There are two main reasons that the US Postal Service will hold your mail: either your mailbox is full and cannot receive any new incoming mail, or you request for Hold Mail service.
This article will dive deeper into the scenarios where USPS will hold your mail!
Here’s How the USPS “Hold Mail” System Work:
The USPS Hold Mail system works two ways. The first is when your mailbox is full, and they will hold your mail for a certain period until you collect it or schedule a redelivery. The second one is when you will be away and request for Hold Mail service until you return.
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Does USPS Hold Mail If the Mailbox is Full?
USPS will hold your mail at the local post office if your mail is full and can no longer accommodate incoming mail.
Whenever they do this, the USPS mailman will leave a notice in your mailbox saying that your mail is on hold.
The notice will also give you options to retrieve your mail by picking it up or scheduling a redelivery.
If this happens, your mail will be on hold at the post office for a certain time. When that period has elapsed, and you still haven’t picked up your mail, it will either be returned to the sender or destroyed.
Once you notice your mail is on hold, you must contact USPS regarding your options.
You can either do it online, by phone or by filling out the form that the mailman left in your mailbox.
How Long Will USPS Hold Mail and Packages for Pickup?
When your mailbox is full, or you sign up for the Hold Mail service, USPS will hold your mail and packages for pickup at the post office.
If it is the first scenario, USPS will hold your mail and packages for up to 10 days. If it is the second scenario, it will be for 30 days.
Sometimes, our mailboxes become so full that incoming mail can no longer fit. When this happens, USPS carriers will return your mail to the post office and hold it there for ten days for you to pick it up or have it redelivered.
Another scenario wherein USPS will hold your mail and packages is if you requested the Hold Mail service.
You can do this if you are going away on vacation so that mail does not accumulate in your mailbox.
When you sign up for the Hold Mail service, USPS will hold your mail and packages for 30 days. Upon signing up for this service, you can specify your return date so that the Hold Mail services will end on that date.
Can USPS Hold Mail Longer than 30 Days?
When you request the Hold Mail service, USPS will hold your mail and packages at the local post office for up to 30 days.
The Hold Mail service is strictly only for 30 days.
If you are away for more than 30 days, you must sign up for the Mail Forwarding service. This is done by requesting a Temporary Change of Address, either online or at your local post office.
Through these services, USPS will forward your mail to a different address while you’re away – your neighbor’s address, a family member or friend’s address, or even your office address.
This is a free service at the local post office that you can avail of for up to 12 months.
If you make the request online, there is an identity verification fee of $1.10. This is USPS’ way of confirming that it’s really you making the request.
You can extend it for a fee if you are away for more than 12 months. You can extend it for 6, 12, or 18 more months.
Can USPS Hold Mail While on Vacation?
The Hold Mail service is one of the most convenient services offered by USPS when you cannot receive mail or packages at your current address for any reason.
USPS can hold your mail while you’re on vacation.
The Hold Mail service would be perfect if you are on vacation for 30 days or less. You can sign up for it several days or at least one day before your trip.
Through this service, all your incoming mail and packages scheduled for delivery while you’re on vacation will be on hold at your local post office. Once you return from your trip, you can simply pick them up.
Here’s how to make a Hold Mail request online when you are about to go on vacation:
- Go to the USPS website and sign in to your account.
- Go to Manage Your Mail, then go to USPS Hold Mail and follow the prompts to verify your identity.
- Enter your address and then enter the dates when you want USPS to hold your mail and packages.
- Select how you want to get your mail after the Hold Mail service, either by delivery or pickup.
When submitting the request, you can also enter additional instructions.
You can also request this at your local post office or by calling the USPS customer service number.
Does USPS Hold Mail After a Change of Address?
A Change of Address happens when the customer requests to temporarily or permanently change their address.
This is a free service at the post office but can also be requested online for a minimal fee.
After a Change of Address, USPS will not hold any mail, and USPS will forward incoming mail and packages to the new address.
How Long Does USPS Hold Certified Mail?
Certified Mail is a service offered by USPS, wherein any item sent through it needs a signature upon delivery.
This type of mail cannot be delivered in the mailbox or left on the porch or by the front door. Certified Mail is a service that’s only available for First-Class Mail.
SPS will hold undelivered Certified Mail for 15 days before it is returned to the sender.
Regarding Certified Mail, USPS mail carriers only make one delivery attempt. After that, the mail or package is returned to your local post office, which will be on hold for up to 15 days.
How Can I Know if USPS Holds My Mail?
If you are not getting anything in your mailbox, then USPS may be holding your mail.
It could be because your mailbox was full the last time they made a delivery, and your mail was returned to the post office.
USPS mail carriers will usually leave a notice on your mailbox if your mail is on hold at the post office because the box was full.
If you did not get a notice that your mailbox is full and that your mail will be on hold, the best way to check is by contacting your local post office directly. You can call their number and ask if they are holding your mail.
Or you can also drive there to inquire in person.
How Long Does USPS Hold Mail Before Returning to Sender?
If there was a failed delivery attempt at your address, USPS would hold your mail at the local post office for a certain period.
USPS will hold mail for up to 10 days for most mail types or classes before returning it to the sender.
For Certified Mail, the maximum is 15 days.
USPS will only return the mail to the sender if there is a return address. If there is no return address, the mail will either be destroyed or sent to the Mail Recovery Center based on its value.
Can The Post Office Hold My Mail for No Reason?
The post office will not hold your mail for no reason.
Your mail could be on hold at the post office for any of the following reasons:
- The post office will hold your mail if the mailbox is full and can no longer accommodate new mail.
- The post office will hold your mail if it requires a signature and no one was there to sign during the delivery attempt.
- The post office will hold your mail if it requires an adult signature and no adult was present to sign during the delivery attempt.
- The post office will hold your mail if it requires payment upon delivery and cannot simply be left in the mailbox.
Worrying when you haven’t received mail for a few days is normal.
If this happens to you, your best bet is to contact your local post office to check if they are holding your mail.