Why Is My USPS Tracking Number Invalid?

Usps Tacking Number

Imagine entering your USPS tracking number on the tracking page, and it says, “Invalid.”

Well, how are you going to track your package now? Has someone stolen your package? Is the package canceled?

These are only a few questions that start popping into your mind, but hold your thoughts because we are here to help.


The scanning process for packages takes over 24 hours, after which the tracking numbers are added to the database. This is why the tracking number appears invalid when you track the package within 24 hours of booking the package.

However, once the 24 hours period is over and the tracking number still appears invalid, it can be due to multiple reasons, such as an incorrect number, server outage, incorrect tracking page, or scanning error.

To read more about an invalid tracking number and its reasons, continue reading below.

Invalid Tracking Number at USPS

Invalid Tracking Number

USPS is one of the most affordable and convenient shipping services and has become a go-to option for sending international and local packages. It provides tracking numbers to the senders and receivers, so they can closely watch the package’s location.

An invalid tracking number means that the tracking number you are entering on the tracking page isn’t in the database or that the system doesn’t recognize the number. It can be frustrating and scary because you don’t want to lose a package.

So, we have a few explanations that might help, but make sure you wait a day before checking the tracking number. That’s because it takes around 24 hours before the package is shipped, and the tracking number will appear invalid if it hasn’t been shipped.

However, if a day has passed, consider the following points:

1. Incorrect Tracking Number

Invalid Tracking Number

People mistakenly add an incorrect tracking number, especially in a hurry. If you must type the tracking number, ensure you don’t miss any digits.

In addition, there must be no space before the first digit. However, if you are entering it correctly, confirm it with the sender because they might have made an error while typing the tracking number.

Tracking Info from Receipt

The senders can quickly check the tracking number from the original receipt that they got from the post office.

Also, they can call the USPS office to get the correct tracking number by sharing the consignment number.

2. Check the Tracking System

Tracking System

Many people think tracking systems are interchangeable, but that’s not the case. Instead, you must use the USPS tracking page.

This is important because using the USPS tracking number on another mailing service’s tracking page will appear invalid as USPS assigns unique tracking numbers.

3. Scanning Error

Scanning Error

Sometimes, a tracking number appears invalid when the package hasn’t been scanned into the USPS system. For example, if the package was booked at the post office, likely, the clerk didn’t scan the tracking number sticker properly.

In this situation, you should contact the post office and ask them to re-scan the package and enter the details again.

4. Location


If you are expecting an international package and the tracking number is invalid, likely, the package is still in the sender’s country. This is because the tracking number of an international package becomes valid when the package lands in your country.

5. Server Down

Server Down

The last potential reason is an offline tracking server. This is because if the USPS tracking system’s server is down, it won’t be able to check the tracking number against the database, resulting in an invalid issue. You should wait a few hours for the server to get back online.

Validity of a USPS Tracking Number

Usps Tracking Number

A valid USPS tracking number is 22 digits long. The tracking number doesn’t have any alphabets except for the one for the Priority Mail Express package (it has thirteen digits after two alphabets and the US at the end). So, for example, the USPS tracking number looks like 9900 3400 5700 1245 7788 00.

Final Note

It can be worrisome when the package you are meant to receive appears invalid on the tracking system. However, it’s normal as it takes over 24 hours for the package to get scanned into the system. After 24 hours, the tracking number starts working.

It’s also essential to ensure you use the correct tracking page. If nothing helps, you can contact USPS’s customer support at 800-275-8777 to help locate your package.

If it still doesn’t work, you should ensure you enter the correct tracking number.

Frequently Asked Questions

What To Do if USPS Loses My Package?

If the package had insurance, you could claim reimbursement from your insurance company. On the other hand, if the package has missing items or is damaged, you must immediately file a claim with USPS.

Does USPS Send Packages Without Tracking Numbers?

The packages sent through marketing and first-class mail might not have a tracking number. Also, the postcards aren’t assigned a tracking number either.

Are There Fake Tracking Numbers?

If you are handing over the package to a USPS official, there’s no chance for a tracking number to be fake. All the tracking numbers are real, and every package is assigned a new tracking number.

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