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What does this international moving guide includes

Do you plan to travel internationally? You’re not sure where to begin? What is the best option? Air transport or ocean shipping? A partial or full container? Do you need a 20-foot container or do you require an 40-foot container? What are the best choices are?

The procedure of relocation abroad is stressful and complex to put it mildly. Importing choices must be taken and the process will require numerous aspects. Knowing the As to Zs of an international ocean freight movement and the requirements for it is an entire journey by itself. To say that you’ll require assistance with all of this is to say it very well. Moving companies from around the world could be able help however there are some aspects you’ll need about yourself.

In this moving guide for international residents there are details on everything you’ll need to know in order to prepare your move. From packing tips and deadlines to the documents you need and tips the guide has all the information you need. It is important to take the time to read it an in-depth read to avoid delays, expenses, damages or anything else that could be a problem along the way.

At TCL Logistics, We’ve helped hundreds of families in their overseas move. Our aim is to make the transition as easy and painless as you can to ensure that the only thing you worry about is what kind of wine you’ll be serving at your goodbye party. Do not worry. With TCL Logistics, your private items are in good in hands of a trusted professional. Let’s begin.

Part One: Understanding Fundamentals of an international movement

What is an international movement (and what’s it not?)

A maritime move that is international in nature is the process by which a person or family moves to a new country (usually on another continent) and then transports their belongings to the country of their destination using shipping by ocean. The process involves putting items like furniture, cars or motorcycles, as well as household goods into containers on board an ocean vessel and shipping through the ocean.

What exactly is an international movement? It might seem intuitive, but in some cases, it’s better to define. If you’re not really moving to a different country It’s not an international relocation. The person who is sending the items has to be at their destination to take them in. If you’re only trying to transport furniture, personal items and appliances, from one place to another, it’s not considered to be an international movement and you won’t be able to ship the items in this manner.

The regulations for international moving individual shipments stipulate that the person who is sending the package from origin needs be the person who will receive it when it arrives at the location. Beyond receiving the shipment in its entirety, you’ll need to prove that you have moved to and reside within the United States.

Who’s who in a global move

The business of ocean freight is renowned for its complexity. There are many players involved in the lengthy and intricate process of having your personal possessions transported. To make sure you are aware and understand it is recommended that you learn about them all.

International moves are remarkably like maritime commercial shipping. The ships and containers that transport your belongings are also transporting commercial products that are exported or imported around the globe.

Even the job of your freight forwarder is to communicate with various parties and assist you each moment of the process, you must put in the effort to be aware of the different roles that are involved. This will allow you communicate effectively and keep track of everything to avoid miscommunications.

Here are the most important individuals that are involved in your international move

Consignee and shipper: In a commercial shipment the consignee and shipper are two distinct individuals. Shippers are those who send the shipment, and consignee is the receiver. If you’re moving internationally they are one and the same. You. The person who delivers the shipment from where it came from must be the one who receives the shipment at its the destination.

freight forwarder A role for freight forwarders is to provide you in the details of the process for shipping. This involves coordinating the transport for your belongings your home or storage facility until the destination of your moving. The freight forwarder takes care of all the necessary paperwork, informs you of any modifications, and coordinates with all the other participants in the international relocation process. So, even if the entire process requires communication with several organizations, you’ll only require only one source of communication.

The truckers They are the ones who will pick your personal items on the day you’ve negotiated through your freight broker. They’ll transport the container to your door and when it’s fully filled, take your container to the shipping port. Also, when your belongings arrive at the destination, truckers will take the container to the new address or to the warehouse.

LCL consolidators They are businesses who combine different shipments into one container. If you’re shipping a small amount of items and will not require the full size container, you could ship your items in less than a Container Load (also referred to as LCL). That means your personal possessions are shared with other belongings (more on this in the future). The job for the LCL consolidator is to complete the container by bringing in LCL shipment from various shippers.

Carriers These companies operate vessels which are used to transport your belongings and personal items to your new residence. You’ll need confirmation from them regarding whether or not there is room to place your containers on the vessels they operate.

Agents for destination: These are the experts on processes for customs clearance and procedures, as well as taxation and the regulations and laws of the country you’re moving to.

Each nation has its own set of rules, exceptions restrictions, rules, etc. It is crucial to collaborate with an agent in your destination to assist with the necessary documentation and procedures to avoid any issues with customs or the release of your personal possessions. The agent at destination will provide you with what taxes that you will need to pay once your household items reach the port of arrival. Be sure to include them into your total international move costs.

Customs The Customs officials oversee the export and import of every country. They will verify and receive the information in the documents that you’ve provided to confirm that it matches with the shipping information and identify if there are any differences and if customs tests must be conducted.

Different kinds of international relocations Door-to-port or door-to-door

There are various shipping options you can choose from to help you move internationally dependent on the type of pickup or delivery of goods will take place at your home address either a warehouse, an port.

Door-to-door international moves

The most important aspect of a door-to-door international relocation as the name implies is the pickup and the delivery of your personal belongings from your house to your doorstep of your new residence.

At the point of origin, the trucker will bring the container right to your door for you to load your items. Unless you’ve hired an extra assistant then you are accountable for loading the container. This means getting ramps, forklifts or other equipment. The driver of the truck is not required to help you. At the point of delivery the trucker will take the container containing your belongings to the new address. You are responsible for unloading your household belongings.

For international door-to-door moves you don’t requirement to employ an agent in the destination area since the freight forwarder who manages the move is responsible for the customs clearance at both the point of origin and the point of destination.

If you don’t have the right guidance and support international relocation can be incredibly stressful. We at iContainers we advise choosing doors-to-door service for international relocation in order to reduce any unnecessary logistical stress.

TCL Logistics offers unique door-to-door ocean freight service for international relocations to or from the following locations:

  • Spain
  • Netherlands
  • Germany
  • Belgium
  • USA
  • Malaysia
  • Thailand
  • UK
  • France
  • Ireland
  • Australia
  • China

International door-to-port moves

Door-to-port international shipping services stop when your possessions reach the port of your destination.

In this stage the agent you have chosen to travel with must pay all required taxes and duties, and also provide the necessary documents to obtain Customs Clearance. After this is completed your personal belongings can be retrieved at the port.

International moving is a process that involves international movement

If you’re now clear about the definition of an international move and the major participants involved, as well as the difference between a door to door and door-to-port movement You’re only one step away from understanding all the essential concepts of moving internationally.

This infographic will illustrate the door-to-port procedure of the international transfer.

International door-to-door moves are similar, with the only difference is there is no requirement to have an agent for the destination. When you are able to provide the door-to-door service your freight forwarder is in an established presence in the country of your destination and is able to execute the international relocation services that the agent for your destination.

If you arrange a door-to-door relocation through TCL, we’ll take care of the payment of all taxes and fees that are required at the destination. We’ll also secure that you are able to release your possessions once it’s at the port of destination and hand them over to you.

Part 2: Making the most appropriate international move

As soon as you decide to begin a new adventure in another country, you’re embarking on a journey of making decisions. As you’ll be aware, there are many crucial decisions that you’ll need to make on your way. The most crucial ones are:

  • Freight by ocean or air
  • Containers that are full (FCL) or a partial (LCL) container
  • 20-foot, 40-foot or high cube container
  • Door-to-door or door-to-port

Ocean freight or air freight to facilitate your international move

This guide is focused on international transport using sea freight however you could also ship your personal possessions via air. Although the most popular and less expensive option is to ship it by shipping by sea, air freight could be the best option when you have particular requirements. Air freight shipping is considerably higher than sea freight, and generally have fewer restrictions on the volume of goods, which might not be practical considering that an international move typically involves the sending of large quantities of household items.

When do you decide if air freight is the best alternative?

If you’re willing to pay the cost of shipping and have a small number of items to ship and want your possessions to be delivered to your destination as fast as you can, air freight might be the right choice for you. If in doubt, consult your freight forwarder.

(FCL) or partial (FCL) or a part (LCL) container that you can use for an international relocation

There are two kinds of options for shipping that you can choose from one of which is a full container often referred to FCL, or Full Container, or FCL as well as groupage, often referred to as less than Container Load (LCL) or LCL. This is often called a shared container since your personal belongings are in the container with items belonging to others or items that are being shipped.

The choice of FCL as well as LCL will be contingent on the quantity of your personal belongings. If you only have a few items to ship and you’re able to take advantage of the smaller cost of international shipping for shipping LCL which is among the least expensive alternatives to consider. However, since most international moves require the transportation of huge furniture cars, dozens of boxes, odds are that you’ll require FCL shipping.

Here are some additional factors to think about when making the decision on either an FCL as well as an LCL move:

  • FCL provides more security over LCL since you’ll have the entire container for you. If you choose to use LCL you run the possibility of your belongings getting damaged due to things belonging to others. If this is a possibility you’d prefer to avoid, consider opting for FCL.
  • LCL shipping is most likely to get seized by customs. You might have completed all the required paperwork and have them submitted on time, but since there is a shared container should customs decide that they want to inspect another shipment within that same container then the entire container will be held until all the paperwork is cleared.

20-foot or 40-foot containers for international moves

If you’ve made the decision to ship FCL the next step is to choose the size of your container. The options are 20-foot containers, 40-foot containers and the forty-foot tall cube. Each container comes with distinct dimensions, so you’ll be able to determine the total weight of your shipment as well as the quantity of boxes you’ll need to ship to figure out the ideal container size that is suitable for you.

The 40-foot and 20-foot containers are the most used for international travel. Below are the sizes for every one of them.

Internationally moving with a 20-foot container

The dimensions of a 20 foot container measures 5.898m (L) by 2.352m (W) by 2.393m (H). Its capacity is 32.6m 3, which can generally take in everything needed for an 20-foot two apartment. It includes all appliances and furniture in the living area and kitchen, as well as bedrooms, bicycles or motorcycles, and 20 boxes.

If you believe you’ll be using at least half the space in 20-foot containers, FCL is probably the more affordable and less expensive option than LCL and is a great way to reduce the cost of international relocation.

Container 20
How to fit container 20

Moving internationally with a 40-foot container

The size of a 40 foot container measures 12.025m (L) by 2.352m (W) by 2.393m (H). Its capacity is 67.6m 3, that is enough space to hold everything in 100m 3 apartment. It also has room for cars and a few motorcycles or bicycles.

If you’re planning to take your car to your new residence, an 40-foot container is an ideal choice.

Container 40'
How much volume for 40 feet

Part 3: International moving requirements

Documents required for an international relocation

When you reserve your international move Your freight forwarder will require you to fill in and submit certain forms to get clearance from customs. It is crucial to understand what these documents are used for and to be able to complete them correctly. Make sure you pay attention to this section because even tiny mistakes can make an enormous difference in delivering a pleasant shipping experience or massive delays that can significantly increase the total costs for international shipping.

Depending on where you’re going depending on your destination, you might be required to submit additional documentation. In general, here are the documents that you’ll need provide regardless of the country you’re planning to move to:

  • List of packing: This is where you write down the contents in each and every box you’re sending. Imagine your packing checklist as an official declaration form for household items. Every box on the list of packing items should include a brief description of the things it holds (eg. documents and books) as well as the dimensions, weight and the value. Also, you will need to specify the overall size of the item, its weight, and the worth of the entire package. Complete this form precisely and with care to avoid difficulties with customs. Additionally, it can assist you in packing to go home, and you want to be sure that everything is right.
  • Power of Attorney form: This document authorizes your freight forwarder to handle customs clearance for you. It is required to complete the form and then give it back to your freight forwarder.
  • A copy of your passport or ID
  • The Terms and Conditions: This document lists the conditions that will apply to your international relocation. Read this document thoroughly and thorough read to comprehend it and avoid difficulties during the process of shipping.

If you’re taking your vehicle along, you’ll need additional documents required. Additionally, certain documents could be required depending on the port of your origin and the country of destination (more on this in the future). In general this is the type of document you’ll need to submit.

  • The original title, or the Salvage title
  • Import permit/exemption certificate: Certain countries have strict rules regarding vehicle entry. This could depend on the condition of vehicle.

Bill of Lading: one of the most important documents of an international movement

Another important document to be aware of should be The the Bill of Lading. A Bill of Lading lists the owner of the cargo that is being transported and must be provided for you to access your personal belongings once it reaches the port of your destination.

Your freight forwarder will mail you a draft of the house Bill of Lading to allow you to review all the details and let them know of any mistakes. When all the information contained on the B/L has been deemed to be accurate the freight forwarder will then send you a final and exact copy. The only thing you need to do is keep it your copy in a safe location. Make sure you do not forget to keep any Bill of Lading as you could face problems trying to prove you are the legal person who owns the items that are being transported.

What you should and shouldn’t send while moving internationally

It’s tempting to to take everything you own during your international travels. However, this isn’t feasible because of the country- and product-specific restrictions are in place.

What are you able to send an international transfer

Furniture household goods such as appliances, toys clothing, motorbikes, cars and other items that you own at home can usually be shipped out when you’re moving abroad, provided they’re not dangerously flammable or could pose any kind of risk. Motorcycles and cars are also permitted, however take note that certain countries have strict regulations concerning the entry of vehicles.

What is not acceptable to send out in a global move

Here’s a list that cannot be shipped during an international move:

  • Plants
  • Live animals
  • Foods like fruits, veggies, and any kind of food
  • Drinks
  • Perfumes
  • Cleaning products
  • Medicine
  • Tobacco
  • Drugs
  • Weapons
  • Flammable products

To stay on the edge of caution be sure to take the fake plant, toys guns, or any other objects that could be misinterpreted as items that are prohibited.

It is important to note that everything you send as an international move can’t be used to sell commercially for commercial purposes – i.e. selling in the country you are moving to. These items fall into the category of export/import and different financial and legal obligations are in place.

There are restrictions on the country you will be traveling to for your international relocation

Certain countries might impose restrictions on specific items. You’ll need to get a permit to be allowed to import the object into the country or you may not be able to ship it.

A very frequent restrictions is that of the transport of vehicles. Based on the mileage, age, and worth of your vehicle as well as the country you are planning to visit full or partial bans could be in place. Check to see whether your vehicle is permitted to enter the country, or face hefty tax or fines.

If you’re unsure if the item you want to purchase is prohibited or requires a permit, we advise that you get in touch at the consulate or customs department, or the shipping agent of your country of destination to avoid difficulties upon the arrival of your goods.

4. Planning for a smooth and easy international move

How do you take your personal belongings to your international relocation

Another important aspect that could determine the success or failure of your move abroad includes the packaging of personal possessions. You might have completed all the paperwork in order and completed everything you were required to do in time however, what’s the purpose of all that should your belongings be damaged upon arrival as a result from improper packing?

Ocean vessels are prone to abrupt movements because of the unpredictable and rough conditions in the sea. Your product could be subject to sudden fluctuations in humidity and temperature and, if it is packed improperly the item could be prone to damage.

By using high-quality material, to shield your belongings from fluctuations in humidity, such as covering the box with a clear film. There are a variety of options to effectively secure your possessions so they arrive in good state. For more details please refer to our guideline on packing for a move abroad the time to look.

It’s crucial to remember that you are accountable for proper packing and security of personal belongings. iContainers provides the services of packing and assembling at additional price. If you are interested, notify us at the time you book. If you decide to do it yourself take note that any damage caused by inadequate packing are not insured by move insurance.

Loading your items into a container

When you pick it up, the driver will deliver the container to your door. If you do not have other moving companies, you’ll be accountable for the loading of everything inside the containers. The trucker isn’t required to help you.

You’ll be granted two hours to load and over the time, penalties will be imposed. However that if you’ve organized and packed your goods on time 2 hours is usually enough to fill everything. If you believe you need an additional time to load or equipment to aid in the process, like forklifts, let your freight carrier as early as you can.

Tips for how to safely put items in containers.

Similar to packing, the improper loading of a container could cause significant damage to your personal items. Be extra careful when loading a container. instructions for loading:

  • The weight of your objects in a uniform and even manner, this refers to the length, width and the height of the container. This is not just a matter of space but also to weight. If you are dealing with uneven cargo weight, you can utilize blankets to distribute the load across. There shouldn’t be a side of the container that weighs significantly over the other side and you should not leave any floor space empty.
  • Avoid placing heavy items over lighter items to avoid crushing. The sea’s movements are sudden and unpredictable.
  • Don’t place moist or wet objects above dry ones.
  • Check that your container is filled in the most tightly possible way. Utilize straps to hold your belongings in place, If necessary, to limit movement.
  • Big items like furnishings and appliances must be initially loaded. Anything else that is able to be placed in boxes need to be packed up and palletized.

Loading a car into a container

The first thing to know prior to making a request for pickup is that your container will be delivered to the truck, which means that its floor is going to be about 1.2m above the ground. Therefore, if you plan to place your car into the container, you’ll require an tow truck with a flatbed that can assist you in doing so. Contact us ahead of time if you need one. If you want to build it yourself, we suggest using ramps.

Before you load your car into the container, it is important to prepare your vehicle by disconnecting the battery in your car and the alarm system. Clean your car from the inside to avoid problems when you go through customs. Remove any personal belongings, including documents that you might be required to provide them in the future. Fold the side mirrors down to save space

After you have loaded your car into the container you can think about placing blocks of wood to block the wheels, and then securing the car using lashes. You can purchase these products from any hardware store. This will stop the vehicle from moving while it travels on ocean freight.

For a better explanation this infographic explains how to put your car in the container.


Insuring your move abroad

In general shipping insurance covers all the things that shipping lines manage. It covers everything from the time your household items are taken up to the moment they reach your the port of destination. The marine insurance coverage includes:

  • Any damage that is caused from loading at ports or crane handling
  • Any damage caused due to imperfections in the shipping container
  • Damages incurred due to vessel sinking or loss

The coverage expires when your household items arrive at the port of destination, which means that any damage sustained while unloading won’t be insured. However, there are insurances that will cover these damage and/or losses. These are purchased directly from the broker at the point of purchase.

Be aware that any damage incurred as a the result of insufficient or inadequate packing won’t be covered by insurance.

Extra: Common blunders in international moves

Moving internationally can be complicated and challenging enough. Therefore, the final thing you want is to experience a problem. A minor hiccup could quickly escalate into something much larger, and could add to the cost of international relocation. That said, you’ll want that everything is done correctly (everything that is in your control of course). These are the eight most frequent mistakes made when moving internationally:

  1. Do not research the laws governing imports of the country you’re planning to visit. Even though your agent will be there to help you, it’s always best to be aware of the laws you’re placing your household goods into.
  2. Don’t read the fine print prior to signing or paying. Always make sure that you fully comprehend and read the legal document you’re signing. It’s important to know the conditions you’re sending your items under. In the end, you’re making all your belongings that you have ever owned over to a different entity to manage.
  3. Don’t buy insurance. The journey across the ocean is a long but unpredictable and difficult one. It is possible that your boxes are well-stacked, your china wrapped and bubble-wrapped 3 times and secured your vehicle but the wrath and rage of Mother Nature has no bounds. To ensure you’re on the safe side, make sure you purchase insurance to protect yourself in case the worst happens.
  4. Insufficiently preparing all necessary documents in the right time. This is often an in-between point between delay fees and delays that are not charged, which could add up to an enormous amount. Making sure that all documents are prepared in time will save you lots of stress and money once your personal possessions are delivered to the port of departure.
  5. Incorrectly determining whether the delivery truck or pick-up truck is able to enter your road. Pick up and delivery trucks are huge and sometimes larger than some European streets. Check ahead whether the truck has the capacity to access your street in a safe manner and also if any specific permits for loading or unloading are required.
  6. Do not hire the services of an authorized freight forwarder. By law, every licensed freight forwarder has an established set of guidelines and rules they need to adhere to. If you are planning to move internationally with a non-licensed freight forwarder implies that there’s no assurance that they’ll operate within the boundaries of lawful and legal. Also, as an individual client, you’ll have no legal recourse should something go wrong.
  7. A poor source agent. Your destination agent is just as important just as the freight carrier. They are usually in charge of assisting your goods pass through customs clearance in a timely manner, so you’ll need an agent who operates in an straight way and understands the insides and outs of Customs offices.
  8. You’re not doing enough research about the international relocation procedure. You’re not the only one who has had to relocate overseas. There are a myriad of forums online with helpful tips and information that will alleviate some of the anxiety.