Can You Pick Up a Package From USPS? (Early, Distribution Center, Without ID + More)

Technology has made it possible for us to customize everything, from the laces on our shoes to the way we have our groceries delivered.

The United States Postal Service may seem like a rigid organization, but actually, it has evolved into the 21st century and offers a wide array of flexible options for customers.

But do any of those flexible options allow you to pick up a package from USPS? Here’s the answer you’re seeking.

Can You Pick Up a Package From USPS?

You can pick up a package from the United States Postal Service Post Office location that processes and delivers your mail, provided the parcel qualifies for Delivery Instructions. Customers can instruct USPS to hold their package for free or for a small fee, depending on the Post Office’s location.

To learn more about how Delivery Instructions pick-up works, what you need to bring with you to get your package, how long USPS will hold your package, and whether you can pick it up from a distribution center, find all the details below!

How Does Hold For Pickup Work at USPS?     

If you have a package coming to you and you would prefer to pick it up from the Post Office rather than have it delivered to your residence, then you can use Delivery Instructions.

This service via is totally free (although there are some other add-on services you can choose that do come with a fee), and it’s easy to use.

Before Using USPS Delivery Instructions For Pick Up

A quick note before you get started, though: If you want the Post Office to hold your package for pick up, you must initiate and confirm the action before it is Out for Delivery.

If the package is already Out for Delivery, it’s too late to make any changes.

(If your concern is the package’s safety/security, you can leave a note in, or fold on, your mailbox to the carrier and request that they put the package somewhere safer. They don’t have to do it, but most carriers are happy to accommodate.)

You will need to create an account on USPS first if you don’t have one already. Sign in, and track your package using USPS Tracking.

Using USPS Delivery Instructions For Pick-Up

Once you are on your package’s tracking page, look to the right on the page. You should see a header that reads “Available Actions.”

Underneath, if your package is eligible for Delivery Instructions, it will be listed there.

You can click on it, and the drop-down will open. It will ask you to verify the address where the package is heading.

Once you have done that, you will receive a multiple-choice menu asking you to pick which action you would like USPS to take.

Choose “Hold it at a Post Office” and then enter your zip code so that USPS can find your pick-up Post Office. Click on that and hit continue.

I mentioned earlier that some Pickup requests are free, and some come with a small fee. If your Post Office’s zip code is the same as your residence’s, it is free.

However, if the zip codes are not the same, the Pickup service will incur a small fee that varies based on location.

You will review your “order” and then click “Add to Cart.”

Even if you did not incur a fee, you will go through a check-out but be charged zero dollars. You click on “Place My Order” and receive a confirmation.

Picking Up a Package From Post Office

To pick up your package, check the tracking to ensure that the item has reached its final destination hub and is ready for you to come get it.

Bring your ID and the confirmation email (just in case) when you go so that the postal worker can verify who you are.

What Do You Need To Pick Up a Package at USPS?

What Do You Need To Pick Up A Package At USPS?

Most sources I have found say you only need your ID to pick up your parcel from the Post Office.

If it were me, however, I would also make sure I have the confirmation email on my phone in case they need tracking information or anything like that.

Can You Pick Up a Package From USPS Without ID?

You cannot pick up a package from USPS without your identification card.

How would you like it if anyone could swan in, claim to be you, and walk out with your package?

For the safety of you and all of their customers, USPS requires an ID match for package pick-up. If you forgot it, you’ll just have to go back and grab it.

Can You Pick Up a Package From USPS Early/Before Delivery?

Provided you have a confirmed package pick-up at the Post Office, you should be able to go retrieve your parcel as soon as it has gone through final processing.

As this tends to happen very early in the morning, and most Post Office locations open between 8 and 9 a.m., you should be able to get it well before it would normally be delivered.

Can You Pick Up a Package From USPS Distribution Centers?

To pick up a package from a USPS distribution center (i.e., not the package’s final destination), you can use a service called Package Intercept.

This service reroutes the package – even after it has been delivered. But it can also be used to hold a package somewhere and allow you to go pick it up.

Since you can hold it before it reaches its final destination, you can generally get it a day or two earlier than normal.

However, Package Intercept is not free. It costs $15.25 per piece (and it’s available for domestic mailings only).

That means if you want to intercept three pieces, you’re paying $15.25 x 3.

However, you aren’t charged right away; USPS waits to see if your package can be intercepted. If it can’t, you won’t get dinged for the money. If it can, your card will receive the charge.

As with Delivery Instructions, Package Intercept can only be initiated before the package reaches its final sorting facility.

But unlike Delivery Instructions, Package Intercept can be used after the parcel has been delivered to its original destination and then sent on to a different location.

How Long Will USPS Hold a Package?

According to the DumbLittleMan blog, USPS holds packages that can’t be delivered for 15 days. I would imagine it’s about the same time frame for pick-ups that you have initiated.

So you have a little over two weeks to get down to the Post Office and collect your parcel.

You might be wondering what happens if you don’t come get your package. After waiting a while, your Post Office may try to send it back to the sender.

However, if there is an issue with the sender and it comes back to the Post Office, it’s likely it will end up in a “lost mail department.”

That sounds foreboding. Don’t let it happen to your package – you initiated the pick-up, so go get it!

To know more about USPS services, you can also see our posts on whether or not USPS leaves packages in the rain, if USPS delivers to the door, and if USPS updates tracking.

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of

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