USPS International Service Disruptions Alert

USPS Status and Service Disruptions on International Mail Shipments – Updated on 12/2/2022

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 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 12/2/2022.

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 – 11/11/2022

Transporation Delays – Air transportation to Ascension Island & St Helena continues to be greatly reduced due to essential runway repairs. 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.

Bahamas – 11/10/2022

Weather Delays – Tropical Storm Nicole battered the islands Wednesday causing extensive flooding and some wind damage. Many government offices closed on Tuesday ahead of the storm and some are reopening Thursday where possible. Shippers should expect delays over the next few days as the Bahamas deal with the aftermath of TS Nicole.

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.

Belgium – 10/28/2022

Strike Actions – Belgian Post advises major Belgian trade unions have called for a 24-hour general strike, commencing at midnight on November 9, 2022. This strike will impact deliveries and therefore delays should be expected.

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.

Canada – 12/2/2022

Operational Delays – Canada Post continues to have scanning and resourcing issues in Toronto particularly affecting Untracked and Signed items. As a result, significant delays should be expected, for items destined for Toronto, in postcodes beginning with L and ending with P, until further notice.

Weather – Canada Post issued a number of service alerts for British Columbia due to inclement weather which may be causing delivery delays. Please see more detailed information here.

Chad – 10/14/2021

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

China – 9/2/2022

Operational Delays – Items destined for China are still experiencing delays due to ongoing operational delays within China. As a result, China delays should be expected for items destined for China.

Cuba – 4/10/2020

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

Germany – 10/28/2022

Covid-19 Related Delays – Deutsche Post advises that an increase of COVID-19 infections among staff is creating challenges in delivering mail items within promised delivery times. These challenges are mainly at local/regional levels instead of nationwide but may affect different parts of Germany. As a result, minor delays may be experienced in delivering mail and packages in Germany until further notice.

Greece – 11/9/2022

A mail worker strike and an air controller strike today (November 9) will affect deliveries of international mail this week.

Guatemala – 10/19/2022

Operational Delays – Due to a carrier backlog at the Transit hub, Guatemala Post advises that transit time within Guatemala may be extended, and customers may experience delays.

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 – 11/15/2022

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.

Israel Post advises that it continues to clear backlogs in its sorting centers and delays are ongoing.

Italy – 12/2/2022

Strike Action – Poste Italiane advises that strike action by postal workers on 12/2 may cause delays of deliveries.

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.

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 – 12/2/2022

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.

Labor Dispute – Malta Post advises that a labor dispute since November is affecting mail deliveries, resulting in late deliveries.

Moldova – 3/12/2022

Conflict-Related Delays – Due to the situation in neighboring Ukraine, the Moldovan airspace is restricted to 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 – 9/27/2022

Covid-19 Related Delays – New Zealand Post advises there are delivery delays of up to two working days in the Lower South Island. Winter illnesses/ COVID-related absences are delaying deliveries by up to 2 working days in the Waikato and Hawke’s Bay regions.

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 – 10/28/2022

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.

Strike Action – Portugal Post advises there will be a postal strike on Monday, October 31, and Wednesday, November 2, 2022. Contingency plans are in place, but delivery delays should be expected during and after the strike days.

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.

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 – 11/8/2022

Conflict Related Delays – Ukraine Post (Ukrposhta) continues to collect international mail and parcels from neighboring countries for delivery inside Ukraine in areas without active hostilities.

However, the country’s infrastructure continues to be attacked by Russia, resulting in the power grid and local energy facilities necessitating rolling power cuts lasting hours. In areas following a direct missile strike, power may be cut off for several days.

Delivery and uploading of tracking data in a timely manner may be impacted when power and internet access are lost. Most Ukrposhta sorting facilities are equipped with electricity generators to ensure uninterrupted work and maintain normal customs and sorting procedures.

However, due to the overall situation in Ukraine, delivery and tracking delays should continue to be expected for most international mail and packages, even in areas without active hostilities.

Crimea (2014), Donetsk (2022), Kherson (2022), Luhansk (2022) and Zaporizhzhia (2022) are generally internationally unrecognized annexed Ukrainian regions by Russia. While portions of some of these regions may be under Ukrainian government control again, active hostilities continue and shippers should refrain from sending mail to these regions.

In addition, USPS has temporarily suspended international mail acceptance of Global Express Guaranteed (GXG) service to all regions in Ukraine.

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

United Kingdom – 12/2/2022

Strike Action – The union representing 115,000 Royal Mail postal workers has called for more strike days that will impact deliveries in December, including on the last two days before Christmas. See our more detailed article on how the ever-increasing labor dispute is affecting holiday season deliveries.

Yemen – 4/1/2020

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

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