International Move: Your Guide For Moving From The USA

Get a free Quote Now!

Fill out the form below for a quick flat price quote

You gave it a good thought and you finally decide you are ready for an international move. No matter if it’s because of studying, working, or simply you wanted a change, this is a great step forward. Now it is time for very thorough and careful planning. 

Moving overseas requires your full attention and some big decision. You have a lot of work waiting for you so let’s cut to the chase and see what are your options.

Its Time To Think Outside The USA

By now you have already taken care of your visa, and your work permit, and you found the place where you’ll live. That means all you have to do now is the hard part.

Hire a moving company, decide how will you move your personal items, and what insurance suits your needs the best. This is where you need to be extra careful, since even the smallest mistake when making these decisions can cost you your belongings.

How will you move overseas?

First thing first, start looking for a moving company at least six months before your move, if you have the time of course. Make sure you schedule two or three different estimations to be able to figure out how much this venture will cost you. After that, you will be able to decide which company will suit you the best. One more first-hand tip – book your moving date two months ahead.

The next step is deciding will you move your cargo by sea or land. This is where your moving company will help you a lot with their advice and connections. They will know to tell you what type of transport is the best for your budget and the time frame in which your move is scheduled. 

Moving via sea freight

Transporting cargo via sea freight is the most common and cost-effective way to ship your household items to a new country. The cost of this shipment is based on transport fees and the size of the container you’ll need for your belongings (weight and size play a prominent role).

The shipping container is provided by a moving company that will send it to your address. Depending on what type of services you chose, they will send packers to pack and load the container, or you will do that on your own. 

Once the container is loaded and ready a truck will pick it up and take it to the port. Your moving agent will ensure that your container is on the right ship and that all customs paperwork is provided on time.

You have two shipment options for sea freight:

  • Full Container Load (FCL) – you chose this option when you have a lot of things to move and you are sure you won’t have any spare space. You pay a flat rate for the whole container, this can be very expensive.
  • Less than Container Load (LCL) – when you decide you won’t ship all your belongings, only essentials, then you chose this option. In this case, you share the container with others, which reduces the cost.

You need to know that overseas freight takes a lot more time than other shipping options, so plan this out on time so your belongings will arrive a little before you or at the same time. 

Moving via air freight

This is not so common way to move household belongings, and it is quite expensive. On the other hand, this is the fastest way to get your belongings from point A to point B, but there is a limitation on the weight of belongings that you can send. An airplane can’t hold large cargo as a ship can. 

In case you don’t have a lot of things to send to your new address, or you move on a tight timeline then opt for this option.

Shipping your car overseas

Before you start thinking about shipping your car overseas you need to know that this will cost you a lot. This kind of shipment makes sense only if your care is very valuable and rare. Keep in mind that every country has different licensing requirements and guidelines for operating vehicles, so you might not be able to drive it there.

Your car can be transported via airfreight which is incredibly expensive. So in most cases, people choose to ship their car by boat. Make sure you find an international auto transport company that is specialized in shipping vehicles that offer service from your current location to your new one. Just like when you are choosing the moving company, check out if they are properly licensed, bonded, and insured. You will need to provide several export documents at least 3 days before your transport date.

Besides the price of shipping your care based on the weight and size, there are some other car shipping costs you’ll need to pay: 

  • Marine insurance;
  • Destination charges since your car will need to be trucked off of the freight carrier to customs;
  • Customs duty is usually calculated as a total percentage of your car’s value.

Moving pet overseas?

While moving with pets isn’t easy even when you move locally, imagine all the work you need to do when moving abroad. The first thing you need to do is thorough research about your new country’s pet import laws. 

In most countries, your pet will require certain vaccinations before it can enter. This part shouldn’t be so hard since your vet will take care of everything instead of you.  The hard part is deciding how exactly you’re going to transport your pet. Traveling with a pet by airplane is possible but most airline companies have strict regulations (some cat and dog breeds can’t travel by plane).

Moving or renting furniture and household items?

You should think about this carefully. If you know that your relocation isn’t permanent and that you will stay for a year or a bit longer. It might be smarter to rent a furnished apartment, instead of paying thousands of dollars (in one way) to move all you have.

This decision naturally depends on your needs, your current budget, the salary you will have, and the rental prices in your new country. Do some math and see how much every scenario will cost you.

In case you decide to move without your furniture but don’t have your own apartment or house, you’ll need to rent storage back at home to store all your belongings. These storage facilities are secured and climatized so your belongings will be kept in good condition. That will add some additional cost to your final moving cost, but it is still cheaper than moving all you have back and forth.

Depending on the country where you move you’ll need to pay taxes for some of your belongings like computers, cameras, musical instruments, and even furniture. The tax amount is determined by the item’s value.


It’s always smart to get your belongings insured when you move, no matter the distance. You would be devastated if something happens to your belongings. 

You need to be aware that a lot of things can happen during the move, especially long-distance moves. Even the most reliable moving companies can’t guarantee that nothing will go wrong, this is why international moving insurance is a must.

Yes, a storm sinking your cargo seems unlikely, or a fire breakout in marine, however, it can happen. In these cases, insurance will cover the entire loss of the shipping container.

Moving Abroad Made Easy

Moving abroad is scary and stressful, but figuring out how to do so doesn’t have to be with the right moving company. iMOVE NYC is here to help you out planning and dealing with even the smallest details of your move. If you can’t find a solution to your problem, you can be sure that we will. 

If you still have doubts, we are just one click away.

Featured iMOVE NYC Blog Posts

Connecting You to Key Urban Destinations

Make the first move and we’ll handle the rest.

Get a free Quote Now!

Fill out the form below for a quick flat price quote

Get a free Quote Now!

Fill out the form below for a quick flat price quote

New York Moves with iMOVE NYC

Let’s make your move Simple & Easy!