International Moving Companies Near Me
It’s the opportunity of a lifetime: moving to a new country to start a job or open an office for the company you already work for. Or possibly you are fulfilling the dream of retirement in a quieter, less hurried land. Maybe the challenge came out of the blue, or perhaps it’s something you’ve long been working toward. Whatever the reason, here you are, ready to go. But now you need to pack up your house and go. It’s time to find an international mover to partner with in that project.
How do I find an international mover near me?
The good news about international moves is that you have plenty of vendors from which to choose. Any moving company engaged in international shipments from the United States must register with the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC), which licenses companies authorized to handle such moves. Coordinating international deliveries requires the company to work with subcontractors, including trucking companies, warehouse and storage providers, and ocean transporters. The firm you choose must be reliable and aboveboard. If you live near an origin port in the U.S., the total distance may be shorter, but there are still multiple steps involved in the process.
The FMC maintains a consumer resource site where you can identify licensed and registered companies and investigate whether the ones you are considering have a history of complaint issues. You should also consider checking with your state consumer protection agency for customer concerns and look for cases reported to the Better Business Bureau.
You may want to start with the local agent of a national van line which offers international service. With any household relocation, the work you do at the beginning to find a trustworthy company will pay off as you continue through the process. In an international move, the importance is higher since you relinquish control for a longer time and greater distance. Ask for referrals from people you know who have moved. Chances are they used a local company that has an affiliation with one of the major vendors that will be able to coordinate a project like this for you.
What’s the best way to start my search for an international mover?
The FMC suggests starting with a moving plan, including the following elements:
- Make a list of everything you plan to ship. Keep in mind that moving abroad is expensive, so you may want to cull this list down to the essentials, especially if the moving cost is coming out of your wallet. If the move is temporary, consider putting some things in storage or donating them before you go. You may want to decorate your new home in the style of the destination country. You may also be occupying less square footage in your new residence, so don’t take too much with you.
- Obtain several written quotes based on an onsite inspection of the goods you are shipping. The minimum recommended number of estimates is three, but you may want to get more. Getting an appraisal is an excellent way to familiarize yourself with the moving company representative and decide if you’re going to partner with them. Make sure that you read the mover’s terms of service and understand any conditions they place on the move.
- International shipment charges are based on the amount of space that your shipment occupies, and often the estimate does not include packing material, which requires additional space, or palletizing, which adds even more. Palletizing protects your goods from shifting while in transit and may also supply an added layer of protection against weather but does increase the cubic volume. Verify with the moving companies you are considering how much this will increase the estimates they provide.
- Insurance is essential, and it is often necessary to obtain coverage from a third party rather than from the mover. The insurance company may require that your goods be packed by the moving company, not by you. Carefully review the insurance terms of any policy before you agree to it. Some marine insurance policies only offer protection in the event of a total loss of the vessel, and not any coverage of routine damage during the transport. There may also be exclusions and other loopholes that you want to be aware of in advance.
- Talk to potential moving vendors about their role in customs clearance, both for exiting the U.S. and entry into the destination country. They may charge for these services, and you want to consider those fees as part of the overall cost. You can also research the customs requirements at S. Customs and Border Patrol.
What are the red flags that a moving company might be shady?
The FMC cautions that consumers should be wary of the following when considering companies for their international move:
- If the company claims that the FMC license or bond is optional
- If the mover’s website doesn’t have a local address
- If the mover doesn’t want to do a visual inspection of the household goods to move
- If the estimate is much lower than the others obtained
- If the mover doesn’t accept credit card payments or charges a fee to take them
- If the company doesn’t allow cancellations or charges an excessive fee in the event of cancellation
- If they have numerous complaints on file
- If they claim to include insurance coverage, but can’t give you a copy of the policy
Can I ship my car to another country when I move?
Probably. The same moving company that you use to move your household shipment is likely to be a good source of information about moving a vehicle, or you can research it on your own. Where you are going, what kind of car you want to move, and how long you are staying are factors in determining whether it makes sense. Usually, a vehicle exported for personal use needs to be without a lien. It will be subject to an import tax and must comply with local regulations in the destination country. It probably won’t travel with the rest of your belongings, so you may also want to look at alternatives for shipping the car. You can send a vehicle as unprotected cargo in a “Ro/Ro” or Roll On/Roll Off transit, or in an exclusive or shared container.
In a Ro/Ro transit, the vehicle is driven onto a vessel with a huge cargo area that is essentially a parking lot on board. Shared container involves multiple vehicles loaded into a shared container. There are more fees–terminal handling charge, a trucking charge, unloading charges, and customs clearance charges. This takes more time because the container has to be full to leave. “Full container” means one vehicle in a shipping container, which is more expensive, but is the most secure and fastest means of transport.