USPS Delivery Instructions™ - The Basics

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Article Number000007839
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What is it and why should I use it?

With USPS Delivery Instructions service, you--the addressee/intended recipient--can specify and authorize how certain incoming shipments and mailpieces are to be delivered, BEFORE they are delivered.

Once you set up Instructions electronically, items can be left at a specific location at your address, your Post Office, or even at a different domestic address – all options are listed online. If the mail item is eligible, you can even upgrade the mail class and/or add Extra Services. 

NOTE: To see all Delivery Instructions setup options – free AND paid – be sure to access Delivery Instructions through your account.

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Is my shipment (mailpiece) eligible for Delivery Instructions?

The main eligibility condition is a barcode. Your mailpiece must bear a USPS Tracking® barcode or an Extra Service barcode so that you can check online and confirm eligibility. Here’s how to do it on or the USPS Tracking page

  1. Enter the tracking number from the Shipping Label or Receipt into the field labeled "Tracking Number" and click on "Search."
  2. The most recent tracking status of your item should appear.
  3. If your shipment is eligible for USPS Delivery Instructions service, the words "Delivery Instructions" will be displayed on the right side of the screen under "Available Actions." 

You should note that these items / situations ARE NOT eligible for Delivery Instructions:

  • Shipments that are insured for $500 or more
  • International mail items
  • Mailpiece is out for delivery, or already delivered
  • Addressed to a military address
  • Delivery signature is required
  • Shipments with Collect on Delivery service
  • Address with an active Hold Mail request
  • Item has an active Hold For Pickup
  • Item has an active USPS Package Intercept® service
  • The address has a Temporary Forwarding service

If any of the above situations is in place, Delivery Instructions will not appear as an option for you when you check your tracking number online.

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How do I set up Instructions for my deliveries?

After checking to ensure eligibility on (see above), follow these steps and online prompts:

  1. Click on “Delivery Instructions” next to your shipment tracking number.
  2. The system will ask you to login to your account (you can set one up at that time, if you don’t already have one).
  3. Follow the prompts to see if your address is eligible and to then specify instructions for delivery. 

NOTE: Check out our step-by-step visual aid to help you set up Delivery Instructions online. To see all Delivery Instructions setup options – free and paid – be sure to access via your account.

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Is there a fee for USPS Delivery Instructions service?

That depends on which Delivery Instruction service you choose: 

No Cost Options

  • Delivery (redelivery) to a specific location at your address.
  • Delivery to a neighbor’s home. (MUST be on the same carrier route).
  • Hold for Pickup at your post office (your ZIP Code). 

Postage / Upgrade Fee Options

  • Directing mail item delivery to a different domestic address (outside your carrier’s route/ZIP Code) – Pay the additional postage.
  • Hold for Pick up at a different Post Office (different ZIP Code) – Pay the additional postage.
  • Upgrading mail service to Priority Mail® or Priority Mail Express® - Pay the upgrade fee.
  • Adding Extra Services (when eligible) – Pay the Extra Service fee.

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Will I receive any email notifications of my USPS Delivery Instructions request?

Yes. Based on the option(s) you picked when you set up Delivery Instructions, you will receive one or more of the following:

  • An email to confirm that your request was successful and an email to confirm your shipment has been delivered. 
  • An email if you made a request that requires payment, and the actual postage exceeds the estimated postage that was provided at the time of the request.
  • If the article has to be repackaged, you will receive an email with the new USPS Tracking Number.
  • If the article is undeliverable, you will be notified of the reason for non-delivery.

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Can I cancel my USPS Delivery Instructions request?

No. Once you submit your request, it is final.

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What location options are available with Delivery Instructions?

You can request that your eligible mailpiece be left at the following locations options if the item does not fit in your mailbox:

  • Front Door
  • Back Door
  • Side Door
  • In/At Mailbox
  • On the Porch
  • Neighbor [address required - must be on the same street, ZIP Code, and delivery route as your address]
  • Garage
  • Other [additional instructions required]

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Can I send my package to another location?

Yes - you (the addressee) have the option to send your eligible package to a different address or to a Post Office™ for pickup, but there is a postage fee.

Here’s how it works:

  1. You will not be charged a base fee to place a request to change your package’s destination; however, you will be required to pay for the postage once the package is successfully acquired from the mailstream and on its way to the new address.
  2. When the online request is made, you will be provided with an “estimated postage” amount. It’s “estimated” because USPS must later weigh and rate your package when it arrives at the Post Office™ in order to assess the actual postage due. If the amount calculated at the Post Office is more than the estimate given to you online, we will collect the difference upon delivery. You can pay in cash, check, or money order when your package arrives.
  3. You will be notified via email or text if your package was or was not successfully delivered to the new address/location. Some common conditions for non-delivery include:
    • The package is out on the street for delivery.
    • The credit or debit card is no longer valid.
    • The post office was unable to locate the package.
    • The package was intercepted by the merchant (sender).

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Damaged Packaging

If the original mailpiece is damaged, the Delivery Instructions request cannot be completed and the mail item will be treated as any other damaged mail item: We will place the damaged mailpiece in a secure, plastic bag, mark it “Damaged”, and deliver to the original mailing address. In this case, you will receive an email explanation as to why your Delivery Instructions request was not fulfilled.

For other mail delivery issues, see "Delayed mail and packages?

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How can I request a refund?

You may contact the Payment Inquiries Team by e-mail ( for any issues or concerns regarding payment for USPS Delivery Instruction requests. Please include the words, “Delivery Instructions” in the subject line of your email request along with the following order details:

  • Payment Related Issue (Including Refund Requests) 
  • Tracking Number
  • Order or Confirmation Number
  • Date of Order/Request

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TitleUSPS Delivery Instructions™ - The Basics
URL NameUSPS-Delivery-Instructions-The-Basics

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