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Questions When Moving Abroad

As an international moving service, we get asked hundreds of questions when moving abroad.

And although some of them can be answered with a simple yes or no, the majority of them are usually two or even three part answers depending on the clients’ needs and specifics of the move itself.

So, we’ve gathered some questions that we get asked frequently by those preparing for an international move so that anyone else trying to find out the same information won’t have to look far. Here’s a list of the four questions:

  1. How do I figure out the volume of my shipment or cubic footage?
  2. Can I pack on my own and do I need special boxes?
  3. What is included in the service?
  4. Will I need to pay duty tax on my goods?

Question #1: How do I figure out the volume of my shipment or cubic footage?

Assuming that you’ve already begun the initial research part of an international move, meaning you’ve looked at a few overseas relocation services and maybe even come across a few online moving quote forms, you most likely noticed that the size of the shipment is based on cubic volume/ft and not simple metrics like how many boxes you are shipping or the length of a couch.

Now, there is a mathematical way to find out the cubic volume so that you can determine the amount of furniture or household goods you actually want to move. But it is much easier nowadays and convenient to use an online tool to calculate the volume of a shipment. Some companies have an estimation tool built right into their quote forms.

Another way to get this information is simply to call one of the company’s specialists. If they are good at what they do, then they will be able to give you a pretty accurate figure over the phone.

Question # 2: Can I pack on my own and do I need special boxes?

The answer to this question when moving abroad is really a matter of preference and it will lead into question #3, but in almost every case, international shipping and moving companies give customers the choice to pack themselves and box everything up.

We always recommend that items be professionally packed since goods have a long ways to go whether you are using ocean freight or air freight.

If you elect to pack on your own, you’ll have the option to: a) have a shipping container delivered to your residence which will be picked up after you’ve loaded everything b) have the items wrapped, packed and picked up by local team of movers and then transported to your moving companies nearest location c) deliver your cargo yourself to the warehouse of the company you are using to move overseas.

The last two options are usually the case if you are located within reasonable distance of your mover.

Addressing the second part of your question, you don’t actually need to have special boxes; however it’s highly recommended to use sturdier corrugated boxes.

At the least, we always tell clients that if they are going to pack themselves to use new boxes, as already used/older ones can be worn down and make the contents more susceptible to damage.

It is also important that if you decide to pack furniture, that you take the necessary steps in terms of wrapping and protection.

Questions #3: What is included in the service?

Having this questioned answered by the relocation company either during the consultation process or after you’ve received an online quote is absolutely vital because you could end up getting a great rate and then getting the short end of the stick.

Our international moving quotes include a breakdown of everything covered in the service you’ve selected so that nothing is left unaddressed. It’s important to find out exactly what the breakdown entails and what you are paying for.

For instance, there are a few different service options that we offer, and are common among other established forwarders. Here are some of the common services you may come across:

  1. Door to Door: The least stressful and most straightforward way to move your household, as your household items are picked up from your home in the USA and delivered to your new home in the UK for example.
  2. Door to Port: As the name entails, the service only covers your move up until the point where the shipment arrives at the port of entry. For someone that wants to pick up their items overseas, this is an option to consider.

There are more types, but these are the two most common and the services really depend on your preference in terms of convenience and cost.

Questions #4: Will I need to pay duty tax on my goods?

This last question greatly depends on the following criteria of your move overseas:

  • Final destination
  • Status of residence
  • Types of goods and the condition
  • Duration of ownership prior to shipping

Since each and every country has different customs regulations, banned goods/commodities, quarantine requirements and classifications, the best way to get the most accurate information is to find your destination country’s government website or customs website. However some sites won’t have an English version and the next best thing to do would be to speak with an international relocation specialist.

Europe is a really good example to use for this particular question. As the EU is an economic union, the member countries generally share a commonality when it comes to household goods moves and import duties.

Although it doesn’t apply to every case, in Europe or around the globe, if the items you are shipping as part of your international move are used, you have owned them for six months and have lived in your country of origin for more than a year; you’ll be able to import them without having to pay a duty tax.

Once again, this isn’t something that applies 100% of the time to 100% of the countries overseas, but it should give you a good understanding of what to expect.

If you do happen to be preparing for an upcoming move overseas and would like to find out what it’s going to costs or just have specific questions, you can contact us online or use our form to request a free international moving quote.

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Schumacher Cargo Logistics utilizes insured, secured and bonded facilities. We provide warehousing, packing, crating, trucking and loading services out of our own warehouses here in the USA - Los Angeles, Houston, Savannah, Miami, New York, and New Jersey. All other worldwide destinations are covered by our affiliated organization member companies.