While conducting site visits at the Chicago International Service Center (ISC) for our International Election Mail Observations for the 2020 General and 2021 Georgia Runoff Elections project, we found significant operational delays of international packages and safety and security risks that we believe warrant management’s immediate attention and corrective action.

The U.S. Postal Service processed over 729 million pieces of international mail and parcels in fiscal year (FY) 2020 and the Chicago ISC is one of five Postal Service facilities that are primarily responsible for processing international inbound and outbound volume. A key segment of these mailings are packages, such as those sent using International First-Class, Priority, or Express Mail service.

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Comments (1282)

  • anon

    I am in Australia waiting for a package from the US. My package was posted 20th August from Grand Marais USPS. The package has been sitting at the ISC Chicago ILS ( USPS) from the 24th of August until now. That’s 78 days without shipping, without returning to sender, without informing sender or recipient of any hold ups. An online announcement says that USPS is not posting to Australia from late August and early September due to Covid and that items are being returned to sender. When contacted through email, email is not available for a FIRST CLASS POSTAGE. When contacting the post office directly to find out why the item has moved with international flights commencing or returned to sender, sender was told that the item has not been returned to sender nor posted and that information under FIRST CLASS POSTAGE is limited and not available and to be patient.

    Nov 06, 2021
  • anon

    Andre, did they say how long to be patient??? Is there an indication it will move eventually i.e, weeks, months, years??? This is so there frustrating since many of our parcels were posted before the suspension

    Nov 30, 2021
  • anon

    My pkge has been in Chicago since October 27. I just spoke to customer service and was told that they have 45 days to process it and if they have a problem with the pkge they have another 45 days to let you know about it. So in essence they have 3 months before doing anything about your package. Wish I had known about this page and the problems before placing my order. It got across the oceans in less than 5 days to be lost in the mire of the USPS. I would never have ordered abroad.

    Nov 04, 2021
  • anon

    Barbara, I hope your parcel shows up in 45 days but doubt it. Mine cleared in Chicago ISC on Sept 6th. It is now Nov 9th, with no movement, well over 45 days. I called USPS customer service the other day. The rep stated they were terribly backlogged. She also said the suspension to Australia would end soon but wouldn’t quantify what “soon” was. This is such a waiting game…

    Nov 09, 2021
  • anon

    I purchased an item back on Aug 2nd, 2021 and now I’m finally getting an update after 2 months of shipping. Saying it has an insufficient address when my address is the same on all of my packages. Why wasn’t this an issue in the initial move on my package?

    Nov 04, 2021
  • anon

    Our Priority Mail International package to China was sent out on Aug. 31, 2021. It contains legal documents for a family member to come back to the US so obviously it's very important to us. Since processed on Sept. 5 at the Chicago IL International Distribution Center, there had been no update for 50 days. We made numerous calls to USPS customer service but nobody seemed to be able to help with anything. Finally on Oct. 26 there was another update with the same processed through Chicago international center message, only to be followed by no updates ever since. USPS claims it's the US Customs who is holding the package and there is no way for them to contact Customs to resolve this issue. So as customers, are we supposed to pay for the service only to get left in complete darkness and personal belongs held by other people with no way to get them back? This is just unacceptable!

    Nov 02, 2021
  • anon

    I ordered shoes from china through Cainio and they haven't arrived. Its been stuck at the sorting center in America for 90 days now, the package cost me $130 and i can't get a refund.

    Nov 01, 2021
  • anon

    Another one to add to the stories here. First class Int package from Texas to Australia stuck in Chicago Dist Centre since 31 Aug. Sender went to Texas PO to inquire - they refuse to return to sender and that package will arrive "eventually" WTH! Just return to sender, safer than stuck in Chicago and lost forever.

    Nov 01, 2021
  • anon

    Had two packages get to chicago customs at the same time, one arrived two days after but the other has been stuck there two weeks.

    Nov 01, 2021
  • anon

    I have a package that was due on Sept 22 still do not have. It and it contains 30 items I am not at all happy no one seems to k nowhere it is not usps or the company robyn Stetson

    Oct 31, 2021
  • anon

    I have a package that was due on Sept 22and I still do not have it no body seems to know not USPS or the company that I ordered from

    Oct 31, 2021
  • anon

    My parcel is heading to Australia and has been at the distribution centre since September 18. It says is on it’s way,so where is it. That was one and a half months ago andI payed for express delivery.

    Oct 31, 2021
  • anon

    My parcel I sent to Australia state it was processed through the regional facility at Chicago Isc and is in transit to the destination. When I access AusPost.com.au I see my tracking number and that it has been processed through the gateway but had not been placed on an air or sea carrier. How long will that take. Anyone know how backlogged Chicago ISC is??????

    Oct 27, 2021
  • anon

    Replying to follow. I mailed a package from Texas to australia on Oct 13 w tentative arrival to Aus Oct 27th. Last stop was CHI, but I do see notices about suspension of delivery to aus as of oct 25

    Oct 31, 2021
  • anon

    EMS from Korea shows that my package with live plants landed in Chicago as of the 21st and was given to the destination post as of that day. USPS has still not scanned said package five days latter and claim its still in Korea. Customer Service was utterly unhelpful and could only tell me they see there are a lot of packages from S.Korea in the same pallett that are showing as having not been scanned, no explanation as to why or when they'll get scanned and start processing again. After reading the many comments here I'm currently despairing that I have lost hundreds of dollars worth of live plants to the abyss that is Chicago's IPO, and I can only pray that's not the case. I just hope I can prevent any further shipments from going that way; if not, I will be using DHL for any and all intentional shipments in the future, no matter the extra cost.

    Oct 26, 2021
  • anon

    As of today, I have 16 missing packages that I mailed to my son who is deployed with the US Navy. I spent the day today preparing my spreadsheet and visiting the post office and I got nowhere. ALL OF MY PACKAGES ARE IN CHICAGO AT THIS PLACE! Some since June and July -- most from August and September! And it's not just me; many of our military who are deployed NEED supplemental supplies when the ship's store is waiting to be refurbished! That is what we do, fill in those gaps! And provide MORALE! BUT THE MAIL IS STUCK IN THIS PLACE in CHICAGO! My son has been deployed for months with NOTHING FROM HOME! DEPLORABLE! Why don't they just return our mail to us!

    Oct 25, 2021
  • anon

    Julie, i am in the same position. Both myself and my mother in law have sent several packages and we have gotten no where. Do you have any resources to share?

    Nov 03, 2021
  • anon

    FIle inquiries on each one longer than 30 days then file insurance claims. Unfortunately, I lost hundreds of dollars in shipping and supplies to our troops fall of 2020. Oh, and call your congressman to file a complaint.

    Oct 31, 2021
  • anon

    I am an American living in Australia. I am expecting my first child around Christmas time. Since I was unable to get back home, my mom had a virtual shower for me. She tried to ship two boxes with my shower gifts priority to me back in August. They have not moved from Chicago since then. We have filed claims on both packages and followed up weekly, and still no answers. I have had other family members ship things from NYC and LA and they made it here perfectly safe and within a timely manner. I am worried that my packages are lost or may never come and I have 10 weeks left in my pregnancy. I am missing so many important and special things for my first child. USPS does not give much information other than Chicago is a mess and its hard to find people to work. This is so disheartening and truly unacceptable. They need to hire temporary workers even looking to make extra money to get all of these packages en route to where they need to go. My fear is that with the holidays coming up things are only going to get worse. I am absolutely devastated and have been praying daily. I do not even want them to come to Australia, I just want them shipped back to my mom so she can send via UPS and they can be here in a week.

    Oct 25, 2021
  • anon

    I sent a package to Singapore on June 12th and it's been stuck in Chicago, it cleared customs but it's been at this distribution center since July 31st. The recipient of it had to be refunded by Singapore PayPal and now I'm out 300 dollars. This is not fair when I definitely mailed it out and have a tracking number and everything. What is going on in Chicago?? I can't even put a claim on it or get refunded for my postage since the package is in transit. My customer in Singapore has been waiting since June to get his items. The 800 number gives me no information and my local post office can't give me any either. This distribution center needs to get it's act together quickly.

    Oct 25, 2021
  • anon

    Call the 800 number to file an international inquiry and ask to have your package returned. Yes, you can file a lost in the Mail insurance claim. USPS tells you how long on the website for international before you can file a claim.

    Oct 31, 2021
  • anon

    You may also be able to do a package intercpt. Has a fee but may be worth it.

    Nov 04, 2021
  • anon

    In transit since April 24, 2021. Customs 90 day limit has come and gone and they can't provide any information, shipper won't refund says USPS has it, USPS has not provided any tracking updates since April 24 and says Customs has it. Depending on what day I check tracking the package is either "in transit" or "Label created, awaiting parcel". So, can anyone in the USPS chain of delivery provide a straight up answer on where my, and many others, parcels are? 180 days and counting with no updates.

    Oct 21, 2021
  • anon

    Another US to Australia shipment fail. Package has been sitting at Chicago Distribution Centre since 27 August. Item was limited and I can no longer order it again. Am beyond mad!

    Oct 20, 2021
  • anon

    My package has been proceed through facility since May 29th. What can I do or whom should I call to find the package?

    Oct 20, 2021
  • anon

    The tracking information of my package has not been updated in 10 days. What is going on?

    Oct 19, 2021
  • anon

    Mine hasn’t updated in 5months mann smh

    Oct 22, 2021
  • anon

    I had an international box that I shipped out back in September for an Etsy thing and it's STILL not delivered. The box isn't marked as missing or anything like that. It's just sitting in transit. Total bs.

    Oct 19, 2021
  • anon

    Just adding to the comments. First class international small package sent from Texas to Australia arrived at Chicago Dist Centre, processed and in transit since 30 August. No further updates. In a few weeks my tracking number will disappear and I have nothing to follow up. Employ more staff! I will never deal with USPS. Parcels from India and China arrive quicker.

    Oct 15, 2021
  • anon

    Why will your tracking number disappear in a few weeks. How was it sent? I sent mine (fcips) Aug 27th. It is stuck in Chicago isc since Sept 6th. I hope the tracking number will not disappear. If it does it will be a big black hole…ever delivered or gone for good?!?!

    Oct 27, 2021
  • anon

    Tepracking is only good for 3 months unless you pay for USPS tracking upgrade. Take screens shots of the tracking information.

    Oct 31, 2021
  • anon

    Melodie, thanks. I did take screenshots. Just want it to move before the 90 days…:..(

    Nov 04, 2021
  • anon

    My package "left" chicago ISC on September 13th. It's the 15th now, it's going from Texas to Italy. It's just "waiting to be assigned a flight". WTF?! Louis DeJoy needs to be sacked. This is utterly ridiculous!

    Oct 15, 2021
  • anon

    I've learned from shopping online anything international is an up to 30 day process.

    Oct 18, 2021
  • anon

    IF you're lucky! Even before Covid I usually had to wait 6-8 wks at times. Year 2019, BEFORE C19, I had more than 75 small International packages MIA. Many to my granddaughter that NEVER came. This is unacceptable, but what can we do$$ They raise prices on us and give us less service and ain't a damn thing we can do about it I tried complaining and the next package I received look like I had a fist put through it. I would like to know what the Inspector General is getting for bonus this Christmas and what did he get last Christmas? I wonder if he is making a sacrifice. He's the one who got us in this mess, instead he is working the ones we do have to death. I'm so glad I'm about done with it, it's because they've got killed too many small businesses with their practices or should I say no show practices

    Oct 22, 2021
  • anon

    On August 20th I mailed a package Express International to my daughter in Australia. To date it is still sitting in the internal service center in Chicago and I can get no updates. Why did my post office accept the package and guarantee delivery by Sept 1st if they knew it would just sit in Chicago. My daughter checked with the postal service in Australia and they are not anymore asking the packages be held up. Please, this is totally unacceptable.

    Oct 15, 2021
  • anon

    Ditto, my package was mailed Aug 29th, sitting in Chicago since Sept 6 with no update. Cleared customs waiting to be loaded on a carrier per AusPost.com.au. I can’t tell my post office not to send my parcel to Chicago ISC. They need to staff up and not send anything through there until the backlog is cleared.

    Oct 24, 2021
  • anon

    I have a package that was processed at ISC CHICAGO IL (USPS) and is now Inbound Into Customs. Can someone please help me track this package or provide an updated status? It should not have taken this long to be delivered. It's coming from Canada to NYC. Please help.

    Oct 14, 2021
  • anon

    I have a package coming from the UK. It's has been stuck in processed through facility in ISC CHICAGO IL (USPS) at 5:47 pm on August 28, 2021. it would be wonderful if I could get some sort of information..

    Oct 13, 2021
  • anon

    I have a package stuck on the facility in ISC CHICAGO IL since the 15 of August 2021. Its been way to much now and I have no response. The package comes from China and I called this post office and they say that the company that sent the package needs to make the claim or track the package, but its crearly a problem from ISC CHICAGO.

    Oct 13, 2021
  • anon

    My daughter has lived & worked in China for 20 years. I have sent packages to her at least 3 or 4 times a year. Until June 2021 I never had a package that took more than 2 or 3 weeks from Texas to China. Not sure why the PO in my city, sends the packages to Chicago International Service Center instead of San Francisco or Los Angeles for processing. I had to file an inquiry in July for a package mailed the end of May. I received notification within a few days letting me know that the package was in route to its China destination. My daughter received it the next week. I was never told where the package was found, but it went through the Chicago ISC. I sent another package on 8/30/2021 to my daughter in China. I have checked notifications regularly & found that the package was supposedly scanned on Sept 5, 2021 in Chicago ISC. After waiting for delivery of my 8/30/2021 package to China , I attempted to file a claim online Oct. 11th. After spending 30 minutes gathering documents & scanning them for attaching to the inquiry, I hit the submit button & received a "fatal error in sending, please contact IT support". Of course, I lost everything that I had entered on the form. I again tried to fill out the inquiry form today, Oct.12th, with all of the information needed. I hit the submit button & again received the same fatal error message. I finally called the 800 # for international support, waited for 45 minutes & reached a kind voice named, Mariam. She listened as I told her my problem & concerns. She took time to gather the information from me & filed the necessary inquiry. Once again, I'm in a holding pattern at the mercy of USPS. The items in my packages are personal gifts, teacher supplies & materials, etc., nothing extravagant or expensive, but necessary for my daughter. I wonder if DHL, UPS, or FedEx might be better more efficient options.

    Oct 12, 2021
  • anon

    The claim that I filed with Miriam on Oct.12th has not even been entered into the claim inquiry system & no communication from USPS. USPS website is difficult to navigate when trying to check on claims. It is very time consuming. May be your office will have better luck than I am having!

    Oct 23, 2021
  • anon

    Today, Nov. 10th, I received a call from USPS telling me that my package to China could not be found. Thetefore. I would be receiving claims papers to fill out for the contents of the lost package. I'm sorry, but this is unexceptable. I have lost all faith in the USPS. It appears that the listed recommendations in Chicago ISC has not improved the service. I sent that package in good faith only to find that your system is not working. A package does not just vanish!!! Someone is enjoying my daughters personal items.

    Nov 10, 2021
  • anon

    UPDATE: On Nov. 17th, I received a letter from USPS dated Nov. 11th stating that the postal service of China has advised that they have no record of delivery for this article. Included with the letter was a partially filled out claim form for me to complete & return. I went to USPS Tracking & entered the custom form # again. The tracking history now showed that the package had arrived in Shanghai, China on Nov. 13th. It was processed & transferred to the final city of Qingdao, China by Nov. 19th. My daughter was notified that day & paid her custom fee. The package was delivered to its destination on Nov. 21st. USPS tracking history shows nothing between Sept. 5 & Nov. 13th! The package looked like an elephant might have sat on it, but no items were missing.

    Nov 23, 2021
  • anon

    Cheryl, Thank you for the follow up note!! So glad the package went through. Crossing fingers the rest of us have our stalled packages delivered too.

    Nov 29, 2021
  • anon

    Had an important application for USCIS to renew my work permit. Plus a 495$ money order that I put in it. Last time I saw my tracking number it still hadn't left Chicago facility. I am so terrified that I might not have a work permit by the end of this year because they still haven't transferred my package to the homeland security office. This facility is playing with my lifelyhood.

    Oct 12, 2021
  • anon

    Had a package recieved at Chicago on the 12th august and cleared for international departure to Australia on the 12th September. It is now 13th October and no further updates. Really need to move things along, shouldn't take that long even with covid.

    Oct 12, 2021
  • anon

    The usps has suspended service to Australia due to covid.

    Oct 13, 2021
  • anon

    I sent a package grom Cleveland that went through Chicago Customs since July 30 2021. The shipping shows it is still on Chicago. I had to refund the customers money. I don't want to lose the merchandise. I would be a two time loser This is awful.. Tracking takes this package to Chicago Customs. No furthur. I don't know what to do.

    Oct 14, 2021
  • anon

    We are on the same boat. I sent a priority package from Cleveland to Germany which arrived at Chicago International Distribution Center on July 27 2021. I was informed with the same message "In Transit to the Next Facility" till July 31 2021. Then haven't heard anything.

    Oct 19, 2021

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