One of the factors that determine how long it will take for a piece of mail to arrive, is the distance between the sender and the recipient.
As you might imagine, the closer the two are to each other, the quicker mail typically arrives!
Therefore, you may be wondering – how long does it take for mail to arrive in the same state, or even the same city?
In this article, we’ll cover everything that you need to know – including breakdowns for both regular mail / letters, as well as packages.
How Long Does It Take For Mail To Arrive In The State Or City?
Mail will typically arrive within the same state or city in 2 to 3 business days, including both regular mail, Media Mail, and First Class packages.
However, the exact timeline can vary depending on the exact shipping service used.
For example, Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express both can result in delivery in as little as 1 business day, if shipping within the same state or even neighboring states.
However, due to the way regular mail and and First Class packages are handled, it’s rare that these are delivered overnight. Although being in the same state or city can cut down on transit time, there are other steps in the shipping process that are unaffected by the delivery location.
Why Isn’t Mail To The Same State / City Quicker?
To better understand why regular mail isn’t usually delivered overnight (even if the delivery address is a block away from your post office), it helps to understand a little bit more about how the postal system works.
When you ship something with USPS – regardless of whether you use stamps or a shipping label for a package, the sorting isn’t done by your local post office branch.
Instead, the packages and letters are mailed off in bulk to one of USPS’ regional sorting hubs. There are just over 20 of these across the entire country, so not every state has one. Depending on how far away the closest sorting facility is, your package can go quite some distance away from its actual destination. This is why packages often appear to be going farther away during the shipping process – they are being transported to a sorting facility.
It’s only at this sorting facility where mail will get divided up, and routed to where it needs to go. This process ensures everything moves smoothly throughout USPS’ network, and your local post office is equipped to make deliveries in a smooth and effective manner.
So even if you’re shipping within the same city, your post office isn’t going to look at the shipping address and hold onto it. Instead, the mail will be sent to a sorting center regardless, before returning back to your post office for final delivery later.
Because these steps are not avoided regardless of where the mail is going, this block of time cannot be reduced.
You should also keep in mind that even for faster mailing options such as Priority Mail will often be shipped by plane – so the actual process of getting the package across the country can be done in half a day anyway.
How Can I Ensure My Package / Letter Arrives Quickly?
If you want to ensure the fastest possible delivery of your mail, it comes down to the option you select for shipping. This is true even if you are shipping within the same state – paying for Priority Mail or Priority Mail Express will ensure the mail arrives more quickly than First Class, even if you’re shipping to a nearby location.
Of course, because shipping packages to the same state tends to be quicker anyway, you’re getting less of a deal for the increase in price.
That being said, Priority Mail Express is the only shipping service by USPS that provides a guarantee.
For an exact length of delivery timelines, reference the table below. Note that these are the general times listed by USPS regardless of location – packages to the same state will often arrive more quickly.
|Media Mail||2-8 Days|
|USPS Retail Ground||2-8 Days|
|First-Class Package Service||1-3 Days|
|Priority Mail||1-3 Days|
|Priority Mail Express||Next Day - 2 Days, Guaranteed|
Typically, mail within the same state will arrive within 2-3 business days. However, if you purchase Priority Mail or Priority Mail Express, mail can arrive in as little as 1 business day.
While a short distance between the sender and the recipient can save some time, it can still take a few business days because the mail must first be sent to a USPS sorting facility.
I hope that this article has provided some clarification. Of course, if you have any other questions about USPS, please ask them using the comment form below.
Wishing you the best,
– James McAllister