has a system for tracking packages and updating clients regarding delivery progress.

It’s understandable to wonder about your package’s status, especially if the delivery exceeds its estimated arrival date. 

USPS recommends people sign up for Informed Delivery notifications. This feature offers a digital preview of your package and the option to manage upcoming packages.

How to Track a USPS Package

USPS offers various package tracking options. One of the most convenient ways to track your parcel is to visit USPS’s official website ( and use your tracking number.

Here are other ways to look for USPS tracking statuses:

  • Contacting USPS directly via their hotline at 1-800-222-1811 and providing the tracking information to get the most up-to-date information
  • Texting “28777” using your USPS tracking number as the message to get a status update
  • Using the USPS mobile application, which you can download and install for iPhone and Android devices

“What Does My USPS Tracking Status Mean?”

You’ll see tracking status updates when checking your package’s status on the USPS website at various times. Below are some of the most common USPS tracking updates and their meanings.


Here are two pre-shipment notifications you might receive:


You might get the following tracking notifications once USPS accepts your package into its system:

  • Origin acceptance”: USPS picked up your parcel at the sorting facility associated with the ZIP (Zone Improvement Plan) code where you shipped the parcel.
  • Acceptance at destination”: The item has reached the designated USPS processing facility or post office.
  • USPS in possession of the item”: USPS picked up the package during the shipper’s pickup schedule
  • Accepted at USPS facility”: USPS received the item at the USPS facility in the specified ZIP code.  


 This notification means the package is on its way to the recipient’s location. “In-transit” indicates that USPS is processing or transporting your parcel to a post office.

Additional tracking information will be available once it arrives and is out for delivery. For example, you might receive an “Arriving Late” notification indicating a delay in your package’s delivery.

Out for Delivery

This notification means that USPS sent the package out for delivery to meet the agreed-upon arrival date.


A “Delivered” status update means your package has arrived at the shipping address. This notification includes a recorded time, the shipping location, and the delivery date.

Sometimes you’ll get a more specific delivery update like “Delivered to Agent.” This notification means USPS delivered the package to an authorized representative from your residence or business.

If your tracking information shows “Delivered,” but your package has yet to arrive, remember the following tips:

  • The USPS worker may have placed your parcel in a safer location, so please check the following places:
    • Any area free of potential weather hazards
    • Exterior doors and outdoor places where the package could be placed
    • Mailbox
    • Porch
    • Garage
  • Recheck your mailbox since some packages could arrive separately from the regular mail.
  • See if anyone else in your house has accepted the package.
  • In rare cases, packages arrive 24 hours after receiving the “Delivered” status update.

If it has been over 24 hours since the “Delivered’” status, to save time, you can contact your local post office to follow up. You will get a confirmation number and a contact within two to three business days.

Delivery Attempt

Here are specific notifications you might receive related to delivery attempts.

  • Held at post office customer request”: A designated post office keeps the package to comply with the recipient’s request.
  • No secure location available”: No place was considered safe enough to deliver the package. Also, nobody instructed USPS to “leave if no response.”
  • Receptacle blocked”: Access to the receptacle is restricted due to physical limitations.
  • Receptacle full” or “Item oversized”: There was no extra room in the delivery receptacle, or the package was too large to fit.
  • No access”: The USPS representative could not access the delivery location, such as a gated community requiring an access code.
  • No authorized recipient available”: No recipient was available to receive the package (usually for packages with Signature Confirmation service).

Available for Pick-Up

You can arrange for your recipient to accept the package at a nearby post office or another USPS facility in Houston, Phoenix, San Diego, Seattle, Denver, and other cities.


An “alert”  could mean the following things:

  • Awaiting delivery scan”: An appropriate delivery event hasn’t happened after being marked as “Out for Delivery.”
  • Dead Mail” or “Sent to Recovery Center”: USPS cannot deliver, forward, or collect the package, so it has been transferred to the Mail Recovery Center.
  • Unable to deliver; problem with address”: USPS had trouble delivering the package due to inaccurate address information.
  • Refused”: The recipient rejected the item upon delivery.
  • Forwarded”: The recipient has an existing forwarding order on the database, and USPS redelivered the package to the new address.

Return to Sender

Here are various scenarios that might have happened if you received a “return to sender” tracking update:

  • No such number”: An element of the address was incomplete or incorrect, like an invalid apartment number.
  • Addressee unknown”: The recipient cannot be identified at the address listed on the package.
  • Moved, left no address”: The recipient recently relocated without setting up a forwarding address.
  • Forward expired”: The recipient’s forwarding order is no longer valid as it has expired.
  • Insufficient address”: There are not enough details in the address for USPS to ship the package.
  • Vacant”: The building or residence is unoccupied, with no available recipient.
  • Unclaimed” or “Unspecified”: The parcel was returned to the sender for some unspecified reason.

Status Not Available

This notification might mean that the system recognizes that the Item arrived for delivery, even though USPS has yet to process the package for delivery.

Suppose there isn’t any follow-up scan the day after you go to the post office, and you haven’t received a delivery. In that case, you can email the post office requesting a status update.

Here’s More USPS Tracking Information

Below are additional tracking status updates you might get using USPS Tracking.

In Transit to Next Facility

This status update indicates your package is on its way to the next USPS destination facility. The package passes through various facilities or warehouses until final delivery. 

Departed USPS Regional Facility

Tracking pages displaying “departed from a regional facility” indicate that the delivery has left the USPS facility and is en route to the next destination.

Inbound Out of Customs USPS

Foreign deliveries require U.S. Customs clearance. 

If you’re expecting an international shipment, you might get an “inbound out of customs” tracking notification. 

What Happens When USPS Tracking Isn’t Updating?

Other options may be available if you cannot find updated tracking information for your USPS package online. 

You can text a message to 28777 using your tracking number. Ideally, USPS would provide a USPS track update regarding your parcel immediately. 

You could also call USPS customer service (1-800-275-8777) or email them through their website. Remember to have your USPS tracking number at hand.

“What Can I Do if My Mailpiece Hasn’t Been Delivered?”

First, determine your domestic item’s delivery standard based on the purchased mail class. You can determine the mail class by entering the USPS Tracking number and clicking “Product Information.” 

Then, evaluate your mail class progress based on the Mail Delivery Standards chart for delayed mail and packages. 

Expected Delivery Window

When you check the status of your item, the USPS tracking system may display the Expected Delivery Window (ExDW). This window is a two-hour slot during which you can expect your package to arrive. Note that there is no guarantee that delivery will occur within that timeframe. 

Still, your item may arrive by the end of the day, even if it arrives later than the expected two-hour slot.

USPS Tracking FAQs

  1. How do you track a package without a USPS tracking number?

Locating your package can be more challenging if you lose your tracking number. Contact USPS customer service by email or phone. Note that you may have to supply the following information:

  •  Mail class you purchased
  • Whether your package required a signature, registered, or insured
  • The original shipping address (for example: workplace, residence, and military outpost)
  • The package’s value and contents

If you suspect package theft, you must provide evidence, including photos or videos.

  1. Where can I find the USPS tracking number on the receipt?

If you purchase a USPS delivery service, you will receive a receipt. The tracking number is usually at the bottom of the invoice. This code consists of a string of numbers and letters corresponding to your purchased service.

  1. Can I track the USPS truck?

You cannot order the USPS truck to retrieve your parcel.

However, you can track your package using USPS tracking. If you have your tracking number, visit the USPS website or call customer service for an update.

  1. Does USPS insurance include tracking?

A mail-class insurance policy might include scan information if it includes USPS Tracking.

USPS Insurance generally covers up to $5,000 for lost or damaged items or packages with missing contents. However, Registered Mail with insurance has a $50,000 liability limit. 

Online labels also offer USPS Tracking service for checking their delivery status online.

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

You cannot track a USPS package with just your name or address. If an eCommerce merchant sent the package, you could contact them directly to retrieve the tracking number to look up. 

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

  1. Can I see exactly where my USPS package is?

While you might not get real-time location information regarding your USPS package, USPS tracking provides regular updates regarding your parcel’s delivery progress.

  1. What does a red alert mean on USPS tracking?

An alert on USPS tracking could mean a shipment delay due to weather-related events and other natural disasters.

Learn more about the meanings of tracking status updates from well-known shipping companies like FedEx, DHL (Dalsey Hillblom Lynn), and UPS (United Parcel Service) at 


  1. Where is my package?
  2. What is Insurance?