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Moving to the Middle East

Is your family preparing a move to the Middle East? If so, you will want to consult with SDC International Shipping about how to get your residential or commercials goods there.

Moving to the Middle East

If you are looking for an international moving company to the Middle East, you have come to the right place. SDC International Shipping sends residential and commercial shipments to countries throughout the Middle East on a regular basis. We have partners throughout the region who can deliver your household goods, personal effect, or commercial goods anywhere in the region.

We can pick up and load your cargo from any location in the United States. We have crews in most major cities and can offer the full array of our services to our clients throughout the country.

Household Moving to the Middle East

The Middle East is a big region. Most of our clients moving there are moving to member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council, but we are able to send shipments to any country unless prohibited according to US laws.

Common to all the countries in the region is Muslim culture. While some countries are more conservative than others, wherever you move will be very different from the United States. If you are not a returning citizen, then you might not be completely familiar with what it means to live in these countries as opposed to just visiting them.

We hope that you have already arranged for living quarters in your destination. You probably already know what you want to take there and what you will not be taking. Many of these countries have spacious houses, where you can move your entire household. If you are moving to a big, modern city, expect it to be more crowded. If you are moving for a few years to work there, you will probably be moving to a big city, and will probably prefer to store a lot of your personal belongings. Send the furniture that you will need. The style of furniture in many countries is far different than what you are used to. In the more affluent countries you will find very luxurious and expensive furniture, but maybe not what you will be comfortable with.

You will usually have difficulty finding English books, so be sure to send along your library. Keep in mind that there are some countries that prohibit certain materials.

Keep in mind that in most of these countries summer can be long and hot, make sure that you are bringing appropriate clothing. Remember that standards of modesty and acceptable dress in the Middle East are far different than the USA, so make sure to buy appropriate clothes for the whole family.

International Car Shipping to the Middle East

Most countries in the Middle East do not consider motor vehicles to be a part of your household goods. The meaning of this is that even though you can import your furniture and personal things without paying any taxes on them, cars do not fall into the same category.

In many countries, there are significant taxes levied on automobiles. In the Middle East this is less of a problem, and even though there isn’t a tax holiday on cars, there aren’t particularly high taxes on them.

Depending on your combination of origin and destination locations, sending a car usually costs $2000 – 4000. We will need to clear the title and registration on any vehicle sent.

You can usually send a motorcycle if you prefer. Some countries will allow you to send both a motorcycle and a car. Saudi Arabia will only allow you to send a SUV if an entire family is moving there.

Middle East Customs and Regulations

In most Middle Eastern countries you should not import any movies. Communications equipment is not always permitted. You don’t want your shipment to be flagged upon inspection, so if you are intending to send anything like recorded materials, streaming players, etc., it is better to bring them with you personally on the airplane.

It is common for shipments to Middle Eastern countries to be manually inspected. In some countries when you send a private container, you should expect to see that container arrive at your destination. However, in countries with mandatory inspections, do not be surprised if your cargo is delivered on moving vans instead of your container.

Most countries will allow you to import used goods that are not prohibited without a problem. If you send new goods, they are typically charged VAT, similar to American sales taxes. VAT is 13% in Egypt, for instance, and 19% in Tunisia. You should have lived outside of the country for two years in order to qualify for tax free import.

In Gulf Cooperation Council countries, 5% tax is charged, but in these countries you can send whatever you like whether you lived abroad or not.

You will always need to send a comprehensive inventory list. When our movers load your shipment, they will create this list for you. This is appended to a customs form (different for each country). In general, this list does not need to be translated into Arabic.

Most Middle Eastern countries will require non-citizens to have some sort of employment contract before moving there. Retirement visas are usually not an option, and in order to import a container you will have to either have a long term residence visa or be a returning citizen of the country.

Moving to the Middle East Checklist

No matter what country you are moving, you will have to arrange for the legal right for all family members to move there. If you have been living in the USA for several years and have gotten married or divorced here, if you have had any children born while you are here, you have to make sure that they are registered citizens.

If you are not a citizen of the country you are moving to, you will need to get authorization to work in the country. If you company wants to open up a presence in the country, you should start by contacting the commercial attaché to arrange for permits. If you want to send a commercial shipment you should also contact them. Many times it is easier to work with a partner in your destination country.

International Shipping Options to the Middle East

Most of our clients to the Middle East send private containers. While the majority send 20’ containers, as this is the typical allowance provided by employers for relocating employees. However, many people sending their own belongings will send a 40’ container, especially those who are sending motor vehicles along with their household goods.

Sometimes we will prefer to send your vehicle separately from the remainder of your shipment. In these cases we will send a car carrier to your address in the USA to pick up your car. For most countries you will then meet at a facility near the port of entrance to the country.

The Middle East is the location that requires the most amount of time for delivery, 6-10 weeks for door to door delivery. During the holy month of Ramadan, an additional week could be added to delivery times. Because of this, many of our clients will send a portion of their shipment utilizing air cargo instead of placing everything in their sea shipping container. Air cargo is very expensive, but your things will arrive in just over a week to most destinations.

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