What does it mean when a package is in transit USPS?

Tim Vickers

People often want to know the status of their shipment after mailing it. Most prefer tracking their goods to determine whether it has reached its destination. One way the USPS ensures customer satisfaction is to provide the USPS tracking service that notifies users about the location of their items. If you have used the service before, you may have come across the word “In Transit.’

But what does it mean when USPS says your package is in transit? Whenever the USPS accepts your items for delivery, it will start the process of ensuring you get your goods on time. Transit is part of that shipment process.

When you see “in Transit”, it means your package is coming to you or on its way to the final destination. The term can also mean the USPS is processing your shipment or transporting it to your delivering Post Office facility.

When the USPS package is in Transit, it also means you will receive more tracking information once the shipment arrives at the destined unit and is out for delivery. In this case, the carrier accepts your item will arrive as soon as possible and in excellent condition.

How long does a USPS package stay in transit?

Expect your item to arrive on the scheduled delivery date. But before that happens, it will remain “In Transit.” If your package is coming from a long distance, the USPS will not scan it again between origin and destination. But in most cases, the delivery time is between 0900 and 1900 hours to residences and close of business hours for commercial addresses.

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However, packages can get stuck “In Transit” longer than the USPS expected. That can happen because of:

  • Incomplete or wrong address
  • Poor weather conditions
  • Heavy traffic
  • Improper packaging
  • The item is not fit or prohibited or restricted for shipment
  • Oversized or overweight package

The process can also take longer if the package is lost. In that case, you will have to start a claim process or ask for a refund.

Is in transit same as out for delivery?

“In Transit” and “Out for Delivery” are two different things. When your package is “Out for Delivery”, it means it is in a truck. Officially, however, the term means your shipment has reached your local USPS facility. The facility is responsible for delivering the package and will dispatch a driver to bring it to you.

But when it is “In Transit”, the item is within the USPS network, and it is on its way to the delivery location. Expect the company to deliver it within the scheduled date.

My USPS package has been in transit for a month! What to do

The USPS offers many tools and options that help customers to determine the location of their packages. That also assists them in figuring out whether there is a delay.

Sometimes your mailpiece can delay, or the company can reroute it because of unusual circumstances. If it has taken longer to receive your shipment, here is what to do:

  • Check the delivery standard for the mail class of your domestic item. Each mail class has its expected delivery date, which ranges from 1-10 business days.
  • Compare your mail class and progress to that of the mail delivery standard.
  • If the status of your package is Alert, a delay might have occurred. That can happen because of things like weather or other natural events or disasters.
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Ideally, you need to contact customer service after your item delays for five or more days from the date of mailing. Also, call the company if it has been 14 or more days from the date of mailing.

Keep in mind that the delivery time is usually an estimation. In most cases, it depends on the distance and the type of service you have booked.

If you book a standard shipping service, the USPS will not generalise the specific transit time. But if you booked express or freight shipment, you will get a fixed delivery time. However, that will also depend on your location, type of shipment, and volume.


When the USPS says your package is “In Transit”, it means the company has processed it and is shipping it to your delivering Post Office facility. Your shipment will arrive on the scheduled delivery date. However, delays can occur because of unexpected circumstances.

In that case, check the delivery standard for the mail class of your domestic item. Alternatively, call the company if the shipment delays for five or more days from the date of mailing.

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