USPS tracking facility is really a great mechanism for everyone. Now you can track your package end-to-end. Learning this facility will ensure you that whether your sent mail is delivered or not. USPS is offering a wide range of services and by using these services we can make our life easier. Today I will show you the ways with the proper steps to track package. In today’s world tracking is a straight forward process. You should know the basic things or suggestions regarding this before doing your next shipment. I will give you the proper guidance on USPS tracking and will answer the questions which people usually asks whenever they hear the word tracking.
What is USPS Tracking® and How it Works?
USPS tracking is a mechanism which provides end-to-end tracking of any item and this mechanism is automatically included with all the USPS domestic shipping products. But it is not included with commercial Standard Mail parcels. But you can include tracking for Standard Mail parcels as an extra service by paying an extra fee. But it does not guarantee delivery. If you add any extra service then you may want to know where your item is along with it’s route. In a case, if you add a compatible service with USPS international tracking product or any other product then you can receive any additional proof of delivery like signature. It is only for those who add extra service with their tracking product.
You might be thinking that how it works and if yes! then let me tell you – the item which you mailed can be a trackable item and if it is then it is scanned several times throughout the mailstream, starting with the acceptance by the post office and till it reaches to the recipient or the recipient’s agent. You can also check the delivery progress by the tracking number on it. You can do this online, by phone and by text. You can also sign up on the official site of USPS for the latest updates or notifications sent to you via mail. USPS recently upgraded their mechanism and now you can track almost the exact position of your parcel. Now almost 11 scans are done throughout the process and by this you can enjoy door-to-door tracking. It also provides specific delivery instructions in any case you are not at home and with this your carrier knows where to leave the package in your absence.
How much does USPS Tracking cost?
You have to pay nothing for this tracking mechanism because it is free with the postage service. It is automatically included with the parcel. You need not to pay anything for this. Basically you pay for the product’s postage and tracking is free with this facility. But it is not free for every type of mail. You have to pay fee for some mails like Standard Mail and for that you can include this service with that. It may very costly for some mails. So invest wisely and for this determine that you really want to track your package or not.
How to Track a USPS Package :-
If you really want to track your mails then you need to set up few things before you track it. If your mail is simple then it comes automatically with the tracking mechanism, as I told you before and if it is Standard then you can add this service with a fee. Fee will depend upon the mail type. Let’s have a look on the methods to track USPS package :-
1. Tracking Packages Online :-
The first method you can try is Tracking Packages online. You need to follow some steps for this which are as follows :-
(i). Setting up a Trackable form of Shipment :- You must know that not all the packages can be tracked automatically through USPS. So make sure to choose the method which allow tracking. You should also know that some tracking requires 45 days for lost mail. Keep in mind some important things regarding tracking service.
- Most of the shipments do not include tracking automatically like media mail and Domestic first class mail shipment but you can include tracking in it by paying some additional fee.
- USPS does not consider all mails equally, in other words we can say that not all forms of tracking are equal. You must be aware with the basic rule that you will get the detailed information about your mail if the form of shipping is more expensive.
- Priority mail, which is more expensive than first class mail, do include tracking.
(ii). Hold on to Your Receipt :- Check your receipt, there will be a tracking no. (it can also titled as Label No.) on the bottom of the form. Keep this receipt save because it has a unique USPS tracking number by which you can track your package. The tracking number can be different because it is depend upon the form of shipment which you selected. Have a look on the list of different format –
(iii). Visit the Official Site of USPS :- Go to the official site of USPS by clicking here. You can go on tracking page through almost every page on the site. The homepage also contains tracking facility.
(iv). Add the Tracking Number :- Just add the tracking number you have into any search box and hit enter button.
(v). Understand the Status Descriptions :- After hitting the enter button, it will give you the current status of your package. USPS uses particular terminology to describe the status of your package. Some are easy to understand while some are less comprehensible. In that case look some following terminologies to understand their meaning.
- If it shows “Arrived at USPS Origin Facility” then it means it is showing the moment when your package enters into the USPS sorting system. It is not necessary that it will show you the same place where you put your package. It can be the place where it was prepared to transshipment to the next point.
- If it shows “Arrived at Post Office” then it means it has reached to it’s final stage of delivery but still under USPS.
- If you see “Out for Delivery” then it is clear that your package is currently with postal agent who is going to deliver it.
- “Unable to Deliver” will appear when signature is required or some other instructions to facilitate delivery. In such cases, the package returns to the local post office for later delivery.
2. Adding Advanced Tracking and Confirmation :-
By adding advanced tracking you can easily track your package. You can also use usps.com tracking facility for this. Follow the steps given below –
(i). Request a Signature Confirmation :- You can request for the signature with the shipment. It will require a signature during delivery. If you request that only Recipient can sign on it, the package will be taken back to the post office if the recipient will not be there at delivery site. In that case a ID proof will be required. You can also request for a copy of the signatory’s name. If you do so, it can cost you around $3. It is not available for delivery to PO Boxes. It may not be available for military bases also.
(ii). Add a Return Receipt :- If you request for a return receipt then you will get one of the following from USPS – Emailed Confirmation, Mailed Confirmation. It will cost you $2.70 if you ask for a mailed confirmation and $1.35 if you ask for emailed confirmation. Along with the name of the signatory, you will get the address of pickup site. Let’s suppose if the receiver asks USPS to deliver that package to a different site then you will get the information of that site too.
(iii). Hold on to Your Receipt :- As I told you before that the receipt has a tracking number and with the help of this tracking number you can track your package easily. Although there is no need to track these type of packages actively because you will be informed upon delivery. But still there is that option too.
(iv). Visit the Official Site of USPS :- Go to the official site of USPS. You can go on tracking page through almost every page on the site (I have told you about this above).
(v). Enter Tracking Number :- Enter the tracking number for tracking USPS package and hit enter. Now you can see the current status of your package/shipment.
(vi). Confirmation of Delivery :- You will receive a confirmation of delivery via mail or email if you asked for it.
3. View Package Tracking Information Via RSS :-
You can use your RSS reader to track the packages or mails being shipped to you and these packages shipped via USPS, UPS or Federal Express. You need to do only one thing for this and that is you have to create a unique RSS Feed for your package. Read out the following steps to do it properly –
(i). Get the Tracking Number :- Firstly determine who is transporting your mails or packages and get the tracking number.
(ii). Open RSS Reader :- Then open RSS reader or you can also navigate to your personalized homepage. After that select the function to subscribe to an RSS feed by URL.
(iii). Create Tracking URL :- Create tracking URL and you can do so by appending the tracking number to the URL given below –
- United Parcel Service (UPS) :- http://www.shaftek.org/code/track2rss/track2rss.pl? type=ups&tracking_number=
- Fedex Ground :- http://www.shaftek.org/code/track2rss/track2rss.pl?type=fedex_ground&tracking_number=
- Fedex Air :- http://www.shaftek.org/code/track2rss/track2rss.pl? type=fedex_air&tracking_number=
- United States Postal Service (USPS) :- http://www.shaftek.org/code/track2rss/track2rss.pl?type=usps&tracking_number=
(iv). After creating the tracking URL you have to subscribe with your favorite RSS reader.
(v). Copy the URL and paste it into the RSS Reader.
(vi). Now you can track your package as it is delivered to you.
4. Tracking through Text :-
You can also track your packages through text. For this you have to send a text to 28777 (2USPS). In the text write your tracking number (tracking number USPS). Standard Message and data rates may apply. If you text your tracking number to the number given above, you will get to know your package process. It’s a simple method. You can use it from anywhere. You can also opt out for regular text updates.
- Insert your tracking number on the website and opt out for text updates under the “Available Actions” option.
- USPS can send you all activities related to your package tracking. Text “ALL” to 28777 (2USPS) to activate this facility and to stop this just send “STOP” to the same number.
5. Over a Phone :-
You can call on 1-800-222-1811. Tell them your tracking number and they will tell you the process of the package. But Hours of the operation are :-
- Monday to Friday :- 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET
- Saturday :- 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET
- Sundays :- Closed
- Holidays :- Closed
6. By File Transmission :-
If you are a certified shipper then you can track your package using file transmission. If you are not aware with Certified Shipper than let me tell you that it refers to a customer who has used certified mail as an extra service. So a certified shipper can use certified mail tracking by file transmission. “File Transmission” is a kind of data file that is transmitted electronically between USPS and the sender.
7. By Using Smartphone :-
A USPS Mobile app is also available for iOS and Android users. You can download this app for your iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch and Android devices. Download it by clicking one of the option below –
8. Tracking Information By Email :-
U.S. mail tracking is now more easy with email tracking facility. There are three options to get updated with the tracking process by emails –
- Get the only information which is available at the time of your request.
- Get shipment updates as your item goes through the mailstream.
- Get both the information, currently available and which will be available in the future.
You can choose any option from these above and to use these features go to the official site of USPS and follow the steps given below :-
1. Enter you tracking number or Label ID Number into the search box and click enter.
2. Click on the option “GET EMAIL UPDATES”
3. A pop-up will appear, in it
- Enter your name
- You can select up to three email addresses where you want to send the information
- Select any one type of email notification you want to receive (read about it above).
- Click on the “Get Updates” button.
You are done. For USPS package tracking via email you can do this.
When Will You Stop Receiving Email Updates ? :-
You will not receive any email, once the package is delivered to you. Otherwise, if you have requested for the email updates, it will be active for almost 2 weeks and after that it will stop automatically.
If you are not able to receive any email updates then it is possible that you are facing some of the following problems :-
- It is possible that there are no any shipment updates for your package.
- You may have entered the incorrect email address. (In this case go to the USPS official site and enter the tracking ID there and see if there is any additional option is available or not, if yes then enter your new email ID)
- It is also possible that You have enabled a Junk Mail filter option or it may be enabled by default, so for this you must check the filter to allow emails from U.S Postal Service.
These are possible ways for tracking any package from USPS. You can try any one of these, all are working methods. Some USPS track package methods are easy to use and some are complicated but it is all up to you. You can choose any one of the above. I tried my best to solve the tracking problem which many of the people are facing. These are the best methods which other people are using. So try yourself and tell me which method worked for you. Here are some questions which people asked me related to tracking and I am going to give them some best possible suggestions. Few days back, I wrote an article on USPS change of address which really worked for many people. Now have a look on the popular questions and their solutions.
What if You Lost Your Tracking Number/ID :-
If you lost your tracking receipt or number then the only option you have is to contact your nearest post office or the post office where you submitted your package to be mailed. USPS can’t track your package if you do not have your tracking ID because it is the only record of confirmation of delivery. USPS also do not keep any record of tracking numbers. The only record of UPSP tracking number is on the package and on the receipt. Now you can do one thing and that you can wait for 28 business days for international packages and after that ask recipient about the package and if he/she received the package then no problem and if not then go to your post office where you left the item to be sent and ask them to put a trace on it. For this you need to give them some useful information like your name, the time and date of the shipment and the address of the recipient. If the post office cannot find it and the package or the item was insured then you can file a claim for it’s loss.
What about the Items Mailed from Foreign Country :-
People asked me that what about the packages or items sent from the foreign countries. Can we track those items too ? and for them the answer is NO. USPS says that you may track those items in foreign countries but not in USA. These items are only trackable in those countries but you cannot track them in USA using U.S postal service Tracking. The only two mail class that are trackable in USA and internationally are Global Express Guaranteed® (GXG) and Priority Mail Express International® (PMEI) items.
What You can Know through USPS Tracking :-
It is more important to understand that tracking is not like the same as insuring a package or certifying it’s receipt. These are completely different option which you can choose for your shipment. All you can know with this tracking information is the time and date of the delivery or the attempted delivery, the date that when you can expect your item or package to arrive and the location of the delivery like mailbox, neighbor, reception desk etc. This is all you can know through USPStracking. Tracking of the package en route is not included.
Can First-Class Mail be Tracked ? :-
People want to know that if they can track their first class mail or not so the answer is NO! You cannot track a first class mail. However, extra service are available to know when your mail item was delivered and who received that. Extra services like Signature confirmation about which I have written above and U.S post office tracking.
Note :- These extra services like Signature confirmation and tracking are not available for the first class mail items or packages.
In any case if your first class mail has not arrived to you within five days then you can call to the customer service number 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777) and over phone a representative will note your complaint. You can also do one thing and that is you can visit the site of Postal Inspection Service and complete a mail loss form. In that case you won’t receive any automatic mail from the site regarding mail loss complaint and if your mail is located then the post office will return back it to you.
Tips on USPS Tracking :-
Here are some tips on U.S postal tracking –
- You should know that tracking service is not available for Mail International Flat Rate boxes and other flat rate international services.
- As I mentioned above that domestic first class mail and media mail shipments have no automatic tracking facility so you need to request for this and it will cost you a little.
- All forms of tracking are not similar, so choose it wisely.
- It is very simple to use USPS track and confirm service.
- Signature confirmation may not be available for diplomatic posts or military basis.
- In case of first class mail loss you can directly call on 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777) because I don’t think that you will need to fill the mail loss form to Postal Inspection Service.
Final Words :- These are some tips on tracking. You can see now how you can track your USPS packages. Here I tried every possible simple method to make you understand it clearly. Most of the methods are complicated and require a lot of struggle but you can track your mails by using some simple methods. USPS tracking by number would be a easy process if you have tracking ID because few days back I received a request to suggest some ways to track the package without the tracking ID. In case you lose your tracking ID then there are some ideas through which you can get your package back and if not then you can file a claim if it was insured.
If you have changed your address and want USPS to know this change then you can read my article on USPS forward mail. Read out this full article on tracking and tell me which method worked for you and which not. If you have any suggestion or idea then you can share it with me and other people by commenting below.