Expedited shipping, by definition, is the process of sending a parcel at a faster rate than would normally be customary. Therefore, what is deemed “expedited” will depend on the company policy of the shipper. Expedited shipping can involve delivery that occurs anywhere from the same day to as long as three days.

U.S. Postal Service

With the United States Postal Service, expedited shipping can refer to express or priority shipping, as both are faster than the customary first-class mail process. Express shipping is the fastest method, with guaranteed overnight delivery to most areas, while priority mail allows articles to reach many destinations in two to three days.


UPS, or United Parcel Service, offers a variety of expedited services. They include: same-day delivery through Express Critical service; Next Day Air; Next Day Air Early A.M.; Next Day Air Saver; 2nd Day Air; 2nd Day Air A.M.; and UPS 3-Day Select, all customarily faster than traditional UPS Ground Service.


FedEx has a variety of expedited services as well. They include FedEx Same Day delivery; FedEx First Overnight, an early morning next-day service; FedEx Priority Overnight; and FedEx Standard Overnight. There also are second-day delivery services, which are faster than the FedEx Home Delivery or Ground services.


Expedited international services are offered by the U.S. Postal Service through Global Express Guaranteed (one to three business days) or Express Mail International (three to five business days); with UPS’ Worldwide Expedited service; and through FedEx International Next Flight service. Delivery times with FedEx and UPS are contingent upon the destination.

By Vendor

Vendors have their own definitions of expedited shipping, which take into account a predetermined shipping and handling charge. For example, Amazon.com allows one to three days' handling time and express shipping for an expedited order.