Package Transferred to Post Office …Now What?

There is nuance surrounding what this distinction could mean

  • Written by Tess Holman
  • Published on August 25, 2023
  • Time to read 9 minutes


The anticipation of receiving a package evaporates when you discover a slip of paper saying, “package transferred to post office.” Usually, this slip of paper means that instead of your package being delivered to your door, you are now gifted another errand (read with a sarcastic tone). But in actuality, it doesn’t have to be all that bad. In the blog post, we will break down what package transferred to post office actually means. Additionally, we will discuss why a package gets marked this way and what options are available once this distinction is made.

Main Points

  1. Package transferred to Post Office means that  USPS is now handling your package.
  2. Packages will be delivered in 1-2 extra days unless specified otherwise on a slip left by the carrier.
  3. You can track your package through the initial carrier’s site until it has been transferred to USPS. After the handoff is made, using the USPS system to track your package is best.
  4. If your package is delayed past 1-2 days, don’t worry. There are sometimes processing delays. Reach out to USPS after five business days without an update.

Package Transferred to Post Office Meaning

In simple terms, a package transferred to post office means that  USPS is now in charge of your package.  Oftentimes, this distinction in your tracking information means that another carrier started the delivery process but, for various reasons, handed your package off to USPS.  These reasons could include the following:

  1. The previous carrier could not deliver to the end address.
  2.  It was more economical and efficient to use USPS.
  3. SurePost® was used to ship your package.
  4. The customer (you) or the seller can elect to have your package rerouted to the post office.

What Package Transferred to Post Office Means To You

The package will be delivered to you most often but will be delayed by about a day. A slip or receipt will usually be left behind, letting you know that the post office now has the package.  

There may be a time when you receive a slip that will instruct you to pick up the package at the post office. If the slip does not explicitly instruct you to pick up the package at the post office, they will likely deliver it within the next day.

If there is a delay, you can contact your local post office to find the package’s location using your tracking number. Anything past 3-5 business days deserves an inquiry.

How do I Track My Package?

If you purchased your shipment through UPS initially, you can track your shipment in its entirety through UPS.  Once the package has been handed off to USPS,  the USPS system will have more accurate tracking information. You can still track it through UPS, but sometimes it can take a hot minute for the two systems to communicate accurate information and updates.

What Happens If USPS Can’t Find My Package

In rare instances, your package may get the update “package transferred to post office” and get no other updates for days.

Several post office workers are shown sorting through a huge pile of packages

This happened more frequently during the Pandemic. During this time, post offices were short-staffed. At the same time, more packages were being shipped.  This was due to people’s increased desire to stay home. There were massive piles of packages around post offices. They couldn’t handle the influx of mail. 

This can occasionally happen despite the Pandemic being over, due to staffing shortages. It can also happen during peak shipping times during Holidays.

It’s also important to note that USPS prioritizes packages shipped 100% through their system. So, there is another chance of delay simply because your package has become deprioritized. 


In conclusion, having a package transferred to the post office usually means your package is a day or two away from delivery. There is nuance surrounding what this distinction could mean. However, most people still see the package come through safe and sound.

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