USPS in Possession of Your Item – What That Status Means and What To Do

usps van, what does usps in possession of item mean

Seeing the tracking status “USPS in possession of item” can be confusing if you don’t know what it means. This article will explain what this status indicates and what you should do if your package seems to get stuck at this step.

This status simply means that USPS has scanned your mail item into their system and it is now in their possession. USPS scans all mail and packages at different stages of the delivery journey to update the tracking status and show where the item is currently located.

So getting the “USPS in possession of item” message means your mail or package has been received by the postal service. Now USPS will process it and transport it to the next facility until it reaches its final destination address.

Why Your USPS Tracking May Get Stuck at “In Possession of Item”

There are a few reasons why your package tracking may get stuck showing the status “USPS in possession of item” and not update for several days:

  • High volume of mail and packages in transit leading to delays
  • Item needs to clear customs which can cause long holds
  • Issues with the USPS tracking system and scanning process
  • Package fell off or was missorted somewhere along its journey
  • Unforeseen events like weather delays or machinery breakdowns

USPS handles hundreds of thousands of shipments per day, so it’s not uncommon for some packages to get temporarily stuck at a facility if volumes are high.

International packages also often get delayed at customs for inspection before being released to USPS for final delivery. This necessary customs clearance process can take several days in some cases.

Problems with barcode scans and the tracking software can also lead to misleading status messages if an item is not properly scanned along the way. And possibilities like missorting or damage mean your package could get stuck until someone locates it and puts it back on track.

The sheer volume of mail and dependence on scans makes some delays inevitable. But most stuck packages eventually start moving again in a day or two.

How Long Can USPS Take Once They Have Your Item?

Once USPS is in possession of your mail item, how long does it take to arrive at your address? There is no definite time frame, but the postal service aims to deliver most mail within 2-5 days domestically.

However, it’s not abnormal for packages to take over 5 days from the “USPS in possession” scan before getting delivered. This depends on the mail class, origin and destination distances, and whether transport goes smoothly each step of the way.

If USPS already has your package in their network but it’s been more than 5-7 days with no further tracking updates, then it’s likely stuck somewhere. Contact USPS customer service if your mail has been in possession for over a week with no delivery.

For priority mail and first class packages, you can expect most to deliver in 2-4 days from the “in possession” scan if shipping distances are not too great. But inclement weather, customs holds, and other snags can lengthen that time considerably.

Be patient for up to a week or so, then follow up on a stalled package in USPS possession if you still don’t have it in your hands.

What To Do If Your Package Is Stuck at “USPS In Possession of Item”

Don’t panic if you see no further tracking updates for a few days after the postal service takes possession of your package. But here are some tips on what to do if your item seems to be stuck in limbo:

  • Wait a full week – Be patient for at least 5-7 days before taking action on a stalled package. USPS tracking can lag behind a package’s actual movement.
  • Contact USPS customer service – If it has been over a week with no delivery or tracking updates, file an inquiry with USPS online or by phone.
  • Visit your local post office – The staff there can investigate the status and possibly locate your package if it’s still within the postal network.
  • Check if custom clearance is holding up an international item – Global shipping needs to go through customs which takes extra time.
  • Look for updates on the USPS tracking page – Stuck packages often start moving again; keep monitoring the tracking page for any changes.
  • Consider the mail class – Slower classes like Media Mail may have longer expected delivery times vs Priority Express.
  • Check if a Delivery Confirmation scan is missing – A missed scan makes tracking appear stuck even if the package keeps moving.
  • Be sure the shipping label is still attached – It could have fallen off causing a “lost” status.
  • Verify the address is correct – An incorrect address will prevent delivery.

The problem may resolve on its own if the package was just delayed a short time. But if there are still no updates after contacting USPS, you can work with the shipper to start a claim or trace the missing item.

What “USPS in Possession of Item” Means for Your Tracking Status

In summary, seeing the tracking status “USPS in possession of item” signifies:

  • USPS has your package or letter mail in their physical custody.
  • A postal worker scanned it into the USPS tracking system during processing.
  • The item is now at a USPS facility undergoing sorting and transport to the next facility.
  • You should see additional delivery scans and tracking updates as it gets closer to its destination.
  • Wait 5-7 days for domestic mail or longer for international.
  • Contact USPS if the status doesn’t update after a reasonable time; don’t assume it’s immediately lost.
  • Reasons for a prolonged “in possession” status can include customs clearance, tracking errors, or handling issues.
  • But in most cases, USPS will get your package delivered within a week or so after taking possession of the item.

So you can breathe easy when USPS has your mail item in their system. The next steps are on them to get it safely to your address or recipient’s mailbox. This handoff to USPS possession marks the beginning of the final journey to delivery of your packages or letters.

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