How long will Post Office hold package?

How Long Will the Post Office Hold a Package?

When awaiting a package, knowing how long the post office will hold it can save you from potential inconvenience. The United States Postal Service (USPS), among other postal services worldwide, has specific guidelines for holding packages. Understanding these guidelines is crucial for ensuring you retrieve your items in a timely manner.

USPS Hold Timeframes

For USPS, the standard hold time for most packages is 15 days from the first attempted delivery. This duration applies to various types of mail, including Priority Mail, First-Class Mail, and packages sent via other USPS services. If you cannot collect your package within this period, it will be returned to the sender.

  • First Attempted Delivery: When a package cannot be delivered because the recipient is not available, USPS leaves a notice and holds the package at the local post office.
  • Redelivery Options: You can request a redelivery online or via phone, specifying a new delivery date that suits you.
  • Final Notice: If the package remains uncollected, a second and final notice is typically issued around the 5th or 6th day, reminding you of the impending return to sender.

International Post Services

Hold times can vary significantly with international postal services:

  • Royal Mail (UK): Holds packages for 18 days before returning them to the sender.
  • Canada Post: Similar to USPS, holds packages for 15 days.
  • Australia Post: Typically holds packages for 10 business days.

Package Interception and Custom Hold Times

Sometimes, packages can be intercepted and held by customs for inspection, which can extend the hold time. The duration depends on the specific regulations and workload of the customs office involved.

Extended Hold Services

Most postal services, including USPS, offer extended hold services for an additional fee:

  • USPS Hold for Pickup: Allows you to specify a pickup location and time, extending the hold period.
  • Vacation Hold: For those away from home, USPS provides a service to hold mail for up to 30 days.


Understanding the hold policies of postal services can help you manage your deliveries more efficiently. The standard hold period for USPS is 15 days, with options to extend or reschedule deliveries. Different countries have varying hold times, but most follow a similar procedure. By being aware of these timelines and utilizing available services, you can ensure your packages are collected promptly and avoid the inconvenience of having them returned to the sender.