International Moving

At the beginning of the third millennium, globalization has reached unprecedented levels and opened exciting new horizons. People have become more open-minded and more eager to explore new opportunities, get to know new cultures, and find new perspectives. This desire to see and better understand the world – and themselves – has taken millions out of their homelands and led them to faraway places and foreign countries in pursuit of their dreams.

Whether it’s for work, study, love, self-discovery, or a better quality of life, moving abroad has become increasingly common over the last several decades. But even though it has also become easier and more affordable than ever before, international relocation remains a great challenge.

Moving to another country is a complicated and time-consuming process – it requires meticulous organization and careful preparation in order to go smoothly and successfully. So, if you’re looking for a new life in a new country and feeling ready to take the big step, you need to start planning your international moving adventure without delay – and to plan it right.

Here is everything you need to know about moving overseas:

What to Consider When Moving Abroad

Moving to a different country will take you to a brand new world that has its own unique culture, traditions, social norms, lifestyle, and even language. So, before making the big step, you need to make sure that it’s the right place for you – that you’ll be able to adapt to the new environment and thrive in it:

1) What country to move to

If you’re moving to a new country because you got a great job offer there, was admitted to a top university in that country, wanted to be near a loved one who lives there, or for any other country-specific reason, then you already know your destination.

If you’re simply looking for new perspectives and new experiences, though (or wishing for a lower cost of living, more favorable climate, less social pressure, etc.), you will have to decide where exactly you want to move to before you can begin your relocation preparations.

Determine what you’re looking for and check ranking surveys, expat forums, and other useful resources to see which countries meet your criteria. Research the places that seem to fit your requirements and, if possible, visit the countries you have shortlisted as most suitable for your goals. The best way to decide where to move to is to spend an extended vacation in the country, so you can get a feel of the atmosphere, get an idea of the lifestyle, and see if you like it there.

Click here to find out which destinations have been ranked as the best countries for Americans to move to. You may also be interested to know which the top 5 countries to retire and move to are.

When moving abroad, you need to learn as much about your new country as possible.
When planning a move abroad, your focus should be on your new life.

Once you’ve made up your mind, research your new area and gather as much information as possible about it to better prepare for your new life abroad.

2) Climate

The climatic conditions in your new country will affect your lifestyle and your health:

  • The early temperatures and weather patterns in the area will determine what kind of clothes you’re going to need, how much time you will be able to spend outdoors, etc.;
  • Some types of climate may have a negative effect on your health, trigger or aggravate allergies, or pose a risk to your safety (weather-related natural disasters).

So, if the weather in your new country is going to differ drastically from what you are used to, you need to prepare well – get prophylactic vaccinations, buy appropriate clothing and equipment, take specific safety precautions, etc.

3) Employment opportunities

Many people move abroad due to a job opportunity or a job transfer. If you’re moving without a job though, you’ll need to carefully consider your employment prospects and career opportunities (unless you’re moving for retirement, of course).

Be sure to research the economic situation and business environment in your new country – find out if your skills and professional expertise are in demand, what the average salaries in your field are, which the major companies in your industry are, if you will have the chance to establish a business of your own, etc. – before making your final decision to move there.

4) Cost of living

Find out the costs of utilities, food, clothing, entertainment, transportation, medical care, education, and other relevant amenities in your future country, so you know how much money you’re going to need for living expenses per month and what income will allow you to live comfortably in your new area.

5) Housing options

It is very difficult to find a suitable new home in another country, so you’ll most likely need temporary accommodation – a hotel or a short-term rental – after the relocation. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to research the real estate market and learn the property laws and median home price in your new country before the move.

6) Safety issues

No matter where you’re moving to safety should be among your primary concerns, so it’s important to look into your new area’s crime statistics in advance – check the State Department website for useful safety information, follow your future country’s embassy on social media for up-to-date information, etc.

Moving to another country will take you to a different world in terms of traditions, beliefs, and lifestyles.
Friendship / Amitié / Amistad / Freundschaft / 友情 / Дружба

7) Cultural issues

When moving to a different country, you will encounter different points of view, belief systems, and social norms. The local rules and regulations will also be different from those in your current country (even the measurement system may be different) and some of the products and services you have been using on a daily basis in your homeland, as well as some of your favorite entertainment options and recreational activities, may not be available in your new country.

You’ll need to be open-minded, adaptive, and tolerant in order to quickly merge into your new community.

Related useful information: How to adapt to a new environment after moving

8) Local language

If you’re moving to a country that has a different language from yours, it will add a whole new level of challenge to your relocation adventure. You need to learn the local language ASAP in order to be able to freely communicate with the natives and become a part of the community – take some lessons before the move so you can find your way around when you arrive in your new country and make it your top priority to learn the language really well, really soon.

Bonus tip: Look for expatriate assistance in order to get first-hand information and insider tips for your life abroad.

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How to Plan a Move to Another Country

Planning an overseas move requires an elaborate moving strategy that covers every aspect of the international relocation process:

Take Care of Your Finances

Financial security is of paramount importance when moving countries, so your first task when planning an international relocation is to assess your finances to make sure that you have enough money to cover all the expenses for moving abroad, as well as your living expenses for the first several months in your new country. (you can find more information on international moving costs below)

Have in mind that banking clearances and arrangements can take some time to be processed and confirmed, so you should contact your bank (or choose a new one) and take care of the necessary paperwork well ahead of time. You’re strongly advised to open an international bank account in your new country before you move.

Don’t forget to check which credit cards you can use internationally without incurring fees and let your credit card companies know you’ll be moving overseas. (If all your credit cards have a foreign transaction fee, consider opening a new credit card.)

Make sure you talk to the IRS to review your tax obligations and figure out the tax implications of moving abroad.

If you’re moving overseas after retirement, you need to make the necessary arrangements to be able to receive your pension in your new country.

Put Your Paperwork in Order

Paperwork requirements vary widely from one country to the next, so you need to consult the embassy of your future country to find out what documents you’re going to need.

There is lots of paperwork to deal with when moving abroad.
There is lots of paperwork to deal with when moving abroad.
  • Collect all your personal documents – passports, birth certificates, marriage certificates, divorce papers, adoptions papers, custody agreements, social security cards, driving licenses, professional licenses, skills qualifications, degree certificates, school records, medical records, immunization records, financial records, etc.;
  • Apply for a visa and get a work permit and an international driving permit (as necessary);
  • Cancel or transfer insurance policies;
  • Make paper copies and digital copies of all your legal documents. Send the scanned copies to your e-mail or upload them to the Cloud, so you have easy access to your documents from anywhere in the world.

Have in mind that many countries require that official paperwork is certified before it can be accepted – it is a good idea to obtain an apostille stamp on your important documents and to have certified translations of your papers (if your new country has a different language).

Start preparing the necessary paperwork as early as possible as the procedures for issuing, updating, and transferring documents can take a long time.

See also: Important documents when moving

Address Health Issues

Find out how medical care works in your new country and visit your doctor to make sure you have all the right shots and all the required medical documents:

  • Undergo a full medical examination and retrieve all your medical records;
  • Get the necessary immunizations – recommended immunizations vary by country, so depending on your destination, you may need some new vaccinations;
  • Ensure medical coverage – get an international health insurance policy or purchase medical insurance in your new country. You can find more information on international health insurance here;
  • Check if you will be able to get your prescription medicines in your new area (some drugs are considered illicit in some countries and others are simply not available) and make the necessary arrangements to receive refills from your homeland, replace the medications with similar ones that are available (and legal) in your new country, or whatever is appropriate in your case.

Bonus tip: Make sure you know the whereabouts of expat medical centers in your new area, so you can take quick and adequate measures if you get sick or injured.

Plan for Your Pets

If you’re planning to take your pets with you when moving abroad, you need to check your new country’s live animal importation laws and any specific requirements, restrictions, and regulations for moving pets.

Moving pets abroad is not easy.
Ready for another adventure?

First, make sure your pet is allowed to enter the country (some countries restrict the importation of certain animals). Then, find out what papers you must bring for your pet and if any additional immunizations will be required. Take your animal friend to the vet for a checkup and ensure that they have all the necessary vaccinations. Retrieve your pet’s medical and immunization records and get an international veterinary health certificate (it will be required when moving pets abroad, regardless of your destination country).

Decide if your animal companion is going to travel with you or you will use the services of a reliable international pet relocation company and make the necessary arrangements:

  • Contact your chosen airline and ask about their pet policy – it may be possible for your animal friend to travel in the cabin with you or they may have to travel in a special cargo compartment within the aircraft. Either way, you’ll have to get a suitable pet carrier; or
  • Get pet relocation quotes from several reputable international pet carriers, compare the prices and conditions, and book the company that best suits your requirements and preferences.

Plan for Your Children’s Education

If you have school-aged children, notify their current schools of your imminent relocation, request grade reports, teachers’ evaluations, and other school records, and ask for recommendations for good educational facilities in your new country.

Research the education options in your future country and find an appropriate new school for your kids in your new city (look for high quality education, language training, friendly environment, etc.).

Decide What to Do with Your Vehicle

If you’re going to need a car in your new country, you have to decide whether you want to bring your old vehicle with you or sell it and buy a new one after the move. To make the right choice, you need to consider the value of your car (monetary and sentimental), the money you can get from selling your vehicle in your current country (and the time it will take to do so), the cost of buying a similar car in your new country (and how difficult it will be, especially if you don’t know the local language and are not familiar with local customs and practices), and the cost to ship your vehicle overseas.

International vehicle shipping costs start from a few hundred dollars and can reach a few thousand, depending on the size, weight, and model of the vehicle, the chosen international car shipping method (RORO, car shipping container, or air freight), the distance to the destination country, and the applicable overseas destination taxes and charges. It may be expensive to ship your car abroad, but it can save you a lot of hassle – just make sure you find an experienced and reliable international car shipping company to work with.

Good to know: If you decide to sell your car before the move, it will not only make your international relocation cheaper and simpler, but will also save you plenty of headaches – your new vehicle will be bought in your new country, so it will meet all local emissions, safety, and driver-side standards.

Planning an international relocation involves lots of planning indeed.
Plane tickets – check; Hotel room – check; Currency exchange…

You can find additional information on how to ship a car overseas here.

Plan Your Trip

Plan your trip to your new country ahead of time, so you can arrange everything necessary and travel on your chosen date.

Research travel sites for convenient flights and cheap airfare and buy your plane tickets well in advance. Check your maximum baggage allowance and pack all the essentials you’re going to need for the first few weeks after the move in your checked luggage (don’t forget to attach labels with your contact information to your bags and suitcases). Take your most important items (documents, phone, laptop, medications, basic personal care items, etc.) in your carry-on.

If necessary, arrange temporary accommodation in your new country – reserve a hotel room or find a short-term rental. Find out what will be available at your temporary lodgings and pack accordingly.

Bonus tip: Make sure you have some cash in local currency on hand.

Last but not least, you need to decide which of your items you’re going to take to your new country, pack them for moving abroad, and arrange their shipment overseas. You can find more details on how to find reliable international movers and organize your overseas move later in the guide.

Moving Abroad Checklist

Now that you know what to do before moving abroad, it will be useful to have a detailed international moving checklist to follow so you can keep track of your progress and don’t forget to take care of an important task.

6 to 3 months before your international move

  • Research your new country – climate, employment opportunities, property laws, housing options and housing costs, cost of living, cultural practices, local rules and regulations, import restrictions, medical system, school system, etc. (see above)
  • Apply for a visa and work permit (if necessary)
  • Decide on your move date – consider all the relevant factors and choose the best time to move to your new country
  • Book your flight
  • Start taking language lessons
  • Make a home inventory and decide what to take to your new country (see below for details)
  • Research international moving companies (see below for details)
  • Put your house for sale

2 months before your international move

Preparing for an international move involves more than packing.
Word by word is a language learned.
  • Take care of your finances (as detailed above)
  • Book medical and dental checkups for you and your family
  • Inform people and institutions of your move (your employer, your bank, your credit card company, your insurance providers, your lawyer, your kids’ schools, your landlord (if you’re renting), the US Postal Service, the IRS, the Social Security Administrations, etc.)
  • Get international moving quotes and request in-home surveys of the items you have for moving
  • Compare the offers and choose the best international movers for your needs. Book their services and schedule your move
  • If needed, book an international pet relocation company and an international car shipping company
  • Start organizing your items and decluttering your home

1 month before your international move

  • Post online those of your unwanted items that you’d like to sell or organize a moving sale
  • Arrange accommodation in your destination country
  • Visit your doctor, your dentist, and other health care providers and take your pet to the vet
  • Retrieve medical records and school records
  • Make sure you have all the necessary documents, organize them, and make copies
  • Get all required customs forms from your chosen international moving company, complete them, and return them to the movers together with copies of the required documents (passport, visa, etc.) and a power of attorney that authorizes the movers to arrange customs clearance on your behalf (if needed)
  • Arrange for the utilities in your old home to be turned off on the day of your move and cancel subscriptions
  • Start packing for your move (unless you have requested professional packing services – which is highly recommendable when moving overseas)

2 weeks before your move date

  • Donate to charity or give away to family, friends, neighbors, etc. anything in good condition that you’re not taking to your new country and haven’t sold yet
  • Make the necessary arrangements for moving day – reserve a parking place for the moving truck, hire a babysitter to look after your children, etc.
  • Continue packing

1 week before your move date

  • Confirm the details of your move with your chosen international movers
  • Say your goodbyes – visit your favorite places in town one last time, organize a farewell party, do something special with each of your closest friends, etc.
  • Get on with packing
  • Exchange currency
Moving away from family and friends is always hard.
Find the time to say a special goodbye to the special people in your life.

2 days before your move date

  • Confirm your flight
  • Pack your luggage and ensure it’s the right weight
  • Finish packing your items for shipping
  • Make sure you have an emergency contact list (with all important phone numbers you may need during your relocation and/or after arriving in your new country), as well as the address and contact details of your home country’s embassy in your new country

Moving day

  • Ensure moving day safety
  • Set aside items that are not to be shipped by the movers
  • Meet the movers, provide them with all the necessary information, and be there for them if they have questions or need assistance
  • Confirm the delivery conditions – delivery time/window, customs clearance, transportation from the destination port to your new address, etc.
  • Triple-check everything, say goodbye to your old home, and start on your journey to your new country

You can find more tips for moving abroad here.

International Packing List

Packing for moving to another country is not only laborious and time-consuming (as packing for moving always is), but also rather complicated. You need to make the right choices as to what to take to your new country (shipping items overseas is both very costly and very risky), provide your belongings with the best possible protection (as they’re going to travel a great distance and will be loaded and unloaded several times), and choose the most beneficial transportation method for moving your items to your final destination.

Decide What to Bring When Moving Abroad

There are several important factors to consider when deciding what to pack for moving abroad:

  • The duration of your stay in the foreign country – If you’re moving to another country temporarily, you should take only some personal items and the things you’re going to need for your studies, work, etc. If it is a permanent move, you need to bring along all your essential items and all the things you don’t want to part with;
  • The weather in your new country– Depending on the climatic conditions in your new area, you may or may not need certain items (you’ll have no use for winter clothing and snow gear in a country with a year-round mild climate, for example);
  • Import restrictions – Many countries have specific regulations on what is allowed across their borders, so you need to check your new country’s customs restrictions and fees before you start packing for your international move;
  • Your new home – The type of residence you’re going to live in after the move will determine what kind of household items and how many of them you should take with you. You may not be able to find an appropriate new home in your new country before the relocation, so you won’t know if anything is already available and what items will fit in, but you should at least decide what type of home you’re going to look for, so you can pack accordingly;
  • The cost to ship an item internationally – International moving costs are very high, so be sure to compare the cost of shipping household items overseas to the cost of buying similar items in your new country before deciding what to bring along – it may be cheaper to buy replacements after the relocation than to move your stuff;
  • Item availability in your new country– You should take along any items that you need or would like to have that are not be available (or are very difficult to find, or very expensive) in your new area.
Take your cherished possessions when packing for moving to another country.
Bring along all the small things that will make you feel happy and relaxed in your new home abroad.

The value of your items and the risk of damaging them during the move should also be taken into account, of course.

Things to Pack When Moving Abroad

Having considered all the above factors, you can create your own overseas packing list:

  • Documents – as detailed above;
  • Sentimental items (family heirlooms, keepsakes, and other items invested with high sentimental value) and valuables (jewelry, collectibles, etc.);
  • Medications – Take a two or three months’ supply of any regular medicines you need as it may be difficult to find them immediately after the move;
  • Toiletries – Toiletries take up a lot of space and can get messy, so you’re advised to take only a small supply when moving abroad – even if your favorite cosmetic products and personal care items are not available in your new country, you can always order them online after the relocation;
  • Clothes and shoes – Take only clothing and footwear that you really like and that will be appropriate for your new lifestyle and the weather conditions in your new country;
  • Books – Books are heavy and will quickly add up to the total weight of your shipment (and, thus, to your moving costs), so you should only bring a few favorite reads with you;
  • Electronics – You will want to bring your phone, laptop, tablet, and camera with you when moving abroad (together with their chargers and any necessary transformers and plug adaptors), but other electronics and electrical devices are usually not worth relocating as they’re extremely sensitive and fragile (and, therefore, at great risk of damage during the move) and may not be compatible with the voltage output in your new country;
  • Kitchen items – Most kitchen items are either fragile (china and glassware) or oddly-shaped (pots and pans), so moving them is risky and expensive – you’re advised to take along only your most essential and most valuable kitchen items and get rid of everything else before the move. Kitchen appliances should never be moved overseas;
  • Furniture – Moving furniture abroad is seldom worth it – it will cost a lot to ship large and heavy pieces to your new country, not to mention that the furniture may get damaged during the move or may not fit into your new home. Even if you’re moving to unfurnished accommodations, it will almost certainly be more cost-effective to sell your old furniture and buy new pieces in your new country than to ship your existing ones overseas.

Good to remember: Make sure you don’t pack any items that are not allowed to be shipped in an international move:

What what to pack and what not to when moving overseas.
To pack or not to pack – that’s the question.
  • Plants
  • Fruits, vegetables, or any other types of foods and drinks
  • Perfumes
  • Cleaning products
  • Medicines
  • Tobacco
  • Weapons
  • Flammable products

Do not pack too many things for moving abroad – it will be cheaper and easier to get what you need from your new country. Take only your essentials and the things you love too much to ever part with and don’t forget to make a detailed inventory list of the items you’re moving to your new country.

How to Pack for Moving Overseas

When moving abroad, it’s best to have your items professionally packed:

  • Your belongings will have a better chance to survive the long and risky trip to your new country intact and unscathed when packed by experienced professionals who have the specialized packing supplies, expert skills, and technical know-how to ensure the best possible protection to your items;
  • Many countries require that moving companies vouch for the goods being imported (to ensure that nothing illegal enters the country), so international movers need to know what is in the boxes (if they’re caught breaking the law, they may lose their licenses). It is, therefore, best to leave the packing job to the professionals. If you want to pack your items yourself, you may be required to leave the boxes open so the movers can inspect them.

Good to know: International movers won’t assume liability for goods that have not been professionally packed.

If packing anything by yourself, make sure you use high quality packing materials and safe and efficient packing technique:

  1. Clothes – Roll your clothes instead of folding them and vacuum pack thick and/or voluminous garments to save space. (See also: How to best pack clothes for moving);
  2. Shoes – Stuff the shoes with socks to help them keep their shape and prevent crushing during transportation, wrap them in clean, soft paper, and pack them in pairs in small, sturdy boxes. (See also: How to pack shoes for moving);
  3. Toiletries – Put toiletries in sealable plastic bags and place them in small plastic containers;
  4. Fragile items – Wrap every individual object in bubble wrap or packing paper and add plenty of cushioning between the items in a box to keep them safe and immobile during transit. Make sure the boxes are strong, well padded, and tightly sealed. Mark all cartons containing breakables as FRAGILE  (See also: How to pack fragile items for moving);
  5. Books – Wrap books in packing paper and place them flat in small sturdy boxes (See also: How to pack books for moving);
  6. Electronics and electrical devices – Pack electronics and electrical devices in their original boxes (or other strong boxes of appropriate sizes). Secure any attached wires and electrical cords, protect screens and glass elements with cut-out cardboard pieces, wrap the entire item in bubble wrap, place it inside the box, fill any remaining empty space with anti-static packing peanuts, bubble wrap, or foam sheets, and seal the box tightly (See also: How to pack electronics for moving);
  7. Furniture – Disassemble your furniture pieces as much as possible, wrap them in moving blankets, protect any protruding parts with bubble wrap, and use plastic wrap to keep the protective materials in place (See also: How to pack furniture for shipping).
Your items need maximum protection to survive the trip to your new country safe and sound.
Pack your belongings with utmost care – the trip to your new country will be long and risky.

Clearly label all boxes with your contact details, their contents, and appropriate handling instructions. (See also: How to label boxes for moving)

Good to know: Custom crating is the best option for moving delicate and valuable items overseas.

How to Ship Items Internationally

When relocating overseas, you have two main options for moving your items to your new country – air shipment and sea shipment:

  • Air freight is quick, but quite expensive;
  • Sea freight is the cheapest way to ship internationally, but it is very slow.

Therefore, it makes sense to ship your most important and most essential belongings by air (as they will arrive within days) and to use sea freight for everything else.

As already mentioned above, you should pack the essentials you’re going to need immediately after arrival in your luggage and keep your most important and most valuable items in your carry-on bags.

Bonus tip: Get proper insurance for your items -the journey across the ocean is long and unpredictable.

You can find more detailed information on packing for moving to another country here.

International Moving Costs

Moving is an expensive affair, especially so when moving halfway across the world. When calculating international moving costs though, it is not only the cost of shipping household goods overseas that you should factor in:

Key Costs of Moving Abroad

When moving internationally, you need to budget for:

  1. International shipping costs -International moving shipping costs are based on several important factors – the volume or weight of the goods, the required moving services, the type of transport used, the relocation distance, etc. – and constitute the biggest expense when moving abroad. (See below for details);
  2. Cost of shipping a vehicle overseas – Shipping your car overseas can cost you from a few hundred to a couple of thousand dollars;
  3. Moving insurance costs – Even though overseas moving companies provide basic insurance coverage as part of their service, it is a good idea to get a more comprehensive insurance policy when moving internationally;
  4. Customs duty charges and taxes – Most countries have duty-free policies for importing used household items for personal use, but certain goods are subject to customs duty in some places;
  5. Storage costs – If you need to put your belongings in storage for some time during your international move, you will have to pay for the extra service. Storage costs are based on the size of the storage space you need, the desired extra features, and the storage period;
  6. Visa Fees – Every country has its own specific visa requirements and different types of visas have different fees – you have to consult your new country’s embassy to find out whether you’re going to need a visa and how much it will cost you;
  7. Travel costs – The cost of airfare depends on the destination, the time of the year (high or low season), and the weight of the luggage. The further in advance you book your flight though, the cheaper your plane tickets will be;
  8. Accommodation costs –You will most likely have to pay for extended hotel stays or other short-term accommodations after arriving in your new country and will need enough money to cover initial housing expenses (down payment on a house or a few months’ rent, security deposits, insurance taxes, services connection fees, etc.).
International shipping is a complicated process.
Moving across the ocean takes a lot of time – and a lot of money.

How Much Does It Cost to Move to Another Country?

The cost of moving to another country is determined mainly by the cost of shipping one’s items to that country. The shipping cost is calculated based on:

1) The size of the move– The bigger the shipment, the higher the shipping cost, of course. The price is determined by the volume of the goods when shipping by sea (whether your belongings fit in a 20ft shipping container or you need a 40ft container that is much more expensive to ship the same distance) or the weight of the shipment when shipping by air (you have to pay per pound of your shipment).

Good to know: If your shipment requires less than a full container, you can cut your moving costs by using groupage (Less than Container Load or LCL) instead of Full Container Load (FCL). With this option you will be sharing the container space – and the shipping costs – with other customers.

2) The required moving services – Different moving services may be required for an international relocation depending on the type of the goods, the customer’s particular relocation needs and requirements, and the specifics of the origin and destination locations. Each additional service (custom crating, furniture disassembly, hoisting services, shuttle services, storage services, express delivery, additional insurance coverage, etc.) incurs an extra cost, so the final price of the move goes up.

3) The transportation method – As already mentioned above, air freight is much more expensive than sea freight.

4) The type of the move -There are different options, depending on whether the pickup and delivery of the shipment is performed at the customer’s address or at a port:

  • Port-to-port moves – Port-to-port shipping rates are lower than other international moving shipping costs, but customers are responsible for getting their items to the port of origin and from the destination port to their new homes;
  • Door-to-port moves – Door-to-port moving services are more convenient and more expensive – the goods are picked up from the customer’s address and delivered to an international port in the destination country. It’s up to the customer to clear customs and collect the shipment;
  • Door-to-door moves – Door-to-door moves are the most expensive option, but they provide the easiest relocation solution to people moving abroad – the movers are responsible for picking up the shipment at the customer’s home, getting it to the port, transporting it to the destination country, handling customs clearance, and delivering the goods to the new address.

5) The relocation distance and the destination country – More miles mean higher costs, of course, but in addition to the distance, the relocation route also affects the cost to move to another country – common routes are cheaper due to competition and established routines. The destination port should be taken into account as well, as customs duties vary from country to country.

6) The time of the move – International shipping costs are higher in peak season – between August and September and between January and February – when international moving services are in higher demand.

7) The international moving company – Different overseas moving companies will quote different prices for the same relocation, so one’s choice of international movers will influence the cost of the move as well (see below for details).

Depending on the above factors, the cost of moving to another country can start from $1,000 (small move, sea freight, port-to-port transportation, short distance, no extra services) and exceed $10,000 for distant overseas moves.

International moving costs increase in proportion to the relocation size and distance.
It is neither easy nor cheap to move one’s life overseas.

Click here to find more information on international moving costs and see the average cost to move overseas.

Good to remember: The only way to learn the exact cost of your international relocation is to request an in-house price estimate, but you can use our international moving costs estimator to get an idea of your approximate international moving costs and get in touch with reputable overseas movers.

International Moving Companies

When moving abroad, you need a reliable moving partner with the experience and expertise to ensure a smooth and successful international relocation. Therefore, finding a good international moving company should be your top priority when planning a move abroad.

The search for the best international moving companies involves a few important steps:

  1. Start early – There are hundreds of details to coordinate when moving to a new country, so the earlier you start looking for international movers, the easier it will be to find an affordable, trustworthy company that suits all your needs and requirements.
  2. Read international movers reviews and check expat forums and blogs to find valuable feedback from people who have recently moved abroad and get some insight into the best international moving companies.
  3. Get international moving quotes – To find the right overseas mover for you, you need to get international moving estimates from at least five reputable companies – so you can compare the rates and services provided by different international movers and make an informed choice.
  4. Request in-home binding estimates to learn the actual cost of your move. During the in-home surveys, the movers will be able to see first-hand the items you have for moving, estimate their volume and weight, assess potential difficulties, and identify special requirements – so they will be able to provide you with accurate price estimates. What’s more, you will have the chance to discuss the details of your relocation with the moving company representatives and ask all the questions you’ve got about the movers and the moving process.
  5. Compare the offers carefully – The quotations you receive should include not only the final cost of your move, but also a detailed itemized list of all the international moving services you’re paying for. So, when reviewing the offers, do not look at the final price only – check what services are included, what shipment method will be used, what transit times are quoted, who will handle customs clearance,  who will be responsible for delivering your items from the destination port to your new home, etc. Have in mind that a lower price may mean lower quality services – or even moving scams.
    • Bonus tip: In addition to the offered services, special conditions, and quoted prices, be sure to consider the level of experience the companies have in dealing with international moving, as well. To ensure a smooth relocation process, the movers need to be familiar with the international freight laws and the specific relocation-related rules and regulations in your new country and to have the in-depth know-how, expert skills, and specialized training to successfully overcome all international relocation challenges.
  6. Research the international movers you consider hiring for your relocation – You need to make sure you’re dealing with insured and licensed moving professionals:
    • Verify the company’s licensing information – Overseas moving companies must be licensed by the Federal Maritime Commission in order to operate legally. Check the list of ocean transportation intermediaries (OTIs) on the FMC website to see if your chosen movers are licensed freight forwarders. Look for FIDI accreditation and IAM membership as well – sure proofs of reliability and high quality of service;
    • Check the company’s complaint history;
    • Ask for references.
  7. Read the moving documentation very carefully – Make sure your chosen international moving company has given you all the necessary documents and review them with great care. Confirm that all the fees and costs, services and timeframes, terms and conditions of your move match what you agreed to while negating. Pay special attention to the fine print and check everything that seems suspicious. Make sure you understand all the terms in the moving paperwork and agree with all the clauses in the moving contract before signing the document.

Click here for more information on choosing international movers.

Now that you have found trustworthy international movers and learned how to move to another country safely and trouble-free, you don’t need to worry about your international relocation any more – focus on getting ready for your new life abroad instead and allow the excitement and the overwhelming possibilities to win over your anxiety. May you find happiness in your new country!

Posted on December 3, 2019

Jessica Ryan

Jessica Ryan is an experienced moving expert and regular contributor to with in-depth informative articles and useful relocation guides. She likes to focus on the small details that make every person unique and every moment worth living by incorporating non-traditional ideas, solutions, and points of view in her work. For the last 5 years, she has been focused on helping people make the right relocation decisions as she has covered a wide range of moving-related topics. You can contact Jessica at: | Linkedin

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