What Does Forwarded Mean USPS? + Other Common FAQs

Part of the thrill of moving is starting to receive mail at your new address. If you have moved recently, your letter mail might still be split between your old and new residences.

But if you track a package with the United States Postal Service, you might notice the Tracking results say “Forwarded.” So, what does forwarded mean with USPS? I’ve got the answer you seek.

What Does “Forwarded” Mean at USPS?

“Forwarded” commonly signifies that a customer has recently changed their address with the United States Postal Service, and USPS has rerouted mail from their old address to the new one. But it can also mean that the wrong zip code was listed on the label. USPS caught the mistake and is forwarding the package to you.

To learn more about what Forwarded means, how long it takes for the action to occur, how you know where your package is headed and other common FAQs, find all the details below!

What Does USPS Mean When It Says Forwarded?

After A Change Of Address

When people move, whether it’s across the country or merely across town, one of the most important steps is to change their address with the Postal Service.

This should be done a few weeks in advance so that the flow of mail is largely uninterrupted.

As a courtesy, the Postal Service will then forward mail for the span of a year, giving the newly moved ample opportunity to update their address with all the necessary parties.

After all, we’re human; I have certainly accidentally chosen the wrong saved address for a shipment and then hit “Place Order” before I knew what I had done.

The beauty of USPS’s mail forwarding after a move is that even if you make a flub like this, the Postal Service has got your back.

They’re going to do everything in their power to get the package that’s labeled to your old address delivered to your new one.

The Wrong Zip Code

The other most common cause of forwarded mail by the USPS is when the sender accidentally puts the wrong zip code on the package.

Just a single digit wrong can signify an entirely different location than the intended one, especially since packages are mostly scanned by machines.

Until human intervention comes around and realizes the mistake, the machines scan and sort as they were built to do.

And this human intervention might not occur until the very end of the delivery phase – in fact, when the parcel is in the delivering mail carrier’s hands and they realize the mistake.

At this point, they will mark the parcel “Forwarded,” and it will begin its journey to you.

Will You Still Get Your USPS Package If It Was Forwarded?

Indeed, the point of USPS Forwarding is to get your package to you at the correct address.

You’re just going to have to be patient because, depending on how far removed you are from the incorrect address, it could take at least a few days.

You should be able to continue tracking it, however, as it will continue to be scanned and sorted.

How Long Does It Take a USPS Forwarded Package To Arrive?

How Long Does It Take A USPS Forwarded Package To Arrive?

The time it takes for a newly forwarded USPS package to arrive depends on how far it has yet to go.

For example, if you simply moved to a different street in the same city, you can likely expect the package to arrive within a few days.

However, if it was a zip code error, like a seven that looks like a one, your package could have ended up in a different state entirely.

That will take a bit more time to sort out (someone on the USPS side has to figure out the actual, intended address before it goes any further).

Thus, it might take more than a few days extra – it could take a few weeks.

Another thing to factor in is if the incorrect address is still a valid address and it gets delivered to the new resident.

If they bring it inside and delay taking it to the Post Office for forwarding, that could add significant time to your wait.

How Do You Know If Your USPS Package Was Forwarded?

The only way to know for sure if your USPS package was forwarded is to check USPS.com Tracking online.

You can access this from the USPS.com landing page; simply click on the magnifying glass icon in the upper right corner and copy/paste your tracking number.

This will take you to your tracking info. If it says “Forwarded,” then you’re in luck: USPS is in possession of your parcel and is working to get it to you.

How Do You Know Where Your USPS Package Was Forwarded To?

USPS Tracking does not give the full address of the package’s destination, but they do include the city, state, and zip code.

When the parcel is on its way to the new destination, the information will be updated. If you stayed in the same city, the same zip code even, it will be identical.

If your address is in a different zip code, city, or state, then the updated destination will reflect that. Look carefully, especially if it’s just a difference in zip code.

Why Did USPS Forward Package When You Haven’t Changed Address?

There are a few reasons why USPS might have forwarded your package when you haven’t moved and submitted a change of address.

The most common reason is that the sender mislabeled the package with the wrong address – likely a slip of the finger when doing the zip code.

When this is brought to the Postal Service’s attention, they will reroute the parcel with the correct address (creating a new label for it) and ship it out to you.

Another reason is if you share a residence – roommates or family members, etc. – and one of them moves out.

They could accidentally submit a change of address for you, causing your mail to get forwarded.

If you find your parcels being forwarded for no reason to an address you don’t recognize, ask any newly moved roomies or family members if they could double-check on your behalf.

To learn more about USPS, you can also read our posts on whether or not USPS forwards IRS, if USPS first class has insurance, and what is USPS dead mail.

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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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