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How Long Does Usps Hold Packages

By David Krug 5 minute read

In order to deliver millions of mailpieces to every address in the United States, the United States Postal Service works tirelessly every single day.

Due to weather or a lack of a signature, carriers sometimes have to return packages to the Post Office.

As a last resort, you may wonder: How long does the USPS hold packages for? You’ll find the answer you’re looking for right here.

USPS 2022 Package Holding Time

The United States Postal Service holds packages for up to 15 days after the date of the attempted delivery for the vast majority of their mailing services. There is a second and final notice issued by the USPS in each case. Returning packages after the 15-day grace period is mandatory.

Find out if USPS is holding your package, how to locate it, if someone else can pick it up on your behalf, and what happens to packages that cannot be returned to sender by USPS by continuing to read this article.

How Do You Find Out if Your Package is in USPS’s Hands?

Whenever a USPS mail carrier tries to deliver a package but is unsuccessful, they will leave a PS Form 3849 in a peach color.

Your local post office will send you a PS Form 3849, which serves as a delivery notice/reminder/receipt.

In my experience, the postal carrier tries to place the note at the top of the stack so that it is clearly visible and not buried among the other mail… (and potentially tossed).

How would you feel if you missed it by accident? Is it possible that you see it, but then forget to go and get your package?

A Second and Final Notice will be issued by the Post Office three to five days after the first attempt at delivery.

You can check a box labeled “Final Notice” on the bottom left of PS Form 3849, which indicates that the parcel must be picked up within a certain time frame.

Additionally, there is a place for the postal carrier to indicate when the parcel will be returned to the return address after the holding period has expired.

Items sent via Priority Mail Express are only held for five days before the Second/Final notice is sent, despite the rule requiring a 15-day holding period.

If you see that the package was sent Priority Mail Express, you’ve got less time to get to the Post Office, so hurry!

Your USPS package’s location can be found using the USPS tracking system.

Your local Post Office may be the only option for you if you live in a small town or city with only one Post Office location.

However, if you’ve recently relocated to an area with multiple Post Offices, you may be perplexed as to how you’ll know which one has your package.

There are two ways to get this information, according to

Your parcel’s USPS Tracking page will tell you where to go once the tracking information has been updated to indicate that the Post Office is holding your item.

Call 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777) to speak to a customer service representative if you don’t have time for that.

How Do You Pick Up a USPS Package?

It’s easy to retrieve a USPS package that’s been held.

Bring your PS Form 3849 and a valid photo ID, such as a driver’s license or an ID card (depending on your country of citizenship).

If you haven’t signed your Form yet, they’ll ask you to do so at the counter, and then they’ll check your ID to make sure the names, signatures, and faces match up..

Is There a Person You’d Like to Have Pick up Your Package at the Post Office?

You can designate someone else to collect your package from the Post Office on your behalf.

However, you’ll have to write something like this on the PS Form 3829 or a blank sheet of paper:

Please pick up my mail for (insert name of retriever here) (Your Name).

After you’ve written this brief note, be sure to sign your name.

For a PO Box, how long does USPS keep packages?

When you have a parcel that doesn’t fit in your PO Box, the Post Office notifies you by leaving a notice in your mailbox.

Most of the time, they’ll keep it for the full 15 days. Like a standard package hold, the answer is contingent on the method of delivery.

Can The Post Office Find Out If You Forgot To Pick Up A Package?

No one has come to claim the package after the holding period, so USPS tries to mail it back the sender.

Occasionally, a return is not possible due to the absence of a return address or illegible information.

These packages may end up in the “Dead mail” area, where postal workers search for missing or illegible addresses in order to return the package.

For those who miss their holding period, there is still hope that their package will arrive on time.

It’s not a foregone conclusion, and it’s a time-consuming endeavor, but it can be done.

It’s possible that the package is in a Mail Recovery Center if it couldn’t be returned to the sender (one is in GA and one is in MN).

When a package is found to be worth more than $25, it is held for an additional 60 days before being returned to the sender. You can take action during this time period.

(Unfortunately, your search is likely to come to an end if the value of your item is determined to be less than $25.)

You’ll need to fill out a search request at a mail recovery center and provide as much information as possible about your package.

Barcode/Tracking information, packaging dimensions, and the contents of the package are all part of this (in as much detail as you can manage).

Then, you wait! Your package will be returned to you as quickly as possible by USPS.

As a general rule, you should never miss your initial 15-day window for picking up a package from the Post Office.

USPS services can also be found in our posts on whether or not USPS leaves packages in the rain, whether or not USPS scans packages and whether or not USPS delivers at night.

Bottom Line

Most undeliverable packages are held for 15 days by the USPS, and recipients are notified twice that they have a parcel that must be picked up at the Post Office.

Bring your PS Form 3849 and a government-issued photo ID, or have it delivered by someone else with a permission note and your signature.

David Krug