USPS International Service Disruptions Alert

USPS Status and Service Disruptions on International Mail Shipments – Updated 9/20/2022

Here is a list of known international shipping disruptions that currently affect USPS mail and parcel shipments globally.

The list was originally started in early 2020 when Covid-19 lockdowns and local restrictions impacted international transport and delivery resulting in months of mail backlogs.

The Postal Service even had to send mail by ocean freight to Europe and South America at one point, while it wouldn’t accept mail going to countries to which it had no transportation solution.

For the most part, USPS relies on commercial passenger flights to transport mail to international destinations from where the local postal operator takes over to handle the domestic transport to the final address.

Also, the Postal Service contracts with FedEx to handle some of its express services and it may occasionally use other air cargo operators as well.

Despite the fact that Covid lockdowns and restrictions are less disruptive to commercial air transport today, reliable air transport remains a challenge from time to time to some destinations.

Even without Covid, international mail delivery could be impacted due to local conflicts, international sanctions, natural disasters, or new regulations imposed by destination countries. 

Generally, these issues are outside of the direct control of the US Postal Service.

Due to the fact that we use multiple sources (not just USPS service alerts), we believe our list is one of the most comprehensive compilations of international service disruptions and restrictions when sending items globally with USPS.

It is more comprehensive than the information USPS provides in its service alerts.

This information was last updated on 9/20/2022.

USPS Service Suspensions

The US Postal Service does not accept shipments to the following countries because of either lack of transportation or suspension of mail service to and within that country:

  1. Afghanistan
  2. Belarus (more info)
  3. Bhutan
  4. Brunei
  5. Chad (more info)
  6. Cuba
  7. Laos
  8. Libya
  9. Mongolia
  10. Papua New Guinea (more info)
  11. Russia (more info)
  12. Samoa
  13. Solomon Islands (more info)
  14. South Sudan
  15. Syria
  16. Timor-Leste
  17. Turkmenistan
  18. Yemen

The following USPS international mail services are suspended to all countries:

  • Priority Mail Express International (PMEI)
  • Priority Mail International (PMI)
  • First-Class Mail International (FCMI)
  • First-Class Package International Service (FCPIS)
  • International Priority Airmail (IPA)
  • International Surface Air Lift (ISAL)
  • Commercial ePacket (CeP)
  • M-Bag items

USPS asks customers to refrain from entering items into the USPS mail system going to the countries listed above. Mail or packages will be returned to the shipper if they are dropped into a mailbox or included in daily pickups.

At US Post Office retail locations, USPS will not accept mail to these countries.

For any returned item bearing a customs form, the Postal Service will, upon request, refund postage and fees on mail returned due to the suspension of service.

For all other returned items not bearing a customs declarations form, the Postal Service will, upon request, refund postage and fees on mail returned due to the suspension of service, or the sender may re-mail them with the existing postage once service has been restored. When remailing under this option, customers must cross out the markings “Mail Service Suspended — Return to Sender.”

Unless otherwise noted, service suspensions to a particular country above do not affect the delivery of military and diplomatic (APO/FPO/DPO) mail as well as Global Express Guaranteed (GXP) Service shipments.

Note: New Zealand was removed from the USPS service suspension list on July 25. The country has been on the list since October 2021 and USPS issued numerous changes to the service suspensions removing and then again adding various international mail services.

There was no formal Industry Alert announcing the removal of New Zealand from the suspension list as had been common when service suspensions were updated or lifted previously.

Therefore, we have removed New Zealand from our list and updated our country-specific post.

How the Ukraine Conflict Affects USPS Shipments

USPS continues to accept all mail types except USPS Global Express Guaranteed destined for Ukraine. Despite the war, the Ukrainian postal service continues to operate when and where possible.

However, sending mail or parcels to eastern and south-eastern Ukraine, and especially into areas where Russia has taken control, is not advisable we believe the mail service is mostly operational in the western and middle sections of Ukraine.

Please see our post on Ukraine which explains the challenges and potential limitations of sending mail and parcels to the country in more detail.

USPS Global Express Guaranteed (GXG) Service Suspension and Disruptions (6/10/2022)

USPS has issued mail acceptance suspension notices for the following countries:

  • Belarus
  • Russia
  • Ukraine

USPS Priority Mail Express International Money-Back Guarantee Suspension

The Post Office has temporarily suspended the money-back guarantee for USPS Priority Mail Express International shipments to all countries on October 25, 2021.

USPS Tracking Notes

We want to explain international tracking with USPS a bit as it’s different from private carriers like UPS or FedEx.

If USPS tracking shows that an item has left the United States (the last scan is from an International Service Center or ISC), under normal circumstances, the US Postal Service has no further visibility on that item until a transit country or the destination country provides updated tracking information to USPS.

Sometimes, it’s possible to get more updated tracking by using the destination country’s postal service online tracking tools once the item has entered the country. (See This List from Wikipedia of National Postal Services to find the applicable website)

This is especially true if the shipment has delivery or routing errors, delays, or exceptions as the comments on the country’s postal system may provide more information on the status of the mail item than the update transmitted back to the US Postal Service.

Furthermore, tracking scans of individual mail pieces typically only occur at the local and regional pickup locations, when the parcel enters a country’s customs facility, and at the local or regional destination locations.

For tracking information in between these locations, mail pieces are typically tracked in groupings packed inside cargo containers.

USPS Insurance Claim Update

The US Postal Service has advised it may take up to 60 days to process an insurance claim for lost or damaged international shipments.

Please see this link for more information on how filing international insurance claims with USPS has changed and how it may even affect third-party insurance services.

USPS Refund Policy

According to DMM 604.9.2.3, customers are entitled to a full refund of their postage costs when service to the country of destination is suspended.

The detailed procedures to obtain refunds for Retail Postage, eVS, PC Postage, and BMEU entered mail can be found in this PDF document.

Impact of New European Union VAT / Import Rules on USPS Shipments

On July 1, 2021, a new VAT rule went into effect when sending items to European Union (EU) member countries. The rule is causing problems for some postal operators as they are receiving shipments with incomplete or inaccurate customs forms/information or incorrect recipient contact information.

Shipments that arrive with incomplete data may be held by customs officials for a long time or are returned to the sender. Therefore, it is imperative shippers provide accurate information about the contents and a recipient’s phone number to avoid delays or a return to the sender of the shipment.

International returns can take significant time as they will not be necessarily transported at the same speed as the original mail service selected. Here are additional resources to help you navigate through this new VAT rule.

USPS International Service Disruptions by Country

This list only includes countries for which there are known service disruptions domestically. If the country is not listed, the postal operator is not reporting significant service disruptions or restrictions that affect transportation or delivery.

The date shown after the country is the last known significant alert issued for that country.

Ascension Island & St Helena – 4/27/2022

Transporation Delays – Air transportation to Ascension Island & St Helena is greatly reduced due to essential runway and airport construction. Currently, it appears flights are about 3 to 4 weeks apart and the situation is likely to be ongoing until airport/runway rebuilding work is complete.

Mail to The Falkland Island is not affected.

Afghanistan – 8/9/2021

USPS Service Suspension – Please see “Service Suspensions” information at the top of this post.

Australia – 9/20/2022

Thursday, September 22, Australia will observe the day as a National Public Holiday to commemorate the life of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. Delays in the delivery of items destined for Australia should be expected during this time.

Belarus – 7/22/2022

USPS Service Suspension – Please see “Service Suspensions” information at the top of this post.

Please see our special bulletin about Ukraine, Russia, and surrounding countries for more details.

Bhutan – 4/1/2020

USPS Service Suspension – Please see “Service Suspensions” information at the top of this post.

Brunei – 4/1/2020

USPS Service Suspension – Please see “Service Suspensions” information at the top of this post.

Bulgaria – 7/5/2022

EU VAT Customs Delays – Shipments arriving in Bulgaria are experiencing customs delays as a result of changes to the EU’s VAT rules for items from non-EU countries. See earlier note about new EU VAT rules and how they may impact shipments to EU countries.

Canada – 9/15/2022

Due to the Queen’s funeral on Monday, September 19, 2022 — as a federal Crown Corporation — Canada Post will have no mail collection or delivery, and post offices will be closed.

Chad – 10/14/2021

USPS Service Suspension – Please see “Service Suspensions” information at the top of this post.

China – 8/9/2022

Covid-19 Related Delays – Mail and packages for China are still experiencing delays due to ongoing operational delays within the country. China post is unable to guarantee compliance with the agreed delivery standards and delays should be expected.

Cook Island – 9/20/2022

Friday, September 30, Cook Island will observe the day as a National Public Holiday to commemorate the life of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. Delays in the delivery of items destined for Cook Island should be expected during this time.

Cuba – 4/10/2020

USPS Service Suspension – Please see “Service Suspensions” information at the top of this post.

Ireland – 5/17/2022

EU VAT Customs Delays – Shipments arriving in Ireland are experiencing customs delays as a result of changes to the EU’s VAT rules for items from non-EU countries.

Delivery duties must be paid before items are released for delivery. Recipients will receive instructions on how to pay and will have 16 working days to make the payment before the item is returned. The pay-by date is included in the customer notification.

All items are held in the Dublin Mail Centre Campus before being released, once payment is received. If payment is not received by the payment due date or the customer rejects the item then it is returned to the sender.

Israel – 4/7/2022

Covid-19 Related Delays – Israel Post confirms that health situation restrictions are still in place and will continue to affect the processing and delivery of all mail services until further notice.

Italy – 8/9/2022

EU VAT Customs Delays – Shipments arriving in Italy are experiencing customs delays as a result of changes to the EU’s VAT rules for items from non-EU countries. See earlier note about new EU VAT rules and how they impact shipments to EU countries.

Jamaica – 5/13/2022

Customs Delays – Jamaica Post is experiencing IT issues affecting the connectivity and customs-related procedures, since April 25, 2022, which has impacted the processing of International Mail. Delays should be expected to items destined for Jamaica.

Kiribati – 12/15/2021

Transportation Delays – Expect slow delivery (2+ months) due to infrequent flights.

As of July 9, 2022, this alert was still active. We are seeking additional information as it’s been over six months since this alert was issued.

Laos – 4/1/2020

USPS Service Suspension – Please see “Service Suspensions” information at the top of this post.

Libya – 4/1/2020

USPS Service Suspension – Please see “Service Suspensions” information at the top of this post.

Macao – 8/2/2022

Covid-19 Related Delays – Macao Post advises all postal services have resumed from previous government office closures. However, Macao Post needs to clear the backlog of items. Delays should still be expected for items destined for Macao.

Malaysia – 4/6/2022

Covid-19 Related Delays – Post Malaysia advises that Covid-19 prevention measures are still being enforced. Selected Malaysia Post office outlets are temporarily closed owing to Covid-19 control and preventative measures, while others are open as usual. The post is unable to guarantee compliance with the agreed delivery standards.

Malta – 7/18/2022

EU VAT Customs Delays – Shipments arriving in Malta are experiencing customs delays as a result of changes to the EU’s VAT rules for items from non-EU countries. See earlier note about new EU VAT rules and how they impact shipments to EU countries.

Moldova – 3/12/2022

Conflict-Related Delays – Due to the situation in neighboring Ukraine, the Moldovan airspace is closed for commercial aircraft. Shippers should expect delivery delays.

The post is working with its postal partners on alternative surface transportation routes. It is continuing to receive, process and deliver inbound and outbound postal items, and all post offices are fully operational.

Please see our special bulletin on Ukraine, Russia, and surrounding countries for more details.

Mongolia – 4/1/2020

USPS Service Suspension – Please see “Service Suspensions” information at the top of this post.

Nauru – 11/4/2021

Transportation Delays – Several Postal Operators are warning of a lack of transport availability to Nauru (a tiny island country in Micronesia) and have suspended service to the island nation.

USPS has not issued such an alert, but US shippers should be aware that significant transportation issues appear to exist and could delay mail and parcel shipments.

New Zealand – 9/20/2022

Covid-19 Related Delays – New Zealand Posts reports there are flight disruptions and cancellations as well as local COVID pandemic government restrictions in place impacting mail shipments to NZ.

The post advises it is experiencing delays of up to 7-10 working days from all destinations. International Courier will be given priority over Airmail services at this time.

Also, Monday, September 26, New Zealand will observe the day as a National Public Holiday to commemorate the life of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. Delays in the delivery of items destined for New Zealand should be expected during this time.

Pakistan – 9/5/2022

Natural Disaster Delays – Due to major flooding affecting parts of Pakistan, Pakistan Post advises there are many operational disruptions causing delays in timely mail and package deliveries.

Panama – 4/28/2022

Covid-19 Related Delays – Panama Post advises that all of its processing facilities are operating under normal working hours but are subject to special measures established by the Ministry of Health of Panama. As result, it is unable to guarantee delivery standards until further notice.

Papua New Guinea – 10/8/2021

USPS Service Suspension – Please see “Service Suspensions” information at the top of this post.

Portugal – 4/29/2022

EU VAT Customs Delays – Shipments arriving in Portugal are experiencing customs delays as a result of changes to the EU’s VAT rules for items from non-EU countries. See earlier note about new EU VAT rules and how they impact shipments to EU countries.

Russia – 3/12/2022

USPS Service Suspension – Please see “Service Suspensions” information at the top of this post.

Please see our special bulletin about Ukraine, Russia, and surrounding countries for more details.

Samoa – 8/27/2021

USPS Service Suspension – Please see “Service Suspensions” information at the top of this post.

Singapore – 3/3/2022

Covid-19 Related Delays – Singapore Post advises its delivery standards are back to normal. However, restrictions previously introduced against COVID infection remain in place to limit the spread of COVID. Signatures are not collected at delivery.

Therefore, items that can fit into a mailbox will be deposited in the customer’s mailbox. Larger items will be delivered to parcel locker stations (POP stations), post offices or collection points for collection by the addressee.

Solomon Islands – 12/8/202

USPS Service Suspension (effective Dec 10) – Please see “Service Suspensions” information at the top of this post.

South Sudan – 4/1/2020

USPS Service Suspension – Please see “Service Suspensions” information at the top of this post.

Spain – 6/17/2021

EU VAT Customs Delays – Shipments arriving in Spain are experiencing customs delays as a result of changes to the EU’s VAT rules for items from non-EU countries. See earlier note about new EU VAT rules and how they impact all shipments to EU countries.

Syria – 4/1/2020

USPS Service Suspension – Please see “Service Suspensions” information at the top of this post.

Thailand – 9/13/2022

Covid-19 Related Delays – Thailand Post advises the state of emergency in the country has been extended to at least September 30, 2022. The Post still has to comply with restrictions and safety guidelines which may impact the processing and delivery of international items. As result, Thailand Post is unable to comply with the agreed standards until further notice.

In addition, Thailand Post advises due to very heavy rain, there have been flash floods in many areas of Thailand. This is causing delays in the transportation and delivery of items as well.

Timor-Leste – 4/2/2020

USPS Service Suspension – Please see “Service Suspensions” information at the top of this post.

Turkmenistan – 1/26/2021

USPS Service Suspension – Please see “Service Suspensions” information at the top of this post.

Tuvalu – 12/15/2021

Transportation Delays – Expect slow delivery (2+ months) due to infrequent flights.

Ukraine – 6/15/2022

Conflict Related Delays – Ukraine Post advises that post offices across various regions will continue to be open on a limited basis so customers can receive mail and parcels. The post also advises countries to send their international postal items to Ukraine via Poland, Slovakia or Latvia. The post will be collecting the consignments from those countries.

The Ukrainian postal service also advises that road access for postal exchanges with Ukrposhta’s center in Kyiv are severely limited, and some international mail processing operations have been moved to Lviv.

Longer transit times are to be expected because of queues at the border and difficult road connections inside Ukraine. Ukrposhta remains committed to maintaining its postal operations, but will not be able to guarantee compliance with the agreed standards.

USPS has temporarily suspended international mail acceptance of Global Express Guaranteed (GXG) service to Ukraine.

Also, Donets 83-87, Luhansk 91-94 Crimea 95-98 and Sevestapol 99 have been effectively under Russian control since 2014. These areas are unlikely to be served now, especially with the service suspension to Russia that is in effect.

Please see our special bulletin on Ukraine, Russia, and surrounding countries for more details on sending items to Ukraine.

United Kingdom – 9/20/2022

The union representing 115,000 Royal Mail postal workers has called for a strike that is now very likely to impact mail and packages to the UK. The two sides are far apart in resolving the issue more strike days have been announced with more strike days already announced.

Please see our specific post about this situation here that we regularly update with the latest information.

Vietnam – 8/2/2022

Covid-19 Related Advisory – Vietnam Post advises that the COVID-19 situation in Vietnam has now improved sufficiently for operations of Vietnam Post to return to normal. As a result, normal service can be expected for items destined for Vietnam.

Yemen – 4/1/2020

USPS Service Suspension – Please see “Service Suspensions” information at the top of this post.

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