What Does “Inbound Out Of Customs” Mean For USPS Packages?

USPS mailbox. What does usps inbound out of custom mean

Have you ever tracked a package coming from overseas and seen the message “Inbound Out of Customs”? If you’ve ordered items internationally, you’ve likely come across this notification and wondered what it means. This article will explain what “inbound out of customs” means for USPS packages and provide a comprehensive guide to the customs process.

Understanding this message is key to tracking your package’s progress. Read on to find out why your package goes through customs, what happens during clearance, and how long it takes to move on to the next stage of delivery after customs release. With this knowledge, you’ll have realistic expectations for your package’s arrival.

Why Do Packages Go Through Customs? Overview of the Process

Any mail coming into the United States from another country must pass through customs before continuing on to its destination. This allows the customs office to inspect the contents for prohibited or dutiable items. Customs serves an important security purpose by screening for dangerous or illegal contents. They also facilitate collection of any owed taxes or duties.

Around 650 million pieces of international mail enter the US every year. All of this goes through just five International Service Centers (ISC) operated by USPS. The ISCs have customs officials and personnel on-site to handle the influx of packages. After clearing customs, items continue on traditional postal routes to local post offices.

What Does “Inbound Out of Customs” Mean for Your Package?

When you receive the “Inbound Out of Customs” scan or message, it means your package has cleared customs and left the ISC. It has passed inspection and met any tax or duty obligations. From there, the mail piece will proceed on to the inbound sort facility, then local post office.

This automatic scan indicates customs has released your item to continue its route. It is a major milestone showing your package has exited customs and is on the way to you!

Why Might a Package Get Held Up in Customs?

Though most packages breeze through, some get held up in customs. A package may get flagged if it’s missing paperwork or customs forms aren’t filled out properly. They also pull shipments for random inspections to check for prohibited contents.

Sometimes paperwork doesn’t match the actual contents. Other times, customs may demand additional duties or taxes if they think the declared value is too low. Unpaid duties will lead to a customs hold.

These issues can delay release from customs by days or even weeks. The receiver usually has to take action to resolve any problems and get the package moving again.

What Happens During Customs Inspection and Clearance?

Every inbound international item must go through the clearance process. First, customs officials x-ray the package to view contents inside. If anything looks suspicious, they will open and inspect the contents by hand.

They verify that paperwork matches what’s inside and that all forms are complete. Customs checks for contraband or hazardous materials and confirms nothing is trying to bypass import restrictions.

Finally, they will classify the items and calculate any owed duties or taxes. These must be paid before release. Most commercial shipments over $800 require formal customs entry with detailed invoices.

Once customs determines everything is in order, the package gets released to continue its route. The “Inbound Out of Customs” scan alerts the receiver that the package has exited and is moving again.

How Long Does Customs Clearance Take?

Most inbound international mail clears customs within 24 hours. However, packages can sometimes sit for days or weeks before release. Volume delays at big ISCs slow down processing. If customs flags an issue, resolving it adds extra time.

During peak periods like the holidays, backlogs at customs facilities lead to longer delays. International shipping times allow a buffer for customs, but excessive holds can still push delivery dates back.

Unfortunately, recipients usually can’t do much to speed up customs. But understanding common delays helps set realistic expectations.

What Are the Next Steps After Customs Release?

Once released, the package continues on the delivery route. First it goes to the local inbound mail processing facility for sorting. After routing through the facility, the item gets dispatched to the correct local post office.

The post office delivers it the last leg to your address. You’ll see additional scans after customs release as it makes its way through these routes.

Most items arrive within 1-2 weeks of the “Inbound Out of Customs” update. But customs delays, backlogs, or remote destinations can extend the final delivery timeline. Communicate with the sender or contact USPS if you don’t see movement after a couple weeks.

What if My Package Seems Stuck in Customs?

If your package shows “Inbound Into Customs” but doesn’t update after several days, it may be stuck. Excessive customs delays are frustrating but try to be patient. Unless you receive a customs seizure letter, assume it’s just undergoing an extended inspection.

First, double check all import paperwork is complete and accurate. Errors often cause holds, so rectifying is the fastest way to get a package moving.

You can submit a missing mail search request to USPS if it’s been over 30 days with no update. For fastest help, try reaching out to the customs office or port itself. Provide all details on the shipment and paperwork. This increases the chances the customs officials can locate and release your delayed package.

Key Takeaways: What Inbound Out of Customs Means for USPS Packages

Understanding the customs process and meaning of tracking updates will give you peace of mind on your international orders. With patience and proactive communication, you can get through any customs delays or hiccups in the shipment process.

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