USPS tracking scan messages are always more cryptic and confusing than necessary.
Sure, tracking that tells you that your package is out for delivery – or has been delivered – is pretty crystal-clear. But the tracking messages you get from USPS leading up to your package hitting your doorstep or your mailbox are anything but clear or straightforward.
For example, it’s not all that uncommon to get “USPS Awaiting Delivery Scan” messages when you punch in your tracking information.
Does that mean that your package is awaiting a scan before it gets dropped off at your local post office for delivery?
Does it mean that your package needs to be scanned before it gets put on the truck to be delivered to your address?
Does it mean that your mail carrier simply forgot to your package when they dropped it off, and now it’s going to say “Awaiting Delivery Scan” forever – even though your package has already been delivered?
It’s enough to drive anybody crazy.
Below we go into what this message scan can mean, how you can better interpret what it might mean in your specific situation, and how to better understand exactly what’s going on with your package – and USPS – when this message starts to pop up.
Let’s jump right in!
What Does “Awaiting Delivery Scan” Mean?
Getting the “Awaiting Delivery Scan” from USPS could mean a couple of different things, which isn’t the best news when you are looking for some clarity or some certainty about your package.
Sometimes it means that the mail carrier has forgotten to scan your package when they loaded it onto the vehicle for delivery, but sometimes it also means that they have not scanned it after dropping it off at your address, either.
Sometimes it can also mean that your package was scanned to be delivered but never actually got dropped off at its final destination – something that happens far too frequently these days, especially with the skyhigh volume of mail that the USPS is handling now.
It’s not at all uncommon for packages to be scanned for delivery and then to slip between the cracks in a truck, fall behind packages or parcels set for delivery later, or even to slip underneath the seat of the mail carrier.
It can take a couple of days to notice that those packages are there, too – which usually means that your “Awaiting Delivery Scan” message is going to stick around for lot longer than you might have expected.
You should also know that in (very rare) circumstances this scan can also be incorrectly attributed to your package earlier on in the delivery process.
There are a couple of different codes that USPS mail handlers can apply to packages as they scan them. Your package or parcel might get scanned as “Awaiting Delivery” when it’s really preparing for shipment, moving from one USPS facility to another, or somewhere else along the delivery process.
The USPS Quality Control department throughout their logistics is usually pretty good about avoiding these kinds of issues, but they do happen somewhat infrequently.
What Does “USPS Awaiting Item” Mean?
On top of the “Awaiting Delivery Scan” message your tracking code may be returning the dreaded “USPS Awaiting Item” code.
This code generally means that the USPS postal workers have been alerted to the fact that your package is going to be added to the shipping system but that they do not physically have that package in their possession yet.
Most of the time this code is attached to or associated with e-commerce outfits and online retailers that handle the printing of their own USPS shipping codes individually.
When they go to print these labels they send the information over to the USPS to alert them to the fact that a package is going to be shipped through their system, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they have dropped the package off at the USPS post office in their area yet.
This can make things kind of tricky, especially when you are trying to get a better handle on when your package is going to be sent out and when you can expect to have it delivered, too.
All in all, if you get the “USPS Awaiting Item” message – almost always before you’ll get the “Awaiting Delivery Scan” message – just know that it simply means that the USPS is preparing to ship your item even if they don’t have it physically in their hands quite yet.
The Good News – A Scan Update Means Your Package is in the System
The good news about getting the “Awaiting Delivery Scan” message is that your package is in fact in the USPS system, that it is moving from one USPS facility to the next, and that it is as close to arriving on your doorstep as a package can get before it’s actually dropped off.
That should put a smile on your face!
You should be happy to know that your packages close, that USPS officials in your local area have actually handled your package specifically (as opposed to dealing with a pallet of packages moving through the USPS infrastructure), and that you are going to have your package in the immediate future.
Sure, it would be nice to see the “Delivered” notification on your tracking information – and that’s what we are all hoping to see as quickly as possible – but this notification is definitely the next best thing.
It won’t be long until your package is in your hands!
The Not So Good News – The Next Update Will Be Unpredictable
On the flip side of things, though, there’s no real guarantee that your package is going to be delivered in the near future when you see this scan.
Yes, this kind of notification (almost) always means that your package is preparing to be loaded on to your local mail carrier vehicle so that it can get to your address that day – but that’s not always the case.
As we highlighted above, there are a variety of different reasons things can sort of go sideways on you after you have received the “Awaiting Delivery Scan” notification.
This message simply means that the “end of the line” USPS workers have handled your package, preparing it for delivery, and that it is much closer to being delivered than when it started.
Again, though, your package could also be forgotten about in the back of the truck, slip underneath the seat, or have delivery skipped over for one reason or another as well.
Most of the time, though, this notification is a great indicator that you are going to have your package ASAP!
How Do I Find Out What’s Going On With My Package?
The best way to figure out what’s going on with your USPS package is to punch your tracking information directly into the tracking tools provided by the USPS and see what comes up.
The overwhelming majority of packages handled by USPS are going to have a handful of different notifications for each step of the delivery process.
Like we mentioned earlier, one of the first notifications you might see in your tracking history is the “USPS Awaiting Item” code.
This code may or may not pop-up before or after the “Tracking Information Created” code, but both of these tracking codes generally mean that your packages getting prepared to be shipped through the USPS infrastructure.
After that you are probably going to see a bunch of “In Transit to Facility” codes as well as a variety of destination codes, with arrival and departure information – including timestamps – that give you a better indication of where your package travels before it hits your doorstep.
It can be a lot of fun to watch your package as it moves across the country before it reaches its final destination.
Sometimes these packages take twists and turns that feel like they are going away from our address at times, too. It’s always a little bit interesting to see how the USPS system routes out packages to efficiently get them to our mailbox.
All in all, though, somewhere along the line you’re going to see the “Awaiting Delivery Scan” message. That means your package is really close!
When Should I Call USPS or Visit My Local Post Office?
If you have the “Awaiting Delivery Scan” message in your tracking history for longer than a day (or maybe two if you are particularly patient) it’s time to either call or visit your local post office or call the USPS Customer Service hotline.
Your local post office is definitely first contact you’ll want to have, though.
They’ll be able to take your tracking information, run it through their own internal system, and figure out exactly what’s going on with your package in real time. They also have the ability to contact your mail carrier directly so that they can do a physical check for the package if it somehow was “lost in the cracks”.
If they aren’t able to help you they’ll either get USPS Customer Service online to further assist or (the very least) can give you their contact information and point in the right direction for more assistance.
If you would like to contact customer service directly it’s not a bad idea to have this number handy: 1-800-275-8777.
That’s the number that will take you to the national customer service hotline for the USPS, and they’ll be able to better help you over the phone.
Of course, you can also call 1-800-222-1811 if you want to speak to the USPS Delivery Tracking team. That might be worth a shot if you aren’t happy with the answers that you were getting from the customer service department.
Is There Anyway to Speed Up Tracking Updates?
Unfortunately, all of us are kind of at the mercy of the USPS when it comes to speeding up tracking updates or moving our packages further (and faster) along through the shipping process.
In almost all circumstances customer service (either at your local post office or through the main USPS offices) aren’t going to be able to help you speed things up either.
They will usually be able to provide a lot more clarity and to provide more up-to-date information through their insider access, but other than that there’s really not much you or anyone else can do to move your package faster.
Updates are going to pop up whenever your package is scanned by someone physically working for the USPS.
Again, there’s often no real rhyme or reason behind when these packages get scanned.
You’ll notice updates periodically popping up when you check tracking information (or you can get alerts on your phone or email through the USPS website), but unless you are constantly refreshing the tracking information you won’t get updates in real time, either.
Get a Better Breakdown of Your Incoming Packages with US Global Mail
Those interested in getting more up-to-date information about when their packages are arriving – including full digital scans or photographs of the actual packages that are set to be delivered – are going to want to take a closer look at US Global Mail services.
As one of the industry leaders in the virtual mailbox arena, as well as a much more modern solution for receiving packages and mail compared to the USPS options available at the post office, thousands of people trust US Global Mail to help make their lives a little easier and a bit more efficient.
Not only will you get instant alerts in real-time about new packages as they arrive at your virtual mailbox (you can use a physical street address to have your packages sent, too), but you also get those full scans and photographs that we mentioned earlier as well.
That means that you’ll always known when US Global Mail has received a package for you but will also get up-to-date information about what that package is, too.
Combine that with the fact that you can then have that package forwarded to any address you like (including international addresses) and the extra convenience of the US Global Mail service becomes immediately apparent.
For more information about the services (and more) check out the homepage of US Global Mail today.