DHL Tracking Number Not Found: Causes, Solution & General Precautions

Tracking packages online has become an essential (convenience) feature for couriers worldwide. But as always, no system is perfect, and there can be scenarios where a DHL tracking number may not be found. 

Aside from technical glitches, a few factors may be responsible for this tracking update. They include inputting an incomplete or incorrect tracking number and other human-related errors. 

This guide explains why a DHL tracking number may not be found, how to address each potential cause, and general tips to prevent tracking number-related issues. 

How Long Does It Take to Get a DHL Tracking Number?

You should receive the tracking number for your package within 24 to 48 hours after the seller confirms your payment. This unique ID can feature different formats, depending on the shipping option. 

For instance, DHL Express packages usually feature a 10-digit tracking number which may start with any of 000, JVGL, JJD00, or JJD01. On the other hand, items under DHL Parcel come with a 10-digit tracking number starting with 3S, JVGL, or JJD. 

Causes of DHL Tracking Number Not Found


DHL’s tracking portal may respond with the “Not Found” error if any of the following is true: 

1. You entered an incorrect tracking number 

DHL tracking numbers are usually up to 10 to 39 characters long. Sometimes, these IDs are a mixture of alphabets and numbers, and mistakes can happen when inputting them into the tracking portal. 

Entering a wrong or incorrect tracking number can result in the “not found” status or other updates unrelated to your package. The best way to avoid this is to copy and paste the tracking ID sent to your email and paste it on the portal. 

The email with this ID should also include a link directly to DHL’s tracking portal. While DHL rarely sends incorrect tracking numbers to customers, it cannot be completely ruled out. 

2. Your package has an incorrect, lost, or damaged label

Scanning is the process that registers your package’s tracking number in the DHL system. If the label on your package is incorrect, missing, or damaged — your package may not be registered automatically into the system. 

So whichever tracking ID the shipper or retailer sent you earlier will likely display the “not found” result. In this case, you need to be patient. Packages with faulty labels eventually undergo manual registration. 

3. The tracking number is yet to be scanned 

Suppose you have just received an email notification with your tracking number. Give the package time to be scanned into DHL’s database before checking its status. 

In other words, tracking the status of your package immediately may result in a DHL tracking number “not found” update. This does not necessarily mean the tracking ID is not correct. You probably must wait for the active ID to be registered. 

4. Your shipping option does not support tracking

Not all DHL shipping options allow you to track packages. This may be true for domestic or international deliveries that involve postal services like USPS or Royal Mail. Any attempt to track such packages may result in a “not found” status. The way forward is to rely on the estimated delivery for your shipping option. 

5. Loss or damaged package 

While this is usually uncommon, packages that get lost or damaged in transit may not get scanned into the DHL database. In this case, the best thing to do is to contact customer service or the shipper. 

6. Technical glitches or system errors

System errors or technical glitches are also very uncommon. However, if the DHL tracking portal experiences any crash, no tracking number will provide a valid status. 

In most cases, you should get a prompt from DHL regarding the issue, which should be sorted within hours or a day (at most). If this is not the case, please contact their customer service. 

What to Do When Your Tracking Number Doesn’t Work?

If your DHL tracking number has errors or is not found, the first thing you need to do is to be patient. It may be because your parcel has not been picked up by the courier or it is yet to be scanned. 

Irrespective of what might be responsible, you should wait at least 24 hours before contacting DHL customer service. Alternatively, you can try tracking the package using the shipper’s reference number on DHL’s Shipper Reference Tracking service. 

Extra Precautions For Tracking Number Mistakes

1. Double-check the tracking number

DHL tracking numbers typically have about 10 to 39 characters, which can be only alphabets, numbers, or mixed. For context: 

  • DHL Express tracking number starts with 000, JJD00, JVGL, or similar variants 
  • DHL eCommerce tracking number starts with GM, RX, and LX. 

2. Verify the shipper 

Aside from fully understanding what a DHL tracking number looks like, you should also verify the shipper of the package. This is because scammers can also send you fake tracking numbers. 

Can DHL Deliver without a Tracking Number?

DHL sometimes delivers without a tracking number, especially if there is an issue with the number or the package did not get scanned all through its journey until final delivery.


Why is your DHL tracking number not updating?

This is probably because your package relies on a 3PL (third-party logistics) for final delivery. Other causes may be a result of technical glitches — give it time. 

How long does tracking a DHL shipment take?

It may take 2-8 business days for domestic packages within the U.S. and 3-14 for international shipments. 

What does a DHL tracking number start with?

A tracking number can start with 000, JDD, 3S, JVGL, and other similar variants. It can span from 10 to 39 characters depending on your shipping option. 


It can be frustrating when a DHL tracking number displays the “not found” result on its portal. However, there are a couple of factors that may be responsible. In most cases, you must be patient for the shipment to undergo registration (manually or automatically) into DHL’s database.

Otherwise, you may have to double-check the number you typed into the tracking portal for mistakes. It is safer to copy and paste this tracking directly from the email you received from DHL. If the issue persists after taking these actions, please get in touch with DHL’s customer service. 

I hope you found this guide insightful. Please see how to spot a fake tracking number for essential information on how to report and stay safe from fraudsters. 

Thanks for reading.