International Shipment Release – Import [FedEx]: The Full Guide

While expecting a FedEx package from overseas, it’s not uncommon to see the status, “International shipment release – import” on your tracking page. 

Sadly, this is a vague update, and unless you know the finer details, it’s daunting to know where your package is stuck. 

First things first…

What Does International Shipment Release – Import Mean?

The FedEx international shipment release-import status means that the customs office in the recipient’s country has cleared an imported package and handed it over to FedEx for last-mile delivery. 

Before a package receives the “shipment release” scan, activities such as the clearance of import taxes, duties, and other pending customs clearance procedures must be completed. 

When you receive this update, rest assured that your package will be with you shortly – the customs office hasn’t held it for review. 

How Long After The “Shipment Release – Import” Status Does It Take for Me To Receive My Package?

Under normal circumstances, it takes a maximum of Three Business Days to receive your imported package after the customs process has gone through. 

However, as there is nothing perfect in the world, it might take a business week or even more to receive your package after FedEx tracking has shown that it has been released by customs. 

Reasons Why An Imported Package Might Take Longer To Be Delivered Even After Customs Clearance

Flight Shortages

After imported packages have cleared customs processes, FedEx mostly loads them into planes to take them to the relevant distribution centers. 

Unfortunately, there are moments when there are no available planes to pick up the parcels from the customs offices, leading to delayed deliveries. 

This is especially true during the holiday seasons when the ratio of packages to the available planes is disproportionate. 

Bad Weather

While there might be available planes to take the packages to the nearest destination facilities, inclement weather might make it impossible for planes to fly. 

One of the most recent incidences where inclement weather disrupted delivery was when we had Tropical Storm Idalia.

Packages ended up getting delayed as there was little to no movement in the FedEx Memphis hub. 

When there is an issue to do with bad weather, FedEx usually updates the tracking page with the “Shipment exception weather delay” update to keep recipients in the know. 


Peak moments such as the holiday season or Black Friday events mean that there are volumes of deliveries to occur, leading to backlogs. 

You might need to check whether FedEx is experiencing backlogs, which is one of the main reasons for package delays. 

Technical Issues

Technical issues happen every other time and one of the glitches we see is when the tracking page doesn’t show that a package has been scanned. 

Due to mis-scanning or lack of scanning at all, we have had incidences where a FedEx package gets delivered when the tracking page still shows “International Shipment Release – Import.” 

If your package is still stuck on that update, don’t panic as it might actually be on the way to you. The problem is if you are anxious. As our readers say, no scanning should ever fail to get done and we concur with them. 

The Following Day Is A Weekend

The other reason why an imported package might have been delayed after it was released by customs could be that it was released on a Friday. 

Depending on the hub it was released from, you might have to wait until the next business day for another scan to be made. There are little to no package movements for international packages in FedEx. 

What Should I Do When My Released Package Has Delayed?

Be More Patient

Of course, this applies if your international package isn’t a time-sensitive one. 

Before panicking, we recommend that you be more patient for a few more business days and your package will undoubtedly be there with you. We haven’t had incidences of international packages getting lost in the hands of FedEx, so staying still and waiting it out might be a fantastic idea. 

Contact The Shipper

If it’s past the estimated delivery date and your package that has been released by customs hasn’t been delivered just yet, we recommend letting the shipper know. 

There are better chances of FedEx working perfectly along with the sender to find a solution than if you reached out to them. FedEx won’t prioritize your complaint as they would with the shipper. 

If yours was an online purchase, it’s even better since you are the shipper’s client. The sender is responsible for ensuring that they deliver your item on time, or else refund or reship it as they follow up with FedEx. 

If yours wasn’t an online purchase or it doesn’t make sense to follow up with the sender, you can follow the process below. 

Contact FedEx

Complaining to FedEx when the tracking status doesn’t move might not do much, so we urge you to manage your expectations. 

However, it’s still ideal to let them know when your package has taken more than you expected it to. 

Depending on how backed up they are, you might only be told to be more patient and any other scripted messages they have inscribed on their system. 

Will I Pay Anything After The Customs Process Went Through?

Since we clarified that you only receive this update after the customs process went through, it means that FedEx paid the duties in advance for you. In the mail, you will get a bill for that payment along with any applicable delivery fees. 

If FedEx requested that you pay for the duties while your package was still at customs, then you won’t get billed once more for such duties on delivery.