Do USPS Shipping Labels Expire?

Learn how long it takes for USPS labels to expire, and what to do when too much time has passed for you to use them
USPS shipping labels expire after 28 days
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Sometimes when you’re buying labels online, you can’t get to the Post Office right away. It’s okay…life happens! If you need to wait a couple of days after you buy labels to ship out your packages, this is typically fine. However, you should be aware that while USPS shipping labels don’t technically have an expiration date, you shouldn’t wait too long to ship your stuff. If you do, USPS may not accept your package!

USPS Shipping Labels “Expire” Based on Post Office’s Discretions

If you’re looking for specifics as to “when” USPS labels expire or become invalid, the answer is a bit unclear. In most cases, how long a USPS label is valid varies from Post Office to Post Office, and is up to postal workers’ discretion. Basically, it all depends on a particular Post Office. In our experience, we’ve seen USPS reject packages a ship date as recent as a couple of days prior to dropping it off. Other times, we’ve seen USPS accept a package where a label is a few months old…but we don’t recommend waiting that long!

Since this is the case, we typically tell shippers to drop parcels off with USPS as soon as possible after they print their labels and affix them to their packages. 2-3 days is a safe timeframe to aim for. The sooner you ship it after you print the label, the more likely USPS will be to accept it.

What to Do if USPS Refuses Your Labels, but They’re Within Reasonable Range

If the worker behind the counter at your local Post Office refuses your labels and you believe they’re still within a reasonable range of acceptance, then you can ask to speak with the Postmaster. That said, if USPS never scans the labels, that means those tracking numbers never go into the USPS system. So, in this case, you can always request a refund with whatever online shipping software you used to buy the labels and try again.

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  1. J Trapp

    Through eBay shipping labels USPS they do expire. I was on vacation one time. Let the buyer know but bought the labels and then when I came back within a week they would not let me print the labels. When I complained to USPS they said I had to go back to eBay. They wouldn’t honor them and I lost over $20.

  2. Jesse

    I’ve been in mail-order for decades. USPS postage does not expire. Period. This article is simply false. The first post is largely correct. However if the rate has changed since the original postage was purchased, you may have to cover the difference. There is usually a long grace period tho. The last USPS price increase was several weeks ago, it’s August, but “legacy postage” doesn’t expire until September 30th.

  3. Wedde

    So in thirty years of mail-order / shipping experience I have found two possibilities and ONLY two, irrespective of age of date on label.
    1) Post office sends item to intended address, ZERO questions asked. This happens when you leave them an item with zero options … other words you drop it off as “ready to go” and exit. 99.9%
    2) if you bring it TO the counter, the date again matters zero. They will either accept and mail as-is. Or they will perform a procedure called “round-dating” or “zero-dating” in which your DATE is canceled and a new date is posted on the item with a new stamp which is worth 0 dollars and 0 cents.

    If you are worried about the success of this, don’t. Rember stealing your mail is a crime. SO Know there are ONLY two places for your package to go . 1) back to your home (returned) or 2) to your customer/friend/relative etc.

    • Marie

      This is reassuring! I finally got around to sending out a package that I’ve been meaning to for months and I realized only after I paid for the label that the shipping date was for today! It was 615 so I printed it, put it on the package and hurry down to the post office I made it by 630 but no one was there so I left it in the lobby mailbox for packages. Of course tomorrow is Sunday and it probably won’t go out until Monday morning, but I was worried they won’t accept it and how would I know? I’m hoping they just deliver it but it’s reassuring to know that if not, it will just come back to me… Like a boomerang! Lol

  4. ChapsTheMatzav

    Depends on the crabby clerks mood…

    • Rockwell Sands

      Indeed, sometimes it does! 😉


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