How To Send A Letter With Tracking: Procedure, Cost & Tracking Options

To send a letter with tracking, you need a tracking number. This number allows you to get updates about the status of your mail as soon as it is shipped until it gets to its final destination.

In other words, tracking makes it possible to know if your mail is still in transit, out of delivery, delivered, or delivery has been attempted. While the method for sending a letter is similar for most shipping companies, their tracking number differs.

This guide explains how to send a letter with tracking, cost, and how to locate package’s tracking numbers. You will also discover what USPS tracking numbers look like and how to track letters online and offline.

How to Send a Letter with Tracking 


Sending a letter or parcel with tracking follows a similar process for most shipping companies. Below are the general steps you need to take if you are shipping via USPS, UPS, FedEx, DHL,  Royal Mail, and other couriers: 

  • Visit the nearest courier station or their website to fill out your shipping details. 
  • These details will determine the shipping cost and help you print out a shipping label with the tracking number for your package
  • Attach this label to your package and drop it off at the facility or schedule a pickup.

What is the Cheapest Way to Send a Letter with Tracking?

USPS First Class Mail is the cheapest option for sending lightweight letters, postcards, and parcels with tracking. You only need to pay the shipping cost for your letter and tracking will be integrated.

This is also how it works for most couriers. Generally, how much you pay for shipping a package that features tracking depends on the size, shipping option, and courier choice.

How to Locate Letter or Parcel Tracking Numbers

The tracking number for a shipment can be found on the shipping label or receipt, the email confirmation from the carrier, or the online retailer.

This number primarily depends on the carrier in charge of sending the package or mail. For instance, USPS priority mail, certified mail, and first-class mail usually feature tracking numbers with about 20 to 22 digits.

Tracking numbers for signature-required mail, collect on-delivery mail, and priority mail express also feature 20 to 22 digits. The tracking ID for mail sent via global express guaranteed service only features 10 digits.

USPS also offers international services such as priority mail express and priority mail international. You can send a letter via this route with a 13-digit tracking ID to see how it is faring.

How to Track USPS Letters Online and Offline 

Online tracking (via USPS website or application)

Whether you are sending a domestic or international parcel, USPS allows shippers and consignees to track their shipment on their website. All you need to do is input the tracking number for your order correctly.

You can also look up tracking information via the USPS mobile app (available on Android and iOS devices).

Offline tracking (via customer care or text tracking)

Alternatively, you can call a USPS customer care representative between the hours of 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. EST (Monday – Friday). On Saturdays, they are available between 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST. 

There is also text tracking. This involves using text messages to know the status of a letter. To use this option, subscribe to the text tracking service provided by USPS or other wireless carriers. 

Subscribing means accepting all the charges associated with the messages you get regarding your package’s location. To begin this process, text the tracking number to 28777 (2USPS).

You should get a prompt response indicating the tracking number; the status of the mail; the date and time of delivery; and instructions on how to unsubscribe.

If, for some reason, USPS cannot provide an update on your parcel; you will only get a response confirming your request.It may look like this: USPS Text Tracking: Alert update has been applied to 01123456879123456789.

Tracking a Letter with Other Carriers 

While the cheapest way to send a mail or letter with tracking with USPS, other carriers such as UPS and FedEx offer this service.

FedEx tracking numbers can range from 10, 12, 15, 20, to 22 digits. These digits rarely contain alphabets. For UPS, it is usually between 7 to 20 characters. Like USPS, their delivery process also allows for online and offline tracking.


Is mail tracking legal?

Mail or letter tracking is completely legal as long as the sender complies with GDPR.

Do international letters have tracking?

Yes, shipping services like USPS offer to track mail going overseas. 

This service is available in over 180 countries.

Do all letters have a tracking number?

No, some do by default, while others do not.

Tracking numbers are most suitable for Priority Mail, First Class Mail, and Media Mail Services.

In a Nutshell 

This is an era where almost any shipment is trackable irrespective of its destination. With USPS, you are good to go as long as you obey the rules guiding your letter.

For instance, priority and certified mail are trackable by default. On the other hand, first-class mail requires extra payment for a tracking ID that allows you to track the letter online or offline.

I would advise you to track a letter online because it generates quicker results and is more cost-effective. However, if you are in a location with bad internet, feel free to call or text the carrier handling your parcel.

Lastly, the best time to track a package is when it is “out for delivery.” This will help you prepare for the final delivery and ensure availability. I hope you found this guide helpful.

Thank you for reading.