USPS Tracking Acceptance: Meaning, Processes Involved, Delays & How To Address Them

When a package arrives at USPS or a postal office, it undergoes inspection. After inspection, three outcomes are possible — Acceptance, Acceptance with Limitation, or Rejection. 

“Acceptance” means your package has been inspected and fulfills USPS requirements. The criteria for compliance involves screening the package for quality, quantity, and packing requirements, just to name a few. 

This guide explains what Acceptance means in USPS tracking, the series of events that precede the confirmation, and other outcome possibilities. You will also find out if a rejected package can be replaced.

What Does Acceptance Mean in USPS Tracking?


Acceptance signifies the receipt and retention of the package sent by the supplier following proper inspection and confirmation. This ensures the item conforms to quantity, quality, and packaging specifications. 

Ideally, the whole process should not exceed 24 hours. However, if there is congestion or minor setbacks, it may take up to four days.

If you do not get an Acceptance or USPS confirmation after four days, don’t hesitate to contact USPS customer service.

What Happens Before Acceptance? 

Inspection or sorting. Once a seller or sender delivers the package to the post office, it undergoes sorting. Sorting involves weighing the parcel and checking how it is packaged. 

After sorting, the package moves to the distribution or sectional center, where it gets a tracking number and undergoes scanning. If it fulfills all the requirements, it should get an Acceptance confirmation from the Contracting Officer within 24 hours. 

Your package carrier should also pick it up within 24 hours. At this stage, the package’s recipient should be able to track it via the tracking number provided by USPS or the carrier. 

Other Possible Outcomes After Inspection 


Occasionally, the merchant’s package(s) will not get a full acceptance confirmation. Such packages are open to any of the following outcomes: 

1. Acceptance with limitation

When your USPS tracking status says “Acceptance with limitation,” such a package partially conforms with established specifications. This could also be the case when only part of the shipment can be allowed for distribution or delivery. 

If USPS accepts a limited parcel, the shipment’s contract will undergo modifications (except for minor defects). The new contract must provide concise information based on the following: 

  • Nature and degree of non-conformance 
  • The supplier’s request for acceptance of the package. 
  • Advice from technical experts that the content of the package is safe to use (for its primary purpose).
  • A recommendation for acceptance by the recipient with supporting (verifiable) reasons. 
  • In-depth monetary and other considerations. 

2. Rejection

When a package cannot be fully accepted or with limitations, it faces rejection. Reasons for rejection in USPS tracking usually result from failure to obey standard requirements. 

This could be about safety, durability, health, interchangeability of parts, or appearance. However, you should note that your package will only face rejection when there is insufficient time to correct or replace it. 

The consignee will get a prompt rejection notice with supporting evidence and a repair, replacement, or corrections deadline. All cost and expenses or loss of value at this stage is the sender’s responsibility. 

Can You Correct or Replace a Rejected Parcel? 

Hopefully, I have done justice to this question in the previous section. However, a few clauses apply to replacing or correcting a package that fails inspection. 

1. Package correction or replacements should incur no extra cost to the USPS or Postal Service. 

2. USPS reserves the right to charge the shipper for retesting or reinspection. 

How Long Does Package Acceptance Pending Take? 

In most cases, you can expect your shipment to be cleared within 24 hours. However, it may take longer (up to 4 days) if the postal facility is processing too many orders. Other factors that can delay acceptance are Acceptance with limitation or Rejection.

You need to spend a few days to resolve any of the issues and get an acceptance for the package before it will be shipped to its destination. 

What Happens If USPS Package Got Accepted but is Not Moving? 

After acceptance, your package should progress to the next delivery phase. If this does not happen within 24 hours or 4 days (maximum), there is a big chance your package is stuck in transit. 

Other factors that may be responsible for this situation are damage, loss, or tracking system glitches. You should contact USPS customer service to enquire about the status of your package. 


Is it possible for USPS tracking to not update?

Yes, it is possible for USPS tracking not to update. This is usually the case for packages yet to undergo scanning but find their way into the delivery truck. 

Does USPS take pictures of a package delivery?

All mailpieces via USPS go through high-speed sorting machines responsible for taking a picture of the package’s front (address section).

Does USPS look inside packages?

USPS will look inside your package if it is not a First Class Mail, Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express, or an International letter. 

In a Nutshell 

When a supplier drops a package at USPS or any postal office, such package undergoes inspection. This process involves checking the package for quantity, quality, durability, weight, and other compliance. 

This will determine if such a package will get an Acceptance, Acceptance with Limitations, or Rejection Confirmation. If a package is accepted, the carrier should pick it up within 24 hours, marking the onset of residential delivery. 

Otherwise, such a package has to obey the rules guiding “Acceptance with Limitations” or “Rejection”. The bright side to these disappointing notifications is that they can still be shipped if proper action is taken almost immediately. 

I hope you found this guide helpful. If you did, learn how to track a USPS package without a tracking number

Thanks for reading.