Empire Movers Blog

Empire Movers Guide to preparing for an international move

June 12, 2013

If you are going to be moving from the United States to another country, you have to keep in mind that this is not an ordinary move. It is obviously going to take a longer distance but more importantly, it will take a different form of transportation than your move across the United States. Depending on where you’re moving to, your belongings are either going to be packed on a plane or on a ship. Regardless, these are very different modes of transportation compared to the typical truck or train that is used to move possessions in the US. In addition, there are also a lot of legal issues that you need to consider before you decide which items to move.  Different jurisdictions have different lists of ‘banned items.’ Go online and find the official embassy site for the nation you are going to move to. Look for  their customs restrictions to get a list of banned or prohibited items. Most of the items on these lists are quite obvious: explosives, dangerous material, weapons, and similar items. However, there might be a curve ball in there somewhere. Some countries are very protective of local industries, and you might find items as innocuous as fruit, alcohol, software, certain processed food items, and other obviously non-dangerous items banned or highly restricted. Avoid steep fines by looking into these.

You also have to consider the economics of your move. Depending on how long you will be staying overseas, it may be a good idea to weigh the cost of moving to your new location versus the benefit of having your possessions with you. You might want to consider storing stuff until you get back or buying the item in the new country where you will be staying. In some situations, it might make the most economic sense to simply hold a garage sale and liquidate certain items. Keep the following tips in mind when preparing for an international move.

Get familiar with customs regulations

Different countries have different customs rules. Some stuff that is allowed to be imported in other countries are restricted in some other countries. Be familiar with these regulations because you don’t want to find out the hard way by having to pay a penalty or custom duty when moving stuff to the new country you will be moving to. Most of this information can be found online. If not, you can call the embassy of that particular country in the United States and ask them regarding their regulations. Make sure to get this information for you to pack the right things. This piece of information can impact what you choose to leave behind, what you choose to take with you and what you choose to put in storage. As you can probably tell, it can influence your bottom line quite a bit.

File for the necessary clearances

In the event that the item you are trying to move requires customs clearances or other official clearances from the country that you are moving to, make sure to get them. You don’t want to work on these during or after your move. You have to take care of this now to avoid headaches down the road. By resolving to handle the clearance issues now, you are actually making it easier for yourself to separate your possessions into three piles; stuff that you are going to ship to your new place, stuff that you are going to leave behind and sell, and stuff that you are going to store. The sooner that you sort your possessions out, the better it will be. Having to file for necessary clearances will be a good opportunity to do this. Leave behind items that can get clearances. This goes without saying but there are many ways to handle stuff that will not get clearance. You can store the items which will cost you some money, you can put them up on the garage sale which you are basically just going to get cents on the dollar or you can sell them on Craigslist or EBay so you can try to get a little bit more money. Either way, you can’t take the stuff with you. So it is crucial that you decide now how you are going to dispose them. Alternatively, you can leave them with friends and relatives. The downside to that is that it might not be in the same shape or form when you get back. This is a very valid risk.

Decide which items you can’t leave without

When it comes to moving within the United States, this question is not really that big of a deal. For the most part, you can get away with moving as much of your stuff with you as you want. However, you don’t have this luxury when you are moving internationally because of customs regulations, international moving costs, shipping and other fees. You are really forced to tackle this question head on. You have to sit down with your significant other if you are moving as a couple, or, if you are single, you really need to think hard and figure out which of your possessions can’t you leave without. This can be quite a revelation for many people. For some, they might think that they need a lot of stuff wherever they go and that is fine. While others can have an eye-opening experience and realize that they don’t really need much stuff after all. It is really important to save money on international moving costs but it is also essential to get a little bit of personal perspective.

Decide which items you can buy locally

There are certain items made or sold in the United States that you won’t probably find abroad. With that particular situation, it makes a lot of sense to pack that certain items with you for your international move. However, if you normally use stuff that is sold at the location where you are moving to and the quality and brand of that item is the same with the stuff that you use in the US, it might make a lot of sense to just buy that product locally when you get to your new destination. Not only will you save a lot of money in shipping and moving cost, but you also save a lot of space and hassle in unpacking. Of course, your primary concern should be that the locally-available items are of the same quality as the items that you can get in the US. You will be surprised to find out that a lot of stuff overseas is of higher quality than some US products.

Decide on storage

Moving stuff into a storage space should not be your default option. It costs a lot of money, especially if you are going to be an expatriate for a long period of time. All sorts of things can happen and the people are either making the payments for you, or you yourself might get in a situation where you might not be able to continue paying for storage. It may be a good idea to consider other alternatives to storage. You can always store stuff with friends and relatives. Again, the downside to this is your stored items might be in worse shape when you get back. It may lead to personal problems with that particular friend or relative later. Another approach is to hold a garage sale and sell your stuff. You also have to balance the value of your stored items, both personally and in terms of market value once you return from abroad. These are really crucial pieces of information that you should keep in mind for you to have an informed decision as to whether it is worth storing something at a rental storage location or whether it is better to get rid of it entirely.

Keep the tips above in mind as you prepare for your international move. We congratulate you on your new adventure overseas. Spending lots of time abroad can be an eye-opening and rewarding experience. However, moving there can be a stressful experience if you are not careful. If you are living within the New York area and is looking for a mover to Canada and beyond, you should consider Empire Movers. They have several years of experience helping clients move across the United States safely and efficiently. Call them today and experience the difference solid experience makes.

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