Decoding USPS Pre-Shipment: Understanding Delays and Tracking Statuses

Last Updated on 28/08/2023 by UPS_ Admin

Navigating the intricacies of the USPS tracking system can be puzzling, especially when faced with the ambiguous “pre-shipment” status. This article delves into understanding what this status means, the reasons behind potential delays, and steps you can take if your package seems stuck. Join us as we unpack the mystery behind USPS pre-shipment statuses.

USPS package shipping

Why is my USPS package stuck in pre-shipment?

The “pre-shipment” status on USPS tracking means that a mailing label has been generated for your package, but the package has not yet been received and scanned by USPS. This can occur due to several reasons:

  1. Label Creation without Dispatch: The shipper might have printed the shipping label, but they haven’t yet dispatched or dropped off the package at a USPS facility. This means the package is still with the sender or in their possession.
  2. USPS Not Scanning: Sometimes, USPS might have received the package, but they have not scanned it due to high volumes of parcels, especially on busy days, staff shortages, or other reasons. This can cause a delay in updating the tracking status.
  3. Package Processing Delays: USPS might be experiencing delays in processing due to a surge in volume, staffing issues, or external factors like weather conditions.
  4. Resolution of Errors: If there’s an error with the package or its label, it might be held up until the issue is addressed.
  5. Label Validity: USPS shipping labels have an expiration. Their validity is 28 days after printing based on the ship-by date.

It’s advisable to reach out to the sender first to confirm if the package was indeed dispatched. If they assure you that it was handed over to USPS, then the next step would be to contact USPS directly or visit the post office in question to inquire. If a significant amount of time has passed with no change in status, either the sender or receiver might need to file a claim with USPS.

How long should a USPS package be in pre shipment?

USPS package can be in pre-shipment for various reasons:

  1. The seller might have prepared the shipping label but hasn’t handed over the package to USPS yet.
  2. There might be delays in scanning due to high volumes, especially if the package was dropped in a bin meant for pre-labeled packages.
  3. Some sellers have mentioned that it took several days for their packages to get scanned into the system.
  4. There could be backlogs or technical issues at the post office that delay the scanning of the package.
  5. In some cases, packages might even make it to a regional distribution center before getting scanned.

Given these considerations, while a package is typically considered pre-shipped the moment it has been prepared and is ready for delivery, the duration it remains in this status can vary. A good estimate for domestic packages to be in pre-shipment is 24 hours (excluding weekends). However, in situations with high volume, backlogs, or missed initial scans, the package can remain in pre-shipment for several days. If the tracking status remains ‘pre-transit’ for several days, it might indicate that the package missed its initial scan at the post office.

Therefore, if your USPS package has been in pre-shipment for an extended period, it’s advisable to be patient, especially considering the current strain on the postal system. If there’s a prolonged delay beyond a week, you might want to contact the seller or USPS directly to inquire about the status of your package.

Why does my dropped package at USPS still says pre shipment?

If your USPS package still reflects a pre-shipment status even after dropping it off, it typically means it hasn’t been scanned into the USPS system yet. While the label might have been printed and readied, the package remains in the mailer’s possession. It may take some time for USPS to process and update the status accordingly.

Why does the USPS site say my package is in pre-shipment and it has been like that for 5 days now?

When the USPS site indicates that a package is in pre-shipment, it essentially means that the shipper has created and printed a shipping label, potentially affixed it to your package, but hasn’t yet handed the package over to the USPS. The delay of 5 days could be due to various reasons like the sender’s scheduling, operational backlogs, or other unforeseen circumstances.


In sum, the “pre-shipment” status in USPS tracking can arise from a myriad of factors, from label creation to operational hiccups. It’s essential for recipients to exhibit patience and maintain open communication with both the sender and USPS. Remember, proactive inquiries and understanding the system can alleviate concerns and expedite solutions.

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