Why do I get the USPS “inbound into customs” message?

If you have ever placed an order from overseas and had it delivered by USPS, you have likely encountered this status. It is normal to be concerned when you see a message such as “inbound into customs”, as this is not what you expect when ordering a package normally.

What does this mean, is it something bad, will I not receive my package? These are questions you may ask yourself in this situation. Here we will answer them and inform you about the situation your package is going through at customs.

“Inbound into customs”, a scary status

When the status “Inbound into customs” appears in the tracking of one of your shipments, do not panic. It’s totally normal, in fact, it’s part of the legal process of shipping a package to the United States. This is just the USPS’s way of letting you know that the process is being fulfilled.

In layman’s terms, this USPS status means that the package has been cleared through customs and passed the process successfully. This means that it is getting closer to delivery.

You can also find the term “Outbound” as a prefix, which is an immediate follow-up to the previous one used. In this case, it means that the product is already on its way to its next destination, either a redistribution center or the final destination.

You may be interested in knowing how the customs system works

The operation of the customs system for receiving packages in the United States is a machine that has been working for years. The whole process takes place either at the airport or at the port, depending on where your product is coming from, of course.

Your package is received either by airport or airline workers, depending on the case. They are responsible for handing it over to the customs authorities who test that your package complies with the law under high security. This is before taking the next step in the process.

Once approval is obtained, your package is handed over to the USPS or your shipping agency. They must file all the necessary paperwork and taxes to release the package. Not before the package has been x-rayed for a check on its contents, that is.

How long can the “Inbound into customs” process take?

The only thing that’s still up in the air about the process is “How long will it take?” This is because even now, it is still up to luck as to how long your package can spend in customs waiting for approval.

According to the USPS, you can expect your package to remain in customs for 24 to 48 hours on average. Although this is not always the case, just as your package may be released the same day, this process may take longer.

A very overloaded process

The ISC is the agency in charge of the customs receipt of each package that arrives in the United States. Mostly at the John F. Kennedy airport, so as you can imagine, millions of packages per day will go through the same process.

So it is normal that the process exceeds the average of 24 to 48 hours that are usually given and extends to 72 or 96. There are even cases where packages spend up to a week in this process, without any external inconveniences coming into play.

It is important to remember that every package that arrives at the U.S. Customs is checked by x-ray machines and sometimes personally by Customs workers.

Why is my package taking so long in customs?

This process is not always delayed for customs reasons. On many occasions, there are problems with the package and its shipment that generate a delay in its release. This is why we will now define the most common problems and possible solutions.

Problems with paperwork

One of the most common reasons why a package may be delayed in this process is that there are problems with the shipping paperwork. This is why it is important to fill out these forms in detail, specifying the shipping addresses.

The contents

If the content of your package does not comply with the legal requirements imposed by the ISC, this will undoubtedly cause a problem in its entry to the United States. It is of high importance that before sending a package you verify its legality.

Package Damage

If during the shipping process your package is hit or damaged, there is no doubt that the ISC and customs police will keep an eye on it. These packages are placed under increased scrutiny before they are approved for entry into the United States.

False Positive

It is not uncommon for certain packages to pass the personal verification process by the customs officer for a “false positive”. In this case, the package must be opened and checked as to its contents. Once this is accomplished, the normal process will continue.

Should I call USPS if my package takes a long time to “inbound into customs”?

USPS recommends that you contact them after at least 4 or 5 days of waiting for this process. This is to avoid overloading the system with queries due to the number of packages that are delayed in this process.

Waiting for an order that we long for is not easy, but sometimes it is the only thing we have left in a process that normally has taken up to 10 days to be fulfilled. But whenever you have a question, you can always contact your local USPS office.