What Is a “Processing Exception” USPS?

Usps Post Office

You might have gotten a message with the phrase “processing exception” if you use USPS to ship your package. You’re probably wondering what it means.

We’re here to let you know that there is nothing to worry about! Join us as we explain what a processing exception means when dealing with USPS and how best to solve it.


Process exception means that USPS is facing some sort of difficulty while having your package delivered. The message is just meant to let you know that there might be some delay in delivery.

This delay could be due to several reasons, such as bad weather, inaccurate address, or the recipient not being available.

However, the message should not cause any panic. Join us as we discuss this in detail, along with some of the reasons why this might be happening.

  • Why does it say “Processing Exceptions”?
  • How did this happen?
  • What can I do about this?

Let’s go ahead and find out what a “processing exception” is.

Why Does It Say “Processing Exception”?

Usps Worker Sorts Packages

The phrase “processing exception” means the package has been temporarily suspended. But there’s no need to panic.

Most probably, something has gone wrong with the delivery, and there will be a slight delay. Nothing more than that. Keep in mind that your package is not lost. It is merely delayed.

This message is only to keep you in the loop and not to cause you any panic. Processing exception only means that there might be a delay—emphasis on might.

The package might not necessarily be delayed. USPS may still manage to deliver the package on time. Let’s go through some of the reasons this could have happened.

How Did This Happen?

There can be several reasons why this has happened. Let’s talk about them.

1. Incorrect Address

This is one of the more common reasons your package might be delayed. Either the address details were incorrect, or the shipping label was damaged.

In this case, USPS will often ask you to update the information.

2. Held Up at Customs

You only need to worry about customs delays if you use USPS to ship internationally. If you are, don’t worry, this is common. Customs often hold up packages to properly examine them and make sure they are safe.

In this case, you’ll have to reach out to customs to make sure everything is in order. If you are not shipping internationally, you don’t have to worry about this one.

3. Recipient Was Not Available

The most common reason you might get a processing exception is that USPS found the package recipient unavailable. Meaning they came by to drop it off, and there was no one available.

In this case, USPS may try to deliver the package again tomorrow or drop it off at your nearest post office. However, the package will be shipped back to the sender after multiple failed deliveries.

4. Environmental Factors

Although USPS famously claims that neither snow nor hail can stop them, environmental factors almost always end up causing delays. No matter what, bad weather will always cause a processing exception.

However, there is no need to worry. Once the weather clears up, your package will be delivered.

What Can You Do About This?

Woman Enters A United States Postal Service

No matter what the reason, delivery delays are bound to cause frustration. In many cases, there isn’t much you can do to prevent a processing exception.

You can only make sure that everything is clear on your end. Such as ensuring there are no errors in the delivery address. Along with this, it can also help if you are home the day your delivery is expected.

If you can’t be available, you can try to reach out to USPS to let them know you missed delivery or to arrange another drop-off.

In case of customs issues, try reaching out to the customs department to make sure your package follows all regulatory guidelines. It can also help if you are up to date with all the necessary documentation needed by the customs department.

Lastly, in terms of inclement weather, there is very little either the recipient or the sender can do. Have some trust in USPS and wait for the weather to clear up.


USPS “processing error” simply means there is a delay in the delivery of the package, and USPS is facing some sort of difficulty getting the package delivered. This delay can be due to many different reasons.

However, there is nothing to worry about as the package is merely delayed, not lost! Therefore, sooner or later, it will be delivered.

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