As you prepare to move overseas from the United States, you will soon learn that there is a very big difference between movers and international movers.
As our name implies, SDC International Shipping is a company that specializes in moving cargo overseas. We ship cargo to countries all over the world. We send both commercial and residential cargo for our clients. In fact, the only things that we do are international shipping and provide international moving services directly related to international shipping, such as maintaining storage warehouses for the short term or long term storage for our clients’ cargo as needed.
Specialties of International Movers
There is a pretty big difference between a move from one state to another in the United States and moving from one country to another. In addition to being able to competently move your household, there are a slew of logistic and legal matters that need to be dealt with. In fact, the logistics side of an international move is more complicated part.
Every country has different rules that we need to know about. As laws can change at any time, we need to constantly update our staff and clients about what we can and can’t send, and what the implications are for all involved.
International Moving Regulations
Laws and regulations vastly change. There are some countries that are very happy to greet American citizens who want to relocate to them. In other countries, they only allow Americans to retire or buy a second home, but not to work. There are even some countries that won’t even let you live there unless you are a citizen, even temporarily.
Arranging for your legal status in your destination country is something that we can’t do for you. If you are a citizen of the country that you are moving to, there usually is not a problem to send a container there. There might be some tax and customs issues depending upon the specific national laws, but it is permissible to ship there.
Those sending commercial shipments usually need to have some sort of prior arrangement. For many countries this means that you register as a business there for tax purposes. If you are sending something to the European Union, if you have what is known as Economic Operators Registration and Identification, or EORI, number from any member country, it will be valid in any EU member state. If you don’t yet have one, you need to apply for it from the country to which you are sending or opening an office.
Every country will require that you fill in a customs form, or a certificate of origin for commercial shipments. Customs forms are usually filled in using the language of the country you are moving to. Our movers create a shipping list for you when they load your belongings onto your shipping container or our moving vans, it will be appended to the country’s customs declaration form. This list needs to be itemized and specific, and orderly. Most countries will allow you to use an English shipping inventory, but we recommend that you translate this list unless you know for sure that English is acceptable. SDC International Shipping can help you check this for you if needed.
International Household Moving
Most of our clients will choose to send almost all of the contents of their homes with them when they move abroad. This makes a lot of sense, as buying everything anew once you arrive in another country is both expensive and will take a lot of time. In addition, you will not be able to find the same quality of furniture, clothing and outer gear and household goods that you already own.
One of the important things that we do as international movers is to ensure that your shipment will not be held up in customs clearance when it arrives at the port of entry. When our professional movers come to your home to pack it up for transfer, we will use materials that are approved for international shipments. Packing is an optional service that not all clients choose. We do recommend it, however, that most clients use it, especially because for this reason. When you order packing service as a part of your international move, SDC International Shipping will provide all of the packing and packaging materials for you.
There are certain materials, especially wood products, that won’t make it through customs because of international regulations. If you do decide to pack by yourself, it is essential that you use only new carton boxes, do not take anything that you find from the supermarket or big box store for reuse in packing. In the past clients have used wood from their local hardware store or even dismantled pallets to build custom crates. This is very problematic. We won’t go into all of the acronyms the various requirements have, but wood needs to be both protected against humidity, be treated for the prevention of spreading diseases and plant pests throughout the world, all the while not containing any environmentally controlled substances. Do not reuse old crates or pallets. If you need a pallet, buy a plastic one. If you have anything fragile items that need crating, please let us know, we can usually crate specific items even if you have not ordered packing.
International Moving with Motor Vehicles
Cars and other motor vehicles are one of the areas where understanding international regulations is the most important, and where working with experience international movers like SDC International Shipping is critical for the successful transfer from one country to another.
Regulations for automobiles are changing rapidly. You may have heard from a friend or relative about what a great deal it was for them to send a car from the USA to Europe a few years ago, and how the savings from sending the car alone were more than the entire cost of the move. That is pretty much still true if you are sending a hybrid or an electric vehicle. Depending upon you destination country, however, you might not want to send a classic gasoline powered SUV, as the taxes, both on import and annual licenses might be exorbitant, as CO2 requirements are becoming common in many countries, especially European Union member states. For other countries this is not a concern at all.
However, CO2 regulations aren’t the only concern when sending an automobile or other licensed vehicle abroad. The rules need to be closely followed. For most countries, but not all, in order to send a car without paying the hefty taxes usually levied on them, the person making the shipment should have been the owner for at least six months prior to sending. Important tip: if you are considering sending a motor vehicle to another country, you might want to upgrade early, so that you will be able to do so without paying taxes when your car arrives in your new country.
When we move your motor vehicle overseas, there are other legal matters. With domestic moves, all you have to do is drive or send your car. When shipping it overseas, it not only needs to be legal in the territory it is going to, it also needs to have its title cleared before we are allowed to ship it out of the USA.
Cars aren’t the only vehicles that require legal paperwork. Any vehicle that is registered or titled will need to be cleared before we can put it in a container. Vehicle registration is not uniform in all states, so depending upon where you are currently living we might be required to clear a boat trailer, for instance. This is also true of water craft, some of our clients like to send their kayaks or canoes. You probably already know if your craft is licensed or not, if it is, we will need to do legal work before we can export it.
Automobiles usually can fit into a shipping container, with an opening width of 7’ 8” almost all sedans fit in. For a lot of our clients the most logical and cost effective way to send their car from the USA to their new home is within a shipping container. If you are moving with your family, you will probably prefer to send a larger container. At times it will be less expensive to the client to send the automobile separately from the remainder of their belongings. Large pickup trucks and RV’s can usually be sent as well, but these go on special roll on roll craft. Large pickup trucks don’t qualify for tax free status in most countries.
We send many vehicles, though automobiles are the most common. Motorcycles are also very commonly sent. As opposed to automobiles, there are far fewer restrictions on them, and they can usually be sent anywhere, including to many countries where automobile import is prohibited because they drive on the left hand side of the road and the cars licensed in them need to have the steering column on the right.
International Moving Insurance
An international move requires a special kind of insurance. SDC International Shipping does it best to make sure that your belongings arrive at your new home. However, as the move encompasses many stages of handling your things, many of them not by us or agents, like during customs clearance. Unfortunately, you should not expect perfection, and some damage might occur. We also encourage you to look up cargo ship mishaps on the internet.
Anybody can purchase insurance against the total loss of your cargo. We can also provide your with special insurance policies that will reimburse your for damage to your cargo, but only if it is packed by SDC International Shipping’s movers, this is a condition of the policy.
One of the features of international maritime insurance is that you can insure your cargo for the replacement value in your destination country. If, for example, you are sending a car to Europe, and that car costs almost twice as much there as it does in the USA, you can insure it for that amount.
The insurance policies are issued by specialty international maritime insurance companies and sold directly to you by SDC International Shipping. Bear in mind that you do not have to insure everything, that the cost of the insurance is based upon the amount insured, and that if you are requesting to insure anything that is exceptionally valuable you might be requested to provide an appraisal of it.
International Moving Insurance is absolutely optional, not all of our clients purchase it. We hope that none of them will ever need it, but international moving does have some small risk involved with it.
Temporary International Moving
Are you moving abroad to work or teach for a few years? We have lots of clients who do this. If you plan on returning to the USA in a few years, you will have different factors to consider. Most people prefer not to rent our furnished homes. In most states rental properties usually include major appliances but not furniture, and you should expect your renters to bring their own furniture. This probably means that you will want to store what you’re not sending overseas.
There is also a good chance that you will be moving to a client drastically different to what you are used to. If so, you might find yourself leaving lots of clothing and other things that won’t be necessary while you are abroad.
If you are moving somewhere that your major US appliances will work, you will probably want to take them with you. Even if you plan on returning, take yours and then sell them before returning.
SDC International Shipping has storage warehouses for keeping your belongings while you’ll be abroad. If you will be sending a portion of your things and storing the rest, we can usually coordinate a single pick up date to get all of your things.
You also don’t have to worry about moving to a different city when you return. We have trucks moving around the country and can deliver your things anywhere in the country when you return.
As a courtesy to our overseas relocation clients, SDC International Shipping offers the first month of storage complementary.
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