The Difference Between USPS International Tracking Numbers

Learn about the difference between the different between USPS international tracking numbers and what it means
the difference between USPS international tracking numbers

If you’ve ever shipped an item overseas with USPS, you may have noticed that the tracking numbers look different than they do for regular domestic services. Most domestic services (USPS Priority Mail, for instance) come with tracking numbers starting with a set of numbers, such as 9400. On the other hand, USPS international tracking numbers begin with a combination of letters. Those different letter combinations depend on the type of service you are shipping, and whether the packages are fully trackable.

Why Some USPS International Tracking Numbers Start With UA, and Others With LZ

Some international tracking numbers begin with the letters UA, and some begin with LZ. This has to do with the size of your package, as well as whether or not the destination country participates in the international E-DELCON program. Some international shipping services like First Class Package International don’t come with full package tracking. However, if it’s going to a destination country on the E-DELCON list, then USPS can track these shipments.

In a nutshell, here’s the basic breakdown between UA and LZ tracking numbers:

  • UA indicates what USPS refers to as “letter mail,” which is equivalent to small parcels. More often than not, these kinds of parcels are sent First Class Package International. USPS assigns UA tracking numbers to First Class Package International packages going to countries that aren’t on the E-DELCON list.
  • LZ is for larger or heavier international shipments, sent via Priority Mail International. USPS also assigns LZ tracking numbers to First Class Package International shipments traveling to countries on the E-DELCON list.

So, your tracking number will begin with LZ if you’re sending something Priority Mail International, or if you’re sending it First Class Package to an E-DELCON participating country. Your tracking number will begin with UA if you’re sending it First Class Package international to a country that isn’t on the E-DELCON list.

To see what countries are on the E-DELCON list, check out our guide: Why Isn’t USPS Tracking My International Package?

One Comment

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  1. WarHorse

    UA is also used when sending International Letter Mail Large Envelope (Flat). These numbers are totally unreliable. I mailed four “flats” at the same time, going to 4 different International destinations, all in Europe. Two tracked starting immediately beginning at my post office and continued to track all the way until they left the USA (several scans each). The other two never were scanned, or I’m guessing were in fact scanned but the scans do not show for those destinations, perhaps?


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