FAQ – Moving Overseas and Employing an International Shipping Company

Moving to a new location can be a tricky event with all the advance preparation, changing of services and the mounting costs involved. But what happens when you are required to move overseas. Everything must be completed and finalized before you leave the country. Forgetting something very simple can become an onerous and expensive task if you are thousands of miles away and long distance telephone calls are involved.

Answers to some of the more common and frequent questions about overseas shipping and shipping rates will guide you through choosing an international moving company.

1. How do I Find an International Moving Company?

It is more difficult to find and hire an international shipping companies than a local mover as references are not readily available. Few people would have friends and relatives to whom they can question about a previous international move. The best way to find a shipping agency is to scout out companies that have been in business for a number of years. Also, check with local, state and federal agencies to determine whether the cargo shipping company has all its licenses and permits in place. Asking questions about the move and how the shipping agents answer the questions will guide you to make a decision.

2. Am I Allowed to Take My Vehicle?

When moving your vehicle to a new country, it is important to inquire and receive written documentation in advance so you understand the local laws. For instance, some countries do not permit vehicles of a particular age. They may not allow vehicles with inadequate emissions and exhaust equipment and depending on the country, may not allow certain models. As a rule, the shipping agents usually have access to the type of information that is required.

In addition, there are specific regulations regarding the movement of the automobile from one destination to another. In order to determine the rules of shipping a vehicle, you must contact either a cargo shipping company or a local shipping agency. Some of the questions, the cargo shipping company may ask are:

  • Will train, truck or boat ship the vehicle? If the two countries are close in proximity with no water in between, the shipping services company will offer you the choice of transport.
  • If transporting by boat, do you prefer a roll on – roll off service? In this scenario, the vehicle will be driven right onto the boat at the loading port and driven off at the destination port.
  • Can the vehicle be shipped with the contents of your house? If there is room in your shipping container after you have loaded all your personal belongings, the vehicle can go in the same container. When using the same container as your other belongings, the vehicle needs to be the last item loaded and must be properly secured inside the container. If you have packed the container, the overseas shipping company will inspect the load for safety and to ensure it meets all regulations of freight shipping.
  • Should the vehicle be packed separately in its own carrier? Sometimes because of the value of a vehicle, the owner may wish to inquire on shipping rates for shipping a vehicle in its own container.

Lastly, if you are shipping your vehicle to the new location, find out:

  • if the new country allows your existing license to be used as proof for a new license in their country.
  • whether you require an international driving license or
  • whether you need to take the driver’s license examination in the new country.

3. Can My Animals Move?

Some animals are permitted in many countries but in most countries they require a quarantine period upon entry. Various countries do not allow certain types of exotic animals whether they are pets or not. Be sure to have all your animals’ vaccines and shots done before leaving your existing country. Keep all documentation up to date and carry it with you at all times. Once you determine that your pet will be permitted in the destination country, call your local shipping agency to ascertain the shipping cost and the best method of shipment for your pet. The shipping agents will also guide you with the required paperwork as it relates to overseas shipping of your pet and entry into the new country.

4. How Do I Ship my Belongings?

Once you have decided to move across the world, your next decision will be whether to pack the household contents yourself or hire a professional international shipping company. The overseas shipping company will explain their shipping services as well as quote you the shipping rates for the move with or without packing.

When you decide to pack your own belongings, you will need to purchase a certified twenty-foot or forty- foot container for your items. The container must be packed according to the freight shipping company’s rules, which usually follows government regulations. The cargo shipping agent will give you a guide or checklist for packing so that the container meets specifications. It will then be your responsibility to ensure the container arrives at the port or agreed upon destination of the shipping agency.

In the case where the international shipping company is entrusted with the complete job, the shipping agents will make arrangements for a team to look after you. The team will include:

  • A driver to deliver the empty container.
  • packers to assemble everything from your house into boxes and crates.
  • People to load the boxes into the container and
  • A driver to take the container to the port or freight shipping yard.

Once your belongings reach their destination, you will need to be available to declare the contents as well as answer any questions from the authorities and to pay any taxes or duties if applicable.

5. Are there Special Conditions for People?

Always be prepared for the unknown when moving to a new country. Have your personal documents and passports safe in hand at all times in case of any questions. Ensure that the whole family has the proper vaccines and medical attention before you leave the existing country. Inquire and set up medical health insurance before embarking and know a little about the general health risks in the new country.

Do your research well advance to ensure a smoother transition. If you do not know where to look for information, the shipping agency and its shipping agents should be able to point you in the right direction to get started.

6. What About Moving Restricted Items?

There are many reasons for restricted items. The shipping services company for safety reasons may restrict some items. They may also allow a particular item but an additional shipping cost may incur. The governments of both countries will have restrictions on certain items as well. What may be common everyday items in the existing country may be contraband in the new country. Be sure to disclose everything to the shipping agents so a proper quote for shipping rates can be drafted.

Many plants and living species will be questionable for moving. Likewise flammables and dangerous or hazardous materials will not be permitted in the container.

In closing, when choosing an international shipping company, be sure to receive quotes on the shipping cost from at least three or four cargo shipping companies. Compare the shipping rates from each shipping agency and ask questions. One of the companies will come to the forefront showing they have more experience than the other shipping agents.