Will your USPS packages arrive by Christmas? Here’s how to find out


Vacation packages are always a delight … when they arrive on time.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Concerns about US Postal Service Slowdowns take on extra dimensions of fear during the holiday season. Will your packages arrive in time for Christmas? Don’t worry, a few simple tools can take the stress and guesswork out of USPS holiday deliveries.

First, the official holiday shipping times, according to USPS.com. These dates are the recommended shipping dates for delivery scheduled by December 25 to the 48 contiguous states.

  • Priority mail: December 18
  • Priority express mail: December 23

That means Saturday is your last chance to send Priority Mail packages, and then Thursday 23 December is the last day to send them Express.

If you’re shipping to Alaska, Hawaii, military bases, or overseas, scroll through the Holiday Shipping Time FAQs on USPS.com to find the relevant deadlines. (The last day for Priority Mail to Hawaii was December 17; the last day for Express is December 21. The last day for Priority Mail to Alaska is December 18; the last day for Express is December 21.)

Once you’ve posted your packages, you can monitor their delivery progress using the standard USPS tracking app. Enter up to 35 tracking numbers (typically 20 to 22 digits) from your USPS receipts into the tool to see exactly where each one is located at all times of their delivery.

Also if you are waiting For vacation packages that reach you through the Postal Service, the USPS has a new tracking tool that can help you track them.

Called Informed Delivery, the free USPS service can tell you when to expect your mail and even send you a picture of the front of the letters so you know what’s coming up – say, if you’re looking for your next child tax credit payment

Informed Delivery does not take photos of your inbound packages, but tracks them and also allows you to add an electronic signature to receive packages when you are away from home.

Read on to learn how to set up and use USPS Informed Delivery. To learn more about USPS, get details at postal service delivery times, temporary price increases for parcel delivery, and how tell the USPS you’ve moved.

USPS Informed Delivery: Track letters straight to your mailbox

Informed Delivery is a free mail tracking service from the USPS that automatically scans your incoming letters and can send you an image whenever something with your name is about to be delivered.

When the USPS runs mail through its automated sorting equipment, it creates a digital image of the front of all letter-size mail. Anyone who signs up for informed delivery can benefit from this information by asking USPS to notify you when every mail with your name is on its way. Note that it may take three days to activate your account.

As part of the program, you will receive an email every morning, Monday through Saturday, to notify you of mail delivery. You will also see a grayscale image of the front of the letter. Informed Delivery also offers free apps for Android and iOS.

Just know that signing up means you’ll see all mail scanned by post. You can cancel the service at any time. Read on to find out how to sign up for informed delivery.

Also track your packages from the post office

With Informed Delivery, you can check the delivery status of your packages and the expected arrival date. However, the post office does not capture an image of your package. You can use the service to create an electronic signature so that you can receive packages when you are away from home.

USPS Informed Delivery: How to Register

Informed delivery has certain limitations. For example, it will work with many residential and personal PO Box addresses, but not with businesses. It will also not work for some residential buildings where USPS has not yet identified each unit.

To check if informed delivery is available in your area, go to the Postal Service Informed Delivery page.

1. Faucet Free registration.

2. Enter your mailing address and confirm that it will work with the service; then accept the terms and conditions and press Carry on.

3. On the next page, choose a username, password, and security questions. Enter your details and press Carry on.

4. On the next page, you will need to verify your identity. Faucet Verify Identity Online if you want to receive a verification code on your phone or press Request the invitation code by email if you want the USPS to mail you a code. You may also have the option of visiting a post office to verify your identity in person.

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