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.

What Does ‘Clearance Event’ Mean On DHL?

DHL Vehicle

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!


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

About the author 

James McAllister

James is the owner of He started his first blog at the age of 11, and has since gone on to start several successful businesses. In total, these businesses have sold hundreds of thousands of units and have touched millions of lives. Here on, he shares his knowledge that brought him to where he is today. If you want to connect with James, follow him on your favorite social networks!

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