If you’re considering moving abroad, then you’ve probably given a significant amount of thought to the country you want to move to and how you’ll become accustomed to the culture. However, have you considered the financial obligations that come with this type of international move? Let’s take a moment to go over a few of the average costs that you will likely incur when moving overseas. We will answer the question “‘how much does it cost to ship household goods overseas?”
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1. International Shipping
Many travelers underestimate how much preparation goes into moving their personal belongings from one country to the next. The process involves more than simply packing your things and having them loaded onto a truck. If you want to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible, then you need to work with a professional moving company that understands the ins and outs of international shipping. And this is going to be one of your largest expenses.
So how much will an international move cost? Well, there are several factors that will be figured into your final bill. First, the company will consider the distance you’re traveling. The further you move, the more you can expect to pay. The company will consider how much you’re moving. The more items you have and the higher the weight, the more you’re going to pay. The company will consider what modes of transportation you need. You’re going to spend less if you choose to ship by sea and more if by plane. Lastly, your costs will be affected by the route. If your items follow the most common path, then you’re not going to spend as much.
Each company has its own policies when it comes to cost. Typically, you can get a better idea of what you’ll pay when requesting international moving quotes or pricing charts.
Average Cost: Anywhere from $1,000USD to $10,000USD.
2. Packing & Unpacking
If you were moving locally, then you could pay your moving company to do the packing and unpacking. However, if you’d prefer to save money, you could always choose to handle your own packing and unpacking. Well, when it comes to moving internationally, you don’t always have a choice in the matter.
You see, international moves require that your shipment goes through customs. And in many instances, the moving company will need to vouch for the shipment. They need to be able to guarantee that it doesn’t contain anything that’s considered to be illegal. This includes things such as weapons, drugs, and even animals.
That’s why many moving companies insist that they do the packing and unpacking. They want to make sure that they avoid any possible fines or punishments that come with transporting illegal goods. Unfortunately, this service can result in higher costs. If the company does allow you to pack your own belongings, you need to pay for packing materials.
Average Cost: Anywhere from $100 USD to a few hundred dollars.
One of the most important parts of the moving process is making sure that your belongings arrive in good condition. However, there are some instances in which a few of your things may be lost or damaged. Luckily, you can purchase insurance to cover these potential losses.
The type of insurance you purchase will depend on your specific needs. For instance, if you’re shipping by sea, then you should choose a maritime policy. Not all moving companies include insurance in their estimate. So make sure that you check with them to find out what they actually cover. The higher the value of your shipment, the more you will pay in insurance.
Average Cost: Starts at $100 USD
Not only should you expect to pay for shipping, but also storage. No matter how well-planned your move, there’s always a chance that your shipment could arrive before you do. Even if you do arrive before your shipment does, you may still be in the process of finding a new home. During this time, your personal items need to be placed in storage. And storage can add to the costs. The more items you have, the more space you’ll need, and the more you can expect to pay.
Average Cost: Starts at $100 USD
5. Duty and Taxes
When it comes to duties, every country has its own policies. For instance, if you’re moving to the U.S., then you won’t have to pay duties for household goods. However, countries like the U.K. tend to be less lenient. Currently, if you’re moving from the EU, then you would be considered exempt from duty charges. However, if you’re moving from outside of the EU, you may be charged. Though you may be able to claim relief. The amount you pay will depend on the value of your items.
Average Cost: Starts at $0
6. Visa Fees
If you’re moving within the EU, then you don’t have to worry about securing a visa. However, if you’re outside of the EU then you’re going to need to apply for a visa. Work and Study visas typically require a significant amount of paperwork. Not only that, but they can also cost quite a bit. The cost will depend on the country you live in.
For instance, if you live in the U.K., you can expect to pay more than $1,000 USD. Once you’ve secured a visa, you’ll be expected to pay for its renewal. And over time, this particular cost can add up.
Average Cost: From $0 to thousands of dollars.
As mentioned previously, visas require you to fill out a significant amount of paperwork. Luckily, there are government websites that are dedicated to helping you properly fill out these documents. However, even with this additional help, these documents can still be somewhat complicated and hard to understand.
This is why many people choose to hire a lawyer. Attorneys have a great deal of experience with these types of documents and can make the process go much smoother and faster. However, their services are not without cost. In fact, a good lawyer can be quite costly, depending on what country you live in and if they charge by the hour or flat rate fee.
Average Cost: $100 USD/hour to $1,000 USD+
Perhaps your largest expense will be housing. It’s easy to assume that the bulk of your cost will go towards the actual purchase of the home. However, you’ll actually pay more in taxes. Taxes tend to differ from one country to the next.
For instance, if you live in a coastal U.S. city, then the price of your property isn’t going to be very expensive. Your taxes will be based on the value of your home. If you live in the U.K., however, you won’t have to pay direct property taxes. Instead, you’ll pay as much as 12% of your home purchase price. This is referred to as stamp duty. So make sure that you consider more than just the price of the property–even if you’re simply renting.
Average Cost: Minimum of $1,000 USD
9. Pet Transporation
If you plan on traveling with your pet, then keep in mind that every country has its own requirements and regulations. If you would like to take them on to the plane, you should expect to purchase a plane ticket, get them microchipped, secure a pet passport, and have them vaccinated. The amount you pay will depend on the breed of your animal, its size, and its medical needs.
Average Cost: Anywhere from $275 to $300.
While we’ve just discussed the major cost concerns, there are also a few extras that can arise. These are the small things that people tend to overlook during the move. For instance, once you move to your new country, you’re going to need to purchase new furniture for your home. Even if you plan on bringing your own appliances, they may not work in the country that you’re moving to. The country may not have the voltage or plugs to accommodate them.
There’s also a chance that you may need to purchase new clothes. This is especially the case if you’re moving to a country that has a different climate or is in a different season than your current home. So make sure that you’re aware of the environment when making plans.
Another consideration is the cost of transferring money overseas but this is one area in which you save by using a specialist international money transfer service.
There’s a lot to think about when you’re moving from one country to the next. This is especially the case when it comes to finances. The key to keeping the cost of your move as low as possible is to be aware of what factors will have the biggest impact.
Ideally, you should only take the items that are most important to you. You should speak with the company to ensure that you’re aware of any hidden fees or additional costs. You should also make sure that you’re aware of customs policies–specific to the country you’re moving to. All of these things can make a huge difference in the costs.
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Matt is a veteran of the moving industry, a recognized moving expert and is the founder of MoverFocus. Matt holds a Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) majoring in Finance and Marketing and Bachelor of Arts (BA) majoring in Economics and History. He also has completed the EiM (Essentials in International Moving) course from the FIDI Academy. His advice has been featured in Reader’s Digest, Yahoo Finance, MSN Money, Business News Daily and The SpareFoot Blog Go. Read more.