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Why Is My USPS Package Not Moving and Still in Transit?

There’s nothing more frustrating than tracking a package and seeing that it hasn’t moved in days. And it’s especially irritating if you’re waiting for an important item or your item is needed by a specific date. 

But USPS handles millions of mail and packages daily, and there are many factors that can affect a package’s journey while in transit. In this blog, we’ll explore the reasons why a USPS package possibly isn’t moving and what you can do to have it delivered to your doorstep or the recipient ASAP.

How to Know If Your USPS Package is Moving

If you’re expecting a USPS package, or you sent one and want to monitor its journey, follow the steps below:

1. Find Your USPS Tracking Number

The tracking number of your package can be found in the following places:

  • The shipping receipt from the Post Office.
  • If you bought insurance at the Post Office, the tracking number is on the sales receipt.
  • If you shipped online via USPS.com, the email confirmation will contain the tracking number.
  • The peel-off section of the USPS Tracking label.
  • If you purchased an item online, the seller or online retailer will normally email your USPS tracking number.

2. Track Your Package Using the USPS Tracking Tool

  • Enter the USPS package tracking information in the search bar of the USPS Tracking Page. The results will show the delivery status and what you can do if there are issues or alerts surrounding your USPS package.
  • USPS shipment tracking statuses fall under the following general categories:
    • Pre-shipment
    • Preparing for Delivery
    • Moving Through Network
    • Out for Delivery
    • Delivered/Delivery Attempted
  • As your package moves through the USPS system, the postal service will update the status of where your package has been as tracking information is scanned at specific stops:
    • For example, the status will change after the package has been loaded onto a truck or if it has reached a network distribution center. Do note, however, that you won’t see its progress in real-time as it moves from one facility or as it is driven in a truck across state lines.
  • Once you’ve found the tracking information of the package, the best way to monitor its progress is to check the USPS tracking system tool regularly:
    • The status updates should come consistently, but there are times when you’ll notice that it has not been changed at all. This may mean that your package is not moving through the USPS network, or has not arrived at the next hub.

How Long Does Tracking Status Take to Update?

USPS will take between 24 to 48 hours to update the tracking status of your package:

  • USPS also has information on how long delivery will take each type of package you ship out. For example, Priority Mail takes one to three days.
  • If your package hasn’t moved a day after the estimated delivery time, we recommend waiting another 24 hours. But if it has been several days, your package is most likely stuck somewhere.

Why is My Package Still in Transit? USPS Package Not Moving

If you notice that your USPS package delivery status remains unchanged for several days, it’s highly likely that it’s not moving. There are several reasons why your package is in transit longer than you expect. Let’s explore them below:

1. The Address is Wrong, Incomplete, or Incorrect

  • A simple typing mistake or missing zip code digit can derail your package’s journey through the USPS network. It’ll get stuck somewhere in transit as the machines in the USPS regional facilities won’t be able to get a correct reading of the address label.
  • To ensure that your USPS package keeps moving and is delivered on time, be sure to always carefully provide the sender with the correct address. If you’re the sender, don’t forget to double-check the recipient’s information before printing the label or sending it to USPS.

2. The Package is Too Heavy or Too Big 

  • When you fill in and print out the USPS shipping label, make sure that you enter the accurate weight and dimensions:
    • Include the weight of the packing materials, not just the item you’re shipping out. This information will determine how much postage you’ll pay.
    • If the weight or dimension you print out is incorrect, your package will end up stuck somewhere in the USPS system. The Post Office will not deliver your package until you settle the difference.
  • Aside from entering accurate numbers into the USPS Price Calculator, it’s also important that you round up the weight:
    • For example, if you’re sending a Priority Mail parcel that weighs over 5 lbs, you will pay for a 6-lb fee.
  • Another packaging issue that can cause slower USPS delivery services is a poorly packed parcel. Be sure that your USPS package is secure so that it will arrive at its destination intact and in good shape. 

3. Customs Has Issues with the Package

  • A USPS package may not be moving because it’s stuck in customs. If the package is crossing borders, the delay may be because of incomplete documents or unpaid taxes. The package may also contain prohibited items, which also may cause delays.
  • When sending out a USPS package internationally, make sure that you cross all your T’s and dot all your I’s diligently to avoid unexpected delays.

4. The Package is Lost

  • According to reports, USPS delivers up to 27 million packages daily. At any given point in your parcel’s journey, courier service employees are also handling thousands upon thousands of other packages. It’s not outside the realm of possibility for a package to go missing or get lost. It’s not common, but it happens.

5. Traffic or Weather Delivery Delays

  • Elements outside of the post office’s control can also affect a parcel’s movement in transit:
    • Around the holidays, when the volume of parcels to sort and deliver increases significantly, your USPS package deliveries will take longer. During these times, the chances of them getting stuck or not moving at all significantly increase.
    • Environmental challenges can also result in USPS tracking system failure or delays. Monitor traffic reports and weather bulletins so that you’ll know whether your packages may be stuck in transit.

What to Do If Your USPS Package Isn’t Moving

If your USPS package isn’t moving, is lost, or stuck in transit, here are the things you should do right away:

1. Check Package Type or Mail Class

  • Review the mail class or delivery standard of the package to know the estimated time of delivery. Use the list below as your guide:
  • Priority Mail Express: 1 to 2 days (delivers 7 days a week, 365 days a year).
  • Priority Mail: 1 to 3 business days.
  • USPS Ground Advantage: 2 to 5 business days.
  • Parcel Select or Parcel Select Lightweight: 2 to 8 business days.
  • First-Class Mail: 1 to 5 business days.
  • Media Mail: 2 to 8 business days.
  • Periodicals: 3 to 9 business days.
  • USPS Marketing Mail: 3 to 10 business days.
  • If you’ve been waiting for several days more than what’s stated by the USPS tracking system per mail class, it’s time to proceed to the steps below.

2. Contact USPS Customer Service

  • Contact USPS customer service on their official website
  • Be sure that you have your USPS tracking information on hand for a smoother service experience.

When to Contact Customer Service?

When to contact USPS customer support to inquire why your package is not moving depends on the mail class. Here’s a handy guide to use as a reference:                            

Mail Class When to Contact Customer Service
Priority Mail Express6PM local time on the Guaranteed Delivery Date
Priority Mail 5 or more days from the date of mailing
USPS Ground Advantage5 or more days from the date of mailing
Parcel Select or Parcel Select Lightweight14 or more days from the date of mailing
First-Class Mail5 or more days from the date of mailing
Media Mail14 or more days from the date of mailing
Periodicals14 or more days from the date of mailing
USPS Marketing Mail14 or more days from the date of mailing

3. Complete the USPS Help Request Form

  • The USPS Help Request Form provides the USPS with information that will help them track your USPS package.
  • They recommend that you fill out this form before you file a missing mail search query.
  • They’ll forward your request to your local Post Office, which will, in turn, assist you further.

4. File a Search Query

  • If your package is still nowhere to be found after seven days from when you contacted USPS customer service or after completing the Help Request Form, it’s time to file a Search Query. You’ll need the following information for this step:
    • Mailing address (sender & recipient).
    • Size and type of container or packaging used.
    • Identifying information such as your USPS Tracking number(s), the mailing date from your mailing receipt, or Click-N-Ship label receipt.
    • Description of the contents.
  • If you have photos that can help USPS recognize the package or items inside, don’t forget to include them in your query as well.
  • Wait for updates from USPS regarding your query as they’ll provide them periodically.
  • If they’re unable to find your package, you can choose to file a claim (if your package was insured) or request a refund.
  • USPS will refund only packages sent via Priority Mail Express, as this mail class comes with a money-back guarantee.


  • The USPS always aims to deliver your packages on time, but there are many reasons why your package in transit might not be moving. The postal system is made up of numerous cogs and wheels, and it runs as smoothly as possible given the sheer size and volume of the operation. 
  • Some days, due to factors they may not be able to control, your package will be stuck in the system for a day or two. Other days, your mail or packages will arrive sooner than you realize.
  • In the event that your mail or packages end up stuck or missing, there are many channels or methods you can use to find your package or even get your money back.