International Moving – The Necessary Paperwork

by Amy Nutt

Relocating from one country to another is undeniably a cumbersome task which requires careful planning. Without doubt the services of a professional international moving company would help take care of all the official requirements as well as simplify the necessary documentation. Again, it is best to be personally equipped with the knowledge of procedures and mandatory documents required for moving abroad. The paperwork begins at the time of arrival of your packers and movers. Once the moving company representatives arrive, they will prepare an item list also known as a ‘consignment list’. This will be signed by the client as well as the moving company. Then comes the ‘order for service’, a document that is required to be signed at the time of loading. This document contains all the charges for services performed, in addition to terms and conditions under which your goods are moved. On the order for service, you will choose the level of carrier liability for your goods per item/package. While this carrier liability may help you get back some money in event of an accident it is not a substitute for travel insurance. You would still need to get a separate baggage insurance. When shifting baggage abroad, the moving company requires identification proofs; a copy of your valid passport with your signature is mandatory.

When unloading the baggage at the receiving end, additional documents are required. A valid Visa and work permit are necessary and these will be checked by the custom officials. Since custom regulations vary by country, your baggage may be subject to some specific custom rules. It is therefore necessary to check with your embassy or the embassy of the country where you are relocating to know the exact specifics with regard to any specific papers for the items being transported. While most countries do not charge duty on household goods, some do on items which are less than one year old. Be sure to carry receipts of any such items or of those that may be older but seem new. If you hold antique furniture, be sure to keep an antique certificate handy to prove the ownership. Typically antiques over 100 years old, attract no duty.

If you are on medication carry a copy of the doctor’s medical prescription, a letter from your doctor along with his telephone number. Medicines in small quantities are generally allowed when relocating to a new country. If you are transporting your pet, an entry permit may be required together with documents to prove that the pet has been inoculated against the standard diseases. In most countries you will be required to pay a duty on your pet and in some countries the pet may have to stay put for a defined quarantine period. In any case, a quarantine certificate is required. Additionally, transporting pets requires special containers of a specific size and material. Don’t fret here though! Your moving company will likely take care of it. When transporting your vehicle, check that you have an entry permit. Also be sure to check the extant regulations of the host country; some countries will not allow some models of cars if they do not meet emission standards, while others do not allow cars of certain vintage to be imported in. And lastly ensure that you leave your civilian guns and firearms behind. Most are prohibited or you may be allowed to carry these provided you hold the necessary permits. Ammunition is an absolute no-no. On reaching though you will still need to procure a firearms permit from the host country within a stipulated time.

Well that certainly is a long list; a daunting task indeed. Now nobody said moving cross country was easy, but as in any relocating scenario, a check list helps to keep everything organized and smooth. So, happy moving!

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