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Moving to an entirely new country is a lot of things, but ‘easy’ isn’t one of them! 

Planning an international move is stressful to say the least, particularly when it comes to international removals. When making a move like this, you want to be able to make sure that you and your belongings arrive safely and on time so that you can really start to feel at home.

The process of organising an international removal should begin much sooner than a domestic one. Even if your international move is over land, it can still take several days, and you will need to make sure that nothing is left behind, that your items are stored safely and that you will not have trouble getting them into your new home country! Having to organise all of this, while also arranging your new job, residence and so on, can be a huge strain, which is why people often leave international home removals to professional removers.

Working with an international removals company offers several advantages, the most important of which is knowledge. They will be able to assess your situation and suggest the most cost effective and efficient options for your move. The right company will also be able to talk you through the immigration process so that there are no complications. During the actual removal, they will also be able to pack your belongings away quickly, efficiently and safely so that they can reach their destination in one piece. 

One thing that is important to mention is that when moving home you must leave the vacated property in a decent state. You may want to consider hiring a local cleaner to clean the property and get it ready for the next owner. A waste remover may also be required if you decide to have a clear out of your belongings before you move.


Planning an international move

Before you speak to a removal company, it will be important to write down the exact details of your international move. This will make it easier for the company to assess your situation and offer you the best possible options.
First of all, where are you going? Different countries have different laws on immigration and you will need to know which rules will apply to you. For example, what documentation do you need? Will different rules apply to your family? Will you need to have a job and property secured in advance?
Secondly, how long are you moving for? This will have a big influence on what you need to take and how much. If, for example, you are planning to move back within a year and will be keeping your old property, you may be able to leave the bulk of your belongings behind. Alternatively, you may want to arrange short term storage solutions for your items.
Thirdly, who are you moving with? Immigration laws may vary between individuals and families. Different laws may also apply to any pets which you are planning to bring with you. For example, if you bring your pet, will you have to pay to put it in quarantine upon arrival?
Finally, what will you need? If you want your international move to be as painless as possible, it is best to try and limit the amount that you bring with you, but of course sometimes this simply isn’t possible. Knowing exactly what you need to take with you will also help you to decide the most cost effective mode of transport, whether it be by road, sea or air.


Transporting items internationally

When it comes to international moves, there are a few different options for how you transport your belongings. This is not really a choice which you should make yourself, as your remover will know the most appropriate option for your situation. The company will usually provide a ‘removal consultant’, who will meet with you far in advance of the move itself.

Having said that, it is still worth knowing the respective advantages and disadvantages of your different options:

  • Air: Transporting belongings by air is the most expensive option, but it is also the fastest. Because of this, people often choose to transport items regarded as essential upon arrival by air. Certain countries will also conduct most international transport by air, simply for security reasons. You should always remember to check whether any of your belongings cannot legally be transported by air, such as explosives, flammable solids or oxidising substances.
  • Sea: Sending items by sea is an economic but slow option. Shipping by sea can actually take several weeks! Having said that, if you arrange things far enough in advance, you could always send your items in the weeks leading up to when you depart for your new home. 
  • Land: Transporting your belongings by land can be a possibility if you are moving to mainland Europe. This method can also take quite some time but is also relatively cheap.
Whatever the method of transport, you should remember to take the time to enquire with your removal company about how exactly your items will be transported. For example, certain containers may come with additional padding, while some options may require you to share a shipping container rather than having one of your own.
    Once you have chosen a moving company, allow them to survey your possessions so that they can recommend the best method of transport. This will be based on the volume and weight of your goods, the desired delivery speed and your budget. 
      Remember, you must confirm when and how you will transport your belongings as far in advance as possible!


      Choosing a remover

      Naturally, for something as big as an international move it is important that you choose the best company possible to facilitate things. A company that specialises in international moves will usually facilitate thousands a year, so it can sometimes be difficult to tell the best from the worst. 

      Here are a few points which should help you find the a high quality international removal company:

      • How many removals do they handle a year? How many international moves? Do they do many to your destination country?
      • What do reviews from their past customers say? Are they efficient? Do they complete their work to a high quality? What problems do their customers usually encounter, if any?
      • What delivery methods do they specialise in? Do they use anything that sets them apart, such as unique shipping containers?
      • What tasks does their service include? Will they cover packing, loading, unloading, transport, delivery and customs?

      Once again, this should all be organised far in advance of your actual move. A consultation with a moving consultant will be essential in order to make your move as efficient and painless as possible.


      Legal aspects of international moves

      As difficult as it can be to organise the physical aspects of your international move, you cannot afford to ignore the legal aspects! You should make sure that you are aware of the necessary steps for aspects like immigration, visas, work permits and so on before anything else. If you leave something to the last minute, it is almost sure to end badly!

      Your chosen removal company should be sufficiently familiar with local immigration laws, but do not count on them to know absolutely everything! To be absolutely sure, make yourself a checklist before planning anything else for your move. You can also benefit by contacting the embassy for the country which you are moving to:

      • Law - How long can you stay? What are the requirements for working there? What are you allowed or not allowed to bring with you?
      • Documentation - Have your passport and any necessary records prepared far in advance. It is also a good idea to have copies made in case of an emergency.
      • Safety - Make sure that you have all the necessary vaccinations and insurance before your move.
      • Pets - If you want to bring a pet with you, be sure to check the requirements for your destination. For example you may have to pay to put your pet in quarantine for several months.