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What Does “Forwarded for Delivery” Mean When using DHL?

So, there is a DHL delivery in process and you have received a “forwarded for delivery” status update.

What does this mean? And how long will it be before the package is delivered? Will DHL even be delivering it?

Let’s find out…

DHL “Forwarded for Delivery” Update – Summary

  • DHL “Forwarded for delivery” means that the shipment has been tendered to a 3rd party courier for delivery
  • USPS, Postal Services in the destination country, and 3rd party courier services are often used by DHL for the “final mile” of delivery
  • Whether the DHL tracking number will still update after the package is handed to a 3rd party delivery agent is dependant on the provider.

What does “Forwarded for Delivery” Mean when Using DHL?


What does it mean when DHL has updated the tracking information of a shipment with “Forwarded for delivery”.

It actually means that DHL has forwarded the package for delivery using a third-party shipping company.

Essentially, the delivery is on its way but it will not be a DHL van pulling up outside your house. Another courier service has been tasked with making the final delivery.

What 3rd party service has the package been forwarded to?

This really does depend.

For example, DHL has been using USPS for the final mile of delivery since 2003 via the Parcel Select service

This is because it lowers costs for DHL customers and enables the courier to leverage USPS access to over 20,000 ZIP Codes nationwide.

A similar situation applies to postal services around the world. For example, I am writing this article from Croatia where I currently live as a freelance writer. 

A DHL package sent to me as the recipient would be delivered via Hrvatska Pošta.

An International shipment will be collected from the shipper and brought into Croatia by DHL. The final delivery to the recipient’s door is then handled by Hrvatska Pošta.

When DHL hands over the package to the local postal service, the tracking number will update to state: “forwarded for delivery”.

Within the US, 3rd party services other than USPS will also be used. DHL has relationships with the likes of LaserShip, and OnTrac, to name but a few.

The same applies internationally, with providers such as Ninjavan, Interparcel & Transglobal all being used.

Will my DHL tracking number still update after a “forwarded for delivery” notification?

Tracking DHL United States of America

Whether a DHL tracking number will continue to update after being forwarded for delivery depends on the 3rd party courier being used.

When DHL hands a package to USPS the tracking number will often work right up to final delivery. You will be able to track the package via the DHL tracking website as it goes through the USPS network.

USPS Informed Delivery of DHL packages

If it doesn’t there is also the option of using USPS Informed Delivery.

You should sign up for this before the item has been forwarded to USPS. However, as a user (the service is free) you will be able to digitally preview your mail and manage packages that are scheduled to arrive via a USPS driver.

It will also provide you access to the tracking code that USPS has assigned to your package.

Bear in mind that a DHL “forwarded for delivery” update signifies that the package is close to the end of its journey, and delivery is imminent, (normally that day or the following day).

This means that you should not expect many more status updates.

If DHL has used a smaller courier such as Ninjavan, your tracking number will cease to update. Forwarded for delivery will be the final update until the Ninjavan courier is at your door.

What to do if you experience a delay after a DHL package has been forwarded for delivery?

Call center

If you experience a delay and the package is not delivered within two days of receiving a “forwarded for delivery” status update, you should call DHL.

They will have the details of your shipment and tracking number and will know which 3rd party has been tasked with the final delivery.

It will be DHL’s job to contact the third party to see what has happened to cause the delay.

Final Words

Receiving a DHL package “forwarded for delivery” tracking update is nothing to worry about. It means that your package will be delivered very soon by a 3rd party courier.

While your tracking number will likely cease to update, you can expect your delivery within the following 48 hours.

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