International Moving: How to Move Around the Globe Without a Hassle
International moving is a truly exciting experience. If you have been chosen by your employer for an international assignment, you already know that this is an important step on your career ladder. The same applies if you have been hired directly by a foreign company. In today’s increasingly global society, international work experience is extremely valuable. It tells employers that you are open to new ideas, a better communicator (especially if you learn multiple languages), not afraid to take risks and are free of cultural bias.
Now that the decision has been made to accept the assignment, you must begin to plan your move. What do you take with you? How will the items be shipped? By air? By sea? What will it cost? What kind of documentation is required? What about customs? Do I need insurance? What happens if something gets lost or damaged? Who do I contact for assistance in the destination country? Where do I go to get started?
International moving is not a process that you want to entrust to just any mover. It takes a company with expertise in the complexities of making the arrangements, and a company with a network of professional affiliates around the world who will handle things at the destination end. If you are planning on shipping a car or a pet, these are two areas that require knowledge of regulations and a network of contacts. You will require the advice of an international moving expert to guide you through the processes involved.
Even without checking specific regulations, common sense would tell you that most countries around the world will not let you import guns and other weapons. However, did you know that when moving to Italy, your favourite “knock off” version of a Gucci purse could earn you a fine and be confiscated should customs decide to inspect your shipment? Or what about shipping a bicycle or golf cart to Australia that hasn’t been pre-cleaned and disinfected? It sounds silly, but it only demonstrates that when moving internationally, it is very important to find out what types of items are either prohibited outright or restricted as to quantity.
Each country has its own unique list of items that cannot be imported, so it is imperative that you ask your moving representative to direct you to country specific resources to ensure you do not run afoul of customs officials. The following is a general guideline for a few countries to give you an idea of the types of goods that should never be included in your shipment. This is only a partial list.
United Kingdom – illegal drugs, offensive weapons, self defense sprays (i.e. pepper spray), endangered animal and plant species, rough diamonds, obscene materials, meat or dairy products
United States – products made from endangered species (i.e. ivory keys on a piano or ivory carvings), Cuban made products, Iranian made products (i.e. rugs), and dangerous toys
Australia – live plants, seeds and nuts including cereal grains, popping corn, chestnuts and pinecones (including those that are part of Christmas decorations), refrigerators or motor vehicles containing CFC’s
France – protected species or products including ivory, coral, reptile skin or wood from the Amazonian forest
South Africa – narcotics, fully automatic weapons, counterfeit goods, and prison made goods
Most countries have a much longer list of restricted goods that require special permission to import. For example, you can import hand guns into the United States but you must obtain a permit from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. This permit takes approximately six weeks and you must use the services of a licensed gun importer to bring the weapons into the United States. Importing the contents of your bar or wine collection can also be a tedious process, since regulations vary from state to state and duties and taxes are collected before the items will be released.
Regardless of what country you are relocating to, it is important for you to consult with an expert in international moving before deciding what to include in your shipment. Doing so will go a long way towards making your international move a smooth and hassle free experience.