DHL – Clearance Event (Meaning, Next Steps + FAQ) (2024)

Do you see an update on your DHL tracking page, that says ‘clearance event?’

The truth is, this message is incredibly common, and may appear several times on your package’s journey towards your door.

So, what does clearance event actually mean, and is it something to be concerned about? The truth is, it depends.

In this article, I’ll be covering what clearance events are in detail, as well as some of the other clearance-related issues that may pop up while your package is in transit.

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What Does ‘Clearance Event’ Mean On DHL?

DHL – Clearance Event (Meaning, Next Steps + FAQ) (1)

When DHL shows ‘clearance event’ on the tracking page, this means that an event has happened regarding the package’s movement through customs.

When packages are shipped internationally, they must go through something called customs clearance. This is essentially an event in which the shipment is registered with and approved by the country’s government for import and export, and any duties / taxes owed are paid.

Due to the nature of the process, there are quite a few steps involved, and the process has to be repeated in each country the package moves in and out of. At the very least, this means it will need to clear customs both as it leaves the country it was shipped from, and as it arrives in the country it’s being delivered to.

Thankfully, DHL handles customs clearance on your behalf. However, issues still do arise, and delays with clearance can occur that slow down your package’s arrival.

That being said, DHL provides more detailed information about your shipment’s customs status.

So, let’s look over some more of the customs-related messages you may find on the tracking page – and if you’ll need to to do anything further for your package to clear customs!

Further Steps Your DHL Package May Go Through To Clear Customs

In addition to the standard ‘clearance event’ message you are likely to see several times on the DHL tracking page, there are several more clearance-related message you’re likely to find.

These may either appear along with the main tracking pages, or may be visible when clicking on the button that says ‘Further Detail.’

So, let’s look over each additional message, and their meanings!

Determining Customs Duty

One message you’re likely to see at some point is ‘determining customs duty.’

Often times when importing or exporting products to another country, duties will need to be paid for doing so. This is determined by the value of the products within the shipment.

According to DHL’s FAQ page, duties are typically the responsibility of the receiver of the package.

So, DHL will pay the duties on your behalf, then bill you for any duties that have been charged. Note that this fee is usually separate than any shipping fee you have already paid for the item.

Anyhow, if DHL tracking shows ‘determining customs duty’, the amount of duties needing to be paid is currently being calculated.

Customs Clearance Paperwork Check

Importing or exporting a shipment comes with a lot of paperwork! Thankfully, DHL handles this for you.

When a message stating ‘customs clearance paperwork check’ is presence on the tracking page, this means that the paperwork regarding the shipment is currently being checked by a customs agent.

Thankfully, this is a normal process, and does not mean that anything is wrong. However, it will take some time for the paperwork to be reviewed.

Be patient, and continue checking the tracking page for updates!

Customs Duty Is Due

Within the ‘further detail’ section, you may also see a message stating that customs duty is due.

As mentioned earlier, the receiver of the package is often (but not always) responsible for the duties paid to clear the shipment through customs.

So, if duties are due, this will be listed along with the payment required.

Further Clearance Processing Is Required

In rare circumstances, you may see a message stating that further clearance processing is required.

Typically, this isn’t anything you need to worry about, and DHL will be the ones that handle it.

However, it can add an extra delay to the product clearing customs.

Pay attention to any contact attempts from DHL – if necessary, they will contact you to request information or suggest next steps.

Uncontrollable Clearance Delay

One message that’s never pleasant to see on DHL’s tracking page, is one that says ‘uncontrollable clearance delay.’

This is exactly what it sounds like – there is some additional issue that is causing a delay with the product being cleared.

Usually, this is caused by something unusual occurring that doesn’t normally occur. A few examples may include:

  • Paperwork that was not filled out correctly.
  • The shipper has lied about the value of the shipment contents (to minimize duties.)
  • The shipment is considered high-risk, or is believed to contain prohibited goods.
  • The description of the package’s contents were vague or undescriptive.
  • The product was not packaged in accordance with that country’s regulations.
  • The shipment must undergo an exam.
  • The shipment must be cleared differently than normal. This may also be accompanied with a message that says, ‘a clearance other than standard customs entry is required for this shipment.’
  • Miscellaneous errors.

Although many of those can sound concerning, the truth is there is unlikely anything to worry about.

Most products that experience an uncontrollable clearance delay end up clearing customs just fine in 1-3 extra days, with no issues whatsoever.

So, remain patient – and hope that you’ll see the next message soon!

Shipment Has Been Given Release By Customs

This is the final clearance event message you’re likely to see, and it’s perhaps the most exciting!

If your shipment has been given release by customs, this essentially means it’s free to continue on to wherever it’s going next.

So, you should expect further updates soon!

My DHL Tracking Is Stuck On Clearance Event. Why?

In some cases, it’s possible that DHL may end up appearing ‘stuck’ for several days or even several weeks, with ‘clearance event’ being the most recent message.

In these instances, you should look for further details on the page to find out exactly what is going on with the package. DHL usually is pretty good about providing all available information regarding the package’s clearance status, so this can be really helpful to diagnose what may be going wrong.

For example, if customs duties are due or the ‘further clearance processing is required’ appears, this means that there are additional steps necessary before the customs clearance can continue. This may require communication with either you or the shipper before the package can continue further.

If it remains stuck on this for several days and nobody has reached out to you, I recommend contacting DHL for more information. You can reach DHL’s contact page by clicking here.

However, it’s also possible that the package has simply left the previous country, and DHL hasn’t shown any further updates since then.

Typically, if you click on the ‘Further detail’ button, it will say ‘Shipment has been given release by customs’ when this happens!

Conclusion

Clearance events are completely normal, and will happen several times when shipping packages internationally – at the very least, in the country of origin, and the destination country that the package will be arriving in.

Although clearing a shipment through customs adds additional delay, it is a legal necessity for international imports and exports – even for deliveries of single items!

So, they generally aren’t anything to worry about. That being said, DHL tracking can show you if any further action needs to be taken, so it’s a good idea to pay attention to any messages that pay pop up and contact DHL if necessary.

I hope that you’ve found this article helpful, and that it’s answered all of your questions about customs clearance events.

If you have any other questions about DHL, please ask them using the comment form below and I’ll be happy to help out.

Wishing you the best,

– James McAllister

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DHL – Clearance Event (Meaning, Next Steps + FAQ) (2024)

FAQs

Why does my DHL package keep saying clearance event? ›

What does that mean? If your tracking information shows repeated “Clearance event” updates, this means your package is being processed at customs.

How long does a clearance event take for DHL? ›

It takes 1–2days customs clearance for DHL parcel. The most fast is one day clearance. You have to advise product name and send DHL airway bill to view. Fast customs clearance solution will be advised to you.

What happens after DHL clearance processing? ›

Once your goods are cleared, we arrange for transfer before final delivery.

What does DHL customs clearance status updated mean? ›

My shipment is showing “Custom status updated” from the destination, even though the shipment just left the country. What does this mean? This status provides an indication of the clearance processing from the destination.

What does clearance event mean on tracking? ›

Don't worry – “clearance event” simply means that your package is being processed at customs. Unless you are contacted, your package will be on its way once it is fully processed.

How long does customs clearance take? ›

Typically, customs clearance takes less than 24 hours, however, there are times where it can take several days or weeks for goods to be inspected. When is customs clearance needed? Customs clearance is necessary for all packages entering the U.S. from other countries.

Will customs open my package? ›

Do customs open every package to verify information? No, customs officers will not open up your package or packages without good reason. Every package is put through a scanner machine, or an x-ray machine, to verify that the items you are shipping match your customs forms.

What is the next step after clearance processing complete? ›

Your shipment clears customs once all duties are paid. Once customs clearance is complete, your chosen courier service transports the shipment from customs to the end-destination. Shipments rarely get stuck at customs. When they do, it's usually because of faulty paperwork.

What is the final step in the customs clearance process? ›

Shipment Release

The release process can vary depending on the type of imported goods but typically involves paying any customs duties or taxes owed. Once the release paperwork has been completed, the importer can take possession of the goods and move them to their final destination.

What comes after clearance processing complete? ›

What happens after import customs clearance is completed? Once your import customs clearance is completed, your shipment has successfully gained permission to enter the country. Your shipment will then be passed onto your chosen courier to be transported to its final destination.

How do I know if my package cleared customs? ›

Use the Customs Forms Tracking Tool.

The US Postal Service has a Customs Forms Tracking Tool which you can use to easily track your parcel. This tool provides details on your package including its status, delivery information, and customs holds.

Why is my DHL Express package on hold even after tracking says it has cleared customs? ›

The “on hold” message is often an indication that your package has stopped moving entirely, and is staying in one place. It is usually due to a delay in the package's journey. For example, if a border between countries is closed, your package will appear as “on hold” because DHL cannot get it through.

Does DHL handle customs clearance? ›

DHL Customs Services

Our broad range of customs brokerage services ensure a smooth and on time border crossing of shipments, without administrative burden, delays or penalties. We take the complexity out of customs.

How long is a clearance delay? ›

Importers have five days from the time that goods arrive at the port, and ten days after submitting the Entry/Immediate Delivery form, to file what's known as an Entry Summary. This document will clear goods while at customs.

Why is my package in clearance? ›

Clearance delays may occur for a variety of reasons; the following are some examples: Missing documentation. Incomplete, missing, or inaccurate information on documentation. Additional documentation required by regulatory agencies.

What does clearance in progress mean for a package? ›

It means the shipment has arrived in the country and has been checked in through customs. At this point it moves to the delivery company and then to you.

How long can a package stay in customs? ›

Normally, in three business days its status would change to “Released by Customs”, meaning that the package is on its want to you. But sometimes this doesn't happen. There are two main reasons why international packages get held up in customs for more than three days.

How much is custom clearance fee in USA? ›

The MPF for formal entries is an ad valorem fee of 0.3464 percent. The maximum amount of the fee shall not exceed $538.40 and shall not be less than $27.75. The fee is based on the value of the merchandise being imported, not including duty, freight, and insurance charges.

Why is it taking so long to clear customs? ›

Missing or incorrect paperwork, outstanding duties and taxes, or dangerous or prohibited items are the main reasons why packages get stuck in customs.

Does DHL inspect packages? ›

DHL encourages the use of proper packaging. Because you, as a shipper, are ultimately responsible for safely and securely preparing your shipment, the following tips can help you package properly. Our courier will inspect the shipment when the pickup is made.

What if my DHL package is stuck in customs? ›

Contact your carrier

Ensure that your shipment is actually stuck in customs. Often, express shippers like DHL or FedEx will be able to have customs clear your shipment. Generally, the best way to contact carriers is by phone, but beware, often carriers use premium-rate numbers which can quickly become expensive.

What happens if a package does not clear customs? ›

In most cases, the customs broker will need to cancel the PARS entry and re-submit it as a Release on Minimum Documentation (RMD) or post-arrival entry. In today's world, most of this is done electronically but there are still some instances where a paper entry is required.

How does DHL clear customs? ›

At the importer's request, DHL will provide the necessary paperwork to the customer's designated broker to perform the import clearance and resume the delivery to the final destination once the clearance is completed.

What is clearance on demand DHL? ›

Helps digitalize the process of collecting missing information for shipment clearance. Streamlined communication via email or SMS. Proactive automated notification helps to avoid potential Customs delays. Easy to use self-service portal to resolve import holds with improved customer experience.

What does clearance process mean? ›

The customs clearance process is the act of passing a shipment of goods through customs, the government agency responsible for overseeing the compliance of shipments with international trade laws. Customs officials oversee each incoming or outgoing shipment to make sure it is in line with the country's regulations.

What is the first step of the customs clearance process? ›

The first step is to gather information. There are many possibilities. For example, a specific product is restricted at the destination country or may need some additional documentation. Although the level of stringent policies in the customs process varies from country to country.

What are the procedures for ship clearance? ›

A commercial vessel clearance typically includes two separate procedures: (1) admittance by the Customs authorities of the vessel itself, including its fuel, ship's stores and crew baggage, for which a manifest or declaration must be provided, and (2) turn-over to the Customs authorities of the vessel manifest listing ...

What does customs clearance status updated? ›

Customs clearance status updated: The parcel went through customs or is going through and being processed. In this case, please see the note: if it shows 'The Customs clearance process may start while the shipment is in transit to the destination.

What does customs clearance successful mean? ›

Once the order has been deemed to comply with all regulations and standards and all outstanding import duty taxes have been cleared, the customs officer inspecting the order may then declare it as passed, and the shipment status on AliExpress will show as “Customs Clearance Successful”.

Why is my package stuck in clearance? ›

Shipments are held to ensure they satisfy export or import customs regulations. This may be due to missing or incomplete paperwork, waiting for clearance instructions or because the authorities may need more information to clear the goods.

What does it mean when a package needs clearance? ›

Customs clearance is a process a parcel has to undergo once it arrives into a country. Customs cleared means your parcel has undergone the necessary customs inspections and the duty fees have been paid and calculated. The international shipment is then free and clear to move on to its next destination.

How do you know if customs seizes your package DHL? ›

It depends on the circumstances and the country. In the US, if a package is detained or seized they will send a letter to the recipient and explain why- sometimes it may be for import duties or it could be a prohibited item.

How do I know if customs seized my package? ›

To view property that was seized and is subject to forfeiture, please visit the Department of Justice website at www.forfeiture.gov.

Why is my package in 2 weeks in customs? ›

Why do some packages get stuck in customs? Missing or incorrect paperwork, outstanding duties and taxes, or dangerous or prohibited items are the main reasons why packages get stuck in customs.

How long does clearance delay take? ›

Per standard, there are five days for the importer to compile the necessary paperwork for the shipment's clearance.

What happens after clearance delay? ›

'Clearance delay' means the shipment is still in Customs. Customs and clearance delays occur for a variety of reasons; the following are some examples: Missing documentation. Incomplete, missing, or inaccurate information on documentation.

Why would DHL hold a shipment? ›

Your package may be “on hold” because of any of the following reasons: Congestion issues at ports. Changes in the shipping routes. Lack of information about the person sending the parcel.

Do I need to do anything about a clearance delay? ›

A common frustration with shipping delays is there is nothing you can do but wait. If you go online and note that your package is marked 'clearance delay' contact the service that shipped it. Contact the recipient to let them know what is going on.

What is the customs clearance process complete? ›

When the customs clearance process is complete, it means that the item has cleared the customs of the receiving nation and is available for onward transition to its destination. But before this can happen, a series of processes need to take place as part of the clearance procedure.

What happens after custom clearance completed? ›

Your shipment clears customs once all duties are paid. Once customs clearance is complete, your chosen courier service transports the shipment from customs to the end-destination. Shipments rarely get stuck at customs. When they do, it's usually because of faulty paperwork.

Will you be notified if customs seizes your package? ›

US Customs Seizure Letter – Customs Notice of Seizure. A US Customs seizure letter, also known as a Customs Notice of Seizure, is a document issued by the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency to inform individuals or businesses that their goods have been seized during the customs clearance process.

How long does DHL hold packages? ›

How long will DHL hold a package? DHL holds parcels for seven days and sometimes they can hold it longer than the given date. If there is an "Agreed Delivery" date DHL will not charge for storage.

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