Getting Familiar USPS With Terms: What Does Out For Delivery Mean USPS

If you want to send a package somewhere- say abroad or within the USA- our first go-to choice is always the United States Postal Service. 

While private mail services like FedEx or DHL are hard to find in every town, USPS is at your service everywhere. You’ll see USPS trucks in every suburb and every town.

But while dealing with mails, a common trend currently is “tracking it.” There are several terms out there that describe your parcel’s tracking status. 

One of them is “Out for Delivery.” So, what does out for delivery mean USPS-wise? Let’s dive into it!

How USPS Works

Before tracking a parcel, we have to make sure that we have sent the parcel right. It is also essential to know how one of the most popular postal services of the states works.

Hence, coming to how USPS is designed, mailing a package the standard way is pretty straightforward. 

You have to buy a packet that will fit the size of your items and take it to the post office. If it’s a letter, though, you can put a stamp on the envelope and drop it in your mailbox, and that stamp should suffice for your total costs.

However, if you’re mailing a larger package, the total expense depends on the size and weight of the package. You should measure the dimensions of your box, and USPS will let you know how much to pay. The mailing cost can depend on what service you’re choosing for the delivery—priority mail costs around $26.35 from the post office.

Make sure you have written the address on your package in the way suggested by the post office. 

Writing the address correct will help computers sort your package smoothly without having a human clerk intervene. For example, zip codes are the most important part of your mail. 

If your package doesn’t have the code, it will be hard for the mailmen or an automated system to detect your package’s destination. 

This will delay the sorting of your packet as USPS staff will keep it aside for manual entry. Now, you don’t want this postponement, do you?

Doing everything perfectly from your side allows the mail to be at the perfect place at the perfect time and ensures an effortless delivery. The USPS makes sure your mail reaches its destination without any hurdles.

What ‘Out For Delivery’ Means 

When you’re awaiting a parcel or have sent one that you desperately want to reach your friend, the ‘tracking status’ becomes an ally. 

Like most postal services, USPS also offers a tracking number that you can look up online to track your package. It can be either through the phone or online.

While checking this status, we come across the term ‘Out for Delivery’ a lot. Now, what does this term mean? Let’s take a look below-

For Domestic Mails:

In the case of domestic mails, out for delivery means your parcel is in the hands of your mailman/deliveryman. 

After a package reaches its destination’s post office, it is sorted out into several divisions according to its zip code or area. These sorted out batches are then handed over to that area’s designated clerk.

While taking the batch, the clerk scans a barcode on top, which automatically changes the tracking status of all parcels in that bunch. So, what could the new status be? You guessed it right! It’s ‘out for delivery.’ The phrase easily stands for what it states.

In the meantime, you might wonder, “okay, my mail is with the post clerk. Now, what? Will I get my delivery on the same day?” 

The answer to when you might get your delivery is not that simple. Suppose the parcel’s somewhere between your post office and home, but when it reaches you is uncertain.

If we talk about most cases, a mail-out for delivery reaches its destination within that same day or the next day. 

It depends on where you are situated in the route your mailman takes. If you’re somewhere really close to the post office, chances are you’ll get your mail right away.

But instantly getting the mail might not always be the case. Your clerk might cover an extensive range of areas, or you live somewhere that is remote. 

In that case, it might take more than two days for your mail to reach you. Nevertheless, be sure that your parcel is in the last step of being in your hands and you’ll get it soon!

For International Mails:

First of all, international tracking of USPS mails is entirely different from that of the United States. 

The free tracking service itself is only available for a limited number of countries like Brazil, Denmark, Belgium, Israel, etc.  In the case of international mails, the term out for delivery doesn’t exist. 

Instead, it will only show you if the package left the USA, was received by a foreign country, or was delivered. 

Attempt for delivery is also shown. But it is safe to assume that it will take longer for you to receive mail from foreign shipping compared to the domestic parcel. Here, out for delivery could mean a lot of things. 

If your package status shows it has left the USA, it could sometimes take months to move from that status. 

This is because you don’t know what route the parcel is taking to reach the foreign land. Sea routes can take months, whereas airway is quicker. 

Similarly, even after being received by a foreign country, the parcel can stay stuck in customs or warehouses. 

This is a long process, and for the mail to finally reach you can take a few more days. It can be up to a week as well. Therefore, international shipping is much more complex than domestic shipping.

Here, a package can take a much longer time to reach its recipient, even if it is out for delivery. Not to forget, tracking is available only in a few countries.  

How Out For Delivery Can Go Against Expectations

When we see our mail has reached the last stage before coming into our hands, we often get excited. 

We think that the post office is right here; how long could the mail possibly take to reach me? Maybe a few hours? Well, that is absolutely wrong! Being on the way to be delivered does not mean you will get your package instantly.

Several things could happen in the delivery process that could make your delivery take a bit longer. Here are some common scenarios regarding why out for delivery could take longer than you expect:


Although this sounds like impossible negligence from USPS’s side, the misplacement of a mail is pretty standard. 

Often, it is possible that after your clerk scanned the barcode and placed your mail in, the same clerk couldn’t it out for delivery. There are situations where mails from a specific bin get divided as well.

In these situations, even though your parcel’s status was updated to out for delivery, they could still be left at the post office. 

But there’s nothing to worry about since this situation doesn’t mean your mail will forever be stuck there. It just means there was a slight delay in your delivery, and you might get it a day or two later.

It All Depends on Your Clerk

As mentioned before, mail carriers can often run into unavoidable circumstances or a change of route. 

It is very much possible that even though they intended to deliver a specific portion of mails on a specific day, they had a change of plans. This could be due to any cause starting from extreme weather to personal reasons.

Keep in mind that no matter what the situation might be, this creates a slight delay in your parcel. You WILL eventually get it. Nobody can take it away from you.

Long Shipping Routes

Domestic mailing mostly follows the standard route for transporting, resulting in your mail reaching your destination at the designated time. 

But sometimes, in the case of international shipping, shipping routes can be extremely long. If it’s by sea, it could take months. However, shipping by air is the fastest. 

Nonetheless, a parcel can start showing out for delivery when it leaves the USA, but it can be stuck in shipping for a much longer time. So, always be aware of that. 

Final Words

Sending a parcel or expecting one is an exciting experience. Mailing something for your loved ones or receiving a package you ordered online all give us a rush of emotions. 

While USPS makes sure your package reaches its destination safely, we all love to track our mails for mental satisfaction.

For that reason, it is important to know standard postal tracking terms! In this article, we covered one of them. If you were wondering, “what does out for delivery mean USPS?” we hope you found your answers!

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