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How Late Does the U.S. Postal Service Deliver?

May 1, 2023 | 3 min read

Have you ever been waiting for an important item from the United States Postal Service (USPS) and wondered if it still might arrive that day?

You might be in luck if it’s still early in the day. The USPS typically delivers between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. during normal business hours. But if it’s getting late, you might be out of luck.

Delivery times can vary significantly depending on the class of mail you choose, the day of the week, holidays, and whether unusual circumstances arise.

Below you can find some fundamental intel about USPS delivery times, cutoff schedules, and costs.

Various Mail Class Delivery Times
1. Priority Mail (Delivery Times Vary)
  • USPS Priority Mail is designed for faster delivery than regular mail and is typically used for sending large packages.
  • Deliveries are offered on weekdays, arriving by 5 p.m., with an expected delivery time of one to three business days.
  • The exact delivery time for Priority Mail packages varies depending on the destination or unforeseen circumstances such as inclement weather.
2. Priority Mail Express (One-Two Business Days by 6:00 p.m.)
  • Delivery is guaranteed in one to two business days, depending on the location.
  • Take caution, though. Offices have varying cutoff acceptance times for same-day Priority Mail Express. If you miss the cutoff, your package will be scheduled for delivery the next day. Ugh.
  • For both one- and two-day Priority Mail Express options, recipients are notified if delivery isn’t completed. Upon customer request, a second delivery attempt is possible.
3. First-Class Mail (Delivery Times Vary)
  • To send lightweight packages or letters up to 13 ounces, USPS First-Class Mail is your basic option.
  • It offers delivery times between one and five business days, faster than standard USPS ground delivery.
4. Retail Ground Delivery (Delivery in 2-5 Business Days)
  • Ground Delivery is for sending oversized packages or deliveries that are not urgent.
  • Includes USPS Tracking for packages to monitor when you can receive the delivery.
Weekend Delivery Times
  • In most cases, Saturday follows the weekday schedule, with most packages generally expected to be delivered between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
  • The USPS doesn’t deliver mail on Sundays except for Priority Mail Express packages and some Amazon deliveries.
No Service or Delivery on Holidays
The USPS observes 11 federal holidays annually. On these days, post offices are closed, and there’s no regular mail delivery or pickup. The annual holiday service schedule is as follows:
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (third Monday in January)
  • Presidents’ Day (third Monday in February)
  • Memorial Day (last Monday in May)
  • Juneteenth National Independence Day (June 19)
  • Independence Day, Labor Day
  • Columbus Day (second Monday in October)
  • Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day
Should any of these fall on a Sunday, the following Monday is generally observed.
Delivery Hiccups
Several factors can cause USPS mail delivery to be delayed, including, but not limited to:
  • Route and About: The USPS sometimes adjusts delivery routes based on changes in mail volume, staffing, and other operational factors.
  • Pump Up the Volume: During peak seasons and holidays the USPS experiences a surge in package volumes, often requiring additional delivery trips or expanded delivery windows.
  • Weather or Not: Heavy snow, rain, or extreme temperatures can impact the speed and safety of mail delivery, often causing delays or disruptions.
  • People Power: Staffing shortages or other disruptions can affect the availability of postal carriers and delivery times.
  • Location, Location, Location: Rural areas sometimes experience delays due to simply being more difficult to reach.
  • Jam Session: Heavy traffic or road closures also impact delivery times, as mail carriers may have to take alternative routes or sit in traffic.
USPS delivery times are never guaranteed, except for Priority Mail Express, which offers a refund should a delivery delay occur.
Get Access to Your Mail 24/7

Staying on top of delivery times, holidays, weather, USPS mail class options, etc., is a big job. And yet here we are. Like it or not, snail mail is still necessary for many reasons and plays a crucial role in how we communicate and do business.

Fortunately, a modern solution that offers 24/7 access to postal mail: a virtual mailbox.

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