Can I Pick Up A Package From USPS Before Delivery? | [Full] Guide

People mailing packages at a post office


Many people start to get anxious when they are waiting for a package to be delivered. In recent years, package tracking has gotten so good that you can almost see exactly where your package is as it travels to your location. Perhaps you notice that your package has already made it to your local post office, but your scheduled delivery is still a day or two away. Can you just go ahead and visit the post office to pick up your package today? It’s not quite that simple, but there are some things that you can do to pick up your package before USPS delivers it to your home. Keep reading as we give you all the details about package tracking and how you can pick up your package before delivery.


USPS Package Tracking Basics

The postal service offers package tracking on basically all of their priority services at no additional charge. USPS tracking a package even comes standard on media mail now as well, and you can even add tracking to regular First Class mail. Here’s how it works. When you send your package, a barcode will be printed on the shipping label. This barcode includes a tracking number that you will use to check on the status of your package.

Each time your package moves within the postal service’s infrastructure, the barcode will be scanned so that the tracking status is updated. You can visit to enter your tracking number and see the latest status for your package. You should see updates each time the package leaves a facility, arrives at a new facility, arrives at your local post office, and heads out for delivery. You can even call USPS customer service or visit your post office to get tracking details as well.

There are many different messages that you might see when you check on your package. Here are just a few of the USPS tracking messages that you might encounter. The “Pending Acceptance” message means that your package has arrived at the USPS facility as part of a bulk shipment, but it has not been individually scanned into the system. You might also see a “Shipping Label Printed” message. This means that the label has been printed by the shipper, but USPS has not yet received the package. Another common status is “In Transit.” This message means that the package is traveling between USPS facilities on its way to its final destination.

Remember that you might go a few days without seeing an update to your tracking information. This typically happens when the package travels a long distance. It will be scanned when it leaves a facility, but then it will not be scanned again until it arrives at the next location. This might be a few days if the package is traveling across the country.


USPS Package Intercept Service

So, how can you stop a package that is already in route so that you can go and pick it up? This is where the package intercept mail service comes in. This service allows you to stop or reroute a package or flat that is already in route to the destination. This service can be utilized by either the sender or the recipient. This service is available for Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express, and just about any mail item that has a barcode on it. Here is how the service works.

Package intercept service can only be purchased online. Once you verify that your package or item is eligible for the service, you simply need to log into your USPS account. From there, you can submit your request to add the service to a particular package. As long as your package is not already out for delivery, then you should be able to add the service. If the package is successfully intercepted, then you will be charged for it. You can choose to either route the package back to the sender or have it held for pickup at your local post office. This would allow you to visit the post office and pick up the package before it gets on the mail carrier’s truck for final delivery.


Determining Eligibility For Package Intercept

Not every package or letter is eligible for this service as the USPS has package intercept eligibility rules that apply to the service. First, the item must be a domestic shipment. This means that international shipping does not qualify for the intercept service. Next, the item must have a USPS tracking barcode or an extra services barcode on it. If the USPS cannot track the item to determine its whereabouts, then they will not be able to intercept or redirect it.

Finally, there are some size limitations as well. The package cannot measure more than 108 inches in total length and girth length. Oversized packages cannot be intercepted. USPS marketing mail products and periodicals do not qualify and neither do items that are rerouted to a P.O. Box. You must reroute the item to a physical address or either have the post office hold the item for you. As previously stated, if your package is already out for delivery, then it is too late to add this service. Once your local letter carrier has the package and is making the mail delivery, then it is too late.


Cost Of Intercepting A Package

This service is quite involved and requires quite a bit of time and effort on the part of the postal workers. For that reason, there is an intercept fee associated with the service. The fee for the service is $15.25. You will only be charged this amount if the package is intercepted successfully. If it is too late or USPS is unable to intercept the package, then you will not have to pay the fee. Your credit card will only be charged once the intercept has taken place.

In addition to the $15.25 fee, you might be required to pay some additional postage as well. All items that are redirected are automatically sent using Priority Mail. So, depending on the service that was originally used to send the package, there may be some additional postage due. If the original package was sent using Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express, or First Class mail, then you shouldn’t have to pay additional postage. However, if you were sending a media mail package or using some other service, then your credit card will also be charged for the extra postage that will be incurred as a result of the redirect.


Package “Hold For Pickup” Service

Instead of the package intercept service, the USPS Hold for Pickup service might be a better option for you in some cases. However, this service must be added at the time of shipment. Once the U.S. Postal Service has accepted the package and started the shipment, you cannot add this service at a later time. If you wish to add this service, then you should inform the post office at the time of shipment. They will add a special Hold for Pickup shipping label to the item.

Once the package makes its way to the local post office of the recipient, USPS will notify the recipient that the package has arrived. They will hold it until the recipient comes to pick it up. A valid photo ID must be presented at the time of pickup, and then the package will be released. You can also request signature confirmation of pickup if you like. Not all mail services will allow you to add a hold for pickup designation. You must ship your package using First Class mail package service, Priority Mail, or Priority Mail Express. Adding this service should not affect delivery times of the United States Postal Service, although the ultimate delivery day is determined by how long the recipient waits to go get the package.


Where To Pick Up Held Packages

So, where do you pick up a package that is being held by the postal service? It depends. If the shipper has utilized the Hold for Pickup service at the time of shipment, then the package will be held at the recipient’s local post office. This would be the post office where all your regular mail deliveries originate from. When the post office notifies the recipient that a package is ready for pickup, they will specify the proper location for USPS package pickup.

If you have used the package intercept service, then the answer might be a little different. You might ask them to hold the package at your local post office, but they could also hold it at another distribution facility for pickup. USPS mail has many distribution centers throughout the country, and pickup could be scheduled at a number of these locations. Since only domestic mail services qualify for the service, there is no need to worry about international pickup locations. In many cases, you can pick up your package as soon as the next day.


Package Hold VS Mail Hold: What’s The Difference?

So far, we have been mostly discussing package delivery and the options available when you decide you want to pick up your package early. However, what if you need the post office to hold your regular mail? USPS will hold mail for you, and here is how it works.

A mail hold basically tells the post office not to deliver your mail for a certain period of time. You can ask them to hold this mail for you at the post office instead of delivering it to your home address. Most of the time, this service is utilized by people who are gone on vacation. Instead of having mail pile up while they are gone, they will simply place a mail hold on their delivery address until they return. You can choose to have the post office perform redelivery of the mail on the next business day after the hold or you can pick up the mail from the post office.

A mail hold can be placed for up to 30 days. If you need to have your mail held longer than this, then you can talk to your local postmaster or sign up for a forwarding service. Remember that a package hold is only for a single item while a mail hold applies to everything that is sent to your address. A package hold must be initiated by the sender at the time of shipment while a mail hold is placed by you on your address. Mail holds are generally used for safety purposes when you are gone from your home for more than a couple of days. There is no charge to use the mail hold service.


The Bottom Line

Just because a package has already been dropped in the mail does not mean that you can’t change the way it is delivered. You can ask the post office to hold it and allow you to pick it up at a distribution center or post office. However, this package intercept service does come with a fairly substantial fee. If you know that the recipient will want to pick it up instead of having it delivered, then using the package hold service at the time of mailing would be a better option. Both of these services should accomplish your ultimate goal, but one will cost you more money. Plus, not all packages will qualify for the intercept service. Even if your package does qualify, you won’t be able to use it if you have waited too late and the package is already out for delivery.


Frequently Asked Questions


Can I pick up a package sitting at the Post Office?

Can you pick up a package from USPS early? Yes, most of the time you will be allowed to pick up a package that is sitting at the post office. However, you will need to make sure that your timing is perfect, and you will need to present a photo ID to prove that your name and address match what is on the shipping label. If you want to be certain that the package will be there and ready for you, then you should consider using the hold for pickup or package intercept service. This will instruct the post office to hold the package there until you can come and get it. Otherwise, the package might get onto the delivery truck before you arrive at the post office. It will then be too late to try and pick up the package.


How long will I have to pick up my USPS package?

So, how long will the USPS hold mail? Most packages will be held for 15 days. However, if the package includes collect on delivery, then it will only be held for 10 days. Priority Mail Express items are held for 5 days. If you have placed a mail hold on your address, then you will have 10 days to pick up the mail at the end of the hold period. After the time expires, then your package will be returned to the sender. So, you should always make sure that you head down to the post office to get your package in a timely manner. Otherwise, you might need to pay for shipping again and have to wait even longer to get that item you have been waiting on.


Does USPS hold packages?

Yes, there are several methods by which you can have USPS hold a package for you. First, you can opt for the Hold for Pickup service when mailing the package. This will allow the postal service to hold the package at your local post office instead of attempting delivery to your address. They will notify you when the package arrives so that you can pick it up. Similarly, if you have placed a mail hold on your address, then packages will also be held during the time in which the hold is active. Package intercept service can also be used to hold a package. However, if the package is already out for delivery, then you have waited too late and the package cannot be held at that point.


When does the Postal Service deliver my package?

The postal service might attempt to deliver your mail and packages on the last day of a mail hold. However, you can also elect to pick them up yourself from the post office. If you have requested a package intercept or added the hold for pickup service onto a package delivery, then the postal service will not deliver the package. They will hold it at the post office for approximately 10 to 15 days for you to come and pick it up. If you do not pick up the package, then it will be returned to the sender.

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