When monitoring the status of an international shipment, you might come across notifications such as “inbound out of customs.” What does “inbound out of customs” mean? It’s an update indicating that your package has successfully cleared customs and is coming to its final destination.

Understanding the customs clearance process is crucial for sending or receiving packages from overseas. Customs clearance is how a country’s government determines what goods can enter and leave its borders. Imported or exported goods must adhere to regulatory standards for labeling and duty payment, which are ensured through customs clearance.

While customs clearance may seem complicated, ensuring your packages reach their destination on time and without issues is essential. By familiarizing yourself with the process and staying up-to-date with package tracking updates like “inbound out of customs,” you can ensure a smooth delivery experience.

What Does “Inbound out of Customs” on the Shipping Status Mean?

A magnifying glass is placed in front of the small boxes

Clearing customs can be lengthy, so seeing the “inbound out of customs” status update indicates that your package has passed through without any issues. It means that the customs officials have reviewed and approved the contents of your package. It’s free to continue its journey to you or its intended recipient.

The carrier will ensure it is delivered to your provided address after your package has reached its final destination. The delivery time can vary depending on your selected courier and shipping method.

Some airlines may provide estimated delivery times, while others offer real-time tracking updates. Ensure the recipient can accept the package or that arrangements have been made for someone else. 

Suppose the carrier attempts delivery, and no one can receive the package. In that case, they may leave a notice with instructions on arranging for redelivery or pick up.

What To Expect During Customs Clearance

A box is labelled with customs clearance

If you’re shipping internationally, you’ll likely go through customs clearance. The movement of products and people into and out of the nation is controlled by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Customs clearance involves reviewing and processing the contents of your package to ensure that it complies with the U.S.

The CBP clearance process involves several steps, including reviewing documentation, inspecting the contents of your package, and assessing duties and taxes. Depending on several factors, the process can take several hours to days. Factors affecting clearance times include the type and quantity of goods and shipping origin/destination.

It’s essential to remember that some goods, including agricultural products, cannot enter the country. These include fruits, vegetables, meats, and other things that could threaten U.S. agriculture and public health. If you need clarification about the rules and regulations surrounding the shipment of certain items, check with the CBP or a customs broker before shipping.

What To Do If Your Package Is Stuck in Customs?

A woman is using the telephone

The experience of having a package delayed at customs while waiting for international delivery can be frustrating. Customs delays can occur for various reasons, such as missing or incomplete paperwork or inspections. You can take several actions to resolve the issue and obtain delivery of your goods.

Here are some tips on what to do if your package is stuck in customs:

  • Check the tracking information: Customs may still be processing the item. Watch the tracking information for updates.
  • Contact the carrier: Contact the delivery service if your package has been stuck in customs for a few days. They can update you on your parcel’s progress and suggest ways to speed things up.
  • Provide necessary documentation: If customs requires additional documentation to release your package, provide it promptly. This could include proof of purchase, import permits, or other relevant paperwork.
  • Consider working with a customs broker: These professionals specialize in navigating the customs clearance process and can help ensure your shipments meet all requirements.
  • Be patient: It’s important to remember that customs clearance can be lengthy. Sometimes all you can do is wait, while it can be frustrating to have your package delayed. After providing all required documentation, your package should be released from customs and on its way to you. 

The time a package stays in customs can vary. It depends on the type of goods and the number of packages being processed. 


Understanding the customs clearance process can help alleviate any concerns you may have about the delivery of your package. Remember that “inbound out of customs” status means your item cleared United States Customs and is on its way to the final destination. 

Review the shipping details from the carrier and be patient while waiting for customs clearance. Contact the carrier’s customer service if you have any worries or inquiries. With these tips in mind, you can confidently navigate the customs clearance and delivery process and hopefully receive your package without further delays.


What does it mean when a package is inbound?

It means it has arrived or is on its way to its destination.

Why is my package stuck inbound to customs?

Your package may be stuck inbound to customs if it requires further inspection or there is a delay in processing.

How long can a package stay in customs?

A package can stay in customs for varying lengths depending on the country, the type of item, and any potential issues with the box.

Where do packages go after customs?

After customs, packages typically go through an inbound scan at the destination and are sorted for delivery.

What happens after the item is released from customs?

When an item is released from customs, it means it has been cleared and is ready for delivery to its final destination.

What happens when a package is released from customs?

Once a package is released from customs, it will continue through the delivery process to its intended recipient.

How can I speed up customs?

To speed up customs clearance, ensure all required documentation is complete and accurate before shipping your package.

How do I know if my package is lost?

If you suspect your package is lost, contact the carrier’s customer service to inquire about the package’s status and any possible updates.

Who is responsible when a package is lost?

The responsibility for a lost package typically falls on the carrier. It’s essential to verify this information with the carrier’s customer service.

Do you get refunded for lost packages?

You can receive a refund for a lost package in most cases. Check the carrier’s policies and procedures to determine available options.