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Home » Your Ultimate Guide To International Moving from the USA to Europe

Your Ultimate Guide To International Moving from the USA to Europe

Published on Jul 07, 2021 by Kfir Cohen

It is no surprise Europe is a popular immigration destination. It is the home of many economic high powers, amazing sites, and Europeans have rightly earned the title of sophistication and class. So what is there not to love? However, there are several hurdles and factors to consider before you can transit smoothly to Europe. Therefore, we cover everything you need to know extensively on moving from the USA to Europe.

International Household Moving to Europe

When you relocate overseas, you will need most of your household goods with you. So, moving to Europe, what should you take and leave behind? It will, of course, be dependent upon the specific location. Still, in general, some things are available in the United States that will be hard to find or very expensive in Europe. 

Are you moving to a country with severe winter? Don’t forget to buy lots of American winter gear early. If you ski, you will want to send your equipment. Many other things available in the US are better and might not be available in your destination country. Notable amongst them are things like furniture, grills, and many kitchen items. Don’t forget that pets are a part of your household. If you are taking your pet with you, check the regulations of your destination country early, and make sure that your pet has all of the necessary vaccinations and a clean bill of health from the vet.

A packing list helps.

A crucial part of any moving from the USA to Europe is the packing list. Sometimes this will need to be presented in both English and the destination country’s destination language; sometimes, English is sufficient. SDC International will prepare this list for you we pack or load or your shipment. 


What’s on this page?

01 | International Household Moving to Europe
02 | European Customs and Regulations
03 | International Car Shipping to Europe
04 | Moving to Europe Checklist
05 | Moving to Europe from USA – Shipping options


European Customs and Regulations

Most countries in Europe are members of the European Customs Union, outside of Norway and Switzerland.  What this means is that some specific common laws and regulations are uniform throughout Europe. While the individual countries still make some of their own rules, most of the rules governing what comes into Europe are the same, regardless of which country you enter. There are no internal tariffs between the member states.

For most people, this will be a significant advantage. For example, it means that if you are moving to France, we can ship your belongings through Belgium, Germany, or the Netherlands, whatever makes the most sense for the individual client. 


Permits and Documentation

For sending anything of a commercial nature to Europe, you will need to obtain an EORI number (Economic Operators Registration and Identification). You should request this number from the country where your shipment is going or where your office will be if you open one, but it will be valid throughout Europe. So if you are shipping to France right now, you will not need to request another number if you want to send it to Italy next time; you’ll continue using the one issued by France.

International Car Shipping to Europe

For most of Europe, shipping a car from the United States is an attractive prospect. Automobiles in Europe are typically far more expensive than the same cars in the US. Though there are slight differences between countries, the standard rules are that vehicles should be between six months and five years old, owned by the shipper, and conform to EU safety and environmental regulations. You will always have to pass inspection in your destination country, sometimes at the point of entry, sometimes at designated facilities. Notably different in the UK, where you can bring a car under certain conditions but require special prior approval.

You can also take other vehicles with you, not only automobiles. Almost all motorcycle drivers will carry one with them. If your destination is a major European city, consider a scooter (under 50cc motorcycle). Their regulations are relaxed, and they will come in handy. We will usually crate cycles.

Do you love traveling and want to travel by road? You can send your RV to your new home. Some countries might allow you to bring both an RV and a car. 

Recreational vehicles like jet skis, snowmobiles, recreational boats, etc., can also be shipped.

Moving to Europe Checklist

Are you a citizen of any European Union country? If you or your spouse are, this will change your visa situation. Make sure that you have obtained the appropriate visas for immigration, long-term residence, work, etc. 

To import your personal belongings without paying taxes, you will need to show that you lived outside the EU. Usually, the consulate of your destination country will provide you with that country’s particular form. It should be taken care of early, as it can cause significant problems with importation.

You might have to get certain records translated into the language of your new country. These include birth certificates, marriage certificates, divorce certificates, change of name documentation, and health documents.

Moving to Europe from USA – Shipping options

The most effective way to ship your belongings from the United States to Europe is on the sea. Today’s modern ships, intermodal transportation, and inland ports distributed throughout Europe mean we can send shipping containers almost anywhere.

However, it doesn’t always make the most sense to send a container. If you ship less than a full container load, we can still deliver your things straight to your destination door. If your shipment can’t wait for a sea shipment, we will send it via air shipment. Many times we will send a portion via air and the bulk of the shipment via sea.

We send several consolidated groupage containers to Europe each month. In these containers, SDC International Shipping combines the shipments of several clients in large containers. It is very similar to the standard LCL shipping (Less than Full Container Load) method. However, since we send so many clients to Europe, we can group our clients. Therefore, it dramatically reduces the cost of sea shipping and allows us to pass the savings on to our clients.

Another advantage of the groupage method is that it doesn’t constrict the size of your shipment. Send as much as you like. You don’t have to feel that you can only send what fits into a 20′ container that can hold 1000 cubic feet. If you want to, send 1200 cubic feet or 1300 cubic feet. Sending in a groupage will be far less expensive than sending a container plus an additional shipment. Speak with your relocation specialist for more details.

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