Container ship

Moving overseas

Moving is stressful (mandatory industry statement)  but moving to another country from the U.S. brings the stress scale to a solid 11. Specific information is better provided by the state department or your transition team if you’re relocating for a job.  Here are the broad ideas and considerations.

Did you know?  The U.S. makes up less than 7% of the world’s total landmass and less than 5% of the world’s total population.

Definition, the difference between the terms Expat and Immigrant

This comes up in many documents and posts when moving overseas. It was an interesting rabbit hole.

An expatriate, expat, is someone who is currently living in a foreign country outside that person’s country of citizenship.

An immigrant is planing to live permanently in their new country of residence, eventually becoming a citizen and may have been an expat to begin with.

I would like to say it’s that simple but it is not. To explore the controversy 

Moving from the USA

Each country has restrictions on what can be moved in or out, in general they cover

  • currency,
  • gold and other precious metals,
  • precious and semi-precious stones,
  • electronic equipment not declared on arrival,
  • firearms and ammunition,
  • antiques,
  • animal skins,
  • religious artifacts and literature, and
  • Ivory and certain other wildlife parts and products.

Your moving company is probably willing to move some of those items, but they might have other restrictions

  • Liquids
  • Valuables like jewelry and cash
  • Documents
  • Perishables

International movers

Ryan Movers

Ryan movers prepping and loading an overseas container

Not all movers do international moves, it is a unique niche that requires experience and a network of providers. A typical move has a local representative mover that does the packing and loading. A shipping company to get it there and a local mover for delivery. (local mover refers to their presence, not their size of operations, in some cases they may have offices all over the world) The local mover you use may arrange themselves for the overseas container and passage, but in most cases they coordinate with a company that handles that for them. There are considerations of ports for delivery, clearing customs at both ports, and local delivery. You should not be concerned that many hands are involved with the move. Each is an expert in the part they are handling and together it works very efficiently.  I remember a shipment I arranged from NJ to Greece. There was strike that required us to reroute to a new port for delivery, thank god they knew had to do that on the fly.

Some ports or areas in the world need alternative delivery routes. If it is war zone or through a war zone, delivery may be temporarily unavailable.

Overseas Containers are used for shipping, they are heavy metal in lengths of 20′ or 40′. Its standardized so the shipping companies can best use the space available on their container ships. Shipping companies volume, weight and density to determine pricing. If its small shipment, it may go by air, but usually that is reserved for clothing and immediate needs, it’s much more expensive than by sea.

Packing an overseas container is a skill set in itself, Everything is over packed, cardboard, paper pads and foam are used extensively.

keeping it tight

Best practices keeping an overseas container tight

The load must be very tight, cushions and soft bags are used in the load to firm it up. Sometimes, cardboard is folded and stuffed in places to firm it up. The end of the load is the trickiest. They try to finish with a complete wall of boxes / furniture.  They then build a bulkhead against the load to keep it from shifting during transit. The receiving crew reverses the process at delivery.

Need an international mover?

Moving Abroad – Overall Best Countries Ranking

Did you know?  Switzerland, Canada, Japan, Germany, Australia, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Sweden and Norway are the highest ranked countries for 2020

Moving out of the United States takes a lot of work and research you need to do before you start booking flights.

You most likely have a specific country in mind, but sometimes it’s a general area in Europe, Asia, Africa or South America. Check out the cost of living there and compare it with the US and your current budget. A cool tool to use is at expatistan

The US state department is a great resource that can provide visas, information for the country you’re moving to plus any travel, health, safely advisories