How to Use the USPS Hold Mail Service

Have the Post Office Hold Your Mail for up to 30 Days

USPS mail
Have the USPS Hold Your Mail While You Are Gone. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

You spent months planning the perfect vacation and at last, it's time to hit the road. The bags are packed, the car is loaded, and the dog's in the kennel. But wait. What about having days of mail stacking up in your mailbox where robbers and identity thieves might get their hands on it? No problem. Just go online and arrange to have the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) hold your mail while you're gone. 

The USPS' mail holding service offers postal customers the option of having their mail held for from three to 30 days quickly and easily.

"When you go on vacation, the last thing you need is to be concerned about the safety of your mail while you're away. Our Hold Mail Service addresses this issue almost effortlessly," said Francia G. Smith, USPS vice president and Consumer Advocate. "This service represents our continued commitment to increasing customer access—making it easier and more convenient for customers to use the Postal Service when and where they need to."

You can request USPS mail holding services up to 30 days in advance of the day you want it to start or as early as the next scheduled delivery day. You should request your mail holding start date by 3 a.m. EST (2 a.m. CT or 12 a.m. PST) on your requested day, Monday through Saturday.

If you are going to be away from home for more than 30 days or if you are making a long-term move, you can also set up temporary or permanent USPS Mail and Package Forwarding Services. If you are making a permanent move, you can also use the forwarding service to update your official address. If you are just moving temporarily, you can use the Postal Service’s mail and package forwarding service for a period as short as 15 days or as long as one year. After the first six months, you can extend for another six months.

How to Do It

After you get online, just go to the Postal Service home page. In the menu under "Track & Manage" at the top of the page, click on the "Hold Mail" menu option. 

You'll be asked to enter your delivery address information and the dates on which you want the Postal Service to start and stop holding your mail. 

At the end of the mail holding request process, you'll be given a confirmation number so that you can modify the request if you come home early or decide you want to stay on vacation a little bit longer.

The online service electronically notifies your local post office, and all of your mail will be held for the time specified and delivery is resumed on the requested date.

Having the Postal Service hold your mail while you are away is one of the best steps you can take to prevent having your mail stolen.

Request Mail Holding by Telephone 

You can also request the USPS' mail holding service over the phone by calling toll-free 1-800-ASK-USPS and following the menu options. 

Whether requested online or by phone, millions of Postal Service customers have taken advantage of this convenient service since its 2003 launch.