Track Your Package: USPS Tracking Status Explained

usps mail truck

Whether you’re sending a gift or waiting for an online shopping delivery, tracking your package is crucial to ensure it reaches its destination safely. The United States Postal Service (USPS) offers detailed tracking updates, far beyond simple statuses like “Sent” or “Delivered.” This guide will decode the nine most common USPS tracking statuses and what they signify for your shipment.

How to Track a USPS Package

There are multiple ways to monitor the status of your USPS package. You can track it through:

  • USPS Website: Enter your package’s unique tracking number on the USPS tracking portal.
  • USPS Mobile App: Use the app to check real-time updates on your shipment.
  • Phone Updates: Call USPS directly to receive updates over the phone.
  • SMS Notifications: Opt to receive text messages whenever there’s an update on your package’s status.

If you’ve purchased your shipping label through a third-party provider like 3PL Center, you can easily track your shipment via your dashboard by accessing your shipment details.

We’ve found that the USPS website often provides the most comprehensive and current tracking updates, enabling you to closely monitor your package until it reaches its destination.

Getting a USPS Tracking Number

Every USPS shipping label automatically includes a unique tracking number, regardless of where it’s purchased. This tracking number enables you to monitor your package throughout its journey. The good news is that this feature is included in the price of your label, so there are no additional costs required for you to track your shipment.

Other USPS Shipping Solutions

While exploring shipping options, consider the variety of solutions USPS offers. Whether opting for flat rate shipping, which allows you to send items at a fixed cost regardless of weight, using lightweight and cost-effective poly mailers, or taking advantage of free shipping supplies provided by USPS, each method ensures comprehensive tracking. Free shipping supplies, including various types of boxes, envelopes, and labels, are readily available through USPS, aiding in cost management and ensuring that packages are well-protected and professionally presented.

Learn more about upcoming proposed USPS rate increases to Parcel Select and Postage Rates and how they affect services like USPS Ground Advantage and flat-rate shipping. This information is crucial for planning your future shipments and understanding the broader implications of these changes on your mailing strategy.

Tracking a USPS Package Without a Tracking Number

Tracking a package without a USPS tracking number can be challenging, but it’s certainly possible. Your best option is to reach out to USPS customer service or contact the support team of your third-party logistics provider.

When you speak with a customer service representative, you will need to provide specific details to help locate your package. These details include:

  • The type of service used for your package (such as First-Class Package Service, Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express, or Parcel Select Ground).
  • The shipping address.
  • The declared value of the shipment.
  • Any other pertinent information that might assist in locating your package.

With this information, USPS or a third-party provider like 3PL Center can help track down your package and even provide updates on its status. In many cases, they can also provide you with the tracking number, allowing you to monitor your package’s progress yourself. This approach is often considered among the best practices for managing shipments without a pre-existing tracking number.

usps mailbox

The Most Common USPS Tracking Statuses

From the moment you create a shipping label to when the package is received, USPS assigns a tracking status at every step of a package’s journey. Here are some of the most common USPS tracking statuses observed on a daily basis:

Pre-shipment: This status is assigned to labels that have been created but not yet scanned into the USPS network.

Label created, not yet in system: This indicates that the label has been registered by USPS but hasn’t been scanned into their system, which can sometimes take up to 24 hours.

In transit: This status appears once the package has been scanned and is moving within the USPS network. Sub-statuses include:

In transit to next facility: The package is en route to the next sorting or destination facility.

Arrival at unit: Indicates arrival at the destination post office and is scheduled for delivery.

Departed USPS facility: The package has left the indicated sorting facility.

Arrived at USPS facility: The package has reached a sorting facility.

Processed at destination facility: The package has been processed at the destination facility.

Arriving late: Indicates a delay.

Outbound – out of US Customs: Released by US Customs, en route overseas.

Customs clearance: Cleared US Customs, pending final delivery.

Received by US Postal Service from US Customs: Cleared and ready for overseas shipment.

Out for delivery: The package is on its final leg towards delivery on the designated date or time.

Delivered: Indicates successful delivery at the destination.

Picked-up: The recipient picked up the parcel from the local post office.

Delivered to agent: Delivered to an authorized agent of the recipient.

Delivery attempt: Indicates an attempted delivery that could not be completed for various reasons:

Held at post office at customer request: The recipient requested the package be held.

Receptacle blocked: Delivery path was obstructed.

Receptacle full/item oversized: Insufficient space or item too large for the receptacle.

No secure location available: No safe drop-off point was available.

No authorized recipient available: No one was available to accept the package.

No access to delivery location: Delivery access was restricted.

Accepted: The package is officially in USPS’s possession.

Accepted at destination: Arrived at the destination facility or post office.

Origin acceptance: Accepted at the originating sorting facility.

Accepted at USPS facility: Accepted into the system at the designated facility.

USPS in possession of item: Collected by USPS as scheduled.

Available for pickup: The recipient can collect the package at a designated USPS facility.

Alert: Indicates an issue during delivery such as refusal or address problems.

Awaiting delivery scan: Delivery confirmation is pending past expected time.

Refused: The recipient refused the package.

Unable to deliver – problem with address: Address issues prevented delivery.

Forwarded: Sent to a new address provided by the recipient.

Dead mail/sent to recovery mail: Sent to Mail Recovery Center due to undeliverable status.

Return to sender: The package is being returned for various reasons

Understanding these statuses allows 3PL Center and other third-party providers to closely monitor and manage shipments effectively, ensuring that both senders and recipients are well-informed about their package’s journey.

Understanding “Return to Sender” Statuses

When a package fails to be delivered and is sent back to the sender, USPS updates the tracking status to “Return to Sender.” There are several reasons this might occur, each indicating a different issue with the delivery process. Here’s a breakdown of common “Return to Sender” statuses and their meanings:

  • No such number: This status appears when the address on the package is incorrect or incomplete, specifically if the house or building number does not exist. Ensuring address accuracy when printing labels is crucial to avoid this issue.
  • Insufficient address: Similar to “No such number,” this status means that important parts of the address are missing or unreadable. The address may lack essential details like the street name, number, or zip code.
  • Moved, left no address: This status is used when the recipient has moved away and did not provide a forwarding address. Senders can mitigate this issue by confirming the recipient’s address before shipping, especially for customers who have not ordered in a while.
  • Forward expired: If a recipient has set up mail forwarding due to a move, this forwarding order has an expiration date. “Forward expired” means that the order to redirect mail to a new address has ended, and the package is being returned to the sender.
  • Addressee unknown: This return status is used when the recipient is not known at the address. This could occur in buildings without proper name labels or in cases of fraudulent orders.
  • Vacant: The delivery location is unoccupied or abandoned at the time of delivery. Regularly updating mailing lists can help senders avoid dispatching items to vacant properties.
  • Unclaimed/Unspecified: Sometimes, packages are returned without a specific reason being provided. This can happen if a package requires a signature and no one is available to sign for multiple delivery attempts, or if the recipient fails to pick up the package from a post office within a given timeframe.

Addressing these issues involves careful attention to detail when collecting and confirming shipping addresses, proactive communication with recipients about their delivery expectations, and perhaps even confirming the recipient’s presence at the delivery address for high-value items. By understanding and addressing these common “Return to Sender” reasons, businesses and individuals can improve their shipping efficiency and reduce the incidence of undeliverable packages.

Avoiding Common Shipping Mistakes

To prevent shipping mishaps that could disappoint your customers or lead to unnecessary expenses, it’s crucial to understand and monitor these statuses. By doing so, you can anticipate and solve issues before they escalate.


Enhancing Visibility and Transparency with Advanced WMS Integration

Understanding the various USPS tracking statuses is crucial for both senders and recipients to ensure the successful delivery of packages. However, simply knowing these statuses isn’t enough to maximize efficiency and customer satisfaction. This is where the power of an advanced Warehouse Management System (WMS) comes into play.

By integrating USPS tracking information into our sophisticated WMS, we offer our clients unparalleled visibility and transparency throughout the shipping process. This integration allows users to access real-time updates and detailed tracking information directly from their operational dashboard. Whether it’s a package in pre-shipment or out for delivery, every update is immediately available, providing our clients and their customers with up-to-the-minute information on the whereabouts of their shipments.

This level of integration is essential for optimizing logistical operations, reducing the risk of delivery issues, and enhancing customer service. It empowers businesses to proactively address potential shipping delays and discrepancies before they escalate into customer service issues. Additionally, the integration supports improved planning and inventory management, as businesses can better predict arrival times and prepare for incoming stock or shipments going out.

Ensuring Smooth Processing of Orders

To minimize errors and optimize order processing, it’s crucial to integrate address verification at various stages of the transaction. At 3PL Center, our WMS includes a sophisticated address verification tool that checks and confirms the accuracy of shipping addresses before processing orders. This system halts the progression of any order with discrepancies in the shipping address until they are corrected. This not only significantly reduces the likelihood of shipping errors but also prevents additional fees associated with address corrections. Employing this proactive measure ensures that all deliveries are both smooth and reliable, enhancing customer satisfaction and operational efficiency.

Streamlining Logistics with 3PL Center

Understanding USPS tracking statuses is essential for ensuring successful package deliveries. Integrating this information into our advanced WMS enhances visibility and transparency, providing real-time updates directly within our operational dashboard. This allows businesses to proactively manage shipments and address potential delays, improving customer satisfaction and operational efficiency. By leveraging our WMS capabilities to monitor and respond to USPS tracking data, we help businesses optimize their logistical operations and maintain a competitive edge in today’s fast-paced market.


USPS Tracking Statuses FAQs

How can I track my USPS package if I lose the tracking number?

If you’ve lost your tracking number, you can contact USPS customer service or reach out to the third-party provider from whom you purchased the shipping label, such as 3PL Center. They can assist by using other information like the delivery address and the shipment’s value to help locate your package within the USPS system.

What should I do if my package is showing as “Delivered” but I haven’t received it?

If your tracking information shows the package as “Delivered” but you haven’t received it, first check around your delivery location and with neighbors or building management. If the package is still missing, contact USPS as soon as possible to report the issue. They can provide further information and assistance in locating the missing package.

How often does USPS update the tracking information?

USPS tracking updates occur each time a package reaches a new processing point in their network. This includes when the package is received, when it departs or arrives at a new facility, and when it is out for delivery. The frequency of updates can vary, but generally, they are provided in real-time as each significant transit milestone is reached.

Can I set up notifications for updates on my USPS tracking?

Yes, USPS allows you to set up notifications for tracking updates. You can opt to receive SMS text messages, emails, or both whenever there is an update to your package’s status. This feature helps you stay informed about your shipment’s progress in real time, from when it is first shipped to when it is delivered. To set up these notifications, enter your tracking number on the USPS tracking website and select the notification options that best suit your needs.


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