USPS Tracking Not Updating or Available: 7 problems you’ll see

She’s a 10, but she’s one of the oldest postal systems in the world. USPS is a renowned postal service that delivers more than 660 million packages every day. The tracking that comes with each package is also a unique innovation that its customers appreciate. Sometimes during a chaotic delivery, you do not see the tracking updates. That gets you worried.

Article summary

The most common reason your USPS tracking isn’t updating or is available is that the package hasn’t been scanned or overloaded at the company. However, other reasons include the following:

  • It’s sitting at customs.
  • The package has been lost.
  • Harsh weather


That’s where we can help you. Here are some of the problems you’ll see when tracking updates aren’t available and how you can solve them.

USPS Stamps

Maybe you’re waiting for your cat backpack, vermeil earrings, or a ceiling fan.

Table of Contents

How can I track my package?

USPS has a unique tracking number given to each of its customers. It helps them track the package and see where it is and how long they can expect to wait before they receive it.

However, for multiple reasons, the tracking is unavailable when you enter it into the system.

7 Reasons Your USPS Tracking Is Not Updating or Available

Let’s take a look at these reasons your USPS tracking is not updating or available.

1. Package not scanned

USPS Rural Delivery Magnet

You can only view the tracking of the package since it gets scanned at every location. Now thousands of packages get scanned at a single location. In this commotion, it is easy to forget a scan or two.

If yours is the unfortunate package that hasn’t been updating its tracks, it could be possible it was never scanned.

Although batch scanning limits this possibility, some packages are scanned alone. Therefore, it is easy to skip them.

2. Harsh weather conditions

It’s a bummer to shovel out the snow in your front yard. Just imagine the trouble the pioneers of the USPS delivery system go through. They have to battle the snow and sleet and the slippery roads that result from the snow and sleet.

There are various weather conditions across the country, and your package must move through them. In some places, there’ll be heatwaves. There will be rain in others, and even a bit of snow in some colder regions. In the midst of all this, some delays are only natural. It means even slower tracking updates.

Just imagine the trouble when the barcode on your package gets disfigured due to the rain.

3. Package overload

USPS Priority Mail Regional Flate Rate

Sometimes it is nothing but your package that is causing the delay. In certain seasons like the holiday season in December, there is a huge influx of packages and mail and thus causing a major delay in delivery.

In times like these, there are bound to be logjams and glitches that prevent the updating of the status. Sit tight and be patient until your turn comes round. Father Christmas has something for everyone!

4. Updated but moving

Sometimes delivery personnel might be in such a great hurry that they deliver the package but forget to update the tracking.

You’ll be staring at the ‘Out for Delivery’ sign while the package lands on your front porch. If it’s been a couple of hours since the Out for the Delivery update, it’s best to check outside and around the house. Yours is likely sitting patiently waiting for you to discover it. The poor USPS personnel probably just forgot to update the status.

5. Package lost

USPS Shipping Boxes

USPS is known for its promptness and reliability, but there are glitches in every system. Although it is very unlikely, some packages never see the light of day in such large operations. They may get left behind and thrust into a warehouse corner, never to be found again.

Large facilities also do not have the time to allocate someone to find a single package.

Maybe you fear yours has been lost. You can file a complaint with USPS and receive compensation for the same if you had an insurance cover.

6. Incorrect tracking ID

In a few cases, the customer often enters the wrong tracking ID the entire time to view their package progress. When this is the case, it may be possible they are either looking at some other customer’s package or even a non-existent tracking number.

To avoid this, always look at the tracking ID and copy it carefully. Or you can also copy and paste it into the tracking site.

7. Sitting at customs

United States Postal Service- USPS Shirts & Beanie

There are chances that you will experience a lag in updating simply because the progress has been halted. The courier must suffer through endless border security in international packages. It includes sitting at the airport’s customs authority. Since it does take a few days to clear, delivery personnel will often delay their visit to pick up the parcel from the airport.

If you suspect this is happening, give the concerned delivery hub at the destination a call. They should give you a call back about the status of your delivery soon.

Service Starting Price Ship time Pricing OptionsWhere to pay postageInsurance
Priority mail express$28.75Next day to 2 days by 6pmFlat rate
and variable price both
Online and post office$100 included
Priority Mail $9.351-3 daysFlat rate, variable price, prepaidPost office and online$100 included
First class mail $0.63 1-5 daysVariable price Post officeAvailable
First class package service $4.752-5 days Variable price and online with click and ship business accountPost officeAvailable
USPS retail ground$8.95 2-5 daysVariable pricePost office Available
Media mail$3.65 2-8 days Variable PricePost office Available

Here is a list of the full media mail:

  • Books
  • Printed music and test material
  • Printed educational charts
  • Video and sound recordings
  • Medical loose-leaf and binders
  • Computer-readable media

Restricted items include:

  • Video games
  • Computer drives
  • Digital drives

US shipping restrictions by country

Restricted international shipping to these countries
The BalkansSomalia
Belarus Syria
Burundi Russia/ Ukraine
Central African Republic Venezuela
Cuba Yemen
Democratic Republic of Congo Zimbabwe
IraqNorth Korea

When does my package arrive?

It depends on the mail service that you paid for. You can expect it overnight if you’re paying for Priority Mail Express. Anything less than this, and you can expect 1-3 business days. In the case of Parcel Select, USPS Retail Ground, and Media Mail, you can expect a longer waiting period of 2-8 days.

Certified mail

USPS Briefcase

First, you ought to know what certified mail is. Certified mail is just regular mail but with a simple feature of letting the sender know that the mail has been delivered. The sender receives an electronic verification and mailing receipt to inform them that a delivery attempt has been made.

How can you track certified mail, then? There are three ways specifically to check the delivery progress:

  • Enter the tracking ID you found on your mailing receipt online at
  • You can also check it over the phone with text tracking with the USPS hotline at 1-800-222-1811.

Tracking hasn’t been updated in a week. What should I do?

If your package’s whereabouts haven’t been notified to you in a week, it’s probably gone missing. USPS considers an MIA duration of more than a week to indicate that it is probably lost.

It’s still best to wait one or two days before filing a missing shipment search with USPS. Sometimes delivery is delayed, and the tracking has not been up to date.

USPS clerk uniform shirt

The first thing to note is that track online progress is seen only after 24 to 48 hours. And it will change after a day or two. The progress is only updated once the package reaches a new facility and is scanned as part of a batch.

However, the package is sometimes scanned separately. It makes it prone to being left out of the updating process.

There could also be weather conditions delaying the overall delivery of your package. A snowstorm, slippery roads, or a tree falling on the road. They’re all very human realities of the world can get in between your receiving a package on time. It’s best to wait a week before drawing any conclusions.

Tracking status is not available

The first thing to do here is to check whether your tracking number is correct or not. If you are entering the wrong number, this could lead to a non-availability of status. One of the most likely explanations for this is if the shipping vendor has not received or collected the package information and updated them on their end.

When that happens, you are not able to view where it has reached.

It could also be that it is sitting at customs, and no information is available about it until it enters the country officially.

It says delivered but there’s no package here

When there’s a delivered status at your end but the bell never rung and nothing was handed over, you should thoroughly search your property. Look around the house outside, near the garage and the mailbox. If you still don’t find anything, it is worth asking a neighbor if they have seen anything on their property.

If you still don’t find anything, you should bring this to the attention of your local post office or file a missing package search online.

Delivery attempted – no access to the delivery location.

Usps Sun Hat

It is the USPS way of apologizing to you for not being able to deliver your package. The delivery personnel attempted to make a delivery and several obstacles prevented them from doing so. In this case, perhaps the residence was not readily available, or the address was not found even after considerable efforts.

Size restrictions for International orders

ServiceMaximum Weight
Priority Mail International70 lbs
Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelope4 lbs
Priority Mail International Small Flat Rate Box4 lbs
Priority Mail International Medium Flat Rate Box 20 lbs
Priority Mail International Large Flat Rate Box 24 oz
First Class Package International Service 20 lbs
Express Mail International 70 lbs

Here are the restricted items in all types of USPS shipping

  • Air bags
  • Ammunition
  • Explosives
  • Gasoline
  • Marijuana (medical or otherwise)

What can you do if you haven’t received your package?

Maybe you have a ‘delivered’ status but no package has been received. You can send an email to the local postal office and ask for a follow-up of the situation. They should get in touch and inform you of the situation within 2-3 days.

If there was an unsuccessful delivery, you could also reschedule a delivery. Another option is to go to the nearest postal office and pick up your item. You should carry a valid photo ID at this time to indicate that the package is indeed yours.

If a no-access status has occurred, it could be due to several reasons. One of these reasons could be that the delivery personnel shift ended and had to return to the facility. It could also be a non-delivery day like a Sunday. In this case, the next business day will be the final delivery day for your package.

If you haven’t received what you were expecting 7 days after the expected delivery date, then it’s time to file an official complaint.

Mail types

Usps sweater cardigan

There are many packages and mails that USPS is responsible for delivering. They are all classified below:

Priority mail express

The best kind of mail there is. It’s the fastest that USPS offers and ensures your package reaches you in 1-2 days. You’ll even be getting an insurance cover of $100.

Additional benefits include that this mail can reach destinations throughout the year regardless of Sundays and holiday seasons. Of course, it is at an additional cost.

The price of this type of mail is the highest. It depends upon the weight and the distance it ought to travel.

Using this mail for your business will ensure that you have a competitive advantage over other businesses in the market. But it will also eat into your profit margin.

Priority Mail

This is not as fast as Priority Mail Express but has the advantage of not being as costly. You can expect the shipment within a reasonable time frame.

Your shipping cost is decided by the number of zones it must cross. The country is divided into various shipping zones, Zone 1 is closest to you, and Zone 7 is farther away. Naturally, shipping to zone 8 will be more expensive than shipping to zone 3.

Because of this, the cost is also lower. With the Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes, you can pay one price for anything that fits into the box regardless of the weight (up to 70lbs). You can find the tubes, boxes, and envelopes at your nearest local post office for free.

Marketing Mail

If you’ve got a new business to promote or just an old one to branch out, you can consider this type. Marketing mail is for those looking to send flyers, pamphlets, and brochures about the business.

Why not just use regular mail for this purpose? Because here you’ll get bulk prices. A minimum amount of 50 lbs or 200 pieces is compulsory.

First Class mail

You can expect this type to be reasonably quick and cost-effective. If you’re sending something not too heavy, it’s just $0.55 for an envelope regardless of how far you send it.

You can get additional services for a small fee, like certified mail. It sends the sender a mail receipt when the package is delivered.

It’s also the easiest to mail since you need to put a stamp on it and drop it in your nearest mailbox or post office. You won’t spend extra time writing out mail permits and presorting the mail.

Special Periodicals

If you’ve got a periodical or newspaper business at hand, this is the one for you. This service is especially for those with a newspaper business that needs distribution.

USPS Retail Ground

This category is least used for normal eCommerce businesses. It is mostly used for Bound matter, media, and library mail. It is the best option for those not looking for First Class Mail benefits like tracking, speedy delivery, etc.


Take note of these restricted items by USPS that cannot be shipped at all:

  • Intoxicating liquors
  • Knives and sharp items
  • Firearms
  • Unsolicited promotional samples
  • Controlled substances and drugs
  • Building constructional material
  • Animal-fighting ventures
  • Liquids, powder and odor producing materials
  • Cigarettes and smokeless tobacco

Why you can trust us?

That feeling when a parcel is in transit and you’re waiting for it every day. Well, we have been through it too, and millions of other people as well. But when we don’t receive that package on time, my friend, that feeling is awful. That is why we have worked on this problem in and out. You can trust us with the solutions provided above because we have talked to the hundreds of people who faced this problem, and what approach they took. And of course, we also consulted some officials at USPS to find out what can be the possible reasons.

Factors to consider


When a package gets shipped, there is a certain amount of time that it takes for tracking details to get updated. Make sure you provide enough time for that. Often, USPS tracking is not updating or available because it might be taking more time than required. So just wait for a while before you go ahead with other solutions.

Items Shipped

Sometimes the items shipped in a package contain prohibited items like Intoxicating liquors, controlled substances and drugs, and animal-fighting ventures. Do consider this factor if USPS tracking is not updating or available.

Tracking number

Imagine trying to reach a place with the wrong address. You can try your entire life but you will never find it because it was never the right address. well, that can happen to the tracking number as well. You might be looking for your parcel but with the wrong tracking number. Always check your tracking number thrice before tracking the parcel.

Human tendency

We’re all humans. We all make mistakes. There are times when the package is moving but the delivery personnel is in so much hurry that he/she forgets to update the tracking details. So leave some room for that as well when USPS tracking is not updating or available.

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