DHL Shipment On Hold Explained

Seeing that dreaded “on hold” status next to your DHL tracking number can be disheartening. But don’t panic. DHL shipment holds are common and usually temporary. By understanding the top reasons for holds, how to check your status, and quick tips to get your package moving again, you can stay calm and resolve delivery delays. 

This comprehensive guide will explain what an on hold shipment means, provide reasons and solutions for stuck packages, and give you actionable steps to overcome hurdles. Soon you’ll have the knowledge to get your DHL delivery back on track and avoid frustrating holds in the future.

What Does It Mean When A Dhl Shipment Is “On Hold”?

When you see “on hold” next to your DHL tracking information, it simply indicates your package is being temporarily delayed and DHL cannot move it forward currently.

Although on hold, your shipment is safe and will continue its journey as soon as possible. An on hold status does not necessarily signify an issue – it just means a short-term delay is preventing delivery.

Some common reasons a DHL shipment might be put on hold include:

  • Delay at customs for clearance
  • Missing or incorrect paperwork
  • Port congestion
  • Natural disasters/severe weather
  • Temporary closure of a DHL facility

While frustrating, try not to worry excessively if your DHL package is on hold. The situation usually resolves within a few days.

Common Reasons A Dhl Shipment Gets Put On Hold

Common Reasons A Dhl Shipment Gets Put On Hold

There are various reasons why your DHL shipment could be temporarily placed on hold:

Delay at Customs for Clearance

One of the most frequent reasons for a DHL hold is awaiting customs clearance. All international shipments must pass through customs before continuing to their destination.

Packages may be held at customs while officials inspect the shipment and verify paperwork like the commercial invoice, bill of lading, and packing list. If any required information is missing or inaccurate, clearance will be delayed.

DHL has no control over customs wait times. But most shipments clear within 1-3 days. If your package is stuck in customs for over a week, contact DHL.

Issues with Paperwork

Incorrect or incomplete paperwork can also cause DHL shipment holds.

International shipments need key documents like a commercial invoice, packing list, and bill of lading. If any are missing, contain errors, or lack details, DHL and customs cannot process the shipment.

Verify you included all paperwork and details like addresses and product info are accurate. Reach out to DHL if anything seems amiss so they can advise you on fixing issues.

Port Congestion

If your DHL package is shipping overseas, congested ports can lead to delays. Port congestion happens when a port receives more traffic than it can efficiently handle. This often occurs after holidays when import volumes spike.

When severely congested, cargo and containers can sit for weeks waiting to offload, slowing the entire supply chain. This causes packages to be held up.

DHL cannot control port congestion. If your shipment seems stalled, ask DHL if congestion is causing the hold.

Natural Disasters or Other Disruptions

Bad weather events or disruptions like civil unrest may force DHL to suspend delivery services in affected areas.

If a shipment was in transit when a disruption hit, DHL will likely put it on hold until operations resume. They cannot deliver until the situation improves and couriers can safely access the area.

While frustrating, delivery holds due to weather or unrest are unavoidable. Most last 3 days or less. Avoid pestering DHL during short holds – focus on constructive solutions instead.

How To Check The Status Of Your Dhl Shipment

How To Check The Status Of Your Dhl Shipment

If you get notice your DHL shipment is on hold, first check the tracking for more status details.

Visit DHL’s website or app and enter your tracking number. This will show the most up-to-date information on your package’s location and status. The tracking history usually indicates why DHL has put your shipment on hold.

For example, it may show the hold is due to “clearance delay” or “weather disruption.” This info can help you better understand the reason for delay.

If it just says “on hold” with no additional details, you may need to contact DHL directly to learn why your package is held up. Their customer service team can investigate and provide specifics.

Also Read: DHL Shipment On Hold – Explained

Steps To Take If Your Dhl Package Is On Hold

Seeing that frustrating “on hold” tracking status understandably leaves you wondering what’s next. Here are some steps to take:

Contact DHL Customer Service

Your first step when dealing with an on hold package should be reaching out to DHL customer support.

Explain your situation and provide the tracking number. DHL can look into the status and explain why specifically your shipment was put on hold.

If the hold is due to missing paperwork or incorrect addresses, DHL can assist with resolving the issues to get your package moving again.

Double Check Paperwork

If your hold is due to customs or paperwork problems, carefully re-review all documents. Verify product details, addresses, and other key information match on the paperwork and shipping label.

Having inaccurate or contradictory details is one main reason shipments get held in transit. Catching errors early can prevent lengthy delays.

Be Patient

As frustrating as it is, sometimes all you can do is patiently wait for the delay to resolve. If your package is held due to weather, congestion, or backlogs, there’s often no quick fix.

Most holds from import delays or weather last 3 days or less. Avoid constantly contacting DHL during short holds. Stay patient and focus on constructive solutions.

Change Delivery Address

If your package is held overseas, you could change the delivery address to a location closer to the origin country. This allows it to bypass obstacles like port congestion.

Just keep in mind this only helps if the new address gets your package around what created the hold. Check with DHL first to see if an address change could expedite delivery.

Pick Up Package in Person

Finally, picking up your package in person at a DHL facility may save time once it’s available. Contact DHL to see if hold-for-pickup is an option, allowing you to retrieve your shipment yourself.

However, in-person pickup is typically only possible if you are located near the facility currently holding your package.

When To Worry About A Shipment On Hold

When To Worry About A Shipment On Hold

In most cases, a DHL hold is nothing to worry about, with many lasting just a few business days before the package can continue.

However, there are circumstances when an on hold status warrants concern:

  • The hold has lasted over 2 weeks with no updates
  • DHL cannot provide details on the reason for the hold
  • Paperwork is verified accurate but the package remains stuck in customs
  • The delay has impacted extremely time sensitive contents

Use your best judgment on when a hold goes from temporary to more worrisome. If you feel your package has been unreasonably delayed, politely escalate with DHL customer service.

While DHL may not directly resolve external issues, they should actively communicate status updates. Persistent holds without explanations are not normal.

How To Avoid Dhl Shipment Holds

You can’t prevent every potential delay, but there are some steps to reduce chances of a DHL hold:

  • Provide complete, accurate paperwork to avoid customs and paperwork issues
  • Ship with priority DHL Express services to expedite customs clearance
  • Avoid shipping during peak holiday seasons when delays are most likely
  • Confirm ports are not congested before shipping overseas
  • Use quality packaging materials to avoid damage that could cause shipment holds

With preparation, accurate paperwork, and strategic shipping choices, you can minimize frustrating shipment holds. But the occasional delay may still occur despite your best efforts. By understanding common causes and smart resolutions, you can effectively overcome DHL on hold situations and keep deliveries moving.

Tips For Expediting A Stalled Shipment

Even if your DHL package seems hopelessly delayed, there are some additional tips that may help get it moving again faster:

  • Provide DHL with commercial invoices early – Send DHL invoices and paperwork well ahead of the shipment’s arrival. This gives them more time to resolve any issues.
  • Get an account manager – For frequent shippers, having a dedicated DHL account manager allows you to escalate issues quicker.
  • Pay for clearance services – DHL offers expedited customs brokerage services for a fee that can speed up the clearance process.
  • Split up large shipments – Breaking up big shipments into smaller ones can help avoid bottlenecks and holds.
  • Ship earlier – Avoid delays by shipping well in advance of deadlines to allow buffer time for any potential holds.
  • Use express services – Upgrades like DHL Express can greatly reduce transit and clearance times.

How To Communicate With Dhl About A Delayed Shipment

Polite, effective communication with DHL is key to resolving holds quickly:

  • Remain calm and professional – Though frustrated, avoid venting anger at DHL reps – they want to help.
  • Have tracking number handy – Make sure to reference your specific tracking number when inquiring.
  • Request status explanations – Ask DHL reps to explain exactly why your package is held up.
  • Escalate if needed – If an initial agent cannot help, politely ask to speak to a supervisor for additional assistance.
  • Follow up regularly – Check in every 2-3 days for updates on stuck shipments.
  • Thank DHL reps – Express appreciation for their efforts to get your package moving again.

With persistence and constructive communication, you can partner with DHL to overcome shipment delays and get your package delivered quickly.

When To File A Claim For A Delayed Or Damaged Shipment

When To File A Claim For A Delayed Or Damaged Shipment

If your DHL shipment is still delayed after 2-3 weeks or arrives damaged, you may need to file a claim:

  • Review DHL’s claim policies – claims must be submitted timely
  • Gather documentation – proof of value, photos of damages, tracking records
  • Complete claim forms – available on DHL’s website
  • Be specific on compensation requested – refund shipping costs, value of lost/damaged items
  • Follow up if claim is denied and escalate to management if needed

While no one wants to deal with shipping issues, DHL’s claim process exists to help reimburse you for losses from delays or damage.

Key Takeaways

  • DHL shipment holds are usually temporary but can be worrying
  • Customs, paperwork, weather, and congestion often cause holds
  • Check tracking and contact DHL for status updates
  • Provide complete paperwork to avoid customs delays
  • Remain patient but follow up if a hold exceeds 2 weeks
  • Pickup may be possible if you’re near the package’s held location
  • File a claim if delay or damage creates losses

Understanding common holds, your resolution options, and tips like express shipping can help minimize frustrations and get your DHL package delivered quickly!


When a DHL shipment is placed “on hold”, it means there is a temporary delay preventing delivery. Common reasons for holds include awaiting customs clearance, missing paperwork, port congestion, or natural disasters. 

To get a package moving again, start by checking the tracking status and contacting DHL customer service. Provide accurate paperwork to resolve any issues. Be patient for short 1-3 day holds. For extended delays, consider changing the delivery address or picking up at a DHL facility if possible. File a claim if loss or damage occurs. 

With preparation and strategic shipping choices, many frustrating holds can be avoided. Understanding causes and smart resolutions allows you to overcome DHL shipment holds and keep deliveries on track. The key is staying calm, communicating with DHL, and utilizing solutions like express shipping.


What Does Dhl Shipment On Hold Mean?

The “on hold” status on your DHL tracking report means that your shipment is temporarily delayed. There are a few reasons why this might happen, including: Customs clearance: Your shipment may be on hold while it is being processed by customs.

How Long Do Dhl Hold Parcels For?

Your parcel will be held for 10 days at your DHL eCommerce UK ServicePoint. How can I check the opening times of my DHL eCommerce UK ServicePoint? Enter your shipment number or calling card number, and your delivery postcode on our track a parcel page.

Why Does Dhl Say Exceptions And Hold On To A Parcel?

You will receive an update that says “exception” if your package is delayed because of a damaged item, inclement weather, incorrect address, or another type of delivery exception. In some cases, DHL may ask you to supply an accurate address so that it can complete the delivery of your item.

Can Dhl Hold A Package For You?

How long does the DHL hold a package? DHL holds packages for seven days. Once the package is received, you will be informed. After 3 days a reminder will be sent.

Why Is My Shipment On Hold?

Your shipment may be on hold for several reasons: the recipient was absent, unknown or transferred, the delivery address is incorrect or incomplete, or the recipient refused the goods. To unlock the goods, log in to your reserved area, go to the “track shipment on hold” section and enter new instructions.

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