The International Experience in 5 Easy Steps

The International Experience in 5 Easy Steps

So Great Aunt Mathilda has more of her famous “Chachkie” collection she needs to send to her twin sister Olga (a profound Chachkie collector in her own right). Granted, this is one of her smaller collections consisting of only a dozen or so medium sized boxes…but it just so happens that Great Aunt Olga lives in Oslo, which is in Norway. Obviously, there are too many boxes to simply take to a parcel shipping company or even the post office, so what does she do? Well, we can certainly handle this international move for dear old Great Aunt Mathilda! Really?

Yep! If there’s an address on this planet, we can most likely get your belongings there. But let’s take a minute to consider what it is you’re wanting done. There are a lot of moving parts to any move, but with an international move, well, there’s a bit more. Let’s take a moment to go over some terms you are going to see a lot of and let me explain what they mean.

International Move Definitions

  • Customs – This is the government agency that administers and collects the duties levied on imported goods.
  • Duties – A Tax levied by a government (usually through its Customs Authority) on certain items purchased abroad.
  • Port/Terminal Charges – Charges associated with the processing of shipping containers as they come in to port.
  • Custom Clearance – The documentation required by a country’s Customs Authority allowing goods to be imported and exported.
  • Liability – As the shipper, we are responsible for the items packed in all of your boxes. We are required to provide detailed inventories of every single item you are sending because different countries have different restrictions on items coming into their country (for example, you cannot bring cordless phones into Norway).

So what does all of this mean? Well, I’ll tell you. If you’ve ever traveled internationally, you were required to go through Customs before they allowed you to enter their country. You probably stood in what seemed like huge, never-ending lines only to be greeted by a bored looking Customs Agent. They needed to see your passport, asked you if you had anything to declare and might have even look inside your bags. So why is that?

I promise it’s not because they’re dying to see what color socks you have…nope, they’re looking to make sure you aren’t bringing anything into the country that is prohibited or carries a Duty tax on it. If you don’t declare something, or are dishonest…or in some countries, if you simply look shifty, the customs agents will pull you aside, inspect everything you have (down to the thread count on your favorite pair of socks) until they are sure you are on the up and up. The rules that apply to you as a traveler also apply to the household goods you are bringing into their country.

5 Easy Steps to an International Move

Now don’t worry, this may seem daunting but it really isn’t. Here are the steps to making your international move easier:

  1. You decide to move overseas and you contact a moving a company.
  2. The moving company you’ve selected prepares all the customs documentation required for your shipment and you fill them out.
  3. Once an onsite is performed (see Rogue Movers, Reputable Movers, and Written Estimates) and the move date set, the crew comes in, packs everything up, creates the detailed inventories of everything (that’s the liability and customs thing I mentioned earlier) and loads it all into the shipping container.
  4. The container will be delivered to the port and loaded onto the cargo ship for transport.
  5. In Great Aunt Mathilda’s case, this is a smaller shipment so she can either elect to bring the boxes directly to our office, or, she can have them picked up by one of our trucks (for a nominal charge of course). We weigh and measure the boxes and then determine how she wants them shipped….by air or sea and then off they go to Great Aunt Olga in Oslo.

Transportation Options

Now naturally, shipping by air is going to be faster, usually between 3-10 days, but it’s also more expensive. And, it only works when you have a very small shipment like just a few boxes. But, If you don’t care how long it takes, we can stick these smaller shipments on a cargo ship and the boxes will arrive in a couple of weeks.

There are a lot of moving parts to an international move and it can seem quite overwhelming. The process takes a little longer because it can take a day or two for the quotes to come back from the forwarding agents on a shipment. But rest assured that we are more than capable of helping you through every aspect of this move, no matter how big or small.


Stephanie Armato
Customer Service Representative

After moving across the country (twice) with her two favorite horses, Stephanie has experienced first-hand what every single one of our customers goes through. Her passion for helping people for the past 16 years as a customer service representative has led her to delve into the world of writing informative blogs to help our customers during the moving process. If you have questions for Stephanie, please feel free to add a comment below!

Have Anything to Add to This Article? Leave it in the Comments Section Below!

Best Local Movers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.