USPS Post Office sign

USPS Suspends Package Services to Australia Due to COVID-19 Outbreak – Update 3/12/2022

USPS has temporarily suspended some international services to Australia. This suspension is due to COVID-19 transportation cancellations and restrictions and as of 3/12/2022, USPS still shows the following services are suspended.

  • Airmail M-bags – effective October 1
  • International Priority Airmail (IPA) M-bags – effective October 1
  • International Surface Air Lift (ISAL) M-bags – effective October 1
  • Priority Mail International (PMI) – previously suspended September 17

USPS says that all packages which have not been processed by the International Service Center (ISC) will be processed as “Mail Service Suspended — Return to Sender”.

We will continue to monitor the situation, and for more detailed, up-to-date information, please check our USPS International Services Alerts page.

USPS Industry Alerts and News for Australia

Update: USPS Industry Alerts on Australia.

USPS issued an industry alert (effective October 1, 2021) regarding Australia. In the industry alert, USPS says, “Due to COVID-19, international shipping has been suspended to many countries. 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.”

This followed the original Industry Alert on Australia issued September 1 by USPS, followed by the second Industry Alert on Australia, issued September 15.

Update (January 28, 2022): Australia Post advises that its daily operations are currently suffering disruption because of severe storms and flooding across the country, and especially in the states of South Australia and Queensland and the Northern Territory. The processing and delivery of inbound and outbound mail items is affected. Deliveries in Queensland to postcode areas 4731, 4805 and 4820 (flooded roads), and areas 4804 to 4852 (road closures) are especially impacted.

Update (March 11, 2022): USPS has issued an industry alert saying it has resumed the acceptance of more mail services. But still, the most popular service, Priority Mail International, is still on the list of mail services it will not accept yet.

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47 Comments

  1. Rhea Pulster says:

    Crapppppp. I sent my package prior to the suspension. It still hasn’t made it.

      1. thanks for the article!! – an UPDATE on my end.. the US POST recommended we ship via GlobalPost which is a service you probably all have seen on your Endicia/Stamps.com labels. They ensured us the service with them is unaffected, however we have 20+ parcels that have been sitting at GlobalPost export center for months.. not one has moved, even recent parcels from feb-march. BEWARE! GlobalPost customer service hasn’t responded to any of our inquiries over the past 6 months. UPS is delivering 2-4 days from USA to AU, so go with that.

        1. Wow, sorry to hear what you’re going through Andrew, thanks for the update for others!

    1. Same 😔
      Been stuck in NY for weeks.

      1. The latest USPS updates added more mail services to the pickup suspension. The problem is that USPS is supposed to send them back, but like what happened in 2020, especially during the holiday, returns are not a priority for USPS. Therefore, it seems, the package will sit around for a while and eventually comes back (most of the time), but the customer is unhappy because they don’t understand what is going on and sellers get into the situation that they can’t claim the shipment lost yet because USPS still considers it in the system…

        I don’t know what the answer is, but it seems we will see some of these problems return again that we battled last year.

        Richard

    2. Hi. I had a package cleared for international dispatch on 28 August (before the suspension). It is 10 October and the parcel is still sitting in Chicago. The seller has conformed it wasn’t sent back to him, so who knows what is going on. I have some very upset and frustrated customers in Australia wating on their items.

      1. I also have a parcel that has been held up in Chicago since July 27th . It is now November 1st and still not seen it ! Good luck with yours

      2. I have the exact same issue on the same date. Is 5 November and still appears in chicago

  2. Michel clairfayt says:

    Not very helpfull all of that. The US post tracking system isn’t good. 6 weeks after issuing a tracking number I still don’t know where is the equipment I have ordered in August.

  3. Tayla Lewis says:

    I had a package that has been rpocessed through sydney and has apparently left sydney 24 days ago and I have not heard anything since. I have reached out to USPS 3 times and have not got a reply from anyone

    1. While Australia Post doesn’t include the United States on its outbound list of countries for which to expect significant delays, we can only assume the same transport availability that is part of the USPS suspension to Australia is also a problem for mail shipments coming to the US. Also, you need to check what service level was used. If it is “Economy,” it could be a while.

      Until there is a scan by USPS ISC (International Service Center) in the US, USPS will not have any direct information about the whereabouts of the shipments.

      You should check on Australia Post website for any shipment details first as they will know more about the package than the US until it is processed by the ISC.

      https://auspost.com.au/

      Do keep in mind that postal shipments that leave a country will generally not have any tracking details until they arrive at the destination country’s international processing center. That is different from couriers like UPS and FedEx that often have some waypoint tracking.

  4. I am just wondering if anyone knows how long the TEMPORARY suspension of parcels to Australia ETA is. Is it weeks, months, years. My package is sitting in Chicago waiting to be placed on a plane of ship since Sept 6th. It was processed Aug 29th. A USPS status uodate would be so helpful. AusPost only states that it cleared their gateway but hasn’t been loaded on a plane or ship. The general Aussie Post states USPS has Temporarily suspended parcel to Australia and that they are watching the suspension closely. Anyone know if there is a website to check with current … little more definitive updates?

    1. There is no definitive timetable for when the suspension would be lifted. There seems to be very little air cargo capacity available for USPS to Australis to accommodate anything but Priority Express and GXG (which is transported by FedEx). Even Canada Post had to suspend most of their mail services to Australia earlier this month. We look at several postal operators around the world and some international news to update this list. That is why our list often has more information than USPS’s official information. Australia Post has a lot of suspended outbound services as well, but this morning they resumed some services to Asian countries. In addition, the situation within Australia has been bad as well with Australia Post now twice having to suspend parcel pickups from local businesses for a few days to clear their backlog.

      Unfortunately, we know from last year that once a package hits a USPS ISC (International Service Center), it rarely is returned in a timely manner, if at all. Last year, USPS organized ocean freight to Europe and Brazil, but there is no word if that is under consideration or even feasible considering the global shortage of ocean freight capacity right now as well. Personally, I could see sending an empty container back to China right now has more commercial value than sending a container with mail to Australia…

      The best suggestion right now would be to start a trace and maybe try to file an insurance claim. In essence, your claim would be that the package is supposed to be returned and it hasn’t. If that effort is worth your time is another question, but at least you might be able to get a refund on your postage. I’ve battled the USPS insurance claim game a few times and generally found it a waste of my time unless I was dealing with a high-value item.

      I know these are not the answers anyone wants to hear. But we are tracking the Australia and New Zealand situation (NZ is basically the same general issue as Australia) every day as there seems to be a lot of interest in updates for both countries.

      Richard

      1. Thank you. This is helpful to know the situation is monitored closely by your group…it is just a black hole at USPS. Again thanks

      2. Maybe there is hope yet …wishful thinking … so we all have parcels delivered. Auspost is adding 4,000 people, new processing facilities, temporary weekend deliveries in Victoria. $1billion over the next three years. USPS is adding 40,000 temp people, 45 new sites, 112 new sorting machines. Again wishful thinking because this slowdown has more than postal infrastructure but shipping, covid, and trucking as well

      3. Anonymous says:

        Richard, do you have any insight from watching other sites when USPS will be resuming shipping to Australia as well as how the cargo ship/cargo infrastructure debacle is going? My FCPIS was posted in August, prior to the Sept 3, 2021 suspension to Australia. The parcel is just sitting in Chicago…hoping they will end the suspension and resume shipping soon.

        1. Not really. I know some European postal services are sending items by ocean freight to Asia, assuming they believe they can enter the airmail stream into Australia easier from there. Australia Post has opened up mail services to and from more countries in Asia, but how much backlog there is in the system is anyone’s guess. Unfortunately, USPS said that shipments to Australia would be sent back to the sender, but I’ve seen reports of situations like yours where it seems the parcel is just stuck at a USPS ISC. Based on last year’s situation, some will eventually be moved, others will be lost forever. If there is an insured value to the shipment, it would be best to file an insurance claim now.

          I will try to do some digging this week if there is any more news on this situation in general, but I have been looking at various operators over the weeks and don’t see much change so far.

          Richard

          1. Anonymous says:

            Thank you Richard, I will watch for post.

      4. Melinda Perugini says:

        Oh my it seems your knowledge I have purchased eBay item the item has hit a black hole no further tracking I don’t believe it even left the global shipping depo in Kentucky maybe someone has sticky fingers so confused on tracking though can you help me pleeeease can only give you the 2 numbers given on eBay track package its destination is australia
        And I can’t call anyone to help in australia it’s sucks
        Under tracking
        It says ups global and has this tracking

        1Z14V4170336142647 then under

        UPAAH000000002781864

        Hasn’t tracked since October
        I really had my heart set on it EBay give no answers

        I want to find it
        Refund isn’t good enough

        :0(

        1. This sounds like it was sent through the eBay Global Shipping Program and the UPS number is only the US domestic shipping portion. The other number could be Australia Post’s StarTrack service, but I have no idea how eBay is getting the items from the US to Australia with USPS suspension of most services to Australia. They recently increased the prices temporarily to Australia due to increased costs, but eBay didn’t specify what they were doing differently to deal with this situation. The seller needs to contact eBay to get some answers and if the seller doesn’t help or can get an answer, your only choice left may be to open an eBay case.

          Richard

  5. Jennie Todd says:

    I live in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia and I have to say our mail service hasn’t been that bad considering, but then again, we haven’t had the same problems as Sydney and Melbourne COVID-wise. Our biggest problem is being able to get supplies from US because USPS won’t accept mail to Australia. Maybe they should consider accepting mail for the Brisbane Exchange now that the Air services are opening up again?
    Pretty sure if you had an outbreak in Texas you wouldn’t cut off the mail service to New York, would you? There’s more to Australia than Sydney and Melbourne, so why cut us all off?

    1. Postal logistics is not the same as FedEx, UPS, or DHL. They rely on commercial passenger flights and even Australia Post has many countries listed that it currently has suspended service to. There are some services USPS has continued to Australia, but the more popular Priority Mail Express or First Class Mail package are still a problem, suggesting there is a cargo capacity issue. Canada Post also has restrictions on shipments to Australia and most suspensions continue to New Zealand as well. The entire region is a cargo capacity issue and IMO it has less to do with Australia Post operations, but more with getting parcels into the region.

  6. Bob Crowley says:

    Hi. I had a package cleared for international dispatch on 25 August , and it still appears to be sittting in Chicago. The latest check date I could find was the 10th September.

    I’ve sent emails to the vendor and Pitney-Bowes (maybe it’s their warehouse?), but I’ve heard from neither of them.

    About all I can do is wait I suppose, and hope it gets here eventually.

    1. I spoke to USPS customer service both Nov 6th and Nov 8th. My package sitting in Chicago since Sept 6th hasn’t moved either. In both calls they said it will take time. The call on Nov 8th, the cust serv rep sounded a little more hopeful. She stated the suspension to Australia will end soon….of course she didn’t give me a date and could have just said that as she guessed it was what I wanted to hear but really hoping with more international flights we may see more packages getting out. On another note, my Aussie friend went to her post office to mail a parcel here and was told not to even try as it will take months to be delivered…the beat goes on…

  7. Patricia Bjorling says:

    I send my stuff First Class international — not package rate or priority. Most, but not all of my recent shipments have been returned to me before leaving the US. I thought regular first class was supposed to be ok?

    1. USPS says the suspension only impacts USPS First-Class Package mail to Australia. I did not include regular First Class mail, so we assume that means it should be transported. However, if mail is stacking up, it’s possible some centers are just returning everything for now. Mail logistics to Australia seems still very strained, based on other postal operators we watch.

      Basically, if you need it to go to Australia, the best bet is UPS, FedEx, or DHL at the moment.

  8. Anyone have any updates on when parcels will flow again to Australia and region? I have a first class international parcel sent prior to the Sept 3rd suspension. It has been process through the Chicago region facility and according to AusPost, it cleared their gateway though not placed on a carrier. Because it is not priority I have been told it was not eligible for a claim to be initiated. I understand they will process GXC? first and Chicago is trying to catch up/and not many flights to Australia…but I am losing patience. Anyone have any insight on how the backlog is coming or a rough eta of when this should get better?

    1. I am lucky.Cleared ISC/Customs now ‘in transit to next facility’.US sure is a big country!

  9. I guess AUS is opening up international flights, with an increase in SYD to LAX flight sometime in Nov. maybe that will help move parcels along. Of anyone has more insight let us know.

  10. John Buck says:

    So we are still in a pandemic?
    Courts are still demanding in person trials and other parts of the US government are full blast too.
    It seems there is half a pandemic floating around and half not.
    Every time there is an issue the pandemic did it, but if there is not an issue it is good thing we are coming out of this pandemic.

    So what the [email protected]$k is going on? How bad is this and are we still in dark waters?

  11. robert lyons says:

    OK we realise there are delays. My question is why can,t USPS at least answer my tracking questions by saying my parcel is safely being held in chicago rather than just say nothing. At lest then I will know it,s not lost. Bob

  12. Not only the shipping delays but I have seen vendors in the USA who will not even sell you the product if you reside in Australia or NZ because of the USPS problems.

    1. Unfortunately, some vendors only use USPS and they are a bit stuck. While USPS still appears to transport GXG and Priority Mail Express services, we also hear of situations where packages are returned because postal employees think these are not allowed. Right now, the only safe method to ship to Australia and NZ is to use UPS, FedEx, or DHL from the US. All three operate their own fleets and are not reliant on passenger air service to transport packages.

      It doesn’t look like this will change this year and we’ll have to see how much longer it will continue into 2022.

      Richard

  13. Hello Richard
    Have you heard anymore about Ebay and its Global Shipping from US to Australia – I have only just found out about this whole issue – Both my items are stuck – contacted Ebay and they didnt even mention the suspension –

    At the moment both items are classed as ‘Safe’ – and being tracked under Australia Posts ‘APG eCommerce’….they also have not mentioned the suspension – APG just told me:

    ‘Thank you for contacting APG eCommerce Solutions.
    After further investigation, I can confirm that the parcel is still in the warehouse, “there is an allocation issue” and the flight should be booked shortly.
    We estimate that the delivery date will be within next week. Please contact us back that if you do not receive your order by then.’

    1. The suspension is specific to USPS and includes most of their service levels. Other postal operators have similar issues as well. It really is a cargo availability issue. As far as eBay is concerned, I really don’t have an idea what they are doing to move packages, but the fact they raised prices to Australia makes me think they are trying other ways that are more expensive…

      Richard

  14. Oh boy, having no problem posting a package to AUS in June I didn’t realize the depth of trouble sending from the USPS. I just tried to send a “flat rate” package from SF EastBay bound for Sydney vicinity. However the PO wouldn’t permit Flat rate, Priority or First Class. The only option to send to AUS is PM Express International. So I payed the EXPRE$$ price. There’s no eta given, but I do have a tracking number. I had no idea how unreliable it has become. I should’ve sent it via DHL (especially since my hubby is a DHL courier) but didn’t realize this was going to be the situation. Fingers crossed.

  15. Hooray, my FCIPS parcel finally arrived at its destination in Australia! It was mailed Aug 30th, prior to the suspension, sat in Chicago ISC for months. It landed in Sydney Dec 8th and delivered yesterday. I guess they finally found a spot for it on a plane as it landed in Sydney via air delivery. Total time from my post office to the recipient:105 days.

    1. Wow… At least it’s nice to know it was actually somewhere. Glad it showed up for you.

      1. Thanks. It meant the world for them to receive the parcel. I hope others see progress and delivery soon as well. Btw, if anyone has sent to Australia, sign up for Auspost.com.au, they gave me more information than the USPS website once the parcel cleared US customs.

        1. Jo, that is a good tip, regardless of the destination country. Usually, the domestic Postal Service of the destination country will have faster updates on the location and movement of the parcel once the shipment arrives in that country.

          1. Exactly. In Auspost, I was able to see that the parcel was sitting at their gateway but had not been placed on a sea or air carrier. It sat there for months. Additionally, I asked for an AusPost inquiry to make sure it wasn’t lost. They researched the tracking number to confirm (getting back to me within 48hrs) it had not left the the US and still waiting to be placed on a carrier. Much better customer service and better website than USPS. I also signed up for AusPost tracking so I was alerted the minute it was processed in Sydney.

  16. Nigel Patterson says:

    Interesting post. Australia Post has stated it will receive and process all international shipments that “arrive” in Australia. It has not rejected – “returned to sender”, any post! Appears the real issue here is lack of air transport from the US to Australia.

    1. Correct, that’s been the issue from day one. If the shipment makes it to Australia, it will be delivered. But USPS is not accepting some packages and may return them to the sender before they leave an ISC in the US. Apparently, some backlogs are moving and Express packages are being transported, but USPS has not lifted the restrictions on the other mail types yet.

      Richard

  17. My parcels have been sitting in a Global Post warehouse for ages. Hope USPS gets itself sorted soon. I would love to be able to fix my computer sometime this century, the part was only available in the US. We have no issues with mail here in Australia just a few weekends when sorting centres would no accept deliveries due to online shopping for Christmas which was in early December only. Planes have been flying nearly everyday into Australia from USA and most countries since December so I dont know what their issue is.

  18. Peter Butson says:

    Well It’s now the 21st of Jan 22 and I am still waiting for my $200 parcel from the US ordered in Sep 21. There have been no major issues with Australia Post in the meantime as I have received stuff from Perth at the other end of the continent within a week. I despair of seeing my parcel from the US though.

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