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Customer Experience Management

USPS Tracking Numbers: How to Track Your USPS Package in 2024

Discover how USPS tracking numbers work. From formats to digits, learn to interpret them and track your package throughout its journey when you use USPS.

When you send or receive packages through USPS, they are assigned a distinct tracking number.

But what exactly does a USPS tracking number resemble? Here's a breakdown of its structure and significance:


The Composition of a USPS Tracking Number

USPS tracking numbers vary in format based on their corresponding mail classes. It's essential to understand how to interpret these diverse formats.

Here's an overview of what USPS tracking numbers entail:

  • USPS Tracking: 9400 1000 0000 0000 0000 00
  • Priority Mail: 9205 5000 0000 0000 0000 00
  • Certified Mail: 9589 0000 0000 0000 0000 00
  • Collect on Delivery: 9303 3000 0000 0000 0000 00
  • Global Express Guaranteed: 82 000 000 00
  • Priority Mail Express: 9270 1000 0000 0000 0000 00
  • Priority Mail International: CP 000 000 000 US
  • Registered Mail: 9208 8000 0000 0000 0000 00
  • Signature Confirmation: 9202 1000 0000 0000 0000 00

Possible Formats of a USPS Tracking Number

All Numeric Upon observation of the listed numbers above, it becomes apparent that some consist of 20 to 22 digits, indicating domestic mail within the United States.

Alternative formats, such as those comprising only ten digits, are also utilized.

Alpha-Numeric If a USPS tracking number includes letters at the beginning, like EC or CP (as seen in the example provided under Priority Mail International), it signifies international mail.

Various other alpha-numeric formats for USPS tracking numbers exist as well. These may consist of 13 characters, typically commencing with two letters, followed by nine numbers, and concluding with US (e.g., EA 999 999 999 US).

How Many Digits Does It Contain?

The prevalent USPS tracking number formats generally consist of 20 to 22 digits.

Conversely, alpha-numeric tracking number formats are also prevalent, particularly in parcels originating from abroad.

Less common USPS tracking number formats may comprise solely ten digits or a 13-character alpha-numeric sequence, beginning with two letters, followed by nine digits, and concluding with US.

Interpreting the Initial Four Digits

The initial four digits within a USPS tracking number disclose the type of mail service utilized by the package. These digits are commonly referred to as the service code.

For instance, tracking numbers commencing with 9400 signify the traditional USPS tracking code, while those starting with 9270 indicate Priority Mail Express shipments.

USPS Tracking Status: What Does Each One Mean?

Once you enter your tracking status number, you'll see the status of your USPS delivery, or your tracking status.

Understanding USPS tracking statuses can be crucial in knowing the whereabouts of your package and its expected delivery timeline.

Here is a comprehensive guide to different USPS tracking statuses and what each means for you:

  • Delivered: This status indicates that the package has been successfully delivered at the recorded time and location specified for delivery.

  • In Transit / Arrived at USPS Facility / Departed USPS Facility: The package is currently being processed or is on its way through various USPS centers toward the delivery destination.

  • Out for Delivery: The package is with a carrier and is scheduled to be delivered on the day this status is active.

  • Arrived, Departed, or Picked Up by Shipping Partner Facility, USPS Awaiting Item / On its Way to USPS: This indicates that the package is still with a third-party shipping partner and has not yet been handed over to USPS. The package will soon be transferred to USPS for processing and delivery.

  • Insufficient Address / No Such Number: This status is applied when the package is un-deliverable due to incorrect or incomplete address information, causing its return to the sender.

  • No Access to Delivery Location: The delivery could not be completed because the carrier was unable to access the delivery location.

  • Notice Left (No Authorized Recipient Available): If a signature is required and no one is available to provide it, the carrier will leave a notice and the package will not be redelivered without further action by the recipient.

  • Available for Pickup: The package is available for pickup at a designated post office. Typically, this status appears if delivery was not possible.

  • Shipping Label Created, USPS Awaiting Item / Pre-Shipment Info Sent to USPS Awaiting Item: A shipping label has been generated, but USPS has yet to receive the package for processing and subsequent delivery.

  • Arrived at Post Office: The package has made it to the local Post Office and is being prepared for delivery, which is typically completed by the next business day.

  • USPS in Possession of Item: Indicates that USPS has officially taken possession of the package and begins its processing for final delivery.

  • Forwarded / Forwarded Processed: The package is being redirected to a new address, either due to an address change request or because it was initially sent to the wrong location.

  • Redelivery Scheduled / Reminder to Schedule Redelivery of your Item: Redelivery of the package has been scheduled after a failed delivery attempt, or a reminder has been issued to arrange for redelivery.

  • Delivery Status Not Updated / Awaiting Delivery Scan: There has been a delay in the package getting marked as delivered, especially if over 14 hours have passed since its status was set to "Out for Delivery".

  • Notice Left (No Secure Location Available): The carrier was unable to find a secure location to leave the package, causing the package to be returned to the post office. Redelivery is not automatic and must be requested.

  • Held at Post Office, At Customer Request: The package is being held at the post office at the request of the recipient, often due to a Hold Mail request or other delivery instructions.

  • Delivery Status not updated: This status may appear when the package is at the delivery stage but hasn’t been processed or updated as delivered yet.

  • Shipment Received, Package Acceptance Pending: Indicates that a container or pallet of packages has been received by a mail center but individual processing of the contained packages has not yet started.

    These statuses provide detailed insights regarding the journey of your package through the USPS system, helping you to better anticipate its arrival.

FAQs on USPS Tracking and Tracking Numbers

USPS provides support to a number of issues that you may have regarding tracking and delivery.

Can I contact USPS about a package?

Certainly, you can reach out to USPS regarding a package by calling their tracking assistance number at 1-800-222-1811. Their customer service team is available from 8:00 AM to 8:30 PM Eastern Time on weekdays and from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM Eastern Time on Saturdays.

When will my letter carrier arrive?

The United States Postal Service does not provide specific times for when a letter carrier will arrive at a particular address. Typically, deliveries are completed by 5:00 p.m. from Monday through Saturday. It's important to note that there can be exceptions due to unforeseen issues such as extreme weather conditions, which may cause delays. Regarding Sunday deliveries, they are limited to Priority Mail Express items and parcels from Amazon.

How long does it take USPS to deliver your package?

The delivery times for various USPS services are as follows:

Domestic Services:

  • Priority Mail Express guarantees delivery within 1-2 days.
  • Priority Mail typically takes 1-3 working days.
  • First-Class Mail is delivered in 1-5 business days.
  • First-Class Package Service, USPS Retail Ground, and Parcel Select Ground all have delivery windows of 2-5 business days.
  • Parcel Select Lightweight and other package services can take 2-8 business days.
  • Periodicals and Marketing Mail have the longest delivery range of 3-10 business days.

International Services:

  • Global Express Guaranteed offers delivery within 1 business day to Canada and 1-3 business days to other countries.
  • Priority Mail Express International can be expected to deliver items within 3-5 business days.
  • Priority Mail International requires 6-10 business days for delivery.
  • Delivery times for First-Class Package International Service and First-Class Mail International can vary significantly depending on the destination.

These time frames provide a general guideline, but actual delivery times may vary based on specific locations and other factors.

What can I do if my mail isn't delivered?

If you find yourself in a situation where your mail hasn't been delivered, here are detailed steps you can take to address the issue:

1. Verify Shipping and Product Information: Initially, confirm that your delivery protocol matches with that of your chosen shipping service. Make sure the details of your shipped product and service are aligned. Also, check for any notifications on delays that might affect the delivery of your mail or package.

2. Track Your Mail: Use the tracking feature available on the USPS website to check the latest status of your mail. This can provide you with immediate updates and allow you to see if the mail is still in transit or has encountered any issues.

3. File an Online Help Request: If tracking doesn't resolve or clarify the issue, you should fill out an online help request form. By doing this, you escalate the matter to USPS, prompting them to look into the situation further.

4. Contact Your Local Post Office: After submitting the online help request, get in touch with your local Post Office. They can offer additional information and assistance in tracing your undelivered mail.

5. Submit a Missing Mail Search Request: If, after waiting 7 business days following your initial online help request, your mail or package still hasn’t arrived, you should submit a missing mail search request. This can be done through the USPS website, where you will also receive a confirmation upon submission.

Each of these steps helps to systematically trace and, hopefully, recover your undelivered mail. For more detailed information or specific instructions, visiting the USPS official website is advisable, where step-by-step guidance is provided.

How to find my mail if it is lost?

If you suspect your mail is lost, follow these steps to locate it:

1. Track Your Mail: Start by visiting the USPS Tracking website to check the latest status of your mail. This can provide you with up-to-date information on its whereabouts.

2. Submit a Help Request: If tracking your mail doesn't answer your questions, the next step is to fill out an online help request form on the USPS website. This allows you to initiate an inquiry into the location of your mail.

3. Contact Your Local Post Office: After submitting the online help request, get in touch with your local Post Office. They can offer assistance and provide more detailed information about your mail's status.

4. Request a Mail Search: If your mail has not arrived within 7 business days after filing your online help request, you should submit a missing mail search request through the USPS website. Upon doing this, you will receive a confirmation email.

For more information on each of these steps, including detailed guidance on how to fill out the forms mentioned, visit the USPS official website. They provide comprehensive instructions and additional support options.

How to track a USPS package WITHOUT a tracking number?

If you've misplaced the tracking number for your USPS package, you can still monitor its delivery status by utilizing the USPS Informed Delivery feature. This service is offered at no cost and can be accessed after setting up an account with USPS. Here’s how you can get started:

1. Create a USPS Account: Visit the USPS website and register for an account.

2. Sign Up for Informed Delivery: Once you are logged into your account, apply for the Informed Delivery service. You’ll need to check whether your address is eligible for this service.

3. Complete Enrollment: If your address is eligible, proceed with the enrollment by selecting 'Informed Delivery' from the available services. Opt into the service and complete any required identity verification processes.

4. Track Your Packages: After enrollment, you will be able to view digital previews of your mail and track the delivery status of your packages through the Informed Delivery dashboard.

By following these steps, you can effectively keep tabs on your USPS shipments even without a tracking number.

How long does USPS keep the tracking history of a package?

The United States Postal Service generally maintains package tracking details for a period of 120 days. However, for certain types of services, USPS may keep the tracking information for as long as two years.

Which USPS service boasts the longest tracking number?

The majority of USPS services feature tracking numbers with 20 to 22 digits, except for international packages, which are represented by alpha-numeric codes starting with letters. Tracking numbers ranging from 20 to 22 digits are the longest within the system.

What is the starting sequence for all USPS tracking numbers?

Every USPS tracking number begins with the digit 9. Still, there might be slight variations for international packages, as they start with letters (EC or CP) instead.

Does USPS live tracking work on the weekend?

USPS does offer live tracking for packages; however, updates might not be provided on Sundays except for those sent via Priority Mail Express, which is specifically designed to offer full weekend tracking support including detailed updates. For other mail services, weekend tracking capability, particularly on Sundays, might be limited.


Key Points

USPS tracking numbers typically consist of 20 to 22 digits, commencing with the number 9. However, for packages shipped internationally, alphanumeric codes are utilized instead.

Deciphering your USPS tracking number is facilitated by the initial four digits, which provide comprehensive information regarding the type of service employed for your package.

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