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What Does “The Item is Pre-Advised” Tracking Update Mean? (PostNL)

You’re expecting an international package and you have received a “The Item is Pre-Advised” tracking update from PostNL.

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

Let’s take a look…

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“The Item is Pre-Advised” – Meaning

The “Item pre-advised” tracking status means that PostNL has been notified that an international package has been dispatched and is to be handled by them upon arrival in the destination country.

The Item is Pre-Advised – Guide

This update is triggered when PostNL is responsible for completing the delivery of international packages (for example, an AliExpress shipment from China to Europe).

The seller in the far east will have contacted Netherlands Post (PostNL) with the various shipment details. 

However, in the initial stages of delivery China Post (or a local equivalent) will be responsible for the package. 

In the meantime, however, the fact a consignment is on its way and PostNL knows about it, means the “Item is Pre-Advised” alert is sent out.

Where is Your Package When you Receive the “Item is Pre-Advised” Tracking Update?

The item is preadvised

When you first receive the “Item is Pre-Advised” update, your package will be in the early stages of its journey.

It will still be within the origin country and will have to pass customs clearance, before being handed over to the “Linehaul Carrier” in charge of shipping the item overseas.

Only after clearing customs in the Netherlands, (or applicable country where PostNL operates) the package is dispatched to PostNL for delivery.

At this point, you will begin receiving status alerts through PostNL. This is because the carrier finally has the consignment within its physical possession.

As it passes through the PostNL delivery infrastructure, it will be scanned and you will know its location with a greater degree of accuracy.

How Long Until the Next Update?

PostNL will often state, “Shipping information will be updated” when it sends out the “Item is Pre-Advised” alert.

So how long should you expect to wait until you receive new updates?

This really depends on where the package is being shipped from, and the carrier responsible for the first stages of the shipment. The tracking service you use will also have an impact. 

Take an order made via AliExpress as an example. If the seller uses China Post, updates on the package progress within China will normally be quite scarce.

Assuming the item is being sent by airfreight, 7 to 10 business days could pass before the consignment is in the hands of PostNL at which point you will see a new update other than “Item is Pre-Advised”.

Using a universal tracking app such as 17Track or ParcelsApp can help bridge the gap, however

This is because if the carrier in the origin country is creating any alerts in relation to the package tracking number, these free services will find them.

This way, you have an opportunity to follow the shipment’s progress before it has been dispatched to PostNL.

What to do if Your Package is Stuck on “Item is Pre-Advised”?

The Item is Pre-Advised

If your package remains on the “Item is Pre-Advised” status alert, the first step is to check the service level used for the shipment.

If a standard shipping speed has been used for dispatch from the origin country, (i.e the seller ordered ultra snail mail), your package will likely have been sent via sea cargo.

In the case of AliExpress, this can take up to 6 weeks to arrive. As already mentioned above, your status may not update until it is in the hands of PostNL.

In other words, you will end up seeing the “Item is Pre-Advised” tracking alert for several weeks.

Once you have established the expected journey time of the shipment into the destination country, you can make a decision on when would be appropriate to start making enquires or complaints.

In our view, it is with making contact with the shipper or PostNL on anything over 14 business days on an airfreight shipment.

For a consignment sent by sea freight from the far east, you should start making enquires after a month.

How to Contact PostNL

A recommended course of action for general questions is to head over to the PostNL Customer Service. The website features a guide section with answers to common customer queries.

However, if your package is stuck on “Item is Pre-Advised” for an unreasonable amount of time, you will want to talk to a human. Here, the three main options are:

  • Phone: 088-2255555
  • Phone: +31 900 0990
  • Twitter: @PostNL

I would personally recommend the Twitter approach. You will not have to wait in a phone queue and operators answer questions via Twitter around the clock.

However, if a phone call is your preferred method of communication, PostNL customer services are available Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 8:00 pm and on Saturday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.

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