Moving abroad is a complicated process. In addition to securing a visa, job, place to live, and the logistics of getting your family and your belongings to the new country, you also need to make sure your items can clear customs without hassle.

Experienced international movers have the know-how to ensure your customs clearance goes smoothly, will be able to accurately quote you on all applicable duties and taxes, and can manage the necessary paperwork for your move.

Here’s how hiring a reputable international moving company can help you clear customs quickly and seamlessly.

woman carrying boxes

Paperwork Required

Crossing your t’s and dotting your i’s will keep things running smoothly, and this means having:

  • A recent list of all moving documentation
  • Copies of the documentation
  • A thorough inventory of the items being shipped

Your mover will have access to the most recent forms needed for your move, obtained from the appropriate embassy.

Customs Duty

In many places, household items will be considered duty-free if they are older than six months to a year. If they were purchased more recently, they may be subject to taxation. Hiring your international mover to pack for you will ensure that all boxes are labelled and inventoried correctly. Customs officers will review your belongings to ensure that there are no banned or restricted items among the items.

Note: Always research the customs regulations for the country you’re moving to long before you start packing. Trying to avoid customs fees by way of smuggling is not recommended.

Additional Permits for Restricted & Prohibited Items

An international mover can help you fill out the additional paperwork required to move an item that is normally considered to be on the restricted or prohibited list. Specific custom regulations will impact the movement of frequently restricted items, including:

  • Pets
  • Plants
  • Seeds
  • Pornography
  • Food
  • Weapons (firearms or ammunition)
  • Vehicles
  • Hazardous Materials (chlorine, insecticides, etc.)

The shipment of these items will often require special inspections from customs agents. Without proper documentation these items may be returned to the country of origin and/or you may be subject to large fines.

Note: Most containers shipped internationally are x-rayed, hand inspected, or both, so make sure that your itemized lists are detailed, correct, and don’t leave anything out. The customs process can be long, so having every detail in place can speed things up.

couple carrying boxes

Check for Anomalies

Sometimes items that seem like no big deal in your home country are banned for shipping to other countries. Interesting examples of strange item bans include:

  • Ballpoint Pens to Nigeria
  • Kinder Eggs to the United States
  • Chewing gum to Singapore
  • Whistles to Guatemala
  • Baby walkers with wheels to Canada

When it comes to moving internationally, compliance with the customs regulations is key.

Customs Vary by Country

Each country has different custom regulations, with rules being updated and altered on a regular basis. Reputable shipping companies have connections with the customs clearance company at your destination, so they will be in-the-know about new regulations.

Additionally, the movers will be able to ask questions on your behalf should you have a specific question or need information about the movement of unusual personal items. It should also be noted that even if you have a professional company managing your move, there may be times when you will need to speak to the local customs office directly.

Avoid Delays

Just one missing item of paperwork could bring about significant delays, fines, or even the confiscation of your personal items by the customs office at your destination. Poorly packed items can cause problems for inspection agents, which can lead to additional processing times, fees, and fines from customs.

Professional movers know how to pack your items for both the safety of your items and easy customs inspection access. Consider asking our movers to pack your items for your international move.

Moving from Canada to Europe? Let us help!

people wear headsets and working on laptops

What is the Best Way to Move Internationally?

Orbit Moving is an international moving company with over a decade of experience moving customers around the world. Our customer service is what sets us apart: customer service representatives can answer every question, no matter how small, and our moving crew shows up on time with all the materials they need to get the job done correctly the first time.

To learn more about Orbit and our international moving services, call us at 416-661-4228.