USPS International Service Disruptions Alert

USPS Status and Service Disruptions on International Mail Shipments – Updated 3/23/2023

The United States Postal Service (USPS) offers economical and express services to more than 180 countries globally.

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Unlike couriers services such as FedEx, UPS, or DHL Express that have their own fleet of cargo planes, USPS contracts mostly with commercial airlines to transport mail to the foreign destination.

The Postal Service also contracts with FedEx to handle some of its express services such as USPS Global Express Guaranteed (GXG), and it may occasionally use other air cargo operators to move mail as well.

Upon reaching a foreign country, USPS letters and parcels are delivered by the postal service of that country. The U.S. Postal Service maintains partnerships with these postal operators, allowing for the seamless delivery of mail from U.S. addresses to destinations around the world.

While Covid-19 related restrictions are less disruptive to commercial air transport today, reliable air transport or regional operational challenges remain.

Other problems, such as natural disasters, weather, labor disputes, armed conflicts, and economic sanctions, can also cause delivery delays and restrictions that are beyond the control of the U.S. Postal Service.

On this page, we track reported disruptions and service suspensions that affect international delivery of USPS mail items.

We use multiple sources to compile this information. It is updated more frequently and does not rely solely on USPS service alerts, making it one of the most comprehensive lists of potential U.S. Postal Service delivery issues globally.

This information was last updated on 3/23/2023.

USPS Service Suspensions

Currently, the U.S. Postal Service does not accept letters and parcels to the following countries. The most common reasons are a lack of transport or service being stopped because of a conflict or economic sanctions.

  1. Afghanistan
  2. Belarus (more info)
  3. Bhutan
  4. Brunei
  5. Chad (more info)
  6. Cuba (REINSTATED SERVICE on 3/4/2023)
  7. Laos
  8. Libya
  9. Mongolia
  10. Russia (more info)
  11. South Sudan
  12. Syria
  13. Timor-Leste
  14. Turkmenistan
  15. Yemen

Unless noted otherwise, this affects the following mail services:

  • 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 stream 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.

U.S. Post Office retail locations will not accept mail to these countries when letters or packages are presented in person.

In the event an item made its way into the mail stream, USPS will return the mail item to the sender, but this can take some time.

Once the items are returned, 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 re-mailing under this option, shippers must cross out the markings “Mail Service Suspended — Return to Sender.”

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

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 political and operational control, is not advisable. We believe the mail service is mostly operational in the western and central sections of Ukraine.

Please see our update 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

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

  • Belarus
  • Russia
  • Ukraine

USPS Priority Mail Express International Money-Back Guarantee Suspension

The U.S. Postal Service temporarily suspended the money-back guarantee for USPS Priority Mail Express International shipments to all destinations on October 25, 2021.

USPS Tracking Notes

We want to explain international tracking with USPS a bit, as it’s different from private courier services such as UPS, FedEx, and DHL.

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 U.S. Postal Service has no further visibility on that item until a transit country or the destination country provides updated tracking information to USPS.

Sometimes, getting more updated tracking is possible 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. Additional comments on the country’s postal system tracking detail may provide more information on the status of the shipment than the update transmitted back to the U.S. 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 between these locations, mail pieces are typically tracked in groupings packed inside cargo containers. This can result in longer gaps between tracking events.

USPS Insurance Claim Update

The U.S. Postal Service advised during the height of the COVID-19 emergency that it may take up to 60 days to process an insurance claim for lost or damaged international shipments. Thist may still apply depending on destination.

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 has caused some problems with package shipments when the shipper did not provide sufficient 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 or suspensions. If a country is not listed, the postal operator is not reporting significant service delays in its network that would affect delivery.

The date shown after the country is the last time the information for this country was updated or re-confirmed. Once a situation clears, the country is removed from this list.

Afghanistan – 8/9/2021

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

Ascension Island & St. Helena – 12/7/2022

Transportation Availability – 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 ongoing until airport/runway rebuilding work is complete.

Note: Mail to The Falkland Island is not impacted.

Aruba – 12/16/2022

Facility Damage – Aruba Post advises importation delays due to a fire in the international mail processing center. The building had to be temporarily closed, but it appears Aruba has made alternate arrangements allowing it to continue to receive international mail. Delivery delays should be expected.

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.

Chad – 10/14/2021

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

China – 11/28/2022

Operations / Covid-19 – Items destined for China are still experiencing delays due to ongoing operational challenges and Covid-19 outbreaks within China. Delivery delays should be expected.

Germany – 3/23/2023

Labor Dispute – A major nationwide strike is set for Monday, April 27 that will impact trains and airports. Frankfurt and Munich airports have already cancelled all passenger flights for Monday, which will impact international postal shipments. Delivery delays of international mail should be expected next week.

Guatemala – 10/19/2022

Operational – Due to a carrier backlog at the transit hub, Guatemala Post advises that transit times within Guatemala may be extended. Delivery delays should be expected.

Ireland – 9/1/2022

New EU VAT Customs Rule – Shipments arriving in Ireland may experience 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 Center Campus before being released. If payment is not received by the payment due date or the customer rejects the item, it is returned to the sender.

Israel – 1/16/2023

Operational – Israel Post advises that due to a planned Customs system update on January 15, 2023, the customs systems will not be operational from January 12, 2023, to January 15, 2023. Delivery delays should be expected.

Kiribati – 12/15/2021

Transportation Availability– Expect slow delivery (2+ months) due to infrequent flights. Delivery delays should be expected.

Note: As of December 16, 2022, this alert was still active. We are seeking additional information as it’s been over a year 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.

Malawi – 3/23/2023

Malawi Post advises that Cyclone Freddy, which hit the Southern Region of Malawi, brought strong winds, floods, landslides, and mudslides.

There is significant damage to infrastructure, including offices and houses, and some roads are also impassable. Post offices and postal staff have also been affected: for example, Muloza post office was completely submerged, and the roofs of offices at Blantyre and Chichiri were damaged, leading to damage to office equipment and furniture.

Most offices in the affected area have been closed to ensure the safety of customers and staff. Given this situation, Malawi Post has declared a force majeure situation and delays should be expected for some time.

Malta – 12/21/2022

New EU VAT Customs Rules – 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. Malta Post strongly advises shippers provide accurate phone or email information for the sender to avoid delays.

Mauritius – 2/22/2023

Weather – Mauritius Post advises that a Class 3 cyclone has affected postal operations on the island. The international airport is open again and receiving flights. However, the post said that while postal operations began to resume, there are still some challenges. Delivery delays should still be expected.

Mongolia – 4/1/2020

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

Nauru – 11/4/2021

Transportation Availability – Several foreign 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.

Covid-19 – 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. Delivery delays should be expected.

New Zealand – 3/23/2023

NZ Post advises that the national state of emergency was lifted on March 3 due to flooding from servere weather with several areas now in the recovery stage.

Local states of emergency were lifted in the Hawkes Bay and Tairawhiti regions on March 14, however infrastructure damage remains and this will impact NZ Post’s ability to transport mail and complete deliveries in some areas. As a result, delays may still be experienced.

Peru – 1/27/2023

Unrest – The Peruvian Post advises that its postal network may be disrupted due to civil unrest and protests that have periodically occurred since December. The unrest has interrupted transportation and access to certain areas.

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.

Singapore – 3/3/2022

Covid-19 – Singapore Post advises its delivery standards are back to normal. However, restrictions previously introduced due to COVID-19 infection remain in place. Signatures are not collected at delivery.

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 pickup by the addressee.

Slovakia – 2/22/2023

Operational – Slovakia Post advises that it is upgrading some critical IT infrastructure starting on March 5, 2023, that may result in data transmission delays. The postal operator believes it should resolve any delays by the April 1. Shippers may see delays in tracking data during the month of March.

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.

Turkey – 2/9/2023

Natural Disaster – Two large earthquakes have hit the country on February 6. The Turkish government has declared a state of emergency with effect from February 8, 2023.

These devastating earthquakes have caused buildings to collapse and significant disruption to transport and travel in the affected areas.

The most severely impacted cities are Adana, Adıyaman, Diyarbakır, Gaziantep, Hatay, Kahramanmaraş, Kilis, Malatya, Osmaniye and Şanlıurfa, as well as the surrounding districts and villages.

This has a major impact on operations and delivery delays should be expected.

Tuvalu – 12/15/2021

Transportation Availability – Expect slow delivery (2+ months) due to infrequent flights. Delivery delays should be expected.

Ukraine – 11/8/2022

War – 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 – 2/9/2023

Labor Dispute – The labor dispute between Royal Mail and its workforce continues. There are currently no new planned strike days, and the backlog from the holiday season should be resolved.

The two sides continue to talk, but progress is slow, and the union had planned two strike days in February that had to be called off due to a legal technicality.

Vanatu – 3/17/2023

Vanuatu Post advises that the Vanuatu Government has declared a state of emergency for the whole country in the wake of category 4 tropical cyclones Judy and Kevin, which struck the country in the first week of March. The state of emergency will last until 31 August 31, 2023.

While Vanuatu Post will continue to operate, postal service quality for international inbound and outbound mail and service delivery standards (including delivery times and other quality parameters) cannot be guaranteed. Delays should be expected.

Yemen – 4/1/2020

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

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  1. Jim Morton says:

    Is there any way to inquire with the USPS about Bhutan ? They receive mail from all other countries and have direct flights from Bangkok to Paro. I think this has been an oversight on the USPS part to lift the suspension. We do charity packages to nurses and single mothers and others and it’s been 3 years since they suspended for Covid . There is no strife or labor problems in Bhutan. I have to order items from other countries and have them shipped direct because the USPS insists that they are closed, but the country has been reopened for 6 months at least. If you have any pull or contacts that I can try I’d appreciate any help. Thanks in advance . Jim Morton

    1. Hmmm. That is an interesting observation with Bhutan. I can only guess that USPS does not have a contract with an airline that services the country and that is why it’s still on the list…


  2. I have a magazine in a brown cardboard envelope coming to USA from UK. Sent 3/3/23 from UK, with tracking and all declarations listed.
    Arrived in US 3/09/23. Stuck in Chicago customs, 15 days now.
    Same person sent 2 other mags, same envelope, tracking, declarations on the same day. Those were in the recipients hands in 7 days. What do they do in Chicago, why would they hold a pkg that is the same as the others she mailed?
    I have had other magazines that I ordered arrive in a week from UK.
    USPS-? Maybe Fed-EX or DHL are the better options…

    1. FedEx or DHL have better handling on their tracking and when items get stuck in customs, they can more efficiently help to get them unstuck. With USPS, it’s always more difficult. Could also be that the package was damaged somehow and is lost. Keep in mind that many scans are group scans, meaning once the container or bag that carries a mail piece arrives, they only scan the arrival of the container, not the individual items in it.

      Probably worth a call to USPS to see if they can help with this.


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