Forwarded Package On USPS: How To Track It & Waiting Period

A package would get the “forwarded” tag or status if it were initially delivered to the wrong address. This is usually because the receiver moved to a new apartment without updating his information on the e-commerce website or provided the wrong zip code.

The best way to address a forwarded package is to contact the courier’s customer service and make your case. How fast you resolve the issue will depend on what caused the error in the first place.

In this guide, I will explain what a forwarded means, how to track them on USPS, and how long the process may take. You will also learn about errors you can avoid to ensure your package does not end up with the wrong recipient. 

What is a Forwarded Package?


When a mail or package is sent to an address other than the usual, such a package becomes a “forwarded” one. This is usually the case when the recipient no longer resides at the address provided, or there is an error in the address. 

As a buyer or recipient of a package, USPS allows you to apply for a change of address if you want a package forwarded to your new location. Once this package is on its way, you need to track it.

How to Track a Forwarded Package on USPS

When an order is ready for delivery by USPS, it gets a tracking number (usually 22 numbers long). Whether it is the first delivery or a forwarded delivery, this number will not change. 

Tracking a forwarded package on USPS is an online process. The process involves visiting their tracking portal and inserting the package’s tracking number.

Alternatively, you can use third-party websites or software like Trackerly, Parcels App, and Parcel Monitor. 

How to Handle Package Forwarded to the Wrong Address on USPS

There are three major ways to handle a package forwarded to the wrong address on USPS:

1. Reach out to customer service 

Contacting a USPS customer care agent is the best way to handle a package delivered to the wrong address. This agent can help deliver your package to your new destination or the nearest postal office.

In a postal office, your package will be in the Mail Recovery Center (MRC) for you to claim it. Such a package rarely goes back to the sender.

2. Contact the sender or post office

If you don’t wish to contact USPS customer service; you can contact the sender or the post office where the package is. It is the sender’s responsibility to try and resolve the issue with the post office and deliver the package to you.

3. Ask for a refund or file a lost package case 

If the receiver of the package refuses to return it to the post office or the rightful owner, you can ask for a refund or ask the sender to send you a new package.

You can also open a lost package case at the post office, depending on the insurance on the package.

How to Avoid Having Your USPS Package Sent to the Wrong Address

  1. Double-check your address before placing an order or sharing it with a shipper.
  2. You can also upgrade to a virtual mailbox such as Postscan to avoid or have more control over forwarded packages if you are the type that travels a lot.

How Long Does it Take for a Forwarded Package to Arrive?

The delivery timeframe for a forwarded package usually depends on several factors. They include the size of the package, the proximity of your new location, and the choice of courier. 

Ideally, processing a forwarded package should begin within three business days after submitting a request. However, it may take up to 2 weeks to receive your package.


How long does it take to stop forwarded mail?

It may take 7 to 10 business days for a forwarded mail or package to be canceled.

Can you pick up my forwarded mail at the Post Office?

You can pick up forwarded mail at your local post office, depending on the date on the redelivery notice. 

Does forwarded mail take longer to arrive?

Forwarded mail usually takes about 1  to 2 weeks to arrive, depending on how heavy your backlog is.

Wrapping Up 

As seamless as placing an order online or on an e-commerce store, having your package delivered to the wrong location can be frustrating.

While a slight delivery delay may not be suitable for time-bound shipments, understanding how to track a forwarded package makes it less overwhelming. The best way to track a forwarded package on USPS is to insert your tracking ID in its portal.

I hope you found this guide helpful. Not all forwarded packages end up in a post office. Check out my guide on P.O. Box alternatives to better understand other ways to navigate forwarded packages seamlessly.

Thanks for reading.