The county confirmed they have agreed terms with the Guyanese left-hander but will be unable to complete the signing until work permit and visa issues are processed.
A Durham statement read: "We have agreed terms with West Indian batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
However, he will not sign for Durham CCC until he holds a valid work permit and visa. This process is in hand but may take some time."
Chanderpaul has just finished a highly successful tour of England with West Indies, during which he scored 446 runs at an average of almost 150.
The four-Test series concluded at the Riverside, Durhams home ground, where he made a seasons best 136 not out.
The 32-year-old left-hander was dismissed only once in three NatWest Series innings against England, averaging more than 200 in West Indies 2-1 win.
Michael di Venuto and Scott Styris are currently filling Durham's two overseas places, but the latter is due to return to New Zealand next month.
Chanderpaul has to return home in order to get his working visa sorted out. The club hopes all obstacles to Chanderpaul's registration will be cleared in time for him to play in all the club's matches from the start of August, including the Friends Provident Trophy final against Hampshire at Lord's.
There has also been speculation, meanwhile, that Chanderpaul play for Durham again next summer as Di Venuto, who was born in Australia but has an Italian passport, is reportedly considering applying to become a European citizen.