What Does USPS Awaiting Item Mean? (All You Need To Know)

For people on the receiving end of a parcel, the wait during shipping can be excruciating. Patience is tough, but remember that the USPS handles millions of mailpieces every day.

The one wait that can really take a toll on you is when your shipping information reads “Shipping Label Created, USPS Awaiting Item.” Therefore, you might be wondering, what does USPS Awaiting Item mean? Continue reading to find out the answer!

What Does USPS Awaiting Item Mean In [currentyear]?

Shipping Label Created, USPS Waiting Item means that the sender has, in creating a shipping label, also received a Tracking number associated with the parcel in [currentyear]. However, it also means that the parcel in question has not yet been officially received and/or scanned by their local Post Office, which can take 1-4 days.

To learn more about the length of time associated with USPS receiving the item to be shipped, why USPS might not have changed the status yet, and even what you should do if it seems USPS never scanned your item into the system, keep reading!

How Long Does USPS Awaiting Item Take?

Once a label has been created within the United States Postal Service system, and the sender or recipient’s Tracking says “USPS Waiting Item,” expect a wait from a day to a week.

The thing about “how long” is that every Post Office exists under completely different circumstances from the other.

Even Post Offices on different sides of the same city might experience vastly disparate wait times when it comes to getting parcels scanned in and on their way.

So if your Post Office is not experiencing any delays or back-ups, the wait could be a day, or a few days, at most.

However, if things are hectic or chaotic at the Post Office where you dropped off your package (or arranged to have it picked up and taken to), it really could take up to a week.

Why Does USPS Still Say Awaiting Item?

There could be any number of reasons why your USPS Tracking says that the Post Office is Still Awaiting the Item.

The first and probably most likely is that, while the parcel is at the Post Office, there is a backlog of scans for the employees to get through.

Your package is likely one of very many that they are laboriously getting through every day.

Another reason could be that, if you are the recipient, the shipper hasn’t brought the parcel to the Post Office yet at all.

Furthermore, many small business owners like to package and ship in batches, so that they’re not running back and forth to the Post Office and home.

So your parcel could just be waiting for the rest of the batch to be packaged up and labeled, before the shipper takes them all to the Post Office for mailing at one time.

Last, and perhaps least likely, your parcel may have missed its origin scan, despite making it onto the correct truck and having it headed in your correct direction.

What Happens If USPS Never Scanned Your Package?

What Happens If USPS Never Scanned Your Package?

If you think USPS never scanned your package, and it’s been over a week, there are a few actions you can take.

First, don’t automatically assume your package hasn’t gone anywhere.

As I mentioned earlier, it can take up to a week for some Post Offices to get all the parcels scanned in that are waiting.

Additionally, there is a small chance your parcel may have made it into the truck without its origin scan.

So the next time you’d receive a Tracking update is when the parcel makes it to its first distribution/sorting center, which could tack on a few more days (or even more).

If you feel comfortable waiting, USPS tends to be more trustworthy than not, despite some small human errors at times.

However, if a week has gone by and you’re deeply uncomfortable, you can reach out to your Post Office.

There are a few ways to do this, including giving your local Post Office a call, emailing them, visiting in person, or even initiating a mail search.

You can find the Help Request Form and Missing Mail Search Requests here.

When Should You Contact The Seller About USPS Awaiting Item?

If you are the recipient, who has ordered something from a seller, and your tracking information has not been updated beyond USPS Awaiting Item, you might want to reach out to the seller.

It is recommended to do this after at least a week has passed and your parcel has been scanned into the system.

Furthermore, the seller can make inquiries on your behalf since they are the ones who completed the sale.

To learn more, you can also read our posts on how many numbers USPS tracking, what happens when USPS finds drugs, and what is USPS Retail Ground.


Shipping Label Created, USPS Awaiting Item can be distressing to see when Tracking your package, as it indicates that the package in question has not yet been scanned into the system.

However, in many cases, it resolves itself within days, unless there is some kind of delay, in which case, it can take up to a week for the package to receive its origin scan.

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Cara Suppa

Cara Suppa has been freelance writing for over a decade and holds a BA in English and an MS in Integrated Marketing Communications. Outside of work, she is an avid cook, gardener, and discount shopper.

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