Available For Pickup: Meaning & What To Do Next

The USPS tracking system has proven to be a useful tool for customers. It gives tracking updates on the current status of an expected package.

When checking the status of your package, you might have come across the USPS “available for pickup” update. This update might sometimes be confusing, especially if you expect your package to be delivered to your home.

In this article, I will explain what the USPS “available for pickup” update means and what you should do when you see this update.

What does the USPS “available for pickup” update mean?

The “available for pickup” update simply means that your package is available for you to pick up. Your package is at a post office near you and will not be delivered to your home unless otherwise.

What if it was supposed to be delivered to your house?

As I mentioned earlier, this particular update can be confusing when you expect it to be delivered to your house. Perhaps you even took some days off work to stay in and await the delivery. Below are some reasons for this update:

1. You missed the delivery

The most common reason for this update is when delivery has been attempted but failed. No courier will leave a package at the door if the package has to be signed for first.

Most couriers will attempt another delivery on a different day, while some will simply drop the package at the post office. So, perhaps you missed the delivery attempt; hence, you have to pick it up yourself.

2. Incomplete or insufficient address

An incorrect or insufficient address is another reason you might be seeing this update. At times, the wrong address or apartment number is used on the package label, causing issues for drivers.

If a driver cannot determine the address for a package, it will likely be sent back to the post office.

3. Insufficient postage for that package

On rare occasions, the postage paid for a package does not match the actual amount. When this happens, the recipient must pay the remaining amount on delivery.

If the recipient is not at home at the point of delivery to pay the postage, it is sent back. The recipient will have to come to the post office to clear the postage fee for the package before he or she can collect it.

4. No access to your location

Another possible reason is that the driver had no access to your location. Perhaps there was a road obstruction, a guard dog didn’t allow him/her access to the building, or the address isn’t registered in the USPS database.

The driver will have to send the package back to the post office, and the customer will have to pick the package up personally.

What can you do about this?

If you come across this update, you simply have to do what the update says, as annoying as it may be. That is, you will need to head to a nearby post office and retrieve your package.

You can check the tracking information for the package to know the exact post office where it was sent. Afterward, head down to the post office with the relevant credentials.

The credentials you will need are;

  • A relevant ID card showing your address and a picture of yourself (ideally, your driver’s license)
  • The tracking number for the package
  • The contact details of the sender
  • A previous mail showing your address (optional)

What if you can’t go to the post office?

You still have a few options if you cannot go to the post office.

1. Apply for a redelivery

Although this option is not always available, you can check the tracking update to see if you have the option of redelivery.

If you do, schedule redelivery, but remember you can only use this option once, so ensure you are home this time.

2. Have someone pick it up for you

USPS will not hand a package over to anyone without instructions. You can send a standing delivery order through a customer representative to have a particular person pick up your package.

For them to verify, you must send a signed and written authorization. Along with that, the stated person must also come with a proper means of verification.

What happens if you don’t pick up the package?

Once the “available for pickup” status has been sent to the recipient, he or she has 15 days to pick up the package. If the package is not retrieved, it will be returned to the sender.


What time do you go to the post office?

You can go to the post office anytime after seeing this update. Simply head to the post office during their working hours and retrieve your package.

Can someone else pick up a package on your behalf?

Only if you authorize such a person to.

How long is a package available for pickup?

A package is available for pickup for 15 days, after which, it will be returned to the sender.


The USPS available for pickup message means your package is ready for pickup at the post office. This is usually a post office nearest to the recipient, do well to confirm on the tracking page before going down there.

You still have a few options if you cannot pick up the package. You can schedule redelivery if you have the option, or have someone else pick it up.

Whichever the case is, ensure you do this as soon as possible. This is because your package will only be available for pickup for 15 days before it is sent back.

I hope you found this article helpful. If you did, you should also see what UPS left at dock means.

Thanks for reading.