What To Do When Your FedEx Tracking Number Is Invalid?

FedEx is one of the largest delivery companies in the world. Chances are, if you have a package shipped to you, it will go through FedEx. In most cases, when a company sends your package, they will provide you with a tracking number.

This tracking number will allow you to keep tabs on where the parcel is, hopefully allowing you to see exactly when your parcel is going to be delivered. But, what do you do if your FedEx tracking number is invalid? Why is it invalid?

In most cases, your tracking number is invalid because FedEx has yet to scan your package. Until it arrives with FedEx that code won’t exist in their system. In other cases, the number may be just wrong.

For example, some companies have been known to claim that the tracking number is for FedEx but it is for a different shipping company altogether. 

Let’s explain the reasons why your FedEx tracking number may be invalid and, more importantly, how you can fix the problem.

Why FedEx Tracking Number May Be Invalid

There are four reasons why your FedEx tracking number may be invalid.

The Tracking Number is Not Yet Active

When companies dispatch your packages they won’t be sent straight to FedEx. Instead, FedEx will come and collect the packages all at once. Normally near the end of the day.

Companies can generate tracking numbers before FedEx collects the packages.

However, FedEx will not label that tracking number as ‘valid’ in their system until they have scanned it in at their distribution hub.

So, if your tracking number is not yet active, wait a few hours. It eventually will be.

The Number Isn’t For FedEx

Most companies use multiple companies to deliver their packages.

It isn’t unheard of for these companies to incorrectly label a tracking number as belonging to FedEx when it really belongs to another company. In rare cases, FedEx deliveries may use other delivery companies for the ‘final mile’.

This means that your package may get a tracking number later on in the delivery process. Although, it should still display as a valid FedEx tracking number.

Most FedEx tracking numbers will have either 12 or 15 numbers. They can go up to 20-22 numbers, but this is incredibly rare for standard deliveries. The longer numbers tend to be reserved for international shipments and business-to-business deliveries.

If your tracking number doesn’t seem to be working with FedEx, then check out a couple of other major delivery companies e.g. UPS, USPS, etc.

If you head to the website of the sender, they may even list the various shipping companies that they deal with.

Incorrect Tracking Number

Make sure that you insert the correct tracking number into FedEx. Tracking numbers are long and it can be very easy to make a mistake.

The Tracking Number is Old 

FedEx tracking numbers work for a maximum of 90 days.

If it has been longer than 90 days since your package was delivered, then the tracking number will be ‘invalid’.

How To Fix Tracking Number Issues With FedEx

Want to fix that FedEx tracking number invalid message? Well, there are a few things that you can do. Firstly, check the following:

  • You have entered the correct tracking number
  • The number is supposed to be for FedEx.

If you still can’t fix the problem, then there are two things to do.


As we said, FedEx won’t ‘activate’ the tracking number in their system until they receive your package.

Most of the time, this should happen within a couple of hours of you receiving your tracking number.

However, in rare cases, it can take 1-2 days. It depends on how frequently the sender is handing their packages over to FedEx.

Reach Out To The Sender

If you have waited a couple of days and the tracking number is still invalid, then reach out to the sender.

Ask them to confirm the details and double-check that your package has been dispatched properly.

It is important to note that you cannot get in touch with FedEx directly.

For security reasons, FedEx will not deal directly with the recipient. Some people have had a little success asking FedEx to confirm whether a tracking number is in their system, but it generally isn’t worth it.

The sender will always be your best bet.

Final Thoughts

FedEx invalid tracking number errors rarely happen.

When they do, it normally isn’t a serious problem. Most of the time, you should wait to see whether the number ‘activates’. This will normally take a few hours.

You may also want to check whether the tracking number has been entered correctly.

If the problem is still occurring, then reach out to the sender. They can get to the bottom of the problem.