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“Item Returned From Import Customs” – What Does it Mean?

You’re expecting a delivery from overseas and you have received an “Item Returned From Import Customs” tracking update.

What does this mean exactly? How far away is your package when you receive this update and is there anything you need to do?

Let’s take a look…

Summary: Item Returned From Import Customs

The “Item Returned From Import Customs” status alert means that the shipment has successfully completed the customs clearance process and has been handed over to the carrier responsible for the next leg of the transit journey.

Item Returned From Import Customs – Guide

packages being sorted

Essentially, this is a positive tracking update to receive.

It means that the package and its contents have cleared customs and have been allowed into the importing country, (most likely the destination country).

Considering customs can be potentially problematic, (see here) receiving the “Item Returned From Import Customs” status alert means your package is ever closer to delivery.

Next steps after “Item Returned From Import Customs”

steps in a direction

After the shipment has been returned from import customs it will be handed to a carrier responsible for the transit of the package toward the destination address.

For example, if USPS was in charge of final delivery, the package would have gone through the customs clearance process inside an International Service Center (ISC).

The next step would therefore be dispatch from the ISC to a USPS regional facility closer to the area of delivery.

From there the package would be sorted for delivery to the relevant local post office and will go out for last-mile delivery at the next available opportunity.

A similar situation would apply to a carrier service such as DHL or FedEx. The carrier would receive the item from customs and arrange delivery through its network of facilities and hubs.

The Package is Stuck on “Item Returned From Import Customs”

Item Returned From Import Customs

If your package ends up stuck on the “Item Returned From Import Customs” status alert for several days, there are multiple steps you can take.

The first would be to contact the carrier service responsible for delivery in the destination country.

At this stage of the transit journey, it is this service that should have scanned your item and know its location.

You can also try entering the tracking code that you have into a universal tracking service. We recommend 17Track or ParcelsApp.


These services will take your tracking number and will put it through hundreds of available carrier tracking pages until it finds a match.

In other words, if your item has been scanned by a different carrier, the information will be revealed.

Finally, you can contact the sender to see if they have any details or if they can contact the original carrier service to see if further information can be retrieved there.

Similar updates to “Item Returned From Import Customs”


Different carriers will use alternative wording to relay the same information.

Where a package has successfully cleared customs and/or been handed back to the carrier service you might also receive the following updates: “Inbound out of Customs“, and “Customs Clearance Processing Complete“.

Final Words

Overall, the “Item Returned From Import Customs” is a good status alert to receive.

It means one of the more problematic sections of the shipment journey is over.

Having cleared customs the package will now be in the hands of the local postal service or carrier and will proceed to final delivery.

With any luck, your package is just a day or two away.

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