International Moving FAQ’s

Moving internationally is a significant life event. You'll have many questions about the process of moving overseas, from the cost to move internationally to how to clear customs upon arrival. Here's where to find the answers to those questions.

Estimates and Pricing

Pre-Move Planning

Protecting Your Belongings

Upon Arrival

I would like to arrange for someone to provide me with a moving estimate for my international move. Whom should I contact?

For moves originating in countries other than the U.S. and Canada, please call us at 1-800-944-8126 or fax us at 630.570.3541.

If you would like to request a free moving estimate online, please click here to provide us with some basic information about your international move.

Are all charges included in the price?

This depends on the type of moving services that you've purchased. If you request a door-to-door move, then all transportation charges should be included in the price that's quoted to you.

However, even on a door-to-door international move, you'll be responsible for customs clearance charges plus any applicable taxes or duties on your shipment.

Review your moving quote with your northAmerican International representative to make sure you understand the terms of your quotation, particularly when you're comparing a number of different service/price options.

What are the different cost/service options available to me?

When moving overseas you have a number of moving services available to you. You may select a moving service based on the price, transit time, method of containerization, routing consolidation opportunities, sea or air freight, port of exit, etc. Each option's cost component determines the amount you'll pay.

In general terms, it is advisable to select the most direct route with a minimum amount of handling. However, every move and personal budget is different so it is important that you work with your northAmerican International representative to determine the best moving services to meet your personal needs.

Remember, when calculating the cost of your international move, you should be aware of the total cost including the amount of time you'll have to wait for the arrival of your goods at destination. If you're going to have to stay in a hotel or other temporary housing until your household shipment arrives, you'll need to consider these costs as well as the cost of the shipping charges. Many people have made the mistake of selecting the slowest transit time (cheapest price) and then had the expense of two to three weeks of hotel costs while they awaited the delivery of their shipment.

What advice can you give me on how to plan for moving overseas?

Preparation! Preparation! Preparation!

As soon as you know that you're going to be moving overseas, contact your international moving company.

In addition, begin to think about separating items to be sold, stored, disposed of, given away, moved by sea, moved by air or delivered to another family member before your departure. You should have a clear idea about these categories before completing the pre-move survey.

As you approach moving day, think about which items will accompany you when moving overseas, specifically travel papers, immediate clothing, passports, medical documentation and records, family papers, valuables, jewelry, medication, school records, etc.

northAmerican International can provide a variety of host country information including destination profiles and country fact sheets.

When should I contact an international moving company to organize my pending international move?

Timely preparation is the key ingredient to a successful international move. You should contact your international mover approximately seven to 10 weeks prior to your intended date of departure. This will allow sufficient time to confirm documentation requirements, pre-book international transportation services and pre-advise the destination agent of the forthcoming international shipment.

How do I know that I'm dealing with a reputable international moving company?

It's important that you verify the credentials of any moving company, but particularly for an international move.

northAmerican International manages international moves for major Fortune 500 companies on a worldwide basis. Last year, the northAmerican International network and its sister companies handled over 120,000 international household moves.

What should the representative visiting my home be able to tell me about my international move?

Your representative should be able to describe every aspect of your forthcoming international move. This should include all services: packing, crating, transit times, insurance, unpacking, storage and customer service capabilities.

The representative should be able to advise you of the different shipping options available to your overseas destination, as well as making an accurate estimate of the volume and weight of your shipment. In addition, you should be given an overview of the paperwork that will be required, information on the company selected to deliver your possessions in the destination country and advice on how to prepare for moving overseas.

Within a day or two of completion of the pre-move survey, the international movers should provide you with a written moving estimate that explains the level of moving services to be provided and confirms the recommended shipping option.

What items should I NOT include in an international household goods shipment?

Use common sense when thinking about what to include in your international shipment. You should avoid perishable goods and anything that could leak during its journey,and cause significant damage to the articles surrounding it.

You should NOT include the following:

  • hazardous materials such as paint, matches, aerosol cans, gas canisters or other flammables
  • materials such as wood, bricks, cement, rocks and soil of any type
  • firearms and ammunition
  • plants of any kind
  • corrosives and explosives

If you have any doubt as to what should and shouldn't be included in an international shipment, consult your northAmerican International representative as soon as possible.

Can international moving companies provide insurance for my international move?

All reputable internationalvmovers will be able to provide you with coverage for your household and personal effects during an international move.

There is no one standard international moving coverage available that all international moving companies utilize. It is important, therefore, that you check any policy to determine the extent of the coverage, the nature of any exclusions, the amount of any deductible and the procedure in the event that you have to file a claim.

If you would like more information about northAmerican International's insurance program, please see the Insurance webpage, contact your local agent, call us at 1-800-944-8126 or e-mail us.

How do I determine the level of insurance coverage that is required for my belongings in an international move?

In general, you should think about what it would cost to replace your household goods and personal effects in the country of destination.

Some consulates and embassies will carry cost of living and price index data that you can refer to as a guideline.

When completing your international valuation paperwork, please be as detailed as possible. Remember to mark down individual items that have a high replacement cost. It's better to have too much information than not enough in this instance.

If you have any questions relating to the coverage on your international move, contact your northAmerican International representative immediately.

Who will provide delivery services at destination?

northAmerican International has developed a comprehensive network of corporate overseas agents based on their quality of service and experience. We are proud that we have over 380 international agents who represent northAmerican International around the world today.

Our overseas offices and agents provide moving services and expertise in the following areas:

  • port of arrival and customs clearance procedures
  • transportation from the destination port of arrival
  • temporary or long term moving storage if required
  • delivery to residence
  • full unpacking services
  • removal of all related packing debris and moving supplies

When I arrive at my overseas destination, whom should I contact to determine the status of my shipment?

Prior to your departure, your international moving company should provide you with a destination contact sheet. This will contain information about who to contact when you arrive at your final destination.

When you move with northAmerican International, we'll provide you with the contact names and details of either our office or agent in the destination city to which you're moving. In most cases, we'll have already sent your information to your office/agent and they'll contact you when you arrive. You may also use our online tracking tool to keep updated on the status of your shipment.

For immediate status updates, contact your northAmerican International Relocation Counselor at 1-800-944-8126.

Where should I go to find the most up-to-date information regarding customs clearance documentation requirements?

Due to the frequency in which paperwork requirements change, it's important (and ultimately your responsibility) to contact the local embassy or consulate to verify the documentation that is needed to obtain duty-free entry of used household goods and personal effects.

Although a reputable international moving company will have a list of the most recent documentation requirements, it's still your responsibility to make sure that you have the correct documentation for your personal situation.