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5 Steps to Pre-plan your International Move

Select your International Moving Company


Choosing an experienced, qualified international moving company is essential to a successful relocation. Your personal Relocation Counselor will be your guide from start to finish – providing advice, informing you of country requirements & paperwork and ensuring the process is as smooth as possible.

Start by choosing a FIDI/FAIM certified mover. FIDI/FAIM is awarded to companies who comply with the most rigorous requirements. Learn more here.  By demanding your international moving company is FIDI/FIAM, you can ensure quality and consistency from beginning to end.


Schedule your Pre-Move Survey

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Your Relocation Counselor will work with you to set a time for a local representative to come to your home to assess your move. They will be looking to understand what items you plan to ship. Consider your accommodations at destination. Will your home be large enough to accommodate all your current items? Is it already furnished? Should you consider storing some items at origin rather than shipping them overseas? Shipping items overseas can be costly and it’s important to prioritize what items you need or can live without.

Transit times are also important to consider. Air shipments can typically be delivered to most locations within a couple of weeks. Whereas, sea shipments can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. This will vary greatly depending on the accessibility of the origin/destination and the local customs process. To be prepared, you will need to prioritize your items according to what should go in your air shipment, sea shipment, and what should be taken with you as baggage.


Choose a Move Date

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If a summer move date is needed, be sure to plan ahead and book as early as possible.  Moving services are in high demand during the summer months and can book up fast. Depending on the size of your shipment, packing/loading can take multiple days. Consider if you want to stay at your home during this time or if it is best to arrange for other accommodations.


Evaluate What Items Not to Take

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Every country in the world has their own set of customs requirements and restrictions.  Some countries have an easy customs process which only involves a few documents. Others have quite an extensive process, which requires months of preparation and approvals prior to shipping. Each country also has their own list of what can or can’t be included in your shipment. Items like firearms and weapons can be tough to import anywhere, whereas other items that you might not think about, like religious items and artwork, can be difficult depending on the country. Thankfully, your Relocation Counselor is well trained on these requirements worldwide and will assist you through this.

Essential records should also be kept out of your shipment. Examples of these items include passports, birth certificates, medical records, medications, and legal documents. Remember to make copies of these and store them in a secure location in the cloud. This way you can access them from anywhere, should you need them.


Prepare your Items for Transit

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To avoid delays or complications with potential physical inspection during customs clearance, it is recommended that the moving crews pack your belongings. Allowing our crews to professionally pack your shipment can also help minimize the risk of damage. However, if you are packing yourself, be sure to create a detailed inventory of the contents of each box. Also, leave the boxes open so the mover can verify the inventory matches the actual contents. This is essential to reduce the likelihood of physical inspections at customs – causing long delays.

When move day comes, you may have multiple shipments – air, sea, storage. Use Post-It notes in various colors to indicate what items go with which shipment. This will clearly communicate to the moving crew and reduce confusion.


A successful relocation starts with careful planning. For more help preparing for your international move, check out our Moving Checklist or To start your international move, contact us today.



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