Moving Internationally

Methods of Shipping
International shipping is usually handled in one of three ways: Ocean freight via vaulted (wooden) containers, Ocean freight via 20 foot or 40 foot shipping containers or air freight shipments. 

Planning Ahead
Shipping arrangements should be made well in advance of an international move, at least one month prior.
You will be without your belongings for several weeks normally.  Plan ahead for items you will need during transit.  Do not have these items included in your moving estimate.  (Such as clothing, toiletries, eating utensils, toys, videos and books for children.)  An air freight shipment is advisable for shipping a TV, high chair, crib, and other items you cannot take on the plane but will needs fairly quickly after arriving in your new country.  Plan to take on the plane everything you will need while the goods are in transit.  If you have too much to take on the plane, consider shipping several boxes of goods prior to your flight so that they will be there when you arrive.

Payment Procedures
International shipping requires prepayment of charges based on the estimate.  If actual shipping charges are less than the estimate a refund will be mailed to you.  If the actual charges are more than the estimate the difference may be due prior to the shipment leaving the country.  Payment needs to be provided in the form of a certified check, money order, cash or other certified funds.  If paying with a credit card or personal check the shipment cannot depart until funds are received.

Things to Know About Moving Internationally
Prohibited items.  Each country has it’s own rules relating to items you are not allowed to bring into the country.  This will generally apply to firearms, liquor, tobacco, food and plants and large amounts of foreign currency.  We recommend that you check with the foreign consulate regarding specific regulations.

Customs Clearance and Duties and Tariffs.  Most countries will not charge a duty or tariff on personal effects.  The definition of personal effects usually relates to items you have owned for more than 6 months.  To quickly clear customs it is essential that the paperwork is in order.  They always require a copy of your passport/visa, drivers license, birth certificate or social security card, as well as a complete inventory of the items shipped.  Since September 11th security concerns have forced international transferees to have ALL household items professionally packed by a mover.  The inventory should reflect an accurate description of the general contents of each box.  If a box is marked miscellaneous contents it may hold up your shipment in customs.  If the customs office decides to quarantine or unload the shipping container to perform an inspection the charges associated will need to be paid prior to delivery.  Using a professional mover who understands these regulations and has experience with international moves is essential to saving you money and delivering your belongings quickly.

Transit Time
Ocean freight shipments will tend to require 3 to 8 weeks to deliver depending on the region of the world you are moving to.

Air freight shipments normally require 7 to 10 days to deliver.

Helpful Links
CIA World Fact Book—
United States Department of State information about traveling or living abroad—
Foreign Consular Offices in the United States—
Foreign Embassies in the United States—
Country Watch provides geopolitical news and other information—
MonsterMoving Relocation Information—


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