Do USPS Shipping Labels Expire? What You Need to Know in 2024

Wondering if that USPS shipping label you printed last month is still valid? With over 7.3 billion shipping labels printed in 2022 alone, many USPS customers need to know whether their labels expire. I‘ve analyzed the official USPS policies to breakdown everything you need to know about USPS shipping label expiration in 2024.

Over 7 Billion USPS Shipping Labels Printed Yearly

To understand the importance of the expiration question, it‘s useful to grasp the sheer scale of USPS shipping label usage.

YearUSPS Shipping Labels Printed
20216.2 billion
20227.3 billion

With over 7 billion labels printed last year, millions of USPS customers are printing these labels every single day. And they need confidence that their labels will scan correctly. So let‘s clear up the confusion on expiration.

Do They Expire?

Yes, all USPS shipping labels expire 30 days after printing. This is clearly stated in the [USPS Domestic Mail Manual]. Labels expire for two reasons:

  1. To keep packages moving efficiently through the USPS system
  2. To maintain accuracy of postal codes and addresses

Once expired, postal workers technically should not accept packages with these labels. But there‘s often some leeway…

Can You Use Expired USPS Shipping Labels?

While official USPS policy mandates that packages with expired labels not be accepted, some post offices allow 1-2 days of grace period. However, you cannot rely on an expired label being accepted.

For example, reddit user Express-Extension-691 shared this experience:

"I tried to use a label that was 31 days old instead of 30 at my usual post office. They scanned it but it was flagged as expired in their system and rejected it…"

So if you have an expired label:

  • 1-2 days expired: Call your local post office and kindly ask if they will still accept it
  • Over 2 weeks expired: Safest option is to purchase a new label

Now let‘s summarize the exact expiration periods for different USPS label types:

USPS Label TypeExpiration PeriodNotes
Home-printed shipping label30 days from printed dateAfter 28 days, acceptance unlikely
Retailer provided return labelUp to 1 yearReturn by date indicated on label
Pickup scheduled label24 hoursEnsure accurate pickup details

Avoiding Expired USPS Shipping Labels

Follow these pro tips to avoid scrambling when your labels expire:

  • Schedule USPS pickups to mail packages shortly after purchasing labels
  • Use online label services allowing refunds for unscanned labels
  • Print 2 copies of labels in case one expires before mailing
  • Check label expiration date before your post office visit

So in summary, yes all USPS shipping labels expire at some point. But hopefully this inside look at USPS expiration policies has cleared up exactly when and how to best avoid issues. Let me know if any other shipping questions come up!

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