What Does “In Warehouse” Mean for UPS?

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If you are expecting a package through UPS but don’t seem to understand what “In Warehouse” means on its tracking system, it can be a frustrating experience.

You might not know whether it’s normal or if something is wrong with the package.


The tracking system of UPS has multiple terminologies, which help you know the whereabouts of your package.

One of these terminologies is “In Warehouse,” but it could mean different things.

  • The package was scanned at the origin facility.
  • The package arrived at the destination warehouse.
  • Your package is scanned at the warehouse before being sent off for customs clearance for international shipping.

If your status states, “Held in Warehouse,” it means something is wrong with your package, and it’s being held off until further notice.

If you’ve made it this far, you’ll find the upcoming content useful. In this article, we’ll explain why your package is in the warehouse, how long before it shows up at your door, and what the entire process looks like.

Understanding “In Warehouse” for Ups

Most of us have used UPS at some point in our lives; it excels at package handling and serves almost all territories worldwide.

UPS in Numbers

In 2021, UPS delivered an average of 25.2 million packages daily, making it 6.4 billion for the whole year.

When you look at all these numbers, it’s hard not to wonder how UPS handles such a tremendous amount of mail.

United Parcel Service has an effective infrastructure to handle all these packages. The parcels at UPS go through a well-planned, systematic journey designed to ensure quick and accurate delivery.

One point of this journey is the warehouse, and when your package lands at any of these along the way, the status on the tracking system will be updated to “In Warehouse.”

This begs the question, is your package nearby? Should you expect it to arrive soon? Well, this could also mean other things.

Let’s explore this in detail:

1. Domestic Packages

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If your package is being shipped from within the country, it will most likely pass through two warehouses from sender to recipient.

The first warehouse your package will go through is near the sender’s address, which will be sorted according to its destination and shipped accordingly.

After departing from the origin facility, it will end up at the sorting facility nearest to the recipient’s address, where it will be sorted again according to its vicinity.

UPS uses a barcode scanning system to keep track of its packages; as soon as the package gets scanned at any of these warehouses, the tracking system will prompt the user with the status, “In Warehouse.”

This leads us to a new question, how do you know if it’s an origin or destination facility? It’s easy; the tracking system also shows the warehouse’s address.

For instance, if you sent a package from Louisville, you’ll find the update as “In Warehouse, Louisville, KY, United States,” and you could get the idea that it’s at the origin facility.

So if your package is at the warehouse near your location, you will get your parcel soon. However, you will have to wait if it’s still at the origin facility.

Clearing Warehouse

UPS aims to send every package out of the warehouse within 24 hours.

2. International Shipping

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If you are expecting your package from across the border, it must go through customs. The same is the case for all the outgoing packages.

All international packages must go through the customs clearance process, in which US Customs and Border Protection checks the packages and their contents through high-end x-ray and scanning machines.

Customs Checking

Usually, customs officials do not tear open packages, but they have the right to check faulty or illegal parcels.

Ensure you provide the correct and complete paperwork for your package to avoid this situation.

As the package undergoes the final stages of preparation for customs clearance, it is meticulously scanned at the UPS warehouse to ensure compliance with all regulations.

Once cleared, it is promptly dispatched to customs for final inspection and clearance, ready to continue its journey to its final destination.

As soon as the package gets scanned at the warehouse, you’ll get the status “In Warehouse” or “Warehouse Scan” in some cases.

From here on, your package is at the mercy of customs clearance. If the paperwork is complete and everything checks out fine, it would only take a few hours to clear the product from customs.

Held in Warehouse

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In some cases, you might come across the status “Held in Warehouse,” which you should be concerned about.

This status indicates that something is wrong with your package, and it has to sit back at the warehouse until further notice.

Most of the time, it’s the issue with the supporting paperwork. If the paperwork is missing or incorrect, it will prevent your package from getting cleared until you provide the required documents.

Every country has regulations for importing and exporting goods; if your package does not follow the implied regulations, it will be confiscated for further investigation, putting you at risk of a lawsuit.

These regulations also require you to pay the duties and taxes on each outgoing and incoming product. If you fail to pay the duties, you won’t be able to receive your package until all the taxes are cleared.


If you see “In Warehouse” on the UPS tracking system for your package, it could mean a few different things. It might tell you that the package was scanned at the origin facility or arrived at the destination warehouse.

The UPS package also gets scanned at the warehouse before being sent off for customs clearance for international shipping.

However, if the status states “Held in Warehouse,” it means something is wrong with your package, and it’s being held off at the warehouse for investigation.

Understanding the different stages of the UPS tracking system can help you know the whereabouts of your package and when to expect it to arrive.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do All Ups Packages Go Through the Warehouse?

Yes, all the packages at UPS have to go through the proper channel, which includes the warehouse.

It makes it a lot easier to manage and sort all the packages at these sorting facilities, helping to speed up the process with greater accuracy.

How Long Will Ups Hold the Package Before Sending It Back to the Sender?

UPS will hold on to your package for five business days; if the recipient fails to show up, the package will be returned to the sender.

If it’s a C.O.D. (Collect on Delivery) service, the package will be returned to the sender on the same day.

What Is the Difference Between “In Warehouse,” “Held in Warehouse,” and “Warehouse Scan”?

“In Warehouse” indicates that the package has arrived at any UPS warehouse, possibly the destination or origin warehouse.

Whereas “Held in Warehouse” is not good news; it’s alerting you that something is wrong with your package, and it’s held back at the UPS warehouse until further notice.

Lastly, “Warehouse Scan” refers to preparing the package before it is released to customs for clearance.

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