USPS In Possession Of Item: What to do?

USPS Tracking Service allows one to track the current location of their packages as they journey through their delivery process with USPS.

However, specific terminologies used by USPS while describing the tracking status might confuse the customers who fail to understand what it means. One such term is “USPS in Possession of Item.” 

So, without further ado, let’s begin!


What does “USPS in Possession of Item” mean?

Technically, USPS in Possession of Item means that the package has been received and scanned by the USPS but has not started its delivery journey yet.

Thus, as the name suggests, USPS in Possession of Item indicates that USPS has the item or parcel safely in its possession. So, when you see the message on your tracking status, be assured that no harm has come to your package. It has been picked by the postal service and is resting safely at the USPS retail counter.

USPS in Possession of Item usually indicates the time between package pickup and shipping. However, sometimes there is more to it, especially if the tracking status gets stuck at the message for quite a long time.

Reasons for Tracking Status being stuck at the Message “USPS in Possession of Item”

At times, you may find that the tracking status is stuck at the message “USPS in Possession of Item” longer than you expect it to be. Normally, there shouldn’t be many gaps between pickup and shipping. So, there might be something serious if the message is displayed for a surprisingly long period.

Hence, if you find that your tracking status is stuck with the message “USPS in Possession of Item,” then perhaps it will do you good to find out which of the following reasons has caused it to happen:

The parcel needs to Undergo certain Inspections at the Customs:

A parcel might rest at the customs waiting to undergo certain inspections before it ships in some instances.

If this is the case with your package, you don’t have much to worry about if you provide all the necessary documents needed for customs clearance. You will soon be able to see movement in your tracking status once your package clears the customs.

However, if there are certain discrepancies in the documents, you would be stuck with the message “USPS in Possession of Item.” And then, you would have to wait for someone from the USPS to contact you for the proper documents before further proceedings can happen.

The Shipment is Found to Contain Illegal Items:

Sometimes while scanning a package, the USPS might find something illegal in it that the company is not allowed to handle.

If this is the case with your package, it will not be allowed to ship but rather held at the USPS office. Thereby, your tracking status will be displaying the message “USPS in Possession of Item” until someone from the USPS contacts you for the package.

This one is rather a serious issue where you might have to face severe consequences if you are found to ship illegal items with the USPS. You might even face judicial action if the law enforcement agencies prove that the package belongs to you.

However, there is nothing to worry about if you are sure that you have packed nothing illegal with your package. You will notice the progress in your tracking status once your package is allowed to pass smoothly.

The Package Suffered some Damage:

This is the most unfortunate of all cases where, despite the best efforts at safety, a package gets lost or damaged even before it can start its shipping journey.

If this is the case with your package, you would obviously be stuck with the message “USPS in Possession of Item” since the USPS picked up your parcel but couldn’t ship it due to loss or damage. Your package could never reach its destination, and hence the tracking status can’t be updated.

However, this is a very rare case with USPS as they are very careful while handling their packages.

Although the tracking status “USPS in Possession of Item” is often a temporary one, sometimes you can get stuck with it for long periods if there are some serious reasons behind it. 

So, it is better to be careful and keep a check on the time for which your tracking status is stuck with the message. And, if you find it to be longer than expected, make sure that you do something to know the reason behind it.

Practices to Avoid the Predicament of Facing the Message “USPS in Possession of Item”

You can do certain things to avoid the predicament of facing the message “USPS in Possession of Item” in the future. These will help you reduce the risk of running into the issues that cause USPS tracking status to display the message.

Here are a few suggestions for what you can do:

Proper Documentation:

Ensure that your package contains all the proper documentation needed at the customs for international shipping. This will prevent your package from being held for a long time at the customs for inspection and allow it to have a smooth delivery.

No Illegal Business:

Ensure that your package doesn’t contain any illegal items, and you don’t come across as someone doing any unlawful business. You must have permission to ship the items that your parcel contains.

So, before shipping anything with USPS, carefully read their document listing the items they are allowed to ship and which they are not. Also, take care of the permissible amount of certain items beyond which they are considered illegal.

This will ensure that your package doesn’t fall under the category of “illegal items.”

Tough Packaging:

Ensure that your items undergo rigid packaging before their journey, especially those liable to break. Take extra care with the delicate items and pack them in hard cases with bubble wraps or the like. This will reduce the risk of their getting damaged on the road.

Shipping Insurance:

Issuing shipping insurance might cost you a little extra, but it is the best guard against package damage or loss.

Contact Details:

Providing the contact details like the recipient’s phone number or a prominent landmark around the address reduces the risk of lost parcels. It allows the package to reach its destination smoothly and safely.


USPS in Possession of Item isn’t a serious predicament until your tracking status gets stuck at the message. So, even though there is no apparent reason to panic at displaying the message, it is advisable to be a little attentive to the time for which it stays. 

Better still, cut the problem at its roots: follow the important practices that would help you avoid receiving the message altogether. And the world’s leading postal service company will ensure that your package enjoys a healthy delivery.

Shipping guy at USPS, previously at Fedex.

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