12 Reasons Why Your DHL Shipment On Hold

When you see the “DHL shipment on hold” status on your tracking, it indicates that your package is not being moved and its delivery will be delayed. The “on hold” message implies your package will not reach you within the estimated timeframe.

It won’t be very pleasant for you. If there is a special international package that you have been eagerly waiting for, but the “On Hold” message has left you disappointed.  

You should contact the seller from where you placed the order for your item. Whether the seller is using DHL to ship your order, or you will contact DHL courier service if your package is a DHL shipment.

DHL Shipment on Hold Meaning


“DHL shipment on hold” is usually due to a delay in the travel of a certain package. Your DHL package will be marked “On Hold” if there is a closed border between the country the package was shipped from and the country where the package is to be delivered – or between countries between those two countries.

So how to deal with this issue of DHL shipment? This article will provide a complete guide on this topic, where you will know what it means when a DHL shipment is on hold and what you should do to solve this problem.

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What Should You Do If Your DHL Shipment Is on Hold?

DHL Shipment on Hold Chart
Image from Mailboxmaster

Upon receiving a notification that your DHL shipment is on hold, you may notice that your package has come to a standstill, indicating a potential delay in its delivery. There can be various reasons for this delay in your DHL shipping. 

It’s important to understand that this hold does not imply any cancellation by the seller or the loss of your package. Rather, it signifies that an event or circumstance has occurred during the transit process, hindering the delivery driver from reaching your location.

During such instances, it is advisable to follow the outlined steps below to address the situation at hand effectively.

1. Contact DHL’s Customer Service Center

Contact DHL’s Customer Service Center

It would be best if you got in touch with DHL customer support as soon as you learned that DHL had held your shipment. It’s necessary to get information about your package, such as its tracking number and destination.

DHL/Customer service Contact Number: 1800 11 1345

The DHL customer service representative can provide you with a delayed update. They can explain the cause of the holdup and predict when your package will arrive at your location.

It may be impossible to predict exactly when your DHL package may resume shipping under extreme circumstances, such as a natural disaster. The representative may provide you with the delay’s cause. You can phone their customer service every few days to get updates if your package is still being held.

2. Research Shipping Route

DHL U.S. Hubs and gateways

The intended itinerary of the driver could not be traced. You can get an idea. So, learn more about your seller. It would be best if you made sure whether the seller keeps their products in-house or in a warehouse.

If products are stored in warehouses, find out the location of the warehouses.

The individual closest to you will deliver your order. Next, find out about the locations of DHL transit hubs.

DHL U.S. Hubs and gateways PDF

If the seller is far away from them, the seller will probably not use a DHL carrier as it will increase the shipping cost. After knowing the details of these two places, you can prepare a possible route map for your area. This will allow you to spot any problems that may be there.

3. Wait Patiently

Wait patiently for your package while your DHL shipment is on hold. Your package will arrive at your destination even if it takes a little longer. 

However, if it has been more than two or three weeks since the scheduled delivery date, you should get in touch with the DHL carrier once more to get an update on your package. 

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4. Cancel Your Order

If you are experiencing significant delays in DHL shipping and facing issues due to non-delivery, it can be a proactive decision to consider canceling your order. Alternatively, it may no longer be necessary by the time the package is delivered to you.

When you cancel an order, DHL is promptly notified, and they actively facilitate the return of canceled orders to the seller.

Why Is Your DHL Shipment On Hold?

Why Is Your DHL Shipment On Hold?

There are various reasons why your DHL shipment may be put on hold. One possible cause is an issue with the shipment itself or with customs clearance, which requires DHL to examine the shipping details further.

Consequently, if your package is delayed, it indicates that DHL needs additional time to review and process the necessary information.

Additionally, delays in transportation can occur due to several factors, including port congestion, customs clearance delays, and adverse weather conditions.

These circumstances can result in your package being temporarily held in one location until the situation is resolved and it can resume its journey.

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12 Reasons Why Your DHL Shipment on Hold

Various factors actively contribute to placing a DHL shipment is on hold status. Here are some common active reasons that can cause delays or hold-ups in DHL shipments.

1. Lack of Delivery Information

Lack of Delivery Information

The usual reason for the delay in DHL shipment is the lack of delivery information. 

If there is insufficient delivery information, it will be difficult for DHL to deliver the package because delivery requires the recipient’s correct name, address, and phone number. 

Additionally, if the carrier is unable to reach the package owner over the phone, such as when the phone number is unreachable, it can actively result in a delay in the shipment.

2. Bad Weather

Bad weather is one of the reasons for DHL shipments are on hold.

The DHL service tracking system actively requires good or favorable weather to update the status of any package. Moreover, shipments are actively transported in trucks during favorable weather conditions.

Therefore, if there is a natural disaster like a big storm around, it may cause a delay in the shipping process. And this may result in the package taking longer than anticipated to arrive or arriving late.

3. Port Congestion

Port Congestion

Port congestion is another cause of DHL shipment delays. DHL needs to clear customs if you order something from another country. Custom is the first path of defense for any country. Customs officials examine various packages and shipping manifests to ensure no illegal goods enter the nation.

Customs sees a lot of traffic throughout particular months of the year, like the festival or holiday seasons. People purchase products imported from other countries. The customs division consequently finds itself overwhelmed with thousands of goods to process. 

So, DHL must wait its turn just like every other shipping service.

However, DHL shipping can typically experience a delay of a day or two due to port congestion, with the delay not exceeding much longer than that.

4. Lack of Shipment Space 

The truck or ship to be boarded may run short of space to take your package to its next destination. So in such a situation, your package will have to wait till the next truck or ship arrives. Then, when the next ship arrives, your package will be loaded onto the ship for delivery to the destination.

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5. Changes to Shipping Routes 

DHL actively changing its shipment route can also contribute to shipment delays. In the event of a route change, DHL may actively halt its deliveries. They will actively resume shipping the package once they are confident that their new carrier has assumed responsibility for delivering the item to the designated destination.

6. Documents Required by Custom


If customs requests additional documents, DHL may hold a shipment. The documents include a packing list, bill of lading, etc. If your shipment contains prohibited goods, customs will process enough paperwork to allow it to be shipped onward.

Proactively inform the DHL customer team in advance if you need to ship any forbidden commodities, such as alcohol or drugs. This will enable them to inform you about the specific paperwork required for shipment.

Following are some of the documents you need for DHL shipment: 

  • Commercial Invoice: The commercial invoice contains the names of the buyer, seller, source, and a list of the products that will be shipped. Customs authorities in the US may ask for more requirements. Additionally, everything is based on the shipment being moved. In that case, the information, including U.S. Federal Communications Commission, Administration, etc., should be available from the import broker.
  • Packing List: The types of products that must be sent, together with their sizes, weights, and quantities, are listed on the packing list. This document determines whether the ship conforms to US customs requirements.
  • Bill of Lading: A bill of lading is a certain document that the carrier issues to confirm ownership of the goods and shipment.
  • Arrival notification: Order arrival information is sent by the carrier. Thanks to this unique document, the arrival notification, all concerned parties are informed of the package’s location. Besides, it indicates that the shipment is ready for customs clearance.

7. DHL Error

DHL Error

If there is an error during the shipping process, the shipment will be placed on hold. This can occur if there is a small mistake while updating the information or if a DHL employee makes an error that alters the tracking status.

It can be an error on the part of the business, or it might be that they are missing some crucial details about your delivery. When this occurs, they will stop shipping the package and contact the owner or sender of the package to obtain further information regarding the delivery. 

Furthermore, DHL actively utilizes technologies to trace packages. However, the tracking systems may not always be up to date. If there are any issues in entering information into this system, it will actively result in the hold of your DHL shipment. Your package will be actively released for delivery once the issue is resolved.

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8. The Sender or Receiver is not Available

Another reason a package may be held is when delivery was tried, but the sender or recipient was unavailable to accept it.

This might be because you were out of the city or unavailable when the delivery was made. In these situations, it is best to be patient. The tracking data will be updated soon. 

9. Lack of Transportation

Lack of Transportation

DHL has a limited number of vans, planes, ships, and other transportation modes in its ownership. If they exceed their capacity, they are compelled to wait until one of their transport vehicles becomes available.

Weight is one of the most crucial factors in the shipping sector. They base a lot of their route decisions on weight. This is because it costs more to move something heavier. Because of this, carriers work to balance efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

They might need to employ a brand-new van to deliver your heavy package. For the final van of the day, it might be too heavy. Hence, you’ll have to wait an extra day for the new van to show up.

10. Pandemic

DHL shipments may also stop due to the pandemic. Delivery may be delayed if the package sender or receiver is located in an area where pandemic cases have been confirmed or if the package is being sent to an area with a potential pandemic risk.  

So, if you live in a pandemic-affected area, be prepared to wait for DHL to update the tracking data along with your package.

11. Holidays

Holidays can actively cause delays in your DHL shipment. Since DHL does not operate on holidays, the package delivery may experience delays if holidays coincide with the shipping process.

12. Other Reasons

DHL may need to hold the shipment for several other reasons, including an incorrect shipping route, port congestion, missing paperwork, natural disasters, DHL holidays, adverse weather, customs department, and so on. 

To obtain specific information about the reason behind the hold on your shipment, you can actively reach out to DHL customer support. They are readily available to assist customers and provide the necessary details.

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Should I worry if DHL Shipment gets on hold?

No, there is no reason to worry, even if the DHL shipment is on hold. Although there are many reasons for shipping delays, your package is safe, as we mentioned. It may take a little longer for DHL to check the shipment details. 

However, this issue will be resolved quickly. Delivery will be completed soon. 

You will get a notification of tracking updates. In the meantime, you can get the shipment information by contacting DHL customer support. 

How Long Will a Shipment be on Hold??

It’s challenging to tell exactly how long DHL will hold a shipment. However, you can get an idea. You can gather some information that will enable you to get a definitive response. You can ascertain if obstacles may bring any delays by looking up nearby holidays, border issues, or road construction. 

Your package can be delayed for a day or two due to a holiday or road work. Challenging border crossings may result in further delays. The best course of action is to call DHL and find out when your delayed shipment will be moved. They also won’t be able to tell you anything exact, but they could give you some information.

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What Causes DHL to Hold a Shipment for Domestic Delivery?

A “shipment on hold” is frequently the result of an incident at the border, which might occur within a nation. This occasionally occurs, particularly when the shipment is extremely near its destination.

This could be because customs agents decided to perform a second check or because of other reasons. Additionally, local road closures or bad weather may cause delays.

How Can You Avoid the “DHL Shipment on Hold” Situation?

Nothing you can do to stop the DHL Shipment issue from being put on hold. You can be sure that legal items are being shipped to you so customs do not intercept them.

Confirm that you have submitted all necessary paperwork and paid all appropriate costs. You can only do so much to prevent the DHL shipment on hold circumstance, and your packages get delivered as smoothly as possible, with not too many shipping interruptions.

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What Delivery Status Confirms Shipment is Not on Hold Anymore?

Your DHL shipment can be on hold for an unknown cause. However, as soon as the package moves again, you’ll receive a message saying, “Shipment is in Transit.”

However, you will not receive any information about the reason for holding the shipment. You will only be informed that the issue causing the shipment hold has been resolved, and your package is actively being sent to your address.

FAQs Related to DHL Shipment on Hold Issue

How long does DHL customs clearance take?

Typically, customs clearance requires 24 hours. If your paperwork is lacking or there is an issue with your shipment, it may take several days or even a week for your shipment to get through customs.

How do I complain about a “DHL shipment on hold” to DHL?

If the “DHL shipment on hold” situation occurs, you can contact DHL customer service at 1-800-225-5345 or DHL headquarters at 954-888-7000.

Is DHL tracking always accurate?

DHL is a well-known shipping company that provides good shipping services nationally and internationally.

DHL actively earns its reputation for delivering packages promptly and offering competitive rates for international shipping.

. Through its DHL eCommerce service, it offers shipping. Although DHL tracking is generally accurate, sometimes DHL’s software may not be accurate. Tracking errors may occur.

Does DHL refund? 

Yes, DHL refunds. According to the DHL Money-Back Guarantee policy, if your shipment is delivered late or is incorrectly billed, you can receive a full refund of your shipping costs regardless of whether you use DHL for domestic or international delivery. You can submit a reimbursement claim by contacting the DHL customer service department.

Is DHL a reliable courier service? 

Yes, DHL is a reliable courier service. It is a reputed US-founded German logistics company providing shipping services globally. You will be able to track their consignment from any location in the world.

Is it safe to ship through DHL?

Yes, DHL shipping is secure. Every step of the DHL shipping process ensures the extra safety of your priceless or important products.

DHL actively employs security measures such as access control, security cages, and cameras at its terminals.


The status of “DHL shipment on hold” does not always arise. But anytime there is such a problem with your DHL package, it can be very frustrating. Because DHL cannot provide reliable information about the duration for which they will keep your delivery on hold. If you have any important package, there may be a problem with its late delivery.  

However, you can get information about shipment delays by calling DHL customer service. You can collect a mailbox. So you will not have to sit at home to receive your package, as you do not know when your package will reach you. The delivery person will drop your package in the mailbox upon delivery.

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