How Long Can Customs Hold My Package (And Why)?

How Long Can Customs Hold My Package (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 5 Days

Every person has had that moment where one is waiting for a package to arrive, and it’s been delayed. The last thing one wants is to be left in the dark with no updates or information about when the precious items will finally arrive. 

Customs can hold packages for up to six months, but if customs have held the package, there are some things one can do to retrieve it. 

The package one is waiting on might be in limbo right now. Customs hold packages for up to 30 days, so if it’s been longer than that, the goods may still be on their way. 

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How Long Can Customs Hold My Package?

Customs will hold the package for5 days
Shipment delivery in1 to 10 business days

The time the customs can hold a package depends on the item that is being shipped, the country of origin, and the destination country. In general, customs will hold a package for 5 days before returning it to the sender.

There are a few exceptions; however, if an item is being shipped to a country known for smuggling or trafficking, customs may choose to detain the package for longer to investigate it. 

Additionally, suppose an item is being shipped internationally, and it is not clear what it is or where it came from. In that case, customs may also detain the package for a longer period.

Overall, it depends on various factors, including the type of package, the contents of the package, and the country to which it is being sent.

If one is shipping a package internationally, it is important to be aware that different countries have different rules and regulations governing the importation of goods. 

It is also important to be aware that Customs officials may open and inspect any package at their discretion. However, if one is sending a valuable or sensitive item, it is always best to contact the local Customs office for more information about it.

Here are some things one can do to check the status of the shipment: 

  1. Call the local post office and ask about customs hold times   
  2. Search online by entering the tracking number on USPS’ website
  3. If there is no information available, call the number provided for more details

Why Would Customs Hold My Package For So Long?

Customs hold mail and packages for 5 days to clear customs and comply with international laws. Sometimes the package will not be scanned during this time so that one may have a lost package or delayed something in delivery. If one does not receive an update from the Customs office, it is best to contact them directly.

Customs will scan incoming shipments without prior notification to the recipient, then clear customs sometime after they are scanned. Once cleared by Customs, they return to their regular processing timeline of 3-5 business days. 

In the United States, USPS is granted permission to hold packages for a certain time. There might be different rules for packages going through customs in other countries, and selective delays in delivery can happen.

The real issue is that this service has exponentially increased the cost of sending mail internationally, with many people spending thousands of dollars on postage for a single mailing. 

There are a few possibilities that could have led to the delay in the situation, which includes: 

  1. Customs recently intercepted the package. In this case, the most common reason is that they believe it is being illegally sold across international borders or outside of the border. 
  2. The package went through inspections and checks over a longer period than usual because the buyer forged labels or used incorrect paperwork for shipment. 
  3. The shipping company is holding on to the package for unknown reasons. It is best to contact them.


Another reason why customs may hold one’s packages is that the sender did not pay the taxes properly. Sometimes, it may also be because the shipping chose a slower delivery method, which can be stressful many times.

Sometimes, if the package is stuck with customs, one must pay additional fees with the necessary documentation. Also, sometimes the tracking system can be unreliable or inaccurate. Overall, if a person is facing any issues, it is best to double-check with the courier system to identify the problem.

This is why it is important to have one’s tracking number to track it in the system or send emails successfully.


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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.

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