Does DHL Deliver Through USPS in 2024? The Complete Guide

When you order products from overseas sellers, there‘s a strong possibility your package will be delivered in the US by the United States Postal Service (USPS), even if you purchased postage through DHL. This article provides an in-depth look at how DHL leverages USPS to deliver millions of packages annually in the US.

How the DHL and USPS Partnership Works

DHL and USPS have an extensive delivery partnership that has evolved over two decades:

  • DHL picks up the package from the shipper and provides international transportation.
  • Once cleared through customs, packages arrive at one of DHL‘s 12 major sorting hubs in the US.
  • Based on destination ZIP code, DHL hands off the package to USPS for final delivery. This is known as "last-mile" delivery in logistics.
  • USPS then delivers the package to the recipient‘s address.

According to USPS records, over 500 million packages were handed off from DHL to USPS in 2021. This demonstrates the massive scale of this delivery partnership.

DHL Services That Use USPS for Final Delivery

Not all DHL shipments are handled by USPS. Here are the main services that leverage USPS for final delivery:

DHL ServiceWeight LimitDetails
DHL eCommerceUp to 25 lbsUsed by e-commerce retailers for low-cost delivery
DHL SmartMail ParcelUp to 1 lbFor smaller lightweight packages
DHL SmartMail Parcel PlusUp to 25 lbsFor heavier packages from online sellers

Meanwhile, time-sensitive deliveries via DHL Express are always handled from end-to-end by DHL couriers.

Why DHL Relies on USPS for Last-Mile Delivery

There are several compelling reasons why utilizing USPS for final mile delivery makes logistical and financial sense for DHL:

  • Cost savings – USPS has the scale and infrastructure for affordable residential delivery, especially in rural areas.
  • Delivery speed – USPS mail carriers are doing daily routes anyway, allowing quick handoff.
  • Expanded reach – USPS can deliver to PO boxes and other addresses DHL cannot access.
  • Convenience – Recipients are often home during normal USPS delivery windows.

However, there are some downsides to relying on USPS for consumers:

  • Lack of DHL tracking – Once handed off, packages can only be tracked via USPS.
  • Potential delays – Additional handoff creates more opportunities for shipping delays.

Overall, the USPS partnership allows DHL to focus on its strengths in international shipping and logistics, while still meeting customer expectations for affordable, reliable delivery in the US.

Tracking DHL Packages Handed Off to USPS

Once a DHL package is transferred to USPS for final delivery, tracking requires checking both carrier websites:

  • Track on DHL using the original DHL tracking number until it shows "Processed at USPS Facility."
  • Click the link on DHL‘s site to switch to USPS tracking.
  • Enter the DHL tracking number on to track final delivery.

Tip: Create a free USPS account to receive text or email alerts for incoming USPS deliveries.

Transit Time for DHL SmartMail via USPS

For DHL SmartMail Parcel and SmartMail Parcel Plus, typical transit times after handoff are:

  • USPS receives package: 1 – 3 business days after arrival in the US
  • USPS delivery time: 1 – 5 business days after obtaining from DHL

So total delivery time is usually 4 – 8 business days from pickup, but may vary based on shipment specifics.

During peak periods like holidays, allow additional 1 – 2 days in transit time estimates.


The USPS partnership allows DHL to focus on fast, reliable international transport, while tapping into USPS infrastructure for affordable last-mile delivery at scale across the US. Consumers benefit from the convenience and cost savings compared to having DHL handle delivery entirely on its own. While handing off packages does add a transition point, it enables a winning combination of service quality and value.

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