Moving internationally is complex even if you consider yourself an old hand at moving.

Each country has different rules on what you are allowed to bring into the country, and the planning and coordination needed for an international moving is much more involved than a move in the U.S., for obvious reasons.

So when planning an overseas relocation, choose a moving company that will not only handle your move professionally, but will also help you navigate all the requirements for the country you are moving to – securing the proper passport and visa documents, and offering the guidance to ensure your move goes smoothly.

In fact, you really have no choice about whether to use a moving company for an international move: Most countries will not allow a shipment into the country that has not had the packing and inventory of the goods performed by professional international moving companies, because the mover must adhere to a strict list of prohibited items, as well as a long set of rules about how your items are inventoried and moved through customs.

Getting Started
Because of the high level of coordination for an international move, begin your planning several months before your actual moving date (yes, several months), so you can get all of the proper paperwork and arrangements in place.

Once all of the documentation is in order and you have had your items picked up at the point of origin, you will likely see transit time in the range of one to two months depending on your final destination and the time of the year you do your emove.

Here's how your international move will unfold:

  • The international moving company you select will pack and load your items and get them to the appropriate port for shipping overseas.
  • A freight forwarding company sets up the logistics of securing a container to be shipped to a port that's closest to your new home.
  • Once your stuff arrives at your international port of call, another moving company will receive your items and clear customs.
  • When your goods clear customs, a local moving company will deliver your stuff to your new destination and handle unpacking and unloading, if needed.

All of these services will need to be closely coordinated throughout the international move process, which is another reason to select a solid moving company that excels at communication. Have one point of contact with the U.S-based international moving company that you select.

Your international mover should be reputable and experienced with good relationships with all of the other points of contact, and should be able to provide you with complete tracking of your shipment from beginning to end. If not, it will be tough to get accurate information about your shipment and long delays are likely, causing a lot of unnecessary anxiety and concern.

Because of all these factors, do a good amount of research when looking for an international moving company, and verify its ability to handle all of these details, as well as its ability to be a single source of contact throughout your move. Check out at least 5 companies, and make sure they come to your home to see exactly what you need moved.

Moving internationally can be expensive given the number of parties involved and the distance your goods will be traveling -- your cost per pound will be considerably higher than a domestic move. The charges for your move are based on the weight of your goods, and are priced at a flat rate that will include full services.