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International Removals: Moving abroad and what you need to do

International Removals: Moving abroad and what you need to do


So, you’re thinking about moving abroad to the USA, Canada, South Africa, Australia or New Zealand, or you’re being relocated to one of those places. When moving internationally, there’s a lot to the process, a major part of which is transporting your possessions.

You wouldn’t book a flight or holiday with a company that isn’t a member of ABTA or IATA, and the same reasoning should apply to moving abroad. A number of companies specialise in international removals, but your starting point should be to look at those which are members of the International Federation of International Furniture Removers (FIDI) or the British Association of Removers Overseas Group (BAR). Like ABTA and IATA members, those from FIDI and BAR have bonding schemes, so you know you’re in safe hands. Their members will also have contacts with removals firms in your country of destination and last, but by no means least, they will take care of all the paperwork (there’s quite a bit to fill in).

You’ll need to start getting quotes as early as possible. It’s more than likely you’ll be sending your stuff by sea. This process will take between one and three months. Get each company you choose to come and look at what you intend to send. Notice the word ‘intend’. You can’t send everything, for example electrical items. Nor can you send anything that is prohibited on board a ship (or aircraft). Your chosen remover will advise you. Pets? Are they going to move with you? If so, you’re going to have to consider quarantine. It’s another thing to think about, but your remover should be able to advise on this.

Plan your packing. Write an inventory, if possible for each room in your new home. You’ll want to feel at home as soon as possible. Knowing where things are going to go will help and having what you need most of all packed last is worth keeping in mind.

It’s one thing packing to move a couple of hundred miles; it’s entirely different moving several thousand. So, make use of the firm’s specialist packing service. They’re the experts, so let them take the strain. Any packing you want to do yourself is fine, and your remover will understand that. In fact, they will leave you to pack particularly personal items. Don’t worry about packing materials – cartons, protective wrapping etc – as all that can be supplied to you in plenty of time.

What you intend to take has already been mentioned. You may not be moving permanently, so will not want to take everything. Your remover can also arrange storage for those items you’re leaving behind. That’s OK in this country, but what about your destination. It may be that you will be sending your stuff sometime in advance of you travelling. Again, that’s no problem. Your foreign remover will take care of storage.

Just as your possessions will be carefully packed, loaded and delivered to the port of departure, so it will be at the other end. Your consignment will be checked through Customs and the destination remover will collect it. You’ll be kept informed along the way and the date you have chosen to meet up with your possessions will be adhered to.

So, there you have it. Be safe in the knowledge that, having chosen a FIDI or BAR member, you will be giving yourself a solid start to your new life abroad. If problems arise, you’ll be protected and supported until you and your possessions are reunited. Bon voyage!


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