December Holidays mail delay for USA

Hello, I’m having some issues I’d like to know if you all are having as well, when sending mail to USA during December.
All the cards I’ve picked to there are having huge delays (used to delivery within 15 days, but it’s over 30 for all - the earliest of a bunch of 10 was 26 days.


I’m also wondering if it’s not a delay on my side (Japan) due to new year cards volume. If anyone from USA can let me know if they are having huge delays from Japan only, please let me know.


As far as I know the U.S. Postal Service had announced that mail deliveries would be slower starting October 1st 2021. I know that sending mail to friends or penpals in Europe takes about 7-10 days, mail from Europe to the U.S. takes about twice that long, sometimes longer. I think postcards often travel slower than “regular” letters so seeing even longer delivery times would not surprise me! I don’t usually pay attention to the number of days postcards travel to me but I have a feeling they are not “fast” these days!

For some more information I found this:

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Yes, I’ve had huge delays lately to the US from Canada including 2 expired cards in the last 6-8 weeks which I’ve never had before. Normally most mail take 7 to 21 days tops from Canada to the US, so 2 expired & one 46 days so far is very unusual.

My mail to Europe & countries like Japan seems fine.

Given the service cuts, I’m wondering if mail like postcards is being put aside & not priorized instead of other letter mail delivery maybe?

There’s also delays in all postal services right now due to postal worker COVID19 absences as well.


A customer won an auction from me on eBay. The customer lives in eastern Pennsylvania; I live in northern New Jersey. I mailed his item on Nov.23, 2020; after 2+ weeks his item did not arrive, so I issued a refund. His item arrived by him on Dec. 17, 2020. I could have driven his item to his home in shorter time.


I experience the same. Usually cards I send to USA will arrive in less than 30 days. Average travel is 22 days, but none of my December cards have arrived. Hopefully they won’t be expired


Hi birdsatemylunch .
Japan Post had an alert back in October that International airmail during the holiday season would take longer than usual. It’s a problem from both sides, but I think USPS (United States Postal Service) has multiple issues.

In addition to what GermanInTX and LC-Canada say (lack of federal funding and COVID-related quarantine/absences), USPS had trouble hiring people in the holiday peak season. Due to truck driver shortages??? So it is possible that they have backlogs.

I also heard USPS chooses ground transportation over air to send items in the US, because of the high gas/ petrol prices and fuel surcharges.
And, cargo trains are attacked by thieves. According to @GonePostal1840, USPS mail was not involved in the thefts :slight_smile:

According to Deutsche Post, San Francisco International Mail Exchange Bureau stopped receiving international mail. (I don’t know the reasons. Flooded with postal items from Asia??)
When I receive postal items from Japan, it goes through Kawasaki International mail exchange bureau to San Fransisco Exchange bureau.
This is totally my guess, but the detour would cause delays.

Lastly we had natural disasters; tornados in Kentucky, wild fires in Colorado, record-high snow in the Mid-Atlantic East coast, and record-low temperatures in the Northwest West coast - Post offices were closed or no deliveries.

I don't know if this will help, but here is what I had posted a few weeks ago in a different topic. For your future reference: There are ways to speed up (just a teeny bit, though) your mail to the USA.
  1. USPS uses machines to read and sort mail. (this youtube video shows a machine processing approx.10 pieces of mail per second). So you want to make your postcard somewhat machine-friendly.
    The machines have a preferred format for an address: ALL UPPERCASE (capital) letters. Block print is better than cursive. You will write only USA or 米国 on the bottom line. The second line from the bottom is City name, State abbreviation, and postal code number, but without commas. (see the link above)
    If it is not in the favorite format, the machine might not process the mail and it will be manually handled (will slow down significantly).

  2. The machine may also spit out a postcard, if there is something is written or printed in the Barcode Clear Zone. I know Japanese postcards tend to have descriptions/copyright information printed in the area, but when possible, try to leave the zone blank (no stamps, no stickers either) so that a barcode will be printed and your postcard will be quickly scanned at each sorting point for the rest of the journey.

4 3/4" = 12cm long, 5/8"=1.6cm high

  1. For an address, use a pen that has a good contrasting color against the postcard surface. Black or dark blue ink on white paper is the best contrast for the machine to scan.

  2. Stickers, washi tapes, masking tapes and other decorations are pretty, but there is a risk that a decorated postcard will jam the machine. A smooth flat postcard runs through better.

Sorry for the looong post. I hope your postcards will arrive soon!!!


I face the same issue. My postcards to USA that I sent in November are going to expire in two days. Normally, mail to the USA takes 2-3 weeks.

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I do not think there is one specific reason for mail delays in the USA, rather it is a “perfect storm” of problems. Most have already been mentioned above, and lack of freight truck drivers is a big one.

I think everything will eventually arrive and perhaps there has been a smaller volume since the holidays. It is difficult to remain patient, though.

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I’ve had several post cards (and pen pal letters) reach me pretty late. I got one from Chile that took around 72 days to arrive. In fact enough postcards expired and reached me late that for a while I actually had quite a few more postcards received than sent. It only just leveled out.

This was very helpful, I’ll keep it in mind for future postcards! Thank you!

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I just saw this post in “They destroyed my stamps” topic.
A member reported stamps were ruined, because US post office cancelled stamps with ugly wavy lines, then cancelled them again.
A former USPS employee says it happens when a postcard gets caught in the machine.

I guess another reason to make postcards machine-friendly. Protect stamps from ugly double-cancellation

Hi! The member was referring to the stamp face being completely torn off, rather than a double cancel. The stamp got torn off in the machine. As you can see, it is not double cancelled though that often happens too.

Also as far as I know, and I’ve read multiple news sources, USPS mail was not involved in the train lootings.

Oh, it looked like a white stamp on my phone, I thought it was a design! My bad. I am going to cross out the previous post.
I edited the info about cargo train thefts. Thanks for the info!

No worries.
Maybe USPS needs to make the machines postcard friendly rather than the other way around :slight_smile:

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