Sometimes USPS considers a package undeliverable, like if the address provided on the label is insufficient (or doesn’t exist), if the recipient is unavailable when a signature is required, or if the letter carrier can’t access the delivery location for whatever reason. When this happens, it can be frustrating for shippers, and they often wonder where their package is once it happens. Unfortunately, there’s no way to track a Return to Sender package once USPS begins delivering it back to you.
How Long Do Return to Sender Packages Take to Come Back?
The amount of time a returned package takes to come back depends on a variety of factors. The type of service you purchased and how far away you sent the package both contribute to the amount of time it takes for it to come back to you.
Generally speaking, a package will take the same time to come back as the original delivery timeframe suggests. For example, if you paid for Priority Mail, delivery typically occurs anywhere from 1-4 business days. So, a returned Priority Mail package might take the same amount of time to come back. On the other hand, if you paid for ground service, then the package will take longer to come back to you, since delivery for USPS ground packages ranges anywhere from 1-2 weeks.
You Can Still File a Missing Mail Search
If the package coming back to you seems to be taking much longer to arrive than expected, you may want to know where it is. In this case, while you won’t be able to track a return to sender package, you might have better luck filing a missing mail search request with USPS. You can provide the tracking number, and USPS can run a search in their system for where the package might be held up in the network.
Visit the USPS website to begin a missing mail search request for your package.