“Processed Through Facility ISC Los Angeles CA” (USPS) is a status alert you may have come across when sending or receiving an international package using USPS.
So, what does this mean? What is the ISC Los Angeles CA and how long will your package be stuck there?
Let’s take a look…
“Processed Through Facility ISC Los Angeles CA (USPS)” – Meaning
“Processed Through Facility ISC Los Angeles CA (USPS)” means the consignment has arrived at the Los Angeles International Service Center and the mail item has been scanned. Before being dispatched from the ISC it will undergo customs clearance checks.
What is ISC Los Angeles CA (USPS)?
The International Service Center in Los Angeles is a USPS sorting facility based out of LAX airport. Inbound and outbound international mail items are processed within the service center, with customs clearance checks also taking place.
ISC Los Angeles CA is the main USPS processing center of its kind on the West coast.
What Happens Inside ISC Los Angeles CA (USPS)?
The “Processed Through Facility ISC Los Angeles CA (USPS)” update is actually quite misleading in that the alert is triggered when a mail item arrives at the center, (not after it has been processed through).
This could be outgoing mail traveling overseas, or international mail entering the USA.
Either way, the alert signifies that the consignment has entered the ISC and has been sorted for its onward journey.
However, before being released it will be subjected to the customs clearance process.
In other words, customs staff work alongside USPS with the ISC and will check incoming and outgoing shipments.
Once the shipment has been cleared it will be passed on to USPS or the linehaul carrier responsible for the international transit.
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Is ISC Los Angeles CA (USPS) a Customs Facility?
The ISC Los Angeles CA is primarily a sorting center as far as the role of USPS.
However, as already mentioned, the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) does work within the same building.
Clearly, the two organizations have very distinct roles in the processing of incoming and outgoing shipments.
The CBP’s sole responsibility is to inspect all international packages entering or exiting the USA.
Customs staff will check the contents of shipments to ensure no prohibited items, (foods, animals, drugs, and counterfeit goods for example) are contained within.
USPS on the other hand is responsible for the sorting and delivery of items entering the USA.
So yes, a shipment will go through the customs process at ISC Los Angeles CA (USPS), however, the item is under the jurisdiction of the CBP as this happens.
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How Does the CBP Check Mail within the ISC Los Angeles CA?
Here’s a summary of what happens when the CBP checks a package within the ISC Los Angeles CA facility:
- Non-intrusive inspection techniques, i.e checks without opening the package are the first step. This will also involve relevant documentation checks.
- Any suspicious mail items will be taken to an inspection area, for further examination by sniffer dogs and/or subjected to x-rays
- Finally, a package will be opened for a physical inspection if required.
The U.S. Postal Service processed over 729 million pieces of international mail and parcels in fiscal year (FY) 2020, with the vast majority of shipments clearing customs with little issue.
After clearance, consignments are once again in the control of USPS who will deliver the package or hand it across to linehaul.
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How Long Will my Package be at the ISC Los Angeles CA?
Although the customs clearance process is standard procedure, the length of time you can expect to wait until your package leaves the ISC processing facility in Los Angeles City varies widely.
Furthermore, the ISC Los Angeles CA has garnered quite a reputation for being a black hole for international USPS shipments, (see the section below).
Taking the various online complaints aside, under normal circumstances a small package (that is part of a single consignment), should take between 1 and 3 days to be processed through the ISC.
Bulk imports/exports can take longer due to the nature of the clearance inspection.
Also, unloading, sorting, and dispatch times should be attached to these estimates and can see even a simple mail item be held up for a week or more.
Issues that impact processing times at the ISC Los Angeles:
- Declaration of the package contents
- Correct and fully filled in documentation
- Where the package has come from (i.e which country)
- The size and weight of the package
- Whether tax or duties are owed
- Staffing levels (Covid staff reductions had massive impacts)
- The volume of packages arriving (seasonal variations)
My Package is Stuck at ISC Los Angeles CA (USPS)
If your package tracking status remains stuck within the ISC Los Angeles CA facility for more than 7 days you will have grounds to contact USPS to see what the delay is.
Also, it will probably come as little consolation but you are not alone. Below are a few quotes from online forums on this subject.
Customer Comments regarding wait times at ISC Los Angeles CA (USPS)
“I’m four days away from a month for a package sitting at ISC NY. Already requested an investigation and their response was basically “We see it arrived at ISC…we’ll deliver if it ever shows up at our office.”
“It’s been over 3 months since my package arrived at ISC LA. The sender filed a missing package claim from their end.”
“The package that I am waiting for has been at the L.A. Service Center for 13 days with no movement…”
“Has your package arrived? Mine has been at ISC since 12/24/2021, today is 4/7/22. Wonder why and how they store all those packages?”
What To Do if Your Package is Stuck at ISC Los Angeles?
If you do not receive any updates after the “processed through…” alert, it can be difficult to determine whether the hold-up is due to general delays in the ISC processing or if a problem has occurred during customs clearance.
The latter will generally trigger an alert advising the shipper or recipient on what issues have taken place with the CBP.
However, as the many online comments suggest, sometimes all you will receive is silence from USPS with little information on the whereabouts of the mail item.
Essentially, if the tracking status does not update after 7 days you should contact USPS Customer Service to find out more.
How to Contact ISC Los Angeles CA
With the new process, customers now simply call the International Inquiry Center at 800-222-1811 to initiate an inquiry regarding international registered, recorded delivery, insured, and ordinary parcels.
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Tracking Updates Related to “ISC Los Angeles CA (USPS)”
There are a number of USPS tracking updates you can expect to see after your package has arrived at the ISC Los Angeles CA (USPS) facility.
This includes confirming that the customs clearance process is underway (Inbound into Customs) or complete, as well as indicators that the package has been returned to USPS and has been dispatched to another facility.
For example, the “Arrived at USPS Regional Facility”, means your package has left the ISC and arrived at a Los Angeles regional sorting facility and has been scanned.
You may also receive an “In Transit to next USPS Facility” tracking alert. This means exactly what it describes. The package is on its way to the next facility (or post office) closer to the destination address.
Essentially, the ISC Los Angeles CA (USPS) is a major facility responsible for mail and packages coming in and out of the USA.
In other words, if you are on the west coast of the United States and are sending or receiving mail to or from overseas, your item will pass through this facility.
The United States Customs and Border Protection works inside the facility to inspect shipments to ensure the safety of U.S citizens and that laws are abided by.
I’m a 25 year veteran of USPS. I’m retired now, but as the editor of Mailbox Master, I can’t quite remove myself from the carrier industry just yet. 🙂