Does USPS X-Ray Packages?

USPS handles countless packages and shipments every day. Some customers are curious about USPS security measures and whether their shipment is x-rayed.

Thankfully, we cover everything you need to know about USPS x-rays and shipments in the article below. Read on for more information.

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USPS X-Rays Packages

According to the United States Postal Service, some mail will pass through an X-Ray machine during the shipping process. USPS doesn’t have specific guidelines for which packages are x-rayed or not. However, mail sent to or through larger cities is more likely to be x-rayed.

X-Ray Explained

Some customers are concerned about the privacy of their packages when shipping with USPS. Mail privacy and security are valid concerns, so you should be aware of the following considerations:

  • Packages sent through USPS may be randomly scanned or x-rayed for security purposes.
  • Packages sent to or through larger cities are much more likely to go through an x-ray procedure.
  • Writing “Do Not X-Ray” on a package does not restrict it from being x-rayed. Writing “Do Not X-Ray” on a box may increase the likelihood that your package is x-rayed.
  • USPS recommends you contact your local Post Office if you have additional questions about package x-rays.
  • Packages with suspicious traits may be more likely for inspection and x-ray.

Does USPS X-Ray Packages

Can I Write “Do Not X-Ray” On My Package?

It’s generally not recommended to write “Do Not X-Ray” or something similar on the exterior of your package. Writing “Do Not X-Ray” may make your package appear suspicious and increase the likelihood of USPS inspecting your package.

Although USPS x-rays packages at random, ensuring your package looks standard and is securely sealed may reduce your chances of x-ray. The only way to avoid x-rays altogether is to hand-deliver your package to the recipient.

Shipping Alcohol

USPS restricts domestic and international shipments of beer, wine, liquor, and other spirits, except under limited circumstances. Furthermore, if you ship a package in a box previously used for alcohol, you’ll need to remove all logos and labels ahead of time.

Although shipping alcohol may not seem like the worst offense, it’s not advised. Your package may receive a random x-ray or burst open, resulting in consequences. In some cases, you may receive expensive fines or jail time for getting caught shipping alcohol.

Traits of ‘Suspicious’ Mail

USPS provides customers with a list of characteristics that indicate suspicious activity. USPS might use these characteristics to determine which packages to scan or inspect during shipment. Here are some suspicious characteristics to look out for and avoid:

  • Packages are sent to an address that is outdated or invalid.
  • Handwritten packages without a return address cannot be verified.
  • Packages with restrictive labels like “personal” or “confidential.”
  • Packages with unusual weights for their size
  • Lopsided and oddly shaped packages
  • Shipments with disproportionate amounts of tape and packaging
  • Mail or boxes with leaking substances or powder
  • Packages with postmarks that do not match the return address or packages with disproportionate amounts of postage.

Can USPS Open My Mail?

USPS states that first-class letters and packages are protected under the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. First-class packages cannot receive search and seizure protocols unless they have a valid search warrant.

What Are the Traits of ‘Suspicious’ Mail

However, if USPS believes a package or letter violates federal restrictions, they can obtain a search warrant to inspect it. Packages and pieces of mail that aren’t first-class can be opened without a search warrant.

Find You Local United States Post Office

As mentioned earlier, you may need to contact your local United States Post Office for the most accurate information on security protocols and package x-rays. Luckily, you can use USPS Location Finder to search your area for local facilities. Here’s how:

  1. Visit the Find a USPS Locations page at
  2. Enter your City, State, and Zip code in the field provided.
  3. Select which type of facility you’re looking for and the mile radius from the drop-down menu.
  4. Finally, click ‘Search’ to pull up a list of USPS facilities that match your search query.

You can click a USPS location from the selection to find out more information like addresses, phone numbers, and hours of operation.

USPS Hours of Operation

Your local USPS facility may have different hours of operation, depending on the location, holidays, and other factors. However, a USPS facility is typically open during the following hours:

  • Mon: 8:30AM through 5 PM
  • Tues: 8:30AM through 5 PM
  • Wed: 8:30AM through 5 PM
  • Thurs: 8:30AM through 5 PM
  • Fri: 8:30AM through 5 PM
  • Sat: Closed
  • Sun: Closed

You can find your local USPS facility with the Find a USPS Location tool.

The United States Postal Service claims on its official website that some pieces of mail will pass through an X-Ray machine. USPS does not state specific guidelines for whether a package is x-rayed or not. Packages may be x-rayed at random or if they’re deemed suspicious. That being said, mail sent to or through larger cities is much more likely to receive an x-ray.

Although you can’t avoid package x-rays altogether, you can avoid some silly mistakes to reduce your risk. Don’t write “Do Not X-Ray” or something similar on your package. Be sure to package it tightly and make it look as normal as possible. For more security information, contact your local USPS facility with the online Find a Location tool.

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