The USPS tracking feature is easily one of the most convenient parts of shipping with USPS, and it comes with a range of notifications to help you understand where your package is.
But what does the “available for pickup” notification mean, and what do you do about it? Here is what I discovered!
What Does “Available For Pickup” Mean at USPS?
The USPS “available for pickup” notification means that your package has been delivered to your local post office but that the post office will not deliver it to your door, and you’ll have to come to pick it up instead. This happens when a delivery attempt has failed, a package is very valuable, or a courier forgets to grab the package.
If you want to save time and effort when dealing with a package available for pickup, keep reading to learn more!
How Long Do I Have To Pick Up My Package?
One of the positive things about moving a package to be available for pickup is that you have complete autonomy over when you want to go and pick up your parcel.
However, it is important to note that the post office won’t hold on to your package forever!
Typically, the post office will hold packages available for pickup for 15 days before returning them to the sender.
Why Does My USPS Tracking Tool Say Available For Pickup?
There are three main reasons a package becomes available for pickup rather than being delivered to your door, which are listed below from most to least common.
The first and most common reason a package is listed as available for pickup is because there was a failed delivery attempt.
Suppose a courier is trying to deliver a package requiring a delivery signature, and you weren’t home or available at the time. In that case, the courier is not allowed to leave the package on the doorstep- instead, they have to take the package back to the post office with them.
Sometimes, there will be multiple delivery attempts made before your package becomes available for pickup, but if it’s during Christmas or another busy season, the post office will move packages to pick up much more quickly.
The second reason a package may be listed as being available for pickup is because whatever your package is, it’s too valuable to be left on the doorstep.
Sometimes, merchants select this option when shipping a package that contains precious metals or stones or when they have a money-back guarantee if you don’t receive your item.
Either way, this is an option selected at the time of shipping that requests that the post office hold the item for pickup to avoid the item being lost or stolen.
The third and the least common (but still possible) reason that your package has been listed as available for pickup is human error.
USPS handles hundreds of millions of pieces of mail a day, and this leaves plenty of room for a few pieces of mail to get forgotten about.
If a courier accidentally forgot your package at the post office on the way out the door to do their route, it’s possible that the post office listed your package as being available for pick-up to prevent bogging down the courier and/or delaying your package any further.
This is especially common during the busy season of Christmas when there are so many packages to deliver that pushing packages off until the following day could do serious damage to the productivity of the courier.
Whatever the reason your package became available for pick up, this option does give you the autonomy to choose when you go and get your package and also keeps it safe from being lost or stolen, so there is a silver lining!
How Do I Pick Up a Package From USPS?
Once your package is listed as available for pick up, the next logical question becomes how you pick it up from the post office and what you need.
For the most part, picking up your package is pretty simple!
Be sure to have a form of identification handy, as well as your tracking number, just in case they want to verify your identity before handing over the package.
Next, visit your local post office and talk to the postal worker or clerk behind the counter and let them know you have a package available for pickup.
They’ll likely ask for your name and ID to help verify your identity before giving you the package, but they may also request additional information, like the tracking number.
To know more about USPS delivery services, you can also read our posts on whether or not you can pick up a package from USPS, whether USPS delivers at night, and whether USPS charges by weight or size.