What Does “Import Scan” Mean In UPS Tracking + What Happens Next & Addressing Delivery Delays

Fulfilling customs regulations and compliance is crucial for packages going to another country. One way UPS notifies sellers and buyers about the acceptance of their shipment is the “Import scan” update. What does it mean, and is it a good update? 

Seeing the ‘import scan’ update on your tracking portal is a positive sign. It simply means your shipment fulfilled the requirements of the receiving country and is on its way to the next destination. 

This guide takes a look at what the “import scan” tracking update is and what comes after. You will also discover why your package may be stuck on this update and what to do. 

What Does UPS “Import Scan” Mean on UPS Tracking? 

When the UPS tracking portal says ‘import scan‘, it means your shipment has undergone all the necessary processes and has been cleared by the customs authority of the receiving country. Simply put, it is the “welcome to a new country” scan. 

A series of events precedes this scan. They include checking the package’s documentation for declarations, applicable duties, taxes, and compliance with the destination country’s customs regulations. 

Typically, this entire process should take 24 hours or less. However, it may take days or weeks if the port is very congested (among other factors). 

What Comes After Import Scan? 


Since the ‘import scan’ signifies acceptance by the receiving country, the subsequent update on the UPS tracking portal should be ‘In Transit‘. This means your shipment has left the port and is moving towards a local distribution center. 

How long it takes for your package to remain in transit” depends on your location and how busy or efficient the local sorting center is. Your tracking update should change to ‘out for delivery‘ once it leaves the depot closest to your address. 

At this stage, delivery should occur that day or the next. 

Why is Your UPS Package Stuck on “Import Scan”? 

While port congestion is a common reason for clearance delays, it is not the only one. Other factors that may be responsible for this frustrating experience are: 

1. Missing or incorrect document 

Your package will not be cleared by the receiving country if documentation or reports such as invoices, descriptions, and valuations are missing or incorrect. These documents contain tax and duties information vital to the approval and release of your shipment. 

2. Regulatory compliance 

Some shipments are subjected to special regulations, depending on the destination country. For example, shipments that contain hazardous materials or controlled substances require extra scrutiny for approval and release. This may result in waiting for weeks. 

Package Stuck on Import Scan on UPS Tracking: What to Do

1. Be patient

The first step to addressing any customs delay is to wait. This is because not every acceptance will occur within 24 hours. However, you may need to take further action if the tracking status remains unchanged for more than a week. 

2. Contact UPS 

This is the next step, provided you have waited enough is to contact UPS. Please note that UPS may still ask you to be patient. They do this because they have very little information about your package since it is still at the port. 

3. Contact the shipper 

You can also contact the shipper about your experience. This will force them to double-check the accuracy of the customs documentation for your package and find out what may be responsible for the delay. 

When they present this evidence to UPS, it makes the investigation faster. Shippers also don’t mind paying to resolve any pending duties and taxes. 

Import Scan Vs. Arrival Scan: Are They the Same? 

While both may sound similar, they do not mean the same thing. Import scans apply to international packages. It means the parcel has arrived and has been accepted by the destination country. 

On the other hand, an arrival scan applies to both domestic and international shipments. It is a procedural scan that every package traveling via any UPS local warehouse must undergo. 

Hence, arrival or warehouse scan can occur multiple times depending on the number of depot that receives your package. On the other hand, the Import scan only occurs once (in the receiving country). 

Note: A tracking update alternating between ‘import scan’ and ‘warehouse scan’ is usually a sign of customs clearance issues.


What is the opposite of an import scan? 

Export scan. This scan signifies that a package has been cleared for export and shipping in the sender’s country. 

Can a package be delivered without being scanned by UPS?

It is possible, especially if the package has to go through only one sorting center before delivery. This is one of those honest mistakes UPS employees make, and it can affect tracking updates. 

How accurate is UPS tracking?

Very accurate. UPS tracking precisely indicates where your package was the last time it was scanned and will only update it when it gets scanned next. 

Does UPS deliver on Sunday?

UPS does not deliver packages on Sundays. If your shipment is time-sensitive or you wish to enclose delivery before the weekend, choose Express services with a guaranteed delivery window

Does destination scan mean out for delivery?

Destination scan means your package has arrived at the nearest local facility to your address and should leave there shortly. Out for delivery means your package has been scanned and is already in a delivery truck – on its way to you. 

Wrapping Up

The UPS ‘import scan’ tracking update marks a significant step in the shipping process of an international shipment. It signifies the acceptance of a shipment by the receiving country because it complies with all their customs regulations. 

Seeing this update on the UPS tracking portal is an indication that your package will arrive soon. The next step after the ‘import scan’ is moving your package to a UPS warehouse. 

On arrival, the package will be scanned and should now read ‘in transit’ on the UPS tracking portal. Once UPS tracking says ‘out for delivery,’ you should get your package that day or the next. 

I hope you found this guide helpful. Here is what to do if UPS delivers to the wrong address after import scan.

Thanks for reading.