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International Movers San Francisco

Published on Jul 09, 2021 by Kfir Cohen

SDC is an International Moving Company from San Francisco.  Now with a national presence, SDC started as a regional sub-contractor for international moving companies. Over the years, we have grown to become a full-service international freight forwarder, licensed by the Federal Maritime Commission to send personal and commercial goods anywhere. 

What’s on this page?

01 | International Moving – San Francisco
02 | International Customs and Regulations
03 | International Car Shipping from San Francisco
04 | Moving from San Francisco Checklist
05 | International Shipping Options from San Francisco

Our trucks visit the Port of Oakland daily, the most technologically and environmentally advanced port on the West Coast. We maintain a warehouse nearby where our clients’ cargo can be stored short term before sending abroad or long term for those returning in a few years.

SDC International Shipping teams are experts at sending your personal belongings overseas. Though most of our household goods exporting business is from the San Francisco area, we regularly pick up from locations throughout the Bay Area, Sacramento, and Northern California. So be sure to call us if you are moving from anywhere in California.

Our San Francisco clients move abroad for a variety of reasons. Many are foreign citizens returning home after a few years, some are retiring, others are being sent abroad to work for a few years. Whatever your reason, we will do our best to get your things to your new home intact.

International Moving – San Francisco

Do you already know the exact location you are moving to? If not, we recommend trying to find out as much as possible about your candidate city. The best is to take a test trip to look at probable home locations and sizes. Take measurements of room and entrance sizes. We want to make sure that your new home can accommodate 

To almost every location you go to, your American furniture should be sent. You will want to send yours, just make sure that it will fit in your new home, some American sofas and beds are slightly bigger. This is especially true for the California King, which won’t fit in many urban European apartments. If it doesn’t, downsize the bed right away, and send the slightly smaller bed, as the American mattresses and will be far different from what you can get abroad, even if they sell “American” mattresses.

Our moving team will take care of your furniture one piece at a time. Large items will be taken apart to conserve your cargo space and to protect the pieces themselves. Smaller items are wrapped with carton pads, bubble wrap, or special moving blankets. Our movers will also create an inventory of the items that you are sending. This list will be used in the official customs clearance document, so you should double-check that it is accurate. For many countries, you should translate this list.

We recommend using our packing service. In addition to the loading, they will provide new boxes that meet international shipping standards. They will also bring special boxes for items like bicycles and framed art or mirrors. For odd-shaped items, custom crates can be built.

If you decide to pack yourself instead of using SDC professionals, it is really important not to use previously used cartons. Also, send only empty furniture. Dressers should be emptied from clothes. Cupboards should also be empty.

When your furniture is delivered to your destination, anything that was disassembled at the point of origin will be reassembled. Clearing out empty moving boxes and debris on the day of moving is included with delivery

International Customs and Regulations

There is a great deal of variety in national regulations and customs regimes in different countries. If you are moving with a resident visa, either for work or retirement, you can usually import a container of things that you own without having to pay import duties. If you are a citizen of the country you are moving to you will usually have to have lived outside of that country for a certain period. If you are a citizen of a European Union member, you have to have lived outside of any EU country. The period varies from six to twenty-four months.

If you are a returning citizen, many times you will have to show proof of your time abroad at the consulate before leaving the country.

There are some countries where the taxes on imported items are great. These will be charged on any new items that you put into your shipment. If you want to send new things, as we advised above with beds, buy them early. If something in your cargo looks new be sure to retain the sales receipts to show that it was purchased months prior to shipment.

Anything at all related to illicit drugs shouldn’t be sent. Pornography is not allowed to be placed in shipments to any destinations. Alcohol is allowed for some destinations but is usually charged excise taxes in addition to sales taxes.

International Car Shipping from San Francisco

Californians love their cars, and now they have the ones with the strictest environmental standards in the United States. The good news about this is that your car probably already meets the restrictions of any country to which you want to send your car.

International car shipping from San Francisco has been done by SDC for decades. For our Bay Area clients, cars can be sent in a variety of methods. If your car is being sent within your container, we will put it in the last so that it can easily be removed at the port for inspection. If your car is being sent separately from the remainder of your shipment, it will usually be picked up with a special car transport truck.

If you are moving to a country where they drive on the right-hand side of the road, it usually makes a lot of sense to send your car from the United States. This especially makes sense if you move to a European destination. These countries have especially high excise taxes on automobiles. Cars bought in the United States are comparatively far less expensive. 

If your destination country drives on the left-hand side of the road, with steering the column on the right, shipping a car from the United States is impractical. Antique cars might be allowable. Consult your relocation specialist for the specific rules of your destination country.

Motorcycle rules differ, and even some countries that won’t allow you to ship a car will allow a motorcycle. You need to check if special permission is necessary.

Some countries will require that you obtain a permit prior to sending a vehicle to it. For other countries, it is sufficient that cars be delivered for inspection to facilities adjacent to ports of entry. Localization of some car parts, typically headlights and safety equipment, is necessary for some places.

We will have to validate the title to your vehicle prior to their export. This title must be free of any indentures. If you bought your car with payments, you may have completed the payments, but check that the title has been cleared. You will need to send us the original to clear the car for transfer before pickup. Your title will be mailed back to you via certified mail after we have completed the preparations for transfer. 

Some countries don’t require licensing for all vehicles. Included in this list are electric bikes and scooters, motorcycles under 50 cc engine size, snowmobiles, jet skis, etc. Check ahead of time the rules for your destination.

Moving from San Francisco Checklist

Are you a citizen of your destination country? If so, you might have to provide proof of having lived abroad in order to send a shipment tax-free.

If you are not a citizen of your destination country, have you already received a long term resident visa? If not, this should be your first step. Many countries have consulates in San Francisco, otherwise, you might have to travel to Los Angeles to be interviewed.

Are you moving to work? For some countries, your employer needs to start the work visa process. 

If you haven’t yet visited your destination, we recommend it. In addition to checking out potential living quarters, you need to check potential schools and set up health insurance.

Start learning the language of your destination country. Even if you only plan on being abroad for a few years, the language will pave the way for you to enjoy your new home.

Banks might request a copy of your credit report and/or several months’ bank statements in order to open an account and issue local credit cards. Make sure that you have these ready.

Read more: The Ultimate International Relocation Checklist

International Shipping Options from San Francisco

International shipping options from San Francisco include full loads of 20’, 40’, and 40’ high cube containers, commonly called FCL. The cargo spaces available in these are 1100, 2200, and 2450 cubic feet respectively.  If you are unsure of the size that you need consider 20’ for a typical 3 bedroom house, 40’ for larger or including a vehicle, and the 40’ HC if you are sending something oversized.

Not everyone sends large shipments. We can send LCL, or less than full container load, shipments starting from 100 cubic feet cargo.

SDC International Shipping has grown to be a major provider of relocation services from the San Francisco Bay Area. While we are very proud of our growth in cargo volume, we also take advantage of this growth to better serve our clients. We send containers to locations all around the world. We send lots of containers to Europe and Australia.

What this means is that we can offer the best rates available for door to door service, even to those sending less than full container load shipments using our own groupage consolidations to these locations. Even for those sending full container loads, it makes sense to use this method. Call your relocation specialist can explain.

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