What does my tracking message mean?

When you send mail with us using a tracking service, your item gets scanned at various points in its journey.

You’ll see this information when you use Track your item.

Please note:

  • The status in Track your item will be the most up-to-date information we have.
  • The number of times your item is scanned depends on the service used.
  • For some services – including Signed for® 1st Class and Signed for® 2nd Class – we scan items twice: when we receive them and when we deliver. This could mean the status of your item doesn’t change for a few days. Don’t worry though, it’s on its way.

We’ve tried to make the messages as easy to follow as possible, but we understand that some of them can be confusing. Below you’ll find some of the most common terms and what they mean.

  • We’re expecting it or Item despatched to Royal Mail - The sender has advised they’ve despatched their item to us. We'll update the tracking information when we've processed your item.
  • We’ve got it - Your item is in our network. We’ll update the information as it moves through our network. If the service used only offers delivery confirmation, we’ll update the status when it’s been delivered.
  • Your item was posted at the Royal Mail Customer Service Point - Your item was dropped off at one of our Customer Service Points, the message will include the location, date and time. We’ll update the information as it moves through our network. If the service used only offers delivery confirmation, we’ll update the status when it’s been delivered.
  • Internal exception occurred - We’re experiencing system issues. Please try again later.
  • In transit - Your item is on its way through our network. This message can cover several stages of its journey. You’ll see more details of its location and status when you enter your reference number.
  • Pending - This can cover several possible situations in your item's journey, including if we haven't received the item yet. You’ll see more details specific to your item when you enter your reference number. Here are some of the more common Pending message meanings:
    • Held with fee to pay - There are two reasons you may have received a Fee to Pay card – the sender did not pay the full postage or a customs charge has been applied to the item. 
    • Redirection in place - item forwarded – The recipient has purchased a Redirection service to have their mail forwarded to another address. This means your item may take a day or two longer to arrive.
    • Keepsafe item – The recipient has paid for a Keepsafe service where mail is held at the delivery office for a requested length of time before being delivered.
    • Available for Collection or Redelivery – We’ve tried to deliver your item and have left a ‘Something for you’ card detailing how you can get your item.
    • Item Prepared for Redelivery/ Item prepared for Redelivery to Post Office – The recipient has received a ‘Something for you’ card and has arranged for the item to be redelivered.
    • Delivery Attempted - Address Inaccessible – We were ​unable to gain access to the address​ to deliver your item or leave a ‘Something for you’ card. We’ll try to deliver the item the next day if possible. 
  • Ready for delivery - Your item has reached the local delivery office. We’ll try to deliver it as soon as possible, unless there’s a service like Keepsafe or Redirection set up. We’ll update the status when we deliver or attempt to deliver the item.
  • Your item was delivered - We've either delivered it to the address on the item - this could be your home address, work/business address, or the address you've arranged to collect it from - or we've left your item with a neighbour.
    • If we leave your item with a neighbour the message will tell you which neighbour, we'll also leave you a card confirming the details.
    • If your item is being delivered to a work address or business, there may be some instances when we can't deliver as addressed. If you haven't had the item or a 'Something for you' card, please check with your colleagues or the post room to see if someone has accepted the item on your behalf.
  • Your item was delivered to your requested Safeplace - We've left your item in your designated Safeplace, we'll also leave you a card confirming the details. Find out more about Safeplace.
  • Proof of delivery is not available - This could mean:
    • The item was sent using a service that does not provide a copy of the signature.
    • The signature might have been taken on a confirmation of delivery card. We aim to get these signatures online within 72 hours of delivery, but you’ll usually see it much sooner.
    • Find out more about signatures.
  • Retention Item - Some business addresses have a Retention Service to cover days when they’re not open. We won’t deliver to them on these days. Instead, we’ll hold on to the item and deliver on the next working day, or according to the business’ instructions.
  • We could not retrieve your details - We’re experiencing system issues. Please try again later.
  • Collected - The recipient has picked up the item.


You may also notice some unfamiliar abbreviations in our tracking messages. These are the most common:

  • DO - Delivery Office
  • EO - Enquiry Office
  • MC - Mailing Centre
  • NRC - National Returns Centre
  • OE - Office of Exchange. On international deliveries this means the item has arrived at the import customs office.
  • POL - Post Office Limited
  • PSC - Postal Sort Centre
  • RDC - Regional Distribution Centre


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