USPS Package Stuck In Pre-Shipment

USPS Pre-Shipment: What Does It Mean, Reasons & How to Fix It?

If you’re searching for answers about the meaning of pre-shipment, why your order remains stuck in this stage, and how long pre-shipment usually takes, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we’ll address all these questions to provide you with a clear understanding. Picture this: you’ve made a purchase on an online store and now eagerly await the delivery of your selected item. However, after a few days, you receive a tracking update indicating that your order is in “Pre-shipment.”

It’s natural to feel surprised or confused by this unfamiliar term—pre-shipment. But fret not, as we’re here to shed light on this stage and explain its key reasons. So, let’s dive in and discover more!

What Does Pre-Shipment Mean?

Pre-shipment refers to the stage of the shipping process that occurs prior to the actual shipment of products. “Pre-shipment” tracking status indicates that your shipment has left the warehouse and is awaiting scanning by USPS before beginning its journey to you. It may require eight business days to update the tracking status. 

Many different situations and reasons can lead to packages not being scanned. A delay in this process has an immediate impact on your shipment, making it unpredictable when it will arrive. However, the shipping duration typically takes eight business days, leaving you with eight days remaining for your package to reach your hands.

If you see that eight working days have passed and you are still not getting any information about the package scanning, then the next step you have to take is to contact customer service and try to get the information about the same.

Also Read – What Does Shipping Mean?

Why is the Package Delivered Late After Pre-shipment?

If it’s been more than two weeks since you placed your order, you may think that your package has been lost or that your package has not been shipped at all. 

There could be various reasons for a package being delivered late after pre-shipment. 

Some potential factors include logistical issues, transportation delays, high shipment volumes, weather conditions along the delivery route, and so on. 

USPS Package Stuck In Pre-Shipment

Following are some specific explanations for delivery delays after receipt of pre-shipment status.

11 Common Reasons For Late Package Delivery After Pre Shipment

Order Packing

When you receive a notification that your delivery is in pre-shipment, it is highly likely that the seller is currently packing your order. The seller will print the shipping label and proceed to pack the items. The duration it takes to pack items can vary depending on the seller.

It may also happen that you are buying from a small seller, and they may not have the required packing supplies available. So, in order to pack your item, they will first await delivery of the required supplies ordered online and then pack your item.

The seller Failed to Drop Off the Package

Your USPS box may be stuck in pre-shipment because the seller still needs to ship it. The USPS needs a product to scan in order to update the tracking status. And after scanning, they update the tracking information from “Pre-shipment” to “In transit” or something like that. However, there are several reasons why the seller may not have delivered your shipment to a USPS location.

Also Read – Are USPS Boxes Free? How Order & Save Money on Shipping

Out of Stock

If you have ordered an item that is currently out of stock, the seller may hold it in pre-shipment. Some retailers choose to offer “out of stock” products for sale with the expectation of replenishing their supply soon.

In a day or two, the item may be in the possession of the retailer. However, they can only proceed to hand over the item to USPS for shipping once they physically have it. During this time, a shipping label specific to the package is printed in anticipation of receiving the product. After printing the label, the retailer notifies USPS that the package is in the pre-shipment stage.

Defective Barcode

Your USPS package may appear to be stuck pre-shipment if the barcode is defective or damaged. Staff needs a clear and properly functioning barcode to scan and update tracking. The tracking will only be updated if the barcode is read. There are many ways that errors can arise in barcodes.

Busy Office

The seller is not solely responsible for pre-shipment. Sometimes due to the busyness of the USPS office, your package may appear to be stuck pre-shipment. There are many situations when the USPS office is very busy, so they cannot send the product for shipping even after receiving it from the seller. 

The USPS usually gets more shipping business during the holidays. So, if you order something during the holidays, you may get delayed tracking information or delayed shipping. 

Also Read – Is there Mail Today? USPS Holidays in 2023

Software Issues

The occurrence of issues with barcodes is predominantly linked to software rather than hardware problems. In certain cases, faulty barcodes can lead to the pre-shipment tracking status of your package. However, considering the high volume of mail handled by USPS, their software system must possess the capability to process a vast amount of information efficiently.

Numerous Shipments

Typically, retailers ensure timely delivery of products to shipment offices like USPS or UPS. However, when retailers have a large number of shipments to handle, it can become challenging to process them all efficiently. Consequently, this may contribute to delayed delivery of packages. Moreover, even after receiving the shipment notification, there might be a certain amount of time before you actually receive your item.

Lack of Clarity of Items

During the customs clearance process, item clarity plays a vital role in smooth shipping. If your package contains any items that raise suspicion, the customs department may detain it and withhold further clearance. Consequently, this can lead to delays in the delivery of your package. It is crucial to consider all potential factors before attributing late delivery solely to USPS, as customs-related issues can also contribute to such delays.

Customs Clearance Not Granted

Numerous packages travel from overseas. And if your package can’t get through customs procedures, you obviously won’t receive it in a reasonable amount of time. It can also be a hassle if you get a pre-shipment message but have yet to receive your package at the scheduled time.

Weather Conditions

The weather also sometimes affects the shipment. High snowfall, storms, or unexpected tornado attacks can also be responsible for delayed delivery of packages.

Lost Package

Your package being held in pre-shipment may be due to it being lost, which can be a regrettable reason. If the seller leaves the package unattended at the office’s front desk without waiting for a USPS employee to handle the shipment, USPS may declare your item as lost.

Although this situation is rare, feel free to get in touch with USPS to check if they can find the package for you.

How Long Does Pre-Shipment Take?

USPS Pre-Shipment Means

Now, you understand the term “Pre-shipment”. As we mentioned, the product is ready for delivery and has been pre-shipped. However, it depends on the carrier type and how long the delivery may take. 

For domestic packages, shipping takes approximately 24 hours if calculated, excluding weekends. Conversely, international shipments may take longer to ship, depending on factors such as transit time and customs offices.

Also Read – Does USPS Deliver on Saturday?

What Does “Pre-shipment information is waiting for Shipped USPS Item” Mean?

The status “Pre-shipment information is waiting for shipped USPS item” typically indicates the initial stage of the package’s journey. At this point, the sender has created a shipping label and transmitted tracking information to USPS. 

However, the physical package still requires handover to USPS for processing and shipping. In other words, the sender or shipping carrier has notified USPS about the upcoming shipment, but the package is currently awaiting pickup or drop-off at a shipping location.

FAQs On USPS Pre-Shipment

Why do my packages remain in the pre-shipment stage?

If your packages remain in pre-shipment status, it indicates that the seller has created the shipping label but has not yet scanned or handed over the packages to the shipping carrier.

What does pre-shipment mean in relation to USPS?

Pre-shipment represents the initial stage of the shipping process, where the sender creates the shipping label but must still assign the package to USPS for delivery.

How long does an item typically stay in pre-shipment?

Pre-shipment typically takes 24 hours (weekends excluded).

Should I be worried if USPS tracking hasn’t been updated in three days?

You should only be concerned if you get the USPS tracking updated in three days. As usual, the package’s tracking number must be scanned at each stop. However, sometimes there is a possibility of this scan failing.

How long does pre-shipment take Shein?

Shein strives to provide customers with products on schedule. Delivery time to most cities is between 5 and 8 working days, although they may vary depending on the city. If you order your item on Black Friday or similar special days, the shipping process is likely to take longer than the normal 3 to 7 days.

Can I contact USPS to find out where my package is?

Yes, you can contact USPS to find out where your package is. For tracking information regarding USPS text tracking, call this number at 1800-222-1811.

Also Read – Does UPS Deliver To PO Boxes?


Several factors can contribute to the failure to deliver your package. Pre-shipment indicates that the package has departed from the seller’s in-house warehouse and is en route for inspection by USPS. 

Occasionally, certain issues may arise that cause delays in the shipping process. However, receiving pre-shipment messages should not be a cause for concern. Once the entire process is finalized, your package will be prepared for shipping. The US Postal Service handles its mail processing and delivery services efficiently.

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