February 3, 2023
A 2022 report by the United States Postal Service (USPS) showed that the U.S.-based courier delivered 128.9 billion mailpieces during the 2021 fiscal year. With this number, you may wonder how the Postal Service ensures that these packages reach their destinations.
Tracking is among the tools that USPS provides its customers to help them track the delivery process through status notifications. But knowing how to use it is key.
How does USPS Tracking work when you’re sending a parcel through USPS? What are the different USPS Tracking formats that the company uses?
How do you interpret the tracking notifications or statuses? What can you do if your parcel hasn’t been delivered?
This article explains how USPS Tracking works to help you track your shipment and what you can do if your parcel doesn’t reach its destination.
It also lists the various tracking formats and numbers that USPS uses for different types of mail, including the meaning of each delivery notification on your item’s tracking status.
Tracking your shipment helps keep you updated on the status of your item so you know where your shipment is and whether your recipient has received it. The different tracking notifications can help you easily determine what’s happening to your item so you can have peace of mind.
When sending mail through USPS, visit FindPostOffice.org to locate a Post Office near you. You can also visit the blog page to learn about other USPS services, including comprehensive information on UPS tracking and its wide range of services.
What Is USPS Tracking?
The United States Postal Services (USPS) has a tracking service that you can use to check the real-time status of your sent mail, packages, and other shipments.
The USPS Tracking feature is available on the Postal Service’s website so you can track your parcel’s latest status.
USPS Tracking consists of two parts:
- USPS package status: This part displays your shipment’s status like “in transit,” “out for delivery,” or “delivered.”
- Tracking history: The history shows the status of your parcel, together with your shipment’s relevant historical data from origin to destination.
Where Is Your USPS Package?
When you enter your package’s tracking number in the USPS Tracking page’s search box, you’ll see your item’s delivery status.
For example, if your item has a “Delivered” status, the tracking information will show the recorded delivery time, date, and location where USPS delivered your shipment.
How to Track USPS Package
To find where your package is, you can visit the USPS website at www.USPS.com. Go to the USPS Tracking page, enter the tracking number in the search box, and click “Track.”
USPS Delivery Tracking
The following sections explain how USPS Tracking works to help you check your shipment’s delivery status.
How Does USPS Tracking Work?
USPS Tracking works by following a sequence of actions associated with ordering and shipping parcels at a USPS Post Office.
USPS Label Creation
USPS creates labels, each with a barcode and tracking number. You can also create and print labels through USPS’ Click-N-Ship service.
Labels make your shipment identifiable through the Postal Service’s mail stream, allowing you to track your item regardless of whether USPS or a third-party courier handles the delivery.
Tracking is made possible when a USPS employee or delivery partner scans the barcode on the label to update the item’s current status electronically.
Parcel Acceptance for Transit
Tracking begins when USPS accepts your parcel for transit. Tracking ends when the parcel arrives at the destination and is accepted by the recipient.
Online Tracking Update
Throughout the delivery process, USPS Tracking lets you see the route your shipment takes to get to the destination. This way, you don’t get left in the dark about your package’s status.
USPS Expected Delivery Window
You may encounter a message about the expected delivery window when checking your parcel’s status. This window refers to a two-hour time slot when the recipient can expect the package to arrive.
Despite this window, USPS doesn’t guarantee delivery within that time slot. Still, the recipient can receive the item by the day’s end, even if the delivery doesn’t happen within the expected window.
How Do You Track a USPS Return Receipt?
A Return Receipt is proof of delivery that USPS provides to the sender. It contains the recipient’s signature, delivery address information, and delivery date and time.
Senders can purchase a Return Receipt during mailing but not after. The Domestic Return Receipt (PS Form 3811) is a hard copy containing a barcode with the tracking number.
This tracking number isn’t for checking the sent parcel’s delivery status. Instead, senders use this number to check the Return Receipt’s tracking information as the hard copy makes its way to the original sender who requested this service.
What Is USPS Informed Delivery?
Informed Delivery is a free USPS service that lets users digitally preview their mailpieces and manage packages that are scheduled to arrive soon.
Informed Delivery allows the entire household to see what is coming to their mailbox anytime, anywhere, even while traveling. Users of this service can view the status on a computer, tablet, or mobile device.
The USPS Informed Delivery service allows users to get information about their shipment in advance, including previewing their mail and packages scheduled to arrive soon.
When the user logs in to their USPS account and checks the Informed Delivery dashboard, they can view an image of their item. Informed Delivery also allows the recipient to sign a delivery electronically upon receiving the shipment.
Track USPS by Number
When you hand over a parcel to a USPS counter, the staff will give you a receipt with a 16-digit tracking barcode. Keep the receipt safe until your item gets delivered.
Enter this 16-digit number in the USPS Tracking search box to get the delivery or transit information.
How to Use USPS Tracking Aside From USPS.com Tracking
USPS.com’s tracking service isn’t the only way to track your shipments. There are third-party websites and applications with tracking tools you can use when the USPS website’s tracking services are down or take a long time to respond.
Using these third-party sites is useful when you can’t access USPS Tracking. You can also call USPS customer service for help in tracking your shipment.
When USPS Tracking Is Down, Use USPS Text Tracking
Another alternative to track your parcel when the USPS Tracking page is down or inaccessible is to use USPS Text Tracking.
USPS Text Tracking
USPS Text Tracking is a service that customers can use to receive notifications of the shipment status through text. Note that standard messaging and data rates apply when using this service.
To use text tracking, customers can do the following:
How to Track Parcel With USPS Text Tracking
Text Tracking allows you to track shipments using your phone or the USPS website.
USPS Text Tracking From Your Phone
To track shipments from your phone, send a text to 2USPS (28777) using your USPS tracking number as the message’s content. USPS will send a text reply with your item’s latest tracking information.
You can also send your tracking number with a keyword to 28777. Keywords allow USPS to give you the specific information you want to know.
For example, the keyword “DND” gives you information about each delivery attempt. At the same time, “Pickup” or “UP” informs you if the package is available for pickup.
USPS Text Tracking From the Website
You can register on the USPS website to receive Text Tracking on a tracking number basis. The following Text Tracking options are available on the website:
- Available for Pickup
- Day of Delivery Updates
- Delivery Exception Updates
- Expected Delivery Updates
- Package Delivered
- All the options above
What Are the USPS Tracking Numbers and Formats?
The USPS Tracking number formats can vary based on the mail or service you choose. The following are the different tracking number formats that USPS uses:
The Certified Mail tracking number format has 22 numbers and is styled in this example:
9407 3000 0000 0000 0000 00
Collect on Delivery Hold for Pickup
For Collect on Delivery (COD) Hold for Pickup orders, the tracking number is comprised of 22 numbers and is formatted as:
9303 3000 0000 0000 0000 00
Global Express Guaranteed
This service’s tracking number has 10 digits formatted as the following:
82 000 000 00
The tracking number for Priority Mail has 22 numbers with the sample format:
9205 5000 0000 0000 0000 00
Priority Mail International
For Priority Mail International, the tracking number has 13 alphanumeric characters arranged like the following:
CP 000 000 000 US
This tracking number consists of 22 digits with the following format:
9400 1000 0000 0000 0000 00
Priority Mail Express
Priority Mail Express’ tracking number can appear in two ways:
EA 000 000 000 US or 9270 1000 0000 0000 0000 00
Priority Mail Express International
For Priority Mail Express International, the format appears as follows:
EC 000 000 000 US
Registered Mail has a 22-digit tracking number with the following sample format:
9208 8000 0000 0000 0000 00
The tracking number for Signature Confirmation is formatted as follows:
9202 1000 0000 0000 0000 00
USPS Tracking Number Rules
Enter the tracking number into the USPS Tracking page to check your mailpiece’s current status and other tracking information.
This information includes delivery or attempted delivery information with the delivery time and date and the item’s delivery location.
USPS Tracking doesn’t guarantee or expedite delivery, and you don’t need to pay extra for products that automatically have USPS Tracking.
In other words, your payment for postage usually includes the tracking service.
Services that don’t automatically have USPS Tracking include Marketing Mail. You can pay to include USPS Tracking as an extra service to this delivery option.
What Are USPS Tracking Notifications?
USPS provides updates or notifications regarding your shipment when you enter the tracking number on the USPS Tracking page or other third-party websites.
You can also set notifications to be sent to your mobile device through Text Tracking so that USPS can provide a text response to your latest tracking activity.
USPS Tracking Notifications or Status
Here’s a list of USPS tracking notifications you can check out to understand what a USPS status or notification means:
Arrived at USPS Facility
This status means your item has arrived at one of USPS’ facilities.
Arrived Shipping Partner Facility, USPS Awaiting Item
This message means that a third-party courier has picked up your package and will deliver it soon to a USPS facility.
This status usually involves international packages and indicates that your shipment is undergoing duty checks with the U.S. Customs department. This process can take several days, depending on the item and the country where the shipment is coming from.
This message means the recipient has received your package or the courier has delivered it to a PO Box.
Departed USPS Regional Facility
This message can also appear as “Departed Post Office” or “In Transit to Next Facility.” It tells you that your shipment will move from a USPS regional facility to a hub near you.
Departed Shipping Partner Facility, USPS Awaiting Item
When your shipment has left a third-party courier, you’ll receive this message to indicate that your package is heading to a USPS facility for final delivery.
In Transit, Arriving Late
There are cases when your USPS package that’s supposed to arrive on a particular date experiences issues that cause the courier to reschedule delivery.
You’ll receive a notification when this happens, and USPS will assign a new delivery date to account for the delay.
Out for Delivery
This status indicates that your package is on its way to its recipient.
Returned to Sender
When the courier can’t deliver the package because of an insufficient or incorrect address or the recipient isn’t available, USPS returns the item to the sender and updates the shipment’s status to reflect this situation.
Shipping Label Created, USPS Awaiting Item
This status means USPS has created a shipping label for your item and will soon send the package to a USPS facility.
USPS Awaiting Item
This notification is for cases when another shipping company holds your mailpiece to hand over to USPS later during transit.
USPS in Possession of Item
You get this notification when your package is handled initially by a third-party shipping company or distribution partner other than USPS. This status means your package has arrived at a USPS facility.
Your shipment will have this status after you create a shipping label and the package is already awaiting handover to USPS for transit.
Can USPS Parcels Be Tracked Worldwide and by Who?
International USPS services like Priority Mail International, Global Express Guaranteed, and Priority Mail Express International provide worldwide tracking and insurance.
Are you sending a package from the U.S. to international destinations like Canada, Australia, Japan, Great Britain, and Mexico? You can track your parcels through the USPS services mentioned above.
Can You Track Free USPS Parcel Shipments?
All USPS orders get registered into the courier’s system, meaning they will receive an official USPS tracking number. This feature means you can track your items whether your order has free USPS shipping or you purchase USPS package delivery services directly.
What Does a USPS Tracking Label Look Like?
The USPS tracking number is a series of numbers or a mix of letters and numbers that you can find under the barcode on the shipping label.
What Are the Requirements for a USPS IMpb Tracking Label?
Customers must meet three essential Intelligent Mail package barcode (IMpb) requirements to receive the best value and experience when shipping packages with the Postal Service. Your package must:
- Bear a unique IMpb barcode
- Be accompanied by an electronic record of the Shipping Services File (version 1.6 or higher) containing the required package details
- Have the correct destination delivery address or 11-digit Delivery Point Validation (DPV) ZIP code for each Shipping Services File record
What Benefits Do USPS IMpb Tracking Labels Deliver?
The IMpb provides customers with tracking and savings opportunities. By tracking your shipment, USPS can make more accurate forecasts on mail volume, type, and destinations.
The more information USPS collects from IMpb tracking, the better the courier can optimize delivery, staffing, and operations throughout USPS’ facilities. This benefit translates into time-efficient, higher-quality, and less costly service for businesses.
Where Do You Discover Your Tracking or Reference Number?
The following sections show where you can find the tracking or reference number on your USPS parcel:
You Can Find Your USPS Tracking Number in the Following Places
Here’s a list of places where you can find your shipment’s tracking number:
- The Post Office shipping receipt
- The sales receipt if you purchased insurance from the Post Office
- The confirmation email if you shipped from the USPS website or an online retailer
- The peel-off portion of the USPS Tracking label
Where Can You Find the Tracking Number on a USPS Receipt?
When you mail your package at the Post Office counter in person, a post office staff gives you a USPS receipt for your purchase. You can find the USPS tracking number printed at the bottom of the receipt.
How Do You Access USPS Tracking Information?
The tracking and shipping information you can access depends on what mail class or add-on services you purchased.
Whether you’re the sender or recipient, you can track your shipment by:
- Using the USPS Tracking page on the USPS website
- Using USPS Text Tracking by sending a text message containing your tracking number to 28777 (2USPS)
- Downloading the USPS Mobile app for iPhone and Android
- Calling the USPS phone number at 1-800-275-8777 (1-800-ASK-USPS) to receive tracking information
What Does Inbound Out of Customs Mean?
If you’re expecting an international package, receiving this notification means that U.S. Customs has released your package to USPS for delivery.
On the other hand, the term “outbound” means the package you’re sending has passed U.S. Customs and is on its way to another country.
What Do Customs Do?
In international shipping, customs clearance involves processing and clearing goods through customs according to a country’s regulatory requirements. This process includes paying fees, taxes, or duties levied on goods.
Customs requirements and costs can vary based on the item you’re sending and the country you’re shipping to and from. So when you’re shipping a package from the U.S., the relevant customs authority in the destination country will set the charges according to the value of the goods you’re sending.
Does the Customs Clearance Process Work?
Customs officers check all items entering the country and apply charges when necessary. Even if you specify your item as a gift on the customs invoice, that item has value, and customs officers will still inspect the item.
To ensure that your package clears customs with little to no issues, you must provide a full breakdown of all the items in your package.
This breakdown must include the correct values for each item and your recipient’s contact details. Incorrect or misleading customs information can result in delays, added costs, or returned packages.
How Long Are Records Kept for Tracking?
USPS keeps records of mail classes and services for a specific period. When checking the tracking history of your shipped items, consider the following retention periods:
- USPS Tracking: 120 days
- Adult Signature Required or Adult Signature Restricted Delivery Mail: two years
- Certified Mail: two years
- Numbered International Mail: two years
- Priority Mail Express: two years
- Registered Mail: two years
- Signature Confirmation: one year
How Can You Leave Delivery Instructions?
Using the USPS Delivery Instructions service, you can instruct USPS to leave a package at a specific location at the recipient’s address. You can also use this service to send the shipment to a different location or bring the item to your Post Office.
To use this service, log in to your USPS.com account. Go to the tracking results page, and click the “Change Delivery Instructions” link.
If you don’t see this link, your package isn’t eligible for this specific service.
When Will Your Letter Carrier or Mail Arrive?
Even for USPS, determining the exact time the delivery person arrives at the recipient’s location to deliver your item can be challenging. Mail volume can fluctuate daily, making it difficult for the company to guarantee delivery times.
USPS strives to accomplish all deliveries by 5:00 PM local time, Mondays through Saturdays. But unusual circumstances like traffic, severe weather, staffing issues, natural disasters, and carrier route changes can delay deliveries.
What Can You Do if Your Mailpiece Hasn’t Been Delivered?
If your recipient hasn’t received your package, check your item’s mail class delivery standard first.
You can enter the tracking number on the USPS Tracking page and look up “Product Information.” Compare the mail class and progress to USPS’ Mail Delivery Standards chart.
Because delivery time varies between mail classes, it’s possible that your mailpiece is still in transit and not necessarily lost or delayed.
For example, Priority Mail has a delivery standard of one, two, or three business days, but that’s not guaranteed. If your mail hasn’t arrived within that period, USPS recommends contacting customer service five days after the mailing date.
How Do You Get Your Package With USPS Delivered?
To get your package delivered through USPS, you must first bring your item to a mailbox or local Post Office. Private shippers or small businesses can do this process once or twice a week, while larger companies like eBay or Amazon do so almost daily.
A delivery person or postman then collects your package and other shipments and takes them by truck to a USPS sorting facility.
Inside these facilities are machines that automatically sort packages according to shape and site. After this sorting process, the packages get sent to a different set of machines that sort the mailpieces to the correct destinations.
USPS usually delivers domestic shipments by truck and then to the recipient through a postman.
On the other hand, international packages are more complex because they must be cleared by customs first and then sent to the destination country by plane or ship. Upon your package’s arrival, the destination country’s customs authority examines it before having it delivered to your recipient.
What Can You Do if Your Package Hasn’t Been Delivered?
You must first determine your package’s delivery standard to find out when USPS will deliver your item.
Suppose you send an item through the USPS First-Class Package service with a delivery standard of one to five business days.
While USPS doesn’t guarantee delivery within this period, the company recommends contacting customer service five days after the mailing date if your package hasn’t arrived.
USPS will assign an “Alert” status on your item in case of delays due to natural disasters or weather-related events. You may need to check USPS Service Alerts for more information.
USPS Package Lost or Stolen: What to Do?
If you have determined that your package was stolen or lost, you can file a Missing Mail search request to USPS.
You must provide the following information when submitting a request:
- Sender’s mailing address
- Recipient’s mailing address
- Size and type of envelope or container used
- Identifying information like the tracking number, Click-N-Ship label receipt, or the mailing date on your mailing receipt
- Your item’s description, like the brand, color, size, or model, if applicable
- Pictures to help USPS recognize the item
After receiving your request, USPS will send you a confirmation email and provide periodic search updates. If USPS finds your item, the courier will deliver it to the address you provide.
There are times when the company, despite its best efforts, can’t find or recover missing items. In these cases, you can do the following:
- Requesting a refund: USPS services like Priority Mail Express that provide a money-back guarantee allow requests for a refund.
- File a claim: If you included insurance in your shipment, consider filing an insurance claim. USPS recommends filing a claim for missing or damaged items immediately and no later than 60 days from the mailing date.
What Type of Mail Requires a Signature?
Items that require a signature are called accountable mail. These items include:
- Adult Signature Required
- Adult Signature Restricted Delivery
- Certified Mail
- Collect On Delivery
- Domestic Priority Mail Express service items
- Foreign Origin Mail with extra services
- Insured Mail (insured for more than $500)
- Postage Due or Return Postage Due
- Registered Mail
- Restricted Delivery
- Return Receipt
- Signature Confirmation
USPS Tracking Not Updating
Once a post office staff scans a package, the tracking system can take up to 24 hours to update the ticket number with the new information.
While USPS Tracking works most of the time, some circumstances can cause this tracking service not to update.
It’s important you ensure that the tracking number you enter is correct. One possible reason for not seeing your shipment’s tracking information is the incorrect number entered in the USPS Tracking page.
Your Package Shipped by USPS Shows No Tracking Information
Although USPS provides delivery confirmation, some mailing services don’t provide tracking. So it’s normal for some of your items shipped through USPS to have little or no tracking information.
USPS scans the package with delivery confirmation when it arrives at the post office and upon delivery. This service doesn’t include pickup scans or information confirming whether the courier mailed your package.
What Are the Reasons for Tracking Not Updating?
USPS Tracking usually relies on having an item’s barcode scanned whenever the shipment moves from one place to another. This scanning process updates the item’s shipping status and tracking information.
Still, there are circumstances when something interrupts this process and causes the tracking information not to update.
Here are some reasons why USPS Tracking doesn’t update:
- The carrier is delayed: The carrier may be experiencing a delay on its side, causing the scanning to take longer than usual. This delay can lead to your package’s tracking information not updating promptly.
- The package is not scanned: Your item’s tracking information relies on barcode scanning to update the shipping status, but USPS may have failed to scan the barcode for some reason. This failure to scan is one reason your package’s tracking isn’t updating.
Sometimes, your shipment has to pass through several facilities and be scanned multiple times before reaching the recipient. With more stops, your item may have a higher chance of not being scanned.
- The barcode is broken or unscannable: A broken barcode can become unreadable to the scanner, affecting the device’s function.
- Weather conditions are unfavorable: Weather can delay shipments and can be the reason your tracking doesn’t update. For example, the plane carrying your package got stuck at the airport because of bad weather.
You Received Your Package, but USPS Tracking Is Still Not Updating
In some cases, the recipient has received the package, but the tracking information didn’t update. This situation can happen especially during the holidays when USPS rushes to get the high volume of mail out for delivery. In such cases, USPS can skip the scanning process to help speed things up.
When USPS is already lagging in its delivery commitment due to the high mail volume, the courier may skip the scanning process to help move the packages quicker.
USPS Delayed Mail and Packages
In cases when your shipment gets delayed or rerouted, USPS has several options to help determine your item’s status in the mail stream.
For example, USPS’ delivery standards can help determine how many days you must wait before contacting USPS to report the delayed delivery.
USPS’ mail volume fluctuates daily, so the company cannot guarantee delivery schedules 100% of the time. Still, USPS makes it a point to accomplish all deliveries by 5:00 PM, local time, from Monday to Saturday, unless traffic, severe weather, or natural disasters occur and delay the delivery.
USPS Package Not Moving for a Week, a Month, or Stopped
USPS can experience a temporary rush of deliveries. But while the company does its best to move things quickly, some packages can take longer to process than usual.
While tracking your shipment, you may encounter an “in transit” status on your item. This notification can mean your shipment is on its way to its next destination, but the status can also mean your item hasn’t been scanned.
An “in transit” status can indicate that your package is still on a plane, train, or truck. The status can also mean the item was offloaded but not processed.
USPS usually ships packages in large metal containers, each containing a barcode. When the courier puts your item inside that container, that item will be tied to that barcode. After the scanner reads that barcode, the tracking information for all packages inside that container updates accordingly.
Sometimes, the container’s barcode can get damaged in transit. In these situations, the packages’ status may not update for a while. In addition, opening the container and scanning each item inside can take additional time and effort.
In other words, when your package’s tracking status doesn’t update for a while, the situation doesn’t immediately mean your item was lost, stolen, or damaged. Your shipment may still be in transit or stuck in a facility and hasn’t been scanned yet.
A non-updating tracking status can also mean the transport delivering your package broke down or got delayed due to severe weather conditions.
USPS Delivery Hours
USPS makes it a standard to complete all deliveries by 5:00 PM local time from Monday to Saturday. But because the courier doesn’t guarantee delivery times, shipments can arrive at the recipient after 5:00 PM.
USPS Sunday and Saturday Delivery Hours
USPS delivers during weekends, but schedules vary depending on the service or mail class.
Does USPS Deliver on Saturdays?
USPS delivers on Saturdays, with delivery time depending on where you are on the delivery route.
Postmen’s Saturday schedule is the same as Monday to Friday. They make their rounds delivering packages between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM regardless of the delivery service.
Still, bad weather and high demands around holidays can delay your mail delivery.
Does USPS Deliver on Sundays?
USPS delivers on Sundays for Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express, and First-Class Package Service only.
Priority Mail Express requires a $12.50 fee for Sunday delivery. Meanwhile, Priority Mail and First-Class Package Service provides Sunday delivery to large metro areas only.
Nearly all USPS Post Offices are closed on Sundays. Although most USPS mail processing and distribution centers are open on this day to help route shipments, these centers aren’t open to the public.
How Many Times Will USPS Attempt Delivery?
USPS usually makes up to two attempts to deliver your package to the recipient, depending on the delivery service you purchased. The courier will notify the sender when the item isn’t delivered.
After the final attempt and the item still doesn’t get delivered, USPS will hold it for several days before sending it back to the sender.
For example, the second or final delivery notice for Certified Mail and Priority Mail is five days after the first notice. If the recipient doesn’t receive the mail after the second attempt, USPS will hold it for 15 days before returning it to the sender.
For Priority Mail Express, USPS will send the second notice three days after the first notice and hold the item for five days after the first delivery attempt.
Can You Pick Up Your Mail Before It’s Delivered?
If you’re the recipient, you can pick up the USPS package before it gets delivered to your address.
To pick up your mail, contact the Post Office, provide your USPS shipment’s tracking number, and tell the staff that you’ll pick up your item. Before the scheduled delivery date, head to the USPS delivery center and provide proof of identification to claim the mail.
Because delivery dates aren’t guaranteed, there can be cases when you aren’t able to succeed in picking up your mail. The mail may not have arrived at the delivery center, or the truck driver has already left with your item.
How Does USPS Premium Tracking Work?
USPS Tracking Plus is the courier’s premium tracking service that increases the time that you can access your package’s tracking history on the USPS website.
USPS currently limits your access time to your item’s tracking information to 120 days. On the other hand, access to tracking information for signature items is up to two years.
For a small extra fee, USPS Tracking Plus can extend your tracking history access for six months to 10 years. In addition to extending your online tracking records, USPS Tracking Plus also lets you request that a tracking statement be sent to you through email.
USPS First-Class Tracking
USPS Tracking is available for First-Class Package Service-Retail (FCPS-R) and First-Class Package Service-Commercial (FCPS-C) mailpieces at no additional charge.
Meanwhile, First-Class Mail letters, postcards, and flats don’t qualify for USPS Tracking. Instead, you can purchase other extra services that provide scanning barcodes for these items.
USPS International Tracking
USPS allows tracking for some international packages, depending on what service you use for shipping your item. These services include:
- Global Express Guaranteed (GXG)
- Priority Mail International
- Priority Mail Express International
How to Check the USPS International Delivery Status
You can use your USPS international shipping tracking number in the same way as when you send domestic items. You can enter the tracking number on the USPS Tracking page to get your international package’s delivery status.
USPS First-Class Mail International Tracking
Tracking is unavailable for USPS First-Class Mail International. This service also doesn’t have insurance as an option, and the delivery speed varies depending on the destination.
How Long Does International First-Class Mail Take to Arrive?
USPS doesn’t provide a specific delivery time for First-Class Mail International shipments to arrive. The different distances and processing times of each country can vary, so it’s challenging to determine how long it will take for these mailpieces to arrive at their destination.
U.S. Ground Mail Tracking
USPS Retail Ground is an economical and reliable postal service that ships oversized packages and non-urgent deliveries. Prices go from $8.95 when purchased at a Post Office.
This service includes USPS Tracking and is practical for packages too large for Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express delivery. Additionally, Retail Ground is only available at USPS Post Offices.
What Is Priority Mail Express Service?
USPS Priority Mail Express provides next-day to two-day guaranteed delivery and flat rate pricing.
This service delivers mail by 6:00 PM of the guaranteed delivery date or your money back. Priority Mail Express offers competitive prices and fast delivery every day of the year, with few exceptions, to most U.S. addresses and P.O. Boxes.
With Priority Mail Express Flat Rate, you can ship packages up to 70 pounds (lbs) to any state for the same price. You can also mail from the Post Office, home, or business using the USPS Click-N-Ship service.
The price for sending Priority Mail Express starts at $28.25 and includes USPS Tracking and insurance of up to $100 with most shipments. This pricing also includes proof of delivery signature record if you request this option upon purchase.
USPS Priority Domestic Tracking
Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express are domestic mailing services that include USPS Tracking.
USPS Priority Mail Domestic Tracking
Priority Mail is USPS’ bestselling mail service that offers domestic deliveries within one to three business days based on your package’s destination. This service includes tracking and insurance and provides free envelopes and shipping boxes.
USPS Priority Mail International Tracking
USPS recommends using Priority Mail International for international packages weighing over 4lbs. Prices start at $30.35, and this service includes USPS Tracking except for Small Flat Rate Boxes and Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelopes.
USPS Priority International Delivery Times
USPS delivers Priority Mail International items within 6 to 10 days. This service also provides insurance of up to $100 for nonnegotiable documents or up to $200 for merchandise.
USPS Priority Mail Express International Tracking
Priority Mail Express International offers money-back guaranteed date-certain delivery for select locations when sending essential items overseas that must arrive within a week.
Prices for this service start at $54.75 and include USPS Tracking and insurance.
USPS Intelligent Mail Barcode or IMb Tracking and Tracing
The Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb) is a mailing service for sorting and tracking cards, letters, and flats.
The IMb consists of a 65-bar barcode that mailers can use to expand their ability to track mailpieces and improve mail stream visibility. IMb is also a highly versatile service that allows customers to request and embed multiple services within one barcode.
USPS letters and flats with automated pricing require the IMb. This requirement also affects Certified Mail, Insured Mail, First-Class Mail postcards, and other mail using extra services for mail prepared for automation prices.
How Long Does Tracking Information Take to Show Up on USPS?
USPS Tracking usually starts as soon as the item’s sender or USPS’ shipping partner sends a notification that USPS should expect the package.
USPS updates the item’s scanning information throughout the day as scans become available. It continues to do so until the shipment arrives or gets picked up by the recipient.
How Long Does Priority Mail Take?
Priority Mail delivers within one to three business days and includes tracking and insurance. Using Priority Mail Flat Rate lets you ship packages up to 70lbs to any state for one price only.
What Is USPS First-Class Package International?
First-Class Package International Service is an affordable shipping method for sending light packages to 180 countries. You can send packages weighing up to 4lbs (64 ounces) and containing items up to $400 in value. Prices for sending First-Class Package International shipments start at $15.75.
How Long Does First-Class Mail Take?
First-Class Mail delivers small packages in two to five business days and mail in one to five business days. Prices start at $4.75 for packages up to 13 ounces, while First-Class Mail Forever stamps cost $0.63 per ounce.
USPS Priority Mail International Standard and Express Service
Priority Mail Express International service is a fast, affordable, and reliable service that ships to 180 countries, including Australia, Mexico, and Canada. Your shipping options include the following:
- Shipping by weight for packages up to 70lbs starting at $56
- Using free Flat Rate Envelopes for mail weighing up to 4lbs starting from $54.75
This service offers delivery within three to five business days and a money-back guarantee to select destinations. Priority Mail Express International also includes USPS Tracking and a free Package Pickup service when shipping from your home or office.
Other benefits include insurance of up to $100 for nonnegotiable document reconstruction or up to $200 for merchandise damage or loss, including missing items, with limited exceptions.
USPS Global Express Guaranteed
Global Express Guaranteed (GXG) is USPS’ fastest international shipping option. It delivers packages up to 70lbs to 180 countries. GXG delivers within one to three business days, including next-day deliveries to many places in Canada.
FedEx International provides international transportation, and prices start at $71.10. GXG allows tracking to all destinations and includes insurance of up to $100.
USPS Business Solutions
USPS allows partnership opportunities with small businesses by offering the following shipping services:
- Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM)
- Marketing campaigns
- Package pickup and drop-off
- Pricing calculator
- Postal exporter
- Shipping best practices
- Shipping services like Click-N-Ship
USPS Parcel Select Ground
USPS offers Parcel Select Ground as a low-cost delivery service for large or heavy packages. Customers who use this mail class can send shipments weighing up to 70lbs. Rates depend on the mailpiece’s weight, dimensions, and delivery distance.
USPS Parcel Select Ground Tracking
USPS offers tracking for Parcel Select at no extra cost and no minimum requirements. You can ship as many packages as you need using this service.
USPS Parcel Select Delivery Time
Parcel Select delivery can take between two and eight days.
Does USPS Ever Make Mistakes While Shipping a Parcel?
Like other couriers and shipping providers, USPS encounters various problems while delivering packages. There are numerous possible reasons for USPS to be unable to deliver a package on time or at all.
Additionally, the issues causing the mistakes aren’t necessarily the courier’s fault. Sometimes, the sender provides an incorrect or incomplete address on the package, leading to mistaken deliveries or returned shipments.
How Do You Complain About Your USPS Parcel Shipment?
Contact USPS customer service immediately if you encounter an issue with your packages, like incorrect information on your shipment or wrong delivery.
Here’s what you can do to file a complaint:
- Use USPS.com’s Email Us form and select an inquiry type closely related to your question or complaint. You can also use this form to file a claim or request a shipping refund.
- Call 1-800-275-8777 (1-800-ASK-USPS) or TTY (teletypewriter): 1-800-877-8339.
- Speak to the postmaster or station manager at your local post office.
- Contact your district’s postal consumer and industry affairs office.
- Write to or email the USPS Headquarters Consumer Advocate office at:
United States Postal Service
Office of the Consumer Advocate
475 L’ Enfant Plaza SW
Washington, D.C. 20260-0004
What Is the United States Postal Service?
The United States Postal Service (USPS) is the country’s only delivery service that reaches every U.S. address comprising 160 million residences, businesses, and Post Office (P.O.) Boxes. USPS relies on selling postage, services, and products instead of tax dollars to fund the Postal Service’s operations.
USPS has over 34,000 retail locations, and USPS.com is among the most frequently visited federal government websites. The Postal Service has more than $71 billion in annual operating revenue and delivers approximately 48% of global mail.
With over 630,000 employees, USPS is also among the country’s largest employers and has one of the largest computer networks worldwide.
What’s the Difference Between Certified vs. Registered Mail?
Registered and Certified Mail have similar services, but these mail options serve different purposes.
When you send Certified Mail, it provides proof of when USPS mails and delivers your shipment. Meanwhile, Registered Mail gives updates to the sender on the package’s status during each step of the delivery process.
This difference suggests that Registered Mail has relatively higher security than Certified Mail because the former has more eyes and hands looking out for your parcel.
Do USPS Parcels Use Subcontractors for International Parcels?
USPS often works with subcontractors when delivering packages to other countries. Factors determining whether USPS needs subcontractors include the shipping route, the package’s size and weight, and customs requirements.
The subcontractors handling your USPS package may be using different processes at some points of the shipping process. In these cases, USPS Tracking may not always provide updated information on your item’s latest location.
USPS also promotes supplier diversity and development among prime suppliers through the courier’s subcontracting policy by specifically addressing subcontracting with small, minority, and women-owned businesses (SMWOBs).
USPS Customer Service
To help customers know more about USPS products and services, general information, and how-to steps, USPS has a FAQs (frequently asked questions) section on its website. Inquiries can range from tracking packages to delayed deliveries.
USPS provides customers with several ways to get in touch with the company. You can go to the “Contact Us” page and fill out a form to get help with various shipping-related issues or see a list of holidays when postal offices are closed.
The “Contact Us” page also contains contact information for customer care, technical support, USPS tracking, stamps, and free shipping supplies.
How to Talk to a Real Person in USPS Customer Service
For important issues like lost or damaged parcels that must be addressed quickly, consider contacting USPS by speaking to a real person over the phone.
To do so, dial 1-800-275-8777 (1-800-ASK-USPS) until you hear an automated voice asking you for choices. Choose the option that lets you talk to an agent.
When you call during office hours, USPS will connect you to a live agent. Otherwise, you’ll return to the main menu.
Aside from the USPS customer service hotline, other phone numbers you can contact include:
- Technical support: 1-800-344-7779
- Domestic and international tracking: 1-800-222-1811
- Stamps and postal store orders: 1-844-737-7826
- Free shipping supplies: 1-800-610-8734
Does USPS Have a Live Chat?
USPS does not have a live chat service. For urgent issues, USPS recommends calling its customer service hotline or any of its other numbers for specific inquiries.
Email: USPS Customer Service
You can email USPS customer service by visiting the courier’s website at www.USPS.com and filling out an online form.
The USPS customer service hours of operations are:
- 8:00 AM to 8:30 PM Eastern Time (ET) from Monday to Friday
- 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM ET on Saturday
For technical support and tracking, operating hours are:
- 8:00 AM to 8:30 PM ET from Monday to Friday
- 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM ET on Saturday
Stamps and postal store orders have the following working hours:
- 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM ET from Monday to Friday
- Closed on Saturdays, Sundays, and postal holidays
For free shipping supplies, you can contact USPS during these hours:
- 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM ET from Monday to Friday
- 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM ET on Saturday
U.S. Mail Tracking Official Website
You can access the USPS Tracking service on the official USPS website at USPS.com. You can enter your parcel’s tracking number on the following pages:
- On the USPS home page
- On the USPS Tracking page in the Quick Tools menu
- On the Send or Receive dropdown menu in the menu bar
How to Successfully File an Insurance Claim With USPS
When an insured mail becomes lost, has missing contents, or arrives damaged, the sender or recipient can file a claim. To do so, the person filing the claim must:
- File within a certain period (e.g., Priority Mail claims must be filed after seven days and before 60 days)
- Have the original mailing receipt
- Have the proof of insurance, damage, and value
When your claim is successful or completely or partially approved, you should receive payment for the claimed amount in 7 to 10 business days. USPS will not pay a claim exceeding the insured item’s actual value.
1. POSTAL FACTS® 2022 | SIZE AND SCOPE
2. USPS Text Tracking™ FAQs
3. Intelligent Mail® Package Barcode (IMpb)
4. USPS Tracking® – The Basics
5. Delayed mail and packages?
6. Find Missing Mail
7. USPS® Mail Requiring a Signature – Accountable Mail
8. USPS Sunday Delivery
9. What are the Second and Final Notice and Return Dates for Redelivery?
10. What are the Types of First-Class Mail®?
11. International Mail & Shipping Services
12. Mail & Shipping Services
13. Priority Mail Express
14. Intelligent Mail® Barcode
15. Priority Mail
16. First-Class Mail
17. Priority Mail Express International
18. Global Express Guaranteed
19. How to Do Business with USPS®
20. USPS Parcel Select Ground
21. Parcel Select
22. File a Complaint with the U.S. Postal Service
23. About the United States Postal Service
24. Subcontract Management
25. Contact Us
26. File a USPS Claim: Domestic