USPS Mail Cut-Off Time (What It Is + Other FAQs)

Whether you’re sending a last-minute gift or some important tax forms, knowing USPS’ mail collection cut-off times will ensure that your package gets to its destination on time.

So, in this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about USPS’ mail cut-off times, including what happens if you miss them. So, if you’re ready to learn more, keep reading!

What Is USPS’ Mail Cut-Off Time In 2022?

USPS’ Mail cut-off time is usually between 5:30 and 5:45 PM in 2022. Most post offices close at 6:00 PM, therefore having an earlier cut-off time gives postal workers the time to sort, scan, and load mail onto outgoing delivery trucks. Still, some locations may have earlier cut-off times, so check with your local post office.

If you’re looking for more details about USPS’ mail cut-off times, then be sure to check out this guide for more useful information!

What Is the Cut-Off Time for USPS?

“Cut-off time” is like a deadline, and for USPS, this time is usually between 5:30 and 5:45 PM.

Mail goes out when the post office closes (most close at 6:00 PM), but we advise getting there early, just in case you have paperwork to fill out, or there’s a long line.

Even though 5:30 to 5:45 PM is a good rule of thumb, it’s worth checking the hours at your local post office to make sure you get there before closing time.

Similarly, you should check the cut-off time for USPS’ overnight service (Priority Mail Express).  Sometimes this service’s cut-off time differs from that of the post office.

What Is the Latest Collection Time at a Post Office?

USPS states that collections are made within approximately 30 minutes of the posted collection time.

This time will vary depending on the location, so you should check your post office to know the exact times.

It’s also worth noting that occasional transportation issues like bad weather or heavy traffic may result in a later collection time.

When it comes to 24-hour postal locations, any piece of mail that’s dropped off before the last pick up time listed will be postmarked with the date it was dropped off.

In the same way, a piece of mail deposited in a Collection Box before the last pick up time will be collected and postmarked the same day.

What Time Do I Need to Send a Package for Next Day Delivery Through USPS?

What Time Do I Need to Send a Package for Next Day Delivery Through USPS?

If you’re using USPS’ next-day delivery service (Priority Mail Express), you need to drop it off at the post office before the last outgoing mail truck leaves (usually around 6 PM).

Some post offices will set the Priority Mail Express cut-off time at 5:45 to make sure it gets out on departing trucks.

This is essential for Priority Mail Express packages, because it’s a guaranteed service. As such, USPS guarantees that the mail will arrive in 1 to 2 days, or your money back.

Therefore, the earlier cut-off time is essential, because it gives post office employees enough time to sort, scan, and get the mail on the trucks.

It’s also worth noting that, even if a post office closes later than 6 PM, the Priority Mail Express cut-off time could be earlier.

In fact, the cut-off time for a package could be as early as 3 PM, depending on how far it needs to travel.

A good rule of thumb is to get your Priority Mail Express packages to the post office as early as possible. This will save you (and the USPS employees) a lot of stress and hassle.

How Is the USPS Overnight Cut-Off Time Decided?

USPS’ cut-off times are determined by its transportation schedules and delivery commitments.

These times are also based on how far the receiving post office is from a mail processing center and an airport.

In other words, if you live in a rural area, your post office’s cut-off time might be a lot earlier than an urban post office’s cut-off time.

Mail coming from rural areas has a lot longer to travel in order to reach a place where the mail can be scanned and expedited via airplane.

What Happens If I Miss the Cut-Off Time at USPS?

Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do if you miss the cut-off time.

Depending on how late you arrive, the mail has already been scanned, sorted, and loaded onto trucks for the next day’s delivery.

If you arrive at the post office, and a worker is still there, they may agree to take your package and send it by overnight delivery. 

Even if that’s the case, it will go out in the next day’s mail (which may defeat the purpose, depending on how urgent your package is).

If you happen to miss the cut-off time on a Saturday, your package won’t get sent out until Monday.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on UPS Surepost vs USPS Priority, USPS mail forwarding extension, and what day does USPS deliver.

Conclusion

At most post offices, the cut-off time for mail drop off is between 5:30 and 5:45 PM. This gives postal service employees enough time to process the packages and get them onto outgoing delivery trucks on time.

That being said, if your package is particularly urgent or you live in a rural area, we recommend checking with your local post office to verify its mail cut-off times so you don’t miss the window.

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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 QuerySprout.com.

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