What Time Is Mail Delivered?

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November 23, 2023

In 2021, the Postmaster General became the second-highest-paid federal employee, just behind the President of the United States, and outearning the Vice President by around $245,885.

While it may be easy to think that the U.S. Vice President shoulders much more significant duties within the government and should’ve earned more, the Postmaster General’s role is equally immense.

Managing over 635,000 employees and 33,000 retail offices, the Postmaster General and the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) provides courier services to around 165 million addresses and is responsible for 44% of the world’s mail!

Fortunately, even with such a colossal scope, USPS defies expectations and remains one of (if not) the most secure, reliable, and timely mail carrier services in the country.

This article sheds light on USPS shipping options and the expected delivery times, from traditional mail delivery to innovative features like USPS Informed Delivery.

Are you seeking more information on the Postal Service’s commitment to on-time shipments? Visit FindPostOffice.org to find your area’s most convenient post office locations and talk to a USPS representative.

USPS Provides Fast Parcel Delivery to All Addresses in the U.S.

In today’s world, where timely deliveries matter, the United States Postal Service (USPS) is a reliable partner, particularly for eCommerce businesses that offer “fast and dependable” shipping.

It offers various expedited domestic and international shipping options, from next-day delivery at a flat rate with Priority Mail Express to economical and quick mail-carrying solutions with First-Class Mail.

What Time Does Mail Get Delivered by USPS?

Whether you’re sending or receiving mail, understanding the timing of USPS mail delivery is essential to planning your day. After all, waiting all day for your shipments to arrive is highly inefficient, mainly if you’re operating a business.

What Is the Regular Mail Delivery Time?

Unfortunately, USPS cannot accurately predict when its letter carriers or delivery personnel will arrive at a mailpiece’s intended destination. With the daily package volume USPS handles, delivery hours can vary wildly.

However, the U.S. Postal Service is confident that all recipients will receive mail items by 5 PM local time from Monday to Saturday. While USPS delivers on Sundays, these shipments are limited to Priority Mail Express and Amazon parcels.

Fortunately, you can ease your worries with USPS Tracking. This service lets you determine where your packages are and their expected delivery date and time. To learn more about USPS Tracking, visit the USPS website or your local post office, which you can find with FindPostOffice.org.

Informed Delivery by USPS: What Is Informed Delivery?

The Postal Service doesn’t just offer monitoring tools, but it also gives you a sneak peek of your incoming mail. Enter Informed Delivery, a free innovative service that allows you to access preview images and receive updates on your incoming and outgoing packages.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Create Your Account

To preview your mailpieces, you need a personal or business USPS.com account. If you don’t have one, you can quickly sign up on the Post Service’s official website or the USPS Mobile app.

  1. Verify Your Identity

The U.S. mail service prioritizes privacy and security. You must verify your identity and delivery address as part of the process. To validate your information, provide your phone number and enter the OTP (one-time password) that USPS will send you via text.

  1. Receive Notifications

Once you’ve activated your USPS account, go to your Informed Delivery dashboard to preview your mail, manage packages, and get essential shipment updates.

Secure Access

As mentioned, USPS’ top priority is ensuring your privacy and personal information. Informed Delivery safeguards your data’s security and provides a convenient platform to manage your mail digitally.

Preview Incoming Mail

While these previews will usually be in black-and-white, what sets USPS Informed Delivery apart from other package tracking tools is the ability to see mail before it arrives. 

Track Packages

Although the Informed Delivery service’s primary feature is the ability to access package previews, it also lets you monitor and receive essential updates on your parcel’s progress throughout the USPS mail stream.

Delivery Instructions

With USPS’ Informed Delivery service, you can leave specific instructions for the delivery person. These directions may include authorizing an individual to receive a parcel on your behalf or for USPS to leave a package at a different location, such as a local post office or a neighbor’s address.

Schedule Redelivery

Unlike USPS Tracking, Informed Delivery allows you to set reminders for essential shipments. Moreover, you can also reschedule a delivery for another day if you’re away from the delivery address to receive mail.

Manage Notifications

USPS Informed Delivery allows you to turn on package tracking notifications. Doing so lets you automatically receive status and delivery details updates about your shipment through text or email alerts.

How Does Informed Delivery Work? What Will I See?

As your mail journeys in USPS’ vast network, it goes through high-speed sorting machines. These machines ensure your packages reach the next leg of their transit and take snapshots of their front side, where the delivery address is.

Why Is My Address Not Eligible for Informed Delivery?

According to the Postal Service, you’re qualified for Informed Delivery if your residential, business, or PO box address is in an eligible ZIP code location. 

However, this statement may not always be true. While your address’ ZIP code location is the primary eligibility requirement, USPS also considers whether that address’ mailbox has a unique code. Informed Delivery won’t be available for your convenience if it doesn’t.

To determine if your address qualifies for USPS Informed Delivery, visit InformedDelivery.USPS.com. Alternatively, you can talk to a Postal worker at your local post office, which you can find using FindPostOffice.org’s USPS facility locator tool.

I Am Unable to Sign Up for Informed Delivery Since My Identity Cannot Be Verified Online. Why Can’t USPS Verify My Identity Online? How Do I Subscribe to This Feature if I Can’t Verify My Identity Online?

If USPS’ digital identity verification process isn’t cooperating, you must validate your identity the old-fashioned way: going to a post office. Unfortunately, not all USPS facilities offer in-person Identity Proofing services.

To find a Postal Service location that does, follow these steps:

  • Sign in to your USPS.com account and access the “Informed Delivery” page on the top right.
  • Next, select the “Enroll” option for the Informed Delivery service.
    Once you’ve filled out the essential information, USPS will allow you to “Continue to In-Person Proofing.”
  • USPS will then provide you with a list of post office locations that offer in-person Identity Proofing services.

Note that identity verification may be unavailable if your nearest USPS Post Office is more than 50 miles from your delivery address. Fortunately, you can locate eligible USPS facilities in your area’s radius by visiting FindPostOffice.org.

What Does Informed Delivery Cost Consumers?

Unlike some of USPS’ extra services, such as Certificate of Mailing, which costs $1.95 per individual article as of August 13, 2023, you can subscribe to the Informed Delivery service at no additional cost.

How Soon After Requesting the Feature Will I Get Images of My Mail and Package Notifications?

The activation time for Informed Delivery may vary. However, you can expect to receive notifications on your incoming and outgoing USPS packages within three to seven business days.

If I Successfully Signed Up but Have Not Yet Received Notifications for Packages and/or Mail Images, What Could Be Happening?

Considering that the primary purpose of the Informed Delivery service is to let you preview mail items in the USPS system, you’ll only get updates on days you can receive packages.

In other words, unless your shipping service delivers on Sundays or federal holidays, such as USPS Priority Mail Express, you’ll only get notifications from Mondays to Saturdays.

USPS Delivery on the Weekend – Additional Information

The U.S. Postal Service’s standard operating days cover the weekdays. But does it include weekend package delivery services like its competitors like FedEx (Federal Express) and UPS (United Parcel Service)? Let’s find out.

What Time Does USPS Deliver on Sunday? Does USPS Deliver Mail on Sunday?

USPS does deliver on Sundays. However, there’s a catch— not every mail class is eligible for Sunday shipping.

Does USPS Priority Mail Express Provide Sunday Delivery?

One of the only USPS delivery options that provides Sunday shipping is Priority Mail Express. Delivery for this package service is also available during holidays for an additional surcharge.

Does USPS First Class Packages Deliver on Sunday?

The U.S. Postal Service’s First Class Mail is the most economical mail shipping option for pieces of mail weighing up to 13oz. While the service offers a respectable 1- to 5-business-day delivery window, it doesn’t include Sundays.

Does USPS Retail Ground Mail Deliver on Sunday?

USPS Ground Advantage, which replaced the discontinued USPS Retail Ground, is also one of the Postal Service’s most affordable services, starting at $4.75. Sadly, USPS doesn’t provide Sunday deliveries for Ground Advantage like First Class Mail.

Does USPS Deliver Amazon Packages on Sunday?

The U.S. Postal Service is one of the primary delivery partners for the retail giant Amazon, particularly for parcels going to remote locations. If you expect an order you bought from the eCommerce site to arrive on a Sunday, you’d be happy to know that USPS ships Amazon parcels that day.

How Much Does USPS Sunday Delivery Cost?

If you want to mail packages on a Sunday or a holiday through USPS Priority Mail Express, expect to pay an additional $12.50. With Amazon mailpieces, there are no surcharges for Sunday shipping.

What About Saturday? Does USPS Deliver on Saturday?

As mentioned, USPS’ delivery standard window is before 5 PM local time, from Monday to Saturday. In other words, expect a USPS letter carrier to bring your parcel on a Saturday.

How Much Does USPS Saturday Delivery Cost?

UPS, one of the Postal Service’s main competitors, charges $4 for Saturday commercial package deliveries. But what about USPS? Fortunately, USPS has no fuel, rural, or Saturday shipping surcharges.

Is the USPS Open on Saturday?

Saturdays are part of the U.S. Postal Service’s standard operating schedule. In other words, you can visit a post office to send a package or have USPS pick up your shipments even on a Saturday.

What Time Does the Post Office Close on Saturday?

While USPS facilities operate Mondays through Saturdays, closing times can vary depending on the post office location. For instance, the 1750 Lundy Avenue, San Jose, California, post office closes at noon on Saturdays.

On the other hand, the USPS facility at 17 Main St., Manhattan, Nevada, operates 24 hours a day. To determine your area’s local post office Saturday closing times, visit FindPostOffice.org.

How Do I Find Out What Time My Mail Comes?

While USPS doesn’t provide exact shipping times, you can make an informed guess using USPS Tracking based on the service’s delivery window. To begin monitoring your USPS package, visit USPS.com or open the mobile app and enter your parcel’s tracking number in the “Track Packages” field.

Delayed Mail and Packages

The Postal Service strives to provide reliable, on-time deliveries based on the shipping option’s expected delivery window. However, packages may sometimes experience delays due to various factors outside USPS’ control.

When Can I Consider My USPS Mails and Packages Late?

Depending on the mail class, USPS recommends that you contact its customer service if your package hasn’t reached its intended destination after the following:

USPS Priority Mail Express6 PM local time on the delivery date
USPS Priority MailFive or more days from the mailing date
USPS First-Class MailFive or more days from the mailing date
USPS Ground AdvantageFive or more days from the mailing date; 14 or more days if the package contains hazardous materials (HAZMAT) or live animals
USPS Parcel Select Lightweight
USPS Parcel Select
14 or more days from the mailing date
USPS Media Mail
Bound Printed Matter
Library Mail
14 or more days from the mailing date
USPS Periodicals14 or more days from the mailing date
USPS Marketing Mail14 or more days from the mailing date

Reasons Why Packages Can Get Delayed

Various internal and external factors can cause a snag in your USPS package’s delivery timeline. Here are some of the most common culprits that may cause your mail to arrive late:

Factors Outside the Post Office Affect Mail Delivery

The Weather

Severe weather conditions like snowstorms, tornadoes, or hurricanes can make a mail and letter carrier’s journey challenging. Navigating through such conditions may slow down USPS’ delivery process.

Power Outages

A blackout in your area may temporarily affect your local post office’s ability to offer its complete retail services, such as updating your parcel’s tracking information and shipping.

Pandemic Illness

During a global catastrophe like a pandemic, safety takes the forefront. For example, USPS changed its Priority Mail service’s delivery window from 1 to 3 business days to 3 to 4 during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Delayed Airplanes

Air travel is crucial for some Postal Service package delivery options. In other words, climatic changes or maintenance hiccups can impact the efficiency of mailpiece movements. 

Long Distance Between Sender And Receiver

Although USPS operates globally, the distance between the shipper and the destination address is still critical to delivery times.

Factors Inside the Post Office That Affect Mail Delivery

Despite its best efforts, the U.S. Postal Service can make mistakes. For example, postal workers could fail to sort packages, or equipment could malfunction, leading to delivery delays.

How Long Does USPS Take in Transit?

Your USPS package’s transit time can vary wildly depending on the specific mail class you choose to ship it.

USPS Domestic Delivery Times

Depending on your needs and preferences, USPS provides various express and standard mail services you can choose from. Here are the expected delivery times for USPS domestic shipping options:

First-Class Mail Delivery Time

With First-Class Mail, expect your letter envelopes under 3.5oz or large envelopes under 13oz to arrive within one to five business days.

Priority Mail Delivery Time

For packages up to 70lbs shipping through USPS Priority Mail, the expected delivery window is between one to three business days to any state.

Priority Mail Express Delivery Time

If you want the fastest package delivery option the U.S. Postal Service offers, choose Priority Mail Express. This service guarantees next- to 2-day delivery by 6 PM, or you get your money back.

USPS Retail Ground Delivery Time

Expect USPS Ground Advantage mail items or ones that the Postal Service can’t ship by air, such as HAZMATs, to arrive within two to five business days.

Media Mail Delivery Time

The Postal Service’s Media Mail is a cost-effective way to ship books, media, and other educational materials, such as reference charts. The standard shipping time for this service is around two to eight business days.

USPS International Delivery Times

Transit times can vary significantly for international deliveries, as factors like the destination country, customs clearance procedures, and the specific shipping service can impact how long a package reaches its destination.

That said, here’s a quick overview of the delivery times of USPS international delivery options:

USPS Global Express Guaranteed1 to 3 business days
USPS Priority Mail Express International3 to 5 business days
USPS Priority Mail International6 to 10 business days
USPS First-Class Package InternationalVaries by destination
USPS First-Class Mail InternationalVaries by destination
USPS Airmail M-BagsVaries by destination

When Is the Latest Delivery Time for USPS?

While the U.S. Postal Service’s “official” cut-off time for package delivery is 5 PM, it’s not unusual for USPS personnel to drop mailpieces off beyond that, especially under circumstances like bad weather or high parcel volume.

Upcoming Changes to USPS

On March 23, 2021, USPS unveiled its 10-year plan, which involves some changes to its operations that you may want to familiarize yourself with as a shipper.

Some of the Postal Service’s proposed modifications include improving customer experience by providing a new suite of customer and small business tools and price changes to align with the ever-changing market.

However, the most significant change in the plan is the shift from a six-day mail delivery window to seven. In other words, expect USPS to provide Sunday shipping outside Priority Mail Express and Amazon parcels before 2031.

What Times of the Year Will Have Slower Delivery Times?

Generally, the period before, during, and a little after holidays, such as New Year, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Black Friday, tend to have slower shipping times due to the large volume of packages accompanying these occasions.

How to Plan or Modify the Delivery Time with USPS

While some USPS shipping services like Priority Mail Express provide date-certain delivery, there’s no guarantee that your packages will arrive on the expected date, as unforeseen delays may occur.

Fortunately, the Postal Service lets you change deliveries, such as rescheduling. If you need help planning or modifying your parcel’s delivery schedule, contact USPS at 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777).

Alternatively, talk to a U.S. Postal Service representative at a post office. Visit FindPostOffice.org to find your area’s most convenient USPS facilities with its Postal Service database and location tool.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What should I do if my mail has not arrived and has exceeded the USPS delivery time?

First, check the status of your package using the USPS Tracking tool. If your parcel still hasn’t arrived after USPS’ recommended wait time, contact the Postal Service by calling its customer service hotline or visiting a local post office.

  1. Why isn’t my mail getting to me at the same time every day?

Various factors affect USPS delivery times, such as your area’s traffic or the package volume the letter carrier must deliver.

  1. Can I pick up a package directly from USPS?

You can directly retrieve a mailpiece from a post office. However, you must inform USPS before they attempt to deliver it to your doorstep, which you can do through its Informed Delivery service.

  1. When can you leave your package at the post office station?

As mentioned, post office operating hours can vary depending on the specific location. Visit FindPostOffice.org to determine the operating hours of USPS facilities in your area.

  1. Are tracking and insurance included in USPS weekend services?

Tracking and insurance features depend on the mail delivery service you choose. For instance, USPS Priority Mail Express, which ships on weekends, automatically includes USPS Tracking and up to $100 insurance.

  1. Are post office stations open on Sunday?

Some post offices are open on Sundays, while others aren’t. For instance, the 1750 Lundy Avenue San Jose, California, post office doesn’t operate on Sundays.

  1. What are the days when USPS staff take off?

The U.S. Postal Service observes 11 holidays and won’t deliver during these days. These holidays include the following:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day
  • President’s Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Juneteenth National Independence Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Columbus Day
  • Veterans Day
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas
  1. Is there any way to guarantee that mail gets delivered at a specific time?

Unfortunately, USPS delivery times aren’t guaranteed. However, the Postal Service strives to make all its shipments by 5 PM local time.

  1. If you miss a USPS delivery, what happens?

When the recipient isn’t at the delivery address when a package arrives, USPS usually holds it at the post office unless the recipient leaves special instructions or asks for mail forwarding services.

References

  1. The postmaster general is the second-highest-paid federal employee — and other weird facts about the USPS leader
    https://www.businessinsider.com/us-postmaster-general
  2. USPS Top Facts
    https://facts.usps.com/top-facts/
  3. Priority Mail Express
    https://www.usps.com/ship/priority-mail-express.htm
  4. First-Class Mail
    https://www.usps.com/ship/first-class-mail.htm
  5. Delayed mail and packages?
    https://faq.usps.com/s/article/Delayed-Mail-and-Packages
  6. USPS Tracking
    https://tools.usps.com/go/TrackConfirmAction_input
  7. Informed Delivery by USPS
    https://www.usps.com/manage/informed-delivery.htm
  8. USPS Mobile
    https://apps.apple.com/us/app/usps-mobile/id339597578
  9. How to Sign Up for Informed Delivery®
    https://www.usps.com/c360/images/10.3.19_ID-Sign-Up_Guide.pdf
  10. USPS Delivery Instructions™ – The Basics
    https://faq.usps.com/s/article/USPS-Delivery-Instructions-The-Basics
  11. Informed Delivery® – The Basics
    https://faq.usps.com/s/article/Informed-Delivery-The-Basics
  12. USPS Price List
    https://pe.usps.com/text/dmm300/notice123.htm
  13. Weekend delivery: FedEx does it right
    https://www.fedex.com/en-us/shipping/saturday-and-sunday-delivery
  14. Saturday UPS Delivery and Pickup Options
    https://www.ups.com/us/en/business-solutions/
  15. Does USPS deliver on Sunday?
    https://www.earthclassmail.com/blog/does-usps-deliver-on-sunday
  16. USPS Ground Advantage™
    https://faq.usps.com/s/article/USPS-Ground-Advantage
  17. USPS Ground Advantage
    https://www.usps.com/ship/ground-advantage.htm
  18. Priority Mail
    https://www.usps.com/ship/priority-mail.htm
  19. Package Pickup & Pickup on Demand®
    https://faq.usps.com/s/article/What-is-Package-Pickup
  20. Find USPS Locations
    https://tools.usps.com/find-location.htm
  21. USPS® Coronavirus Updates: Expected Delivery Changes
    https://faq.usps.com/s/article/USPS-Coronavirus-Updates
  22. Mail & Shipping Services
    https://www.usps.com/ship/mail-shipping-services.htm
  23. Does USPS deliver mail on Saturday?
    https://www.earthclassmail.com/blog/does-usps-deliver-mail
  24. United States Postal Service Unveils 10-Year Plan to Achieve Financial Sustainability and Service Excellence
    https://about.usps.com/newsroom/national-releases/2021/0323
  25. Get the Mail You Missed Redelivered
    https://tools.usps.com/redelivery.htm
  26. Contact USPS
    https://www.usps.com/help/contact-us.htm
  27. U.S. Postal Service Holidays in 2023: Is the Post Office Open?
    https://www.aarp.org/politics-society/government-elections/