The United States Postal Service (also known as the Post Office, US Mail, or Postal Service, often abbreviated as USPS) is the largest mail service operating in the US, delivering 160 billion postal items a year. It is an independent agency of the executive branch of the United States federal government, which is explicitly authorized by the US Constitution.
- What is USPS Tracking?
- How do I track a USPS package?
- Can I track a USPS letter?
- Where do I find a USPS tracking number?
- What does USPS tracking number look like?
- Which USPS services have tracking?
- USPS Mail and Shipping Services
- Which USPS service is the fastest?
- What is USPS Informed Delivery?
- USPS tracking statuses
- Why is USPS tracking not updating?
- What to do when USPS loses my package?
- Is USPS Priority Mail Express International the same as USPS EMS?
What is USPS Tracking?
USPS Tracking is a service that allows users to monitor the location of their mail. Once you get a shipping id, you can check for tracking updates now and then. But how are these updates possible? It is all about the barcodes each registered mailpiece comes with. A barcode is scanned whenever a package goes through a postal facility.
The Postal Service (USPS) includes automatic tracking in most of its domestic and international shipping options so that you can track your package as it makes its way to the destination.
Find out which USPS services have tracking in one of the sections below.
How do I track a USPS package?
USPS provides several ways in which you can track your package:
- By web: visit the USPS website to use USPS Tracking.
- By text: send a text message to 28777 with your tracking code.
- By smartphone: download and use the USPS Mobile app for iPhone or Android to get the tracking status of your shipment.
You can also check the delivery status on our site. Give it a try!
Can I track a USPS letter?
There is no way to track a USPS letter without special services added.
The thing is, ordinary letters are always sent with First-Class Mail service, which is non-trackable per se. You have to upgrade to other options, namely Express/Priority/Certified or Registered Mail service. It will cost you extra money, but you will certainly get a delivery confirmation in the end.
Please make sure that you add trackable services at the time of mailing. It is impossible to upgrade to another service while your letter is in transit.
Where do I find a USPS tracking number?
You can find your USPS tracking number...
- on Your Post Office shipping receipt
- on your sales receipt (if you bought insurance at the Post Office)
- in your email confirmation (if you shipped from USPS.com)
- in the shipping confirmation email you received from an online retailer
- in the bottom peel-off portion of your USPS Tracking label
What does USPS tracking number look like?
Most USPS tracking codes are 22 numbers long, arranged in groups of 4 digits. However, there are other formats, among them shipping ids that start with the letters EA, EC or CP, which indicate that the package is being mailed overseas.
The first four or five digits (for domestic shipping options) and two letters (for the international ones) indicate the type of mail service you're using.
|USPS Tracking||9400 1000 0000 0000 0000 00|
|Priority Mail||9205 5000 0000 0000 0000 00|
|Certified Mail||9407 3000 0000 0000 0000 00|
|Collect On Delivery Hold For Pickup||9303 3000 0000 0000 0000 00|
|Global Express Guaranteed||82 000 000 00|
|Priority Mail Express International||EC 000 000 000 US|
|Priority Mail Express||9270 1000 0000 0000 0000 00
EA 000 000 000 US
|Priority Mail International||CP 000 000 000 US|
|Registered Mail||9208 8000 0000 0000 0000 00|
|Signature Confirmation||9202 1000 0000 0000 0000 00|
The sample numbers above do not cover all possible permutations of USPS service codes.
Which USPS services have tracking?
Tracking is available for the following USPS services:
- Priority Mail
- Priority Mail International
- Priority Mail Express
- Parcel Select
- Media Mail
- First-Class Mail (only for packages; unavailable for letters and flats)
- First-Class Package International Service
USPS Mail and Shipping Services
USPS mail and shipping services can be divided into two major groups:
|Priority Mail||Priority Mail International|
|Priority Mail Express||Priority Mail Express International|
|First-Class Mail||First-Class Mail International|
|First-Class Package Service||First-Class Package International Service|
|USPS Retail Ground||Global Express Guaranteed|
Which USPS service is the fastest?
Priority Mail Express is the fastest mail service offered by USPS. You can expect your postal item to be delivered overnight to 2 days.
Go for Global Express Guaranteed if timeliness is of high priority and you need to ship something internationally. GXG shipments are delivered in 1-3 business days to more than 190 countries.
What is USPS Informed Delivery?
Informed Delivery is a USPS feature that provides its users with digital previews of the household mail. Such previews are possible through mailpiece scanning generated on postal equipment. Informed Delivery users can get grayscale scans/images of the exterior of their postcards or letters via email notifications, online dashboard, or mobile app.
Only letter-size mail in selected ZIP codes is eligible for scanning. If you are expecting a flat, you will probably get a message stating "A mailpiece for which we do not currently have an image is included in today's mail."
USPS tracking statuses
- What does it mean when the USPS says the item is out for delivery?
- The status indicates that your item is inside the carrier's vehicle and will be delivered as soon as they reach your box or your address.
- What does it mean when USPS says the item is currently in transit to the destination?
- It means that your package is literally on the way. The sender has readied and lodged your item for sure, but it is unclear if she/he has just handed it over to the carrier, or the package has arrived in the destination country and pending customs.
- What does it mean when USPS tracking says in transit to next facility?
- "In transit to next facility" means that your package is moving within the USPS network, i.e., it has left one postal facility and headed for the next postal facility in its journey to the destination.
Why is USPS tracking not updating?
There may be several reasons behind that:
- The carrier forgot to scan your package at some point. No scanning = no tracking updates.
- The item has not been scanned at intermediary stops at all.
- The package barcode is broken and cannot be scanned properly.
What to do when USPS loses my package?
First off, complete a Help Request Form on the official USPS page. The Postal Service will then forward the request to your local post office to help locate the missing items.
If this does not help and your mail/package does not arrive after seven days from the submission date, submit a Missing Mail Search Request with the following information:
- USPS tracking number (if any)
- recipient mailing address
- sender mailing address
- size of your package or mail
- detailed description of the contents
- picture of the contents (if any)
Once found, your item will be sent to the address you provided.
Is USPS Priority Mail Express International the same as USPS EMS?
USPS Priority Mail Express International and USPS EMS mean the same thing. The former is how the service is called within the US, while the latter is a term commonly used abroad.
USPS provides two international express mail services: Priority Mail Express International (part of the EMS standard) and Global Express Guaranteed (not a part of it). In this way, Priority Mail Express International is clearly an Express Mail Service.