By: James McAllister


Does UPS currently show ‘import scan’ on your tracking page – once, or even multiple times?

This tracking message does not provide a lot of details, nor does it give you much insight as to when you should expect your package on its own.

Thankfully, the meaning behind this message is actually quite simple.

So, in this article, I’ll be going over what import scan means, what to do if it gets stuck, and when you should expect your UPS package to be delivered.

Let’s get to it!

What Does ‘Import Scan’ Mean On UPS?

UPS Delivery Vehicle

When you see ‘import scan’ on your UPS tracking page, this means that the shipment has gone through the procedures necessary to clear customs in that country.

In other words, according to UPS customer support, this means that the package has cleared customs in the country it is currently going through.

That being said, issues do pop up, which I’ll cover in just a moment. First, it’s important to understand a little bit about how international shipments work.

When shipping internationally, shipments will need to be cleared by the customs agency of every country it enters into, or departs from.

This way, that country’s government can inspect, keep a record of, and collect any taxes (or ‘duties’) owed for importing or exporting that product.

It is a complex procedure that UPS thankfully handles on your behalf. Unfortunately though, because of its complex nature, there can be delays when things go wrong.

If you see ‘import scan’ on your tracking, this means it was able to be cleared successfully – at least, that’s how it’s supposed to be.

If you are seeing ‘import scan’ appear repeatedly – or UPS alternating between ‘import scan’ and ‘warehouse scan’ in the same location, you’ll want to read over the next section carefully.

Otherwise, feel free to skip it to learn more about when you can expect the package to arrive!

Why Does Import Scan Appear Repeatedly?

In some circumstances, it’s possible that you may see ‘import scan’ listed on your UPS tracking page multiple times!

So, why does this happen?

First things first, it’s important to know that your shipment will need to clear customs for each country that it moves through.

Ideally, this will only need to happen once – one time for the country it originally departs from, and once in your country where it will be delivered to.

However, not all packages go directly from the original country to yours. It’s possible that it may travel through several countries on its way to your door, and it will need to clear customs each time.

If you are seeing ‘import scan’ repeatedly in the exact same location however, this can be much more confusing! Especially since, as mentioned earlier, UPS claims ‘import scan’ is supposed to mean that the item has been successfully cleared.

However, the truth is, if you are seeing import scan several times, chances are there is an issue holding up the package’s clearance at customs. This was confirmed by speaking with a representative at UPS.

The reason it appears multiple times – and may alternate between warehouse scans is well, is that it’s UPS protocol to continue scanning the packages at least 1 or 2 times a day.

While this doesn’t provide much additional insight into the package’s clearance status, it (at the very least) shows you that the package is still there, and hasn’t been lost.

Thankfully, there isn’t anything you need to do, and most items end up clearing customs just fine – even if there are delays.

If anything needs to be done, UPS will reach out to you for more information.

How Long Should It Be Before My Package Arrives After UPS Shows An Import Scan?

So, once you see an import scan, how long will it be before it arrives?

It depends on where the import scan occurred.

If the location for the import scan is the country you are delivering the package to, then the shipment is likely to arrive within a few business days.

However, for the most accurate estimate, you should refer to the estimated delivery date listed at the top of the UPS tracking page.

This takes into account all available information that UPS has about your shipment, and is usually very accurate at pinpointing the exact day it is likely to be delivered.

What To Do If Your Package Gets Stuck

It can be extremely frustrating to see that your package has been stuck at ‘import scan’, especially if it’s been there for a long length of time.

So, what should you do? Is there anything that can help get it moving again?

If you’re worried that something may be wrong, I recommend contacting UPS’ customer support line for international shipments, which you can reach at 1-800-782-7892.

When you call, be sure to have your tracking number on hand, and let them know specifically what the issue is.

Their staff have dealt with situations like this before, and are trained to help you in any way they can.

Remember that it’s in everybody’s best interests – UPS’ included, to ensure your item gets to you as quickly as possible!

Finally, if you were promised to receive a package by a specific date, contact the shipper to inquire about potential refunds or reimbursements.


An import scan is supposed to mean that the item has cleared customs procedures in the country that it’s currently in.

However, if UPS tracking is repeatedly showing ‘import scan’ at the same location, there may be an issue that is delaying its clearance from customs. Thankfully however, these issues usually get sorted out without requiring anything from you.

I hope that you’ve found this article helpful, and that your package will show more movement soon.

If you have any other questions about international shipping with UPS, please ask them using the comment form below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

Wishing you the best,

– James McAllister

About the author 

James McAllister

James is the owner of He started his first blog at the age of 11, and has since gone on to start several successful businesses. In total, these businesses have sold hundreds of thousands of units and have touched millions of lives. Here on, he shares his knowledge that brought him to where he is today. If you want to connect with James, follow him on your favorite social networks!

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