If you are getting ready for an international move, then you have many things that you need to prepare. While you might get caught up in packing your belongings and getting a visa for your destination, you should also give ample time to consider how you will get your belongings through customs and to your final destination.
Make Sure All of Your Belongings Are Cleaned Before Packing
While your belongings may be inspected when you cross state lines in the United States, it is much more likely that they will undergo a stricter inspection for contaminants when they cross international borders. Things such as plants and seeds should not be packed with your belongings. You will also want to make sure that any outdoor equipment, such as gardening tools and bicycles, are wiped down before they are packed. Large clumps of dirt can cause your belongings to be held for longer while they are inspected for potential invasive seeds and bacteria.
Know All of the Providers On Your Contact
When dealing with an international move, there are several people that you may have to contact. This includes your local movers in the United States, port agents along the way, and the local agent at your destination. Before you sign your agreement and load your belongings, you should make sure that you have the contact information for each person or company that is responsible for your belongings throughout the entire move. This can help you if your belongings get held at a port in another country.
Alternatively, you may want to consider hiring a U.S. company that provides a top-down or white glove service. This will give you one contact, in the United States, who will then deal with all of the arrangements with local movers at your destination.
Be Prepared to Make Decisions About Customs
Customs laws vary in each country. Depending on the duration of your visa, and whether you have been living in your destination country before your move, you may be allowed a certain number of personal items without paying customs fees. In some countries, this is a one-time offer that you can use to bring your personal belongings to the destination, and it is important to determine whether you will want to use it during this move. You may want to save your duty-free shipment for a large purchase later, such as a car or boat shipped from the United States.
Discuss with your movers about who will pay any customs fees, when they will be paid, and whether you are eligible for any fee-waivers. This may be best to discuss with the movers at your destination as opposed to the movers who pack your items. However, you should do so well before your belongings are scheduled to arrive.
Discuss All Port Fees In Advance
Some moving companies include port fees in their initial quote while others will expect you to cover the port fees as they come up. Your moving company should be able to give you a very close estimate of what port fees you will encounter and how and when they should be paid. If a company refuses to answer questions regarding port fees, you should consider finding another company.
Understand Phone Options at Your Destination
Once you arrive at your destination, calling the United States, countries where you have to pay port fees, and the movers at your destination can give you a large phone bill, but you may still have many logistical issues to sort out. You may want to pay for high-speed internet and select a VOIP operator to reduce these costs. Also, in many countries, incoming phone calls to cell phones are free for the person receiving them. It is common to ask businesses to call you back as opposed to spending your money calling them. Again, if you opt for a white glove service you will not have to deal with as many phone calls about your belongings once you reach your destination.
Planning to receive your belongings in advance will help the process go more smoothly and protect you from unexpected port and customs fees. Contact a company like Hollander Storage & Moving for more information.