Do you have a package that you urgently need, and want to know if you can simply pick it up yourself?
Whether you won’t be home to receive it or you simply want to get your package as quickly as possible, it may be worth going to the post office to pick it up yourself.
But does USPS allow this, and if so, what is needed in order to pick it up yourself?
In this article, we’ll cover everything that you need to know!
Can You Pick Up A Package From USPS Before Delivery?
Yes! USPS allows you to pick up packages that have yet to be delivered, as long as they have reached the local post office in which you intend to pick it up from.
However, certain options may cause an additional fee, and are not always guaranteed to work.
Therefore, let’s look over each option in detail so you can determine which one is right for you!
1. Package Hold
The easiest way to make sure you can pick up your package at the post office is to specifically request that it be held there.
This is referred to as a ‘package hold’ or a ‘USPS hold request’ and is quite simple to carry out.
Note that a USPS Hold Mail request will hold all mail at your local post office, where as a package hold will only hold that individual package.
Once a package hold or hold request has been placed, USPS will hold onto it for up to 30 days. If held mail is not picked up, it will be returned to the original sender.
So, how do you request a package hold? There are a few ways.
Fill Out The Form Online
The easiest way to request that a specific package be held at your post office, is to fill out this form on USPS’ website.
When you go to fill out the form, USPS will ask you some details about the package and your plan to pick it up, such as which post office you want to pick it up from.
During this time, it helps to have information related to the package on hand, such as the tracking number and original address it was being mailed to.
Using this form, you can also request things such as signature confirmation for the package.
Mark ‘Hold For Pickup’ On The Shipping Label
If you’re the one shipping rather than receiving the package, you can also write ‘Hold For Pickup’ on the shipping label in order to have USPS hold it automatically.
In fact, you can even buy hold for pickup labels online in order to save yourself time!
Note however that these labels must be applied before the package is originally dropped off at the sender’s post office. Once it is in transit, you will need to use one of the other options.
Call Your Local Post Office / USPS To Request It
Finally, you can always call your local post office – or USPS themselves, to request that the package be held.
They will be able to help walk you through the entire process.
This can take a bit longer than simply filling out the online form, but it is one way to ensure everything gets done properly.
2. Package Intercept
The next option available to you is called package intercept.
Package intercept is available for most domestic packages, and can allow you to reroute the package to a completely different address – or even a different city!
This makes it a great option if you are traveling for example, and need the package to be sent somewhere else after it’s already been mailed out. However, it can also be used to allow you to pick up the package yourself at whatever post office is nearby.
Note however that intercepting a package is quite expensive – $15.95 at the time of writing, so it should only be done if you really need the package (or it was mailed to the wrong address.)
Package intercepts can either be picked up at your local post office, the new address you request it be rerouted to, or even a USPS distribution center. So, if you absolutely need the package as fast as possible, this may be the ideal way to do it.
To begin the package intercept process, begin filling out USPS’ form online by clicking here.
Note that you will need your tracking number for the package on-hand, which will be used to determine whether or not the package is eligible to be intercepted.
Then, follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process. If your package is successfully intercepted, USPS will let you know. Unfortunately however, because the United States Postal System is so complex (and so much of it is automated), intercepting a package is not always possible.
To learn more about how USPS actually works, watch the video below. It’s actually quite interesting!
3. Show Up At The Post Office Early
Finally, your last option is to simply show up at the post office early, and hope that it is still there.
This method is unreliable, but we’ve heard reports of it working for other people.
We recommend showing up as early as possible after the post office has opened. This is because you will need to retrieve your package after the post office has opened, but before its been loaded onto any of the USPS mail trucks.
Once the package has been loaded for delivery, there’s usually nothing that can be done – they will attempt to deliver it to your address, even if you tell the postal clerk that you won’t be there to receive it.
If that happens, USPS will attempt to redeliver in accordance with their policies. However, you may be able to request that it be held to be picked up the following day.
Can You Pick Up Packages That Were Missed On The Same Day
We’ve now covered several different ways you can pick up a package before delivery is attempted.
But what if USPS already tried delivering the package to your house, and you weren’t there to sign for it? (Or USPS gave you an error such as No Access To Delivery Location, Addressee Unknown, or Package Available For Pickup.)
Can you go back to the post office and pick it up the same day?
Unfortunately, unless you’re exceptionally lucky the answer is no.
You would have to arrive at the post office after the mail truck has already returned with your package, but before your local post office branch has closed.
Once your post office is closed, the mail is locked away and nobody is able to access it. The only exception is if it was delivered to a P.O box inside the post office.
Note that depending on the message that tracking shows, USPS will often try to redeliver the next day. However, you can also pick up the package at the post office yourself by following one of the methods mentioned above.
Fortunately, picking up a package before it is delivered is quite easy, and USPS gives you a lot of options when it comes to holding packages.
That being said, some of them cost money, where others aren’t guaranteed to work. By fully understanding how each option works, you can give yourself the best chances of picking it up for the lowest possible price.
I hope that you’ve found this article helpful. If you have any other questions about USPS, please ask them using the comment form below.
Wishing you the best,
– James McAllister