Customs Status Updated DHL: The Ultimate Guide

As you wait for DHL to deliver your international package, it’s normal for you to receive tons of updates. 

One of the most common updates I have seen since I started using DHL more than 12 years ago is “customs status updated”. 

What does this update mean? Is there anything I need to do to solve such? Read on for more.

What does it mean when it says customs status updated?

When the DHL tracking page says “customs status updated”, it means that there is an update about your package while it’s in the customs office. Under that notification, there is the “Further Detail” prompt which tells you that the package is already undergoing customs processing or has been given a release status.

Why does a package receive that status?

Customs status updated meaning

If you have purchased an item abroad and it is getting shipped to your country, it’s possible to have more than one of these updates. 

Before that package departs from the origin country, you may receive the DHL customs status updated notification and the time in which the process goes through varies. 

After the origin country clears customs processing and DHL imports the package into your country, your package may again be subjected to customs clearance in your country. 

Passing through customs processing is dependent on the laws of a specific country and it really never matters if a parcel had already undergone processing from the country of origin. 

So, here are some of the various reasons why a package may receive that normal update:

1. The package has contents declared below the duty threshold

Depending on your country, it isn’t a must for you to pay for import duties for each package getting into your country. 

As the customs office processes your package to look into whether there is import tax to be paid, the status of your package on the DHL’s tracking page is “customs status updated.”

When the customs office determines that your package doesn’t meet the duty threshold, they may decide to seek more information from you. 

As they wait to hear back from you, DHL keeps that update on the tracking page and until you offer the needed info, the package won’t be released. 

The problem at this point is that it’s not every other time that DHL contacts the recipient in case there is more info needed. 

As such, if you were expecting a DHL shipment, I usually recommend that you keep on checking the tracking page. 

When there is any other information needed from you by the customs office, then proceed to call DHL and provide it. [If only DHL would be more effective in communication and always update the client promptly instead of only sending automated updates].  

2. The package is declared higher

If your package has been declared higher than it should be, then you will also receive that update on the customs status. 

The customs office may make your work easier by letting you pay the right import tax only. 

When this happens, the processing goes on more swiftly than in instances where the goods had been declared lower than their right valuation. 

Also Read: Package Arrived at a DHL Sort Facility

3. You have provided the needed information

When you provided the customs office with the information they need, you end up receiving the status updated notification. 

Again, when customs lets your package pass through without any further information needed, you may also receive that notification. 

Remember as we described this notification’s meaning, we said that it is sent when goods are undergoing customs clearance or when they already have been cleared. 

As such, DHL will send the status updated notification, but under the ‘Further Detail’, you will know if the goods are being processed or they already have been. 

4. The package is undergoing an investigation

When it reaches this moment, you can rest assured that it will take longer for you to get your package or you won’t get it at all. 

Now, when some contents in a package are in doubt, the customs office usually opens the package and starts investigating. 

When it’s a shipment of illegal goods, they end up seizing them. When they find the goods to be legit, they clear your package without any time wasted. 

When the package is undergoing investigation, you receive the “contact your chosen shipment option” update. 

In case this package is seized, it gets sent to a “seized property warehouse” pending more investigations. In case the outcome of the investigation is that the goods should be released, the owner has to pay the warehouse fee. 

NB: When you receive the customs status updated and it says that way for several days, it doesn’t always mean that there are any investigations ongoing, which might lead to the seizing of your goods. We’ll look into why that update can stay for so long before a package starts moving again. 

My package is stuck at the updated customs status notification: Possible reasons

1. There are tons of packages to be cleared

On any given business day, there are thousands of packages awaiting to be cleared at the customs office. 

The problem is even worse during the Festive seasons and in case there are panic buys. 

When the staff is overwhelmed by the number of packages to be cleared, it means the clearance process is slower and if your package is at the end of the line, then you ought to wait longer. 

This reason, along with understaffing are two leading causes of goods moving sluggishly at customs offices. 

2. There is more information needed 

By the time you send over the needed information and it gets sent into the database, it may take longer than expected. 

The situation is even worse when DHL fails to contact you in time to let you know that you should provide some information about the package. By the time you figure out on your one that you have to call DHL and provide that info, you may notice that you have spent several days when your package is stuck at the customs offices.

3. There is an ongoing investigation into your package

You can rest assured that an investigation at the customs office will take relatively longer to go through. 

When that happens, the status of the package will always be “customs status updated” until the pending investigation is over. 

Customs status updated vs Customs clearance status updated

Initially, DHL used to send the customs status updated notification when a package was at the customs office undergoing clearance, or when it had been released by the customs office. 

Nowadays, DHL has included “clearance” and when a package is undergoing processing, they send a “customs clearance status updated” notification. 

These two updates basically mean the same, even though DHL decided to add the term “clearance” to the recent update. We have compiled an entire guide talking about what this clearance notification means. 

While at that, when DHL uses the “Customs clearance status updated. Note – The Customs clearance process may start while the shipment is in transit to the destination” update, they are very specific.

With this long notification, they simply mean that the customs pre-approval process has been done and that the clearance will begin right away. From there, the package will directly head over to the destination without any further processing needed.