Awaiting Delivery Scan Meaning USPS (+ Other Common FAQs)

The United States Postal Service is a well-oiled machine, serving millions of citizens and ensuring that shipments reach their destination as quickly as possible.

Once an item goes out for delivery, USPS tracking can update throughout the day to reflect new situations as they arise. One such message that may appear is Awaiting Delivery Scan.

But what does “Awaiting Delivery Scan” mean? Here’s everything you need to know about the matter!

What Does Awaiting Delivery Scan Mean USPS?

When the Postal Service’s tracking tool indicates that a parcel is “Awaiting Delivery Scan,” it often indicates it’s in the mail carrier’s possession but has not yet been delivered. Also, the notification can mean that the item was delivered but not scanned or that the item was delivered but got lost.

The truth is, “Awaiting Delivery Scan” can mean a handful of things, so let’s delve into it. Keep reading to discover all the answers you need!

Why Does Your USPS Package Say “Awaiting Delivery Scan”?

There are several reasons why a package that says “Out for Delivery” in the morning might say “Awaiting Delivery Scan” by the afternoon.

First, it’s important to note that mail carriers have a few options for scanning packages right before they’re delivered.

Suppose you see your package go from “Out for Delivery” to “Awaiting Delivery Scan.”

In that case, that’s a good indication because your delivering mail carrier has physically held it in their hands.

Furthermore, this might mean the mail carrier was going through the parcels out for delivery and sorting them in their truck, scanning and updating statuses as they go.

Package Hasn’t Been Delivered Yet

So, one reason your parcel might say “Awaiting Delivery Scan” is that the package is in the mail carrier’s possession but simply hasn’t yet been delivered.

That said, it implies that the carrier plans on delivering the parcel that day – perhaps even very soon – but they just haven’t arrived at your house yet.

Package Got Hidden

For another, I found a few instances where a recipient’s parcel “fell through the cracks” in the delivery truck, getting hidden under a seat or behind larger packages.

In those instances, when a carrier already scans the parcel as “Awaiting Delivery Scan,” that status can remain the same for a few days.

Unfortunately, the recipient will have to wait until someone finds the package. But it’s at least reassuring to know that it doesn’t necessarily mean anything is lost.

The Package Was Delivered But Not Updated

Occasionally, too, notifications can be accidentally ascribed to a package that was delivered.

During their route, mail carriers scan the barcode on shipments and then manually update the status.

Because mail carriers are human, it’s easy to pick the wrong status or forget the update altogether.

How Long Does It Take USPS To Scan Your Package?

How Long Does It Take USPS To Scan Your Package?

The amount of time it takes the USPS to scan your package depends entirely on many factors, especially package volume.

With that, the greater the number of packages in a sorting facility or on a delivery truck, the longer it will take to scan all of them.

So, some days it might take the Postal Service mere moments to scan an item, and others, if there is a backlog, it can take hours or days.

Additionally, if you notice that your package has gone from “Out For Delivery” to “Awaiting Delivery Scan,” you will have to sit tight while the mail carrier does their work.

Remember, sometimes, even when your package has been delivered, the carrier might forget to update the delivery status.

Can a Package Be Delivered Without Being Scanned By USPS?

Yes, carriers can deliver a package without it being scanned as delivered. That said, the parcel might instead still read “Out For Delivery” or “Awaiting Delivery Scan.”

That said, while the Postal Service makes every effort to keep packages’ scans up to date, where there are humans, there’s the possibility of human error.

If this concerns you, you likely only have to wait a few hours or until the end of the day (which for the Postal Service is 5 p.m.).

By then, the package’s tracking should be updated from “Awaiting Delivery Scan” to “Delivered.”

What Does USPS “Awaiting Item” Mean?

Despite the same word usage and a similar package status, USPS “Awaiting Item” means something very different from “Awaiting Delivery Scan.”

That said, USPS “Awaiting Item” occurs at the beginning of a parcel’s journey to its destination.

In fact, it occurs so early on that the Postal Service isn’t even in possession of the package yet.

Rather, the label has been created and a tracking number assigned, but the sender hasn’t yet brought it into the Post Office’s possession to be scanned.

To know more about USPS, you can also see our posts on how long USPS Parcel Select takes, whether USPS packages are insured, and whether USPS scans packages.

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of

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