Guide Through USPS Tracking Services

Despite the opening of new delivery methods, a lot of US customers continue to use the services of the regular US state mail – USPS, which delivers parcels all over the world and offers very affordable prices and good conditions.

Today we will talk about the fate of packages sent through USPS from the warehouse to your post office and will touch on some aspects of the USPS tracking services you probably didn’t know.

Basics of The Courier Service

It’s worth starting with the fact that, regardless of the type of USPS mail item, the package will make the same path to you, which can be schematically depicted as follows:

  1. Parcel acceptance
  2. Sorting
  3. Customs clearance
  4. Export

This is how the parcel moves through the United States.


In the same way, but only in reverse, it moves around the country of the recipient:

  1. Import
  2. Customs clearance
  3. Sorting
  4. Delivery

Sometimes, depending on the load of postal services and various external factors, this scheme changes slightly. Transit cities or even countries can appear in it. It is important to understand that the behavior of a large postal company is simply impossible to predict. It all depends on their own logistics decisions.

Most Important Thing for A Recipient

The main and only element that allows us to understand where the package is currently located is the postal identifier or the tracking number.

Any user of the mail services knows what package tracking is. However, the tracking number is not just a random combination of letters and numbers. Each of them contains encrypted information.

Basic tracking numbers for USPS international shipments:

  • CA123456785US – package sent via USPS Priority;
  • EA123456785US – package sent via USPS Express Mail;
  • LA123456785US – USPS First Class Mail Letters or Small Package;
  • RA123456785US – letter or small package, Letter Post Registered.

Any tracking number of an outgoing USPS parcel consists of 4 letters (2 in front, 2 in back) and 9 digits. To understand how it works, you should break tracking into 4 parts:

  • The first two letters of the code hide the type of postal item.
  • The first eight digits are a unique code that the postal service gives to its parcels. According to the rules of the Universal Postal Union (UPU), each sequence of numbers should not be used more than once a year. If USPS gave you the code, the parcel for which is already delivered, you do not need to panic. In a few days, the status will change to the current one.
  • The ninth digit is a verification code calculated using a rather tricky formula from the previous eight digits. Also, you can check your number by downloading a special program (in the XLS format) from the official UPU website.
  • The last two letters are the letter code of the sending country. If the parcels leave the US, this means the last two letters will be “US”.

Answering the most popular question: it is impossible to determine where the package is going having only a tracking number. Yet such a USPS service is quite a useful thing for all process parties.