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DHL “Processed at Export Facility” – Tracking Guide

You’re expecting (or have sent) an international delivery via DHL and have received a “Processed at Export Facility” status update.

What does this mean exactly? Where is your package when you see this alert and is there anything you need to do?

Let’s take a look…

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Summary: DHL Processed at Export Facility

The DHL “Processed at Export Facility” tracking alert means that the package has arrived and been processed (i.e sorted and assigned an aircraft for overseas transit) at the export location inside the country of origin. This will normally be a DHL facility attached to an airport.

DHL Processed at Export Facility – Guide


Essentially, the package is close to leaving the country of origin when you see this update.

The alert means that the package has arrived at a DHL facility and has been processed (prepared) for overseas transit.

As DHL has its own fleet of aircraft, this facility will most likely be inside an airport complex of the origin country.

This is the export location.

Processed at Export Facility

The fact that the shipment has been processed means that DHL has sorted the item and it has been assigned an aircraft for export.

Normally, customs clearance at export is done electronically, without a physical customs check by customs staff. 

However, it is important to understand that customs clearance can happen after a package has been processed at an export facility by DHL.

This in turn can cause a delay.

How Long will my Package be at the Export Facility?


The speed at which your shipment will leave the export facility after it has been processed depends on a number of factors.

An expedited service, DHL shipment will normally be in the hull of an aircraft within 24hrs of you receiving the update.  

Alerts communicating this fact include “Scanned into sack/container”, “Close Bag” and “Shipment Has Been Given a Release by Customs”.

However, any issues with customs or logistical delays impacting airfreight, (technical or weather problems being the most common); will lead to your package being held at the export location for longer.

In this case, it can take several days for the shipment to begin making its way to the destination country.

Tracking Stuck on “Processed at Export Facility”

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As the section above explains, there are various scenarios that can cause a shipment to be held at an export facility for longer than you would like.

So what you should you do when your DHL tracking is seemingly stuck on this alert with no progress taking place?

Firstly, if there have been any problems with customs, the origin country customs agency and/or DHL should contact you or the sender.

[Note: this will normally be initially reported with a DHL “Clearance Event” update].

I would recommend that you wait 5 business days for information before making inquiries of this nature.

Another issue to consider is simply that the item is moving through the delivery network, it’s just that you are not receiving updates proving this.

This means that you may not get another alert until the package has arrived in the destination country.

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All steps combined, (on a standard DHL international, delivery service) could amount to up to 10 days of “radio silence”.

As you can see, it makes sense not to jump to conclusions and try to remain as patient as possible.

That being said, if a fast (and expensive) international shipping option was purchased you will understandably be annoyed by any hold-ups and lack of progress reports.

Whichever camp you fall into, DHL can be contacted here, if you need to make inquiries about your shipment.

Make sure you have your tracking details on hand, as well as details of the destination address and package contents if need be.

Other Updates After a “Processed at Export Facility” Alert

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Beyond some of the updates I mentioned above, other alerts you may receive to signify that the package is moving as it should through the network, include: “Arrived at Destination Country” and “Arrived at Terminal Location”.

Both are positive updates to receive as they demonstrate that the mail item is successfully making its way to the destination country, and before long, the recipient’s address.

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