Can I Pick Up My USPS Package Before Delivery? Your Questions Answered!

Discover if you can pick up a USPS package early

This article was co-authored by wikiHow staff writer, Bailey Cho. Bailey Cho is an Editing Fellow at wikiHow, based in Dallas, TX. She has over 2 years of editorial experience, with work published in student journals and lifestyle publications. Bailey graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.A. in Advertising and a Minor in Business.

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You might be wondering if it’s possible to pick up a package from USPS before it goes out for delivery, and if so, how can you get your hands on it? Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee you can intercept your package 100% of the time, but there are a few ways you might be able to secure it before the estimated delivery date. In this article, we’ll explain whether you can pick up your package before it’s out for delivery, including tips for how to update your delivery instructions.

  • Pick up a package from USPS before it’s delivered by requesting a Hold for Pickup or Package Intercept on USPS.com.
  • Once you log in to your USPS account, enter the tracking number of your package, then hit “Delivery Instructions” underneath “Available Actions” on the following page.
  • Select the “Hold it at a Post Office” option to have your package held at the post office for early pickup.
  1. Image titled Get a Guy to Notice You on Social Media Step 1

    Log in to your USPS account and input your tracking information. On the official website (USPS.com), click on the “Register / Sign In” button in the upper right corner of the screen. Fill out your username and password to log into your account, then enter your 20-22 digit tracking number on the following page.[3]

    • If you don’t have a USPS account, click on the “Sign Up Now” button after you select “Register / Sign In.” Create a username and password, then answer 2 security questions to make your free account.
    • Locate your tracking number by checking your email for a shipment confirmation from an online retailer or looking at your post office shipping receipt.
  2. Select the “Delivery Instructions” link under “Available Actions.” Read and agree to the Terms and Conditions, then hit “Continue” to start a Delivery Instructions request to hold a package. If your package isn’t eligible, the “Delivery Instructions” option will not show up under “Available Actions.” The following packages are not eligible for any changes in delivery instructions:[4]

    • Packages that are insured for $500 or more
    • International items
    • Mail that is out for delivery, or already delivered
    • Military address destinations
    • Requiring a delivery signature
    • Active Collect on Delivery (COD) service
    • Address with an active Hold Mail request
    • Address with an active Hold for Pickup request (by the sender)
    • Address has a Temporary Forwarding service
  3. Enter the delivery address for your package, then click “Continue.” If your address is authorized and accepts Delivery Instructions, the system will notify you with the text, “Your address is authorized!” Then, a list of options will appear underneath that text, including “Hold it at a Post Office.”[5]

    • If you enter an address that USPS doesn’t recognize, you will receive an error message. If this occurs, try a variation of your address, such as spelling out “North” instead of “N.” Or, add “plus-4 codes” to your zip code, such as “33647-1004” instead of “33647.”
    • Some addresses do not accept Delivery Instructions, which means you cannot request a Hold for Pickup online. If you keep receiving an error message, call USPS customer service at 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777), or visit your local post office for further assistance.
  4. Click “Hold it at a Post Office” and enter your zip code. Under the “What should we do with your package?” prompt, scroll to the last option to hit “Hold it at a Post Office.” From there, input the zip code of the post office that you would like your package to be held at, then press “Search.” Select the specific post office you wish, then click “Continue” to confirm your selection.[6]

    • If you choose a post office other than your own, there is a $17 fee (plus any applicable postage) to change the delivery address.[7]
      However, holding a package at your local post office doesn’t come with a fee.
  5. Hit “Add to Cart” to continue submitting your request. Underneath “Delivery Instructions,” review the information to make sure the address of the post office is correct. Then, click “Add to Cart” to move forward.[8]

    • If the information is incorrect, hit the “Change Options” button before “Add to Cart” to update the address and Delivery Instructions.
  6. Review your Delivery Instructions request, then hit “Place My Order.” Double check your contact information, package number, and post office address before finalizing your request. An order summary will appear on the next page to confirm that your request has been submitted successfully, and you should receive a confirmation email outlining your changes.[9]

    • Keep in mind that once you submit a Delivery Request, it is final.
    • Wait until you see an order summary before refreshing your webpage. If you do not see an order summary or you do not receive a confirmation email, call USPS customer service at 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777) for help.
  7. Pick up your package at the post office within 15 days of delivery. Once you update the Delivery Instructions for your package, you will receive an email when it has arrived at the post office. Bring ID that matches the name on your package when you pick it up, and be sure to grab it within 15 days (before it’s returned to the sender).[10]

    • Approved IDs include: government-issued IDs, passports, Matricula Consular (Mexico), NEXUS (Canada), a lease or mortgage, voter or vehicle registration cards, or home or vehicle insurance policies.[11]
    • Check the tracking number of your package regularly in case you don’t receive a notification that it has arrived at the post office.
  1. Image titled Ship a Package at the Post Office Step 11

    Find out if your package is eligible for intercept. Before attempting to change the delivery address for your package, look at the eligibility requirements for Package Intercept. Domestic USPS packages that include a tracking number and haven’t been sent out for delivery are usually eligible. However, the following packages are not available for intercept:[12]

    • International packages (sent in or out of the country)
    • Packages larger than 108 inches in length and girth (combined)
    • USPS Marketing Mail products and periodicals
    • Items addressed to a Commercial Mailing Receiving Agency
    • Items redirected to a PO Box
    • Non-mailable items, items with surface-only transportation markings (such as Label 127, Surface Mail Only), or items with hazardous materials markings (Consumer Commodity ORM-D)
  2. Check the status of your package 1-2 days before the delivery date. Look up your tracking number to find out where your package is currently located. If your package is already out for delivery or it’s not being handled by USPS prior to delivery (i.e. it’s been handed over to a third-party carrier), it might not be possible to intercept the package to another facility or address. If your package hasn’t arrived at your local post office yet, continue with the following steps to request a Package Intercept.

    • Similarly, if your package is listed as “in transit,” it could already be out for delivery or it might be sitting at your local post office.
    • Find your tracking number by checking your email for a shipment confirmation or looking at your post office shipping receipt.
    • If your package has been held up at a distribution center for several days, call USPS customer service at 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777) to see if you can pick up the package at that location—if it’s nearby.
  3. Log in to your USPS account and input your tracking information. On the homepage of the USPS website (USPS.com), click on the “Register / Sign In” button in the upper righthand corner. Fill out your username and password to log into your account, then enter your 20-22 digit tracking number on the following page.[13]

    • If you don’t have a USPS account, click on the “Sign Up Now” button after you select “Register / Sign In.” Choose a username and password, then answer 2 security questions to create your free account.
  4. Hit the “Delivery Instructions” button underneath “Available Actions.” Once you click “Delivery Instructions,” enter the original delivery address of your package. If your address is authorized and accepts Delivery Instructions online, the system will notify you with the text, “Your address is authorized!” Then, a list of options will appear underneath that text, including “Send it to a different domestic address (extra charge)” and “Hold it at a Post Office.”[14]

    • If your package isn’t eligible for an intercept request online, the “Delivery Instructions” option will not show up under “Available Actions.” If this happens, call USPS customer service at 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777) for additional help.
  5. Select the appropriate option to reroute your package. To redirect your package for pickup at another post office, hit “Hold it at the Post Office” and type in the zip code for the new post office location. Scroll through the available post office locations, then select the one you want your package to be held at.[15]

    • If you wish to redirect your package to another domestic address, click “Send it to a different domestic address (extra charge)” and type in the new address.
  6. Hit “Add to cart,” then “Checkout” to enter your billing information. Redirecting your package to a new location—domestic address or post office—will cost $17 (plus any applicable postage). After you hit “Add to cart,” your order will be placed in a shopping cart, and the total amount will show up on your screen. Hit “Checkout” to input your billing information, including your full name, billing address, and credit card number.[16]

    • Keep in mind that Package Intercept is not guaranteed, and you will not be charged if your package isn’t intercepted.
    • If your shipment is intercepted, your card will be charged the $17 fee, plus any applicable postage. If the actual postage is greater than estimated, additional postage will be charged.
  7. Review your Delivery Instructions request, then hit “Place My Order.” Double check your contact information, package number, and updated delivery address before finalizing your request. Then, check the authorization box at the bottom of the page to allow USPS to charge your card for the transaction. An order summary will appear on the next page to confirm that your request has been submitted successfully, and you should receive a confirmation email outlining the changes you made.[17]

    • Wait until you see an order summary before refreshing your webpage. If you do not see an order summary or you do not receive a confirmation email, call USPS customer service at 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777) for help.
  8. Image titled Ship a Package at the Post Office Step 5

    Pick up your package at the post office within 15 days of delivery. You should receive an email when your package has arrived at the post office. When you go to pick it up, bring identification that matches the name on your package so you can claim it directly, and be sure to pick your package up within 15 days of delivery (otherwise, it will be returned to the sender). [18]

    • Approved IDs include: government-issued IDs, passports, Matricula Consular (Mexico), NEXUS (Canada), a lease or mortgage, voter or vehicle registration cards, or home or vehicle insurance policies.[19]
    • If you don’t receive an email that your package has arrived at the post office, check the tracking number online to check its location.
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