If you’re tracking a USPS package, you may notice that it says, “Shipment Received, Package Acceptance Pending.”

But what does this actually mean?

This message from USPS can be confusing, and doesn’t paint a full picture of what’s actually going on with your package.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the package acceptance pending message, and what to do if it doesn’t update.

Shipment Received, Package Acceptance Pending – What Does It Mean?

If USPS tracking shows your package as pending acceptance, this means the sender has dropped off a shipment of packages with USPS, which contains your package. However, USPS hasn’t yet scanned your individual package into their system.

This is best illustrated with an example.

Let’s say a seller had 50 packages they wanted to drop off at their local post office. Large shipments like this one can take a lot of time, especially for busy post office workers who must maintain strict deadlines.

USPS recognized this problem, and created something called a SCAN form.

SCAN forms allow senders to list all of the packages in the shipment that they’re delivering. Instead of postal workers having to grab and scan each individual box, they instead only need to scan the SCAN form.

Once this happens, USPS tracking will update to show that the shipment has been received.

However, until the individual packages themselves are scanned, the tracking will acknowledge that the shipment has been received, but also state that your package acceptance is pending.

This is because USPS has yet to confirm that your package is actually in the shipment like the sender claims it is, and adequate postage has been paid for the package.

This is usually nothing to worry about, and the tracking normally updates within 1 business day.

The Typical USPS Shipping Process

USPS Vehicles

For many senders, all of their packages will follow this pattern:

First, they will print the shipping label, which will register the shipment with USPS. It is usually this time when your item will be marked as ‘Shipped’, and this process is automatic for large sites like Amazon or Walmart for example.

During this time, the first thing USPS tracking will display is a message stating ‘Pre-Shipment, Shipping Label Created, USPS Awaiting Item.’ This means that a shipping label has been created, but neither the shipment nor your individual package has been delivered to USPS yet.

Next, the shipment of packages will be received by USPS, and scanned in using a SCAN form. This is when USPS tracking changes from ‘Pre-Shipment’ to ‘Shipment Received, Package Acceptance Pending’. You can be relatively certain that the package has now actually been delivered to the post office, or otherwise collected by USPS.

After that, the individual packages may be scanned, although this process is sometimes skipped. When the packages are scanned, USPS tracking will update to show the message, “Accepted at USPS origin facility.” During this time, USPS will confirm acceptance of the package, and the message stating that acceptance is pending should go away.

From this point, it will travel between USPS sorting centers and regional hubs until it finally arrives at its destination.

Because there are so few of these sorting centers relative to post offices, it may sometimes appear that your package is going further away. However, this is perfectly normal and is nothing to worry about.

Package Acceptance Pending For Several Days (Or Longer)

Now that we know what it means when USPS lists an item as ‘Shipment Received, Package Acceptance Pending.” But what does it mean if USPS tracking shows package accepting pending for several days, or even a week? What is causing it, and is there anything that can be done to fix it?

Let’s look over some possible scenarios.

1. The Package Is En Route To A Sorting Center

Just because your package is still showing that the package acceptance is pending, doesn’t mean it’s not actually in transit.

Sometimes, your local post office will send the package on their way without ever doing an acceptance scan. This is particularly common during busy teams of the year, such as in December or around major holidays.

A USPS SCAN form is a critical step for processing packages into USPS’ system. Sometimes, they will opt not to take the time to scan every individual package in a shipment, and instead begin the process of sending them to a USPS sorting center – often the next step on their journey.

The sorting center will certainly scan and update the tracking for the individual packages once they are received.

Therefore, if the tracking is showing package acceptance pending for several days, it’s likely that it’s simply en route to its first sorting center, and your tracking number will show an update as soon as it arrives.

Note that packages sent with faster shipping services will show updates more quickly.

2. Your Package Wasn’t Actually Delivered To The Post Office

This is very rare, but it happens.

In some instances, companies may say that a certain package is inside of a shipment when delivering a SCAN form to USPS. However, for whatever reason, there’s a chance that your package didn’t actually make it into the shipment that was delivered.

This could be because it was lost before the shipment was delivered to USPS, or that the package was mixed up and sent with a different shipment instead.

If the package was simply mixed up, it should still be processed by USPS and tracking will update within a few days.

Of course, if the package is truly lost, it would be best to get in contact with the company that was supposed to be mailing you your package.

Because of how long it can take tracking to update, we recommend waiting at least a few business days before inquiring about the status of your package. If the company refuses to help, you can also learn how to speak with a real person at USPS by clicking here.

How Long Does It Take For USPS To Accept The Package?

Typically, packages will be accepted within 1 business day, and may even be accepted the same day the shipment was received. This is more likely if the shipment (containing all of the individual packages) was delivered to USPS early in the day.

That being said, acceptance can take as long as 4 business days, even if the package has not been lost.

Packages shipped using more expensive shipping services may be prioritized in terms of getting them on their way more quickly.

However, Priority Mail Express is the only shipping service USPS offers that has a guaranteed delivery time. Although regular Priority Mail usually arrives in 2-3 business days (and can arrive even quicker in some cases), only Priority Mail Express has a promised delivery date. All other services work off of estimates, and the delivery window for these services begin when the package is actually received by USPS.

A full list of USPS delivery timelines for packages can be found in the table below.

Name:Speed (Business Days):
USPS Marketing Mail3-10 Days
Periodicals3-9 Days
Media Mail2-8 Days
USPS Retail Ground2-8 Days
Parcel Select Lightweight2-8 Days
Parcel Select Ground2-5 Days
First-Class Package Service1-3 Days
Priority Mail1-3 Days
Priority Mail ExpressNext Day - 2 Days, Guaranteed


If USPS tracking shows that your package is pending acceptance, this is likely nothing to worry about.

Put simply, the person or company shipping your package has dropped it off a shipment of packages to the post office, and each individual package in the shipment hasn’t been scanned yet.

This process typically takes less than 1 business day, and your tracking should update as soon as the package is accepted.

I hope that you’ve found this article helpful. If you have any other questions about shipping with USPS, please ask them using the comment form below.

Thank you for reading,

– James McAllister

About the author 

James McAllister

James is the owner of JamesMcAllisterOnline.com. 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 JamesMcAllisterOnline.com, 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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