What to do if you’re Moving out of the Country?

As you might imagine, moving internationally is a bit more complex than moving within the U.S. Even if you speak the language, moving to a foreign country can present you with challenges you might not have expected. While you want to make moving company arrangements as soon as possible, it’s actually the last think you want to do. Before contacting a moving company:

1. Find out where you’ll be living – Yes, that sounds obvious, but remember that in most countries, homes run much smaller than in the U.S. Your new place might be furnished or it might have very little room for large American furniture. Closets are also much smaller. Between that and the change in climate, you might find that you don’t need to move much of your wardrobe.

2. Find out if you’ll need your car – It is possible to move your car overseas, but it could be costly. Many countries have excellent public transportation. For many, large cars can be very impractical.

3. Check the country’s immigration requirements. – Make sure that all visas and other paperwork are in order. If you have pets, find out what the country requires. Most countries have lifted their pet quarantine requirements, but they do have strict policies regarding immunizations and parasites. Many require that the vaccinations be administered months in advance. Many countries require that pets are micro-chipped. Children and even adults may have vaccination requirements as well. Many countries require proof that you have money in the bank.

4. Figure out what you are moving – If your move is permanent, you might consider selling or giving away some of your furniture. If it’s temporary, long-term storage might be a solution.

5. Find a moving company – Overseas moving takes a bit more skill than a local or even an interstate move. Every item must be inventoried and packed with precision. Because of terrorism, it’s illegal for customers to pack their own items. Then, typically in the moving company’s warehouse, the items will be placed inside what’s called a “lift van,” or waterproof container that is made of wood, metal or fiberglass. The moving company will not actually be transporting your goods overseas, but they will transport them to the port and then load the overseas container.

Overseas containers come in two sizes – 40′ and 20′. If your shipment doesn’t fill a container, you will still be charged for the entire container. You will also be charged for any costs incurred through customs, insurance and delivery in your new country. Companies who are experienced with international moves will be able to arrange for delivery in your new destination. Your moving company will also be able to arrange storage for the items you want to keep in the U.S.

The vast majority of international moves are transported via ship, which can take weeks and sometimes months. You can plan on additional time for your goods to clear customs. It’s a good idea for you to make temporary arrangements until you and your possessions can be reunited.

If you need more immediate delivery, it is possible to transport many items via air, but it is extremely expensive.