Frequently Asked Questions Moving internationally is a significant life event. You’ll have many questions about the process of moving overseas, from what to take with you to how to clear customs upon arrival. Here’s where to find the answers to:
Click on any of the questions for the answer….
Q: What advice can you give me on how to plan for moving overseas?
Preparation! Preparation! Preparation! As soon as you know that you’re going to be moving overseas, contact your international moving company. In addition, begin to think about separating items to be sold, stored, disposed of, given away, moved by sea, moved by air or delivered to another family member before your departure. You should have a clear idea about these categories before completing the pre-move survey. As you approach moving day, think about which items will accompany you when traveling to your location, specifically travel papers, immediate clothing, passports, medical documentation and records, family papers, valuables, jewelry, medication, school records, etc. Southern Winds International can provide information/requirement links to help you in your transition including customs information to the country in which you are moving to.
Q: When should I contact an international moving company to organize my pending international move?
Timely preparation is the key ingredient to a successful international move. You should contact your international mover approximately seven to 10 weeks prior to your intended date of departure. This will allow sufficient time to confirm documentation requirements, pre-book international transportation services and pre-advise the destination agent of the forthcoming international shipment.
Q: How do I know that I'm dealing with a reputable international moving company?
It’s important that you verify the credentials of any moving company, but particularly for an international move. Southern Winds International has been licensed by the Federal Maritime Commission in Washington DC since April 1996 with no litigations against our company. We are a Better Business Bureau Accredited Business with an A+ rating. Our Vice President sat on the Executive Committee of the prestigious International Association of Movers for 6 years as Founder and Chairman of YP-35. Financial stability is also an important criterion when selecting your mover. Southern Winds International owns the building in which their office resides in Oceanside, California.
Q: What should the representative visiting my home be able to tell me about my international move?
Your representative that will be coming to your residence for the survey of items being shipping will be able to discuss with you what origin services you require. This should include services such as: packing, crating, unpacking, storage and any third party services that you may require. He/She will be making an accurate estimate of the volume and weight of your shipment. Within a day or two of completion of the pre-move survey, the international movers should provide you with a written moving estimate that explains the level of moving services to be included as well as exclude services and confirms the recommended shipping option.
Q: What items should I NOT include in an international household goods shipment?
Use common sense when thinking about what to include in your international shipment. You should avoid perishable goods and anything that could leak during its journey and cause significant damage to the articles surrounding it. You should NOT include the following: hazardous materials such as paint, matches, aerosol cans, gas canisters or other flammables materials such as wood, bricks, cement, rocks and soil of any type firearms and ammunition plants of any kind corrosives and explosives
If you have any doubt as to what should and shouldn’t be included in an international shipment, consult your moving director/representative as soon as possible.
Q: I would like to arrange for someone to provide me with a moving estimate for my international move. Whom should I contact?
Southern Winds International, Inc
3658 Ocean Ranch Blvd. Oceanside, CA 92056
Toll Free Number: 800-570-7715
Direct Phone Number: 760-721-7378
If you would like to request a free moving estimate online, please click here to provide us with some basic information about your international move.
Q: Are all charges included in the price?
NO. This depends on the type of moving services that you’ve purchased. If you request a door-to-door move, then all transportation charges should be included in the price that’s quoted to you. However, even on a door-to-door international move, you will be responsible for customs inspections (if any) plus any applicable taxes or duties on your shipment. For shipments moving to Australia the Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS) will not be included in your quote due to the fact that although all shipments must go through the AQIS there is no way to pre-determine the cost.
This is also the case on shipments moving to New Zealand. New Zealand’s Quarantine Inspection is referred to as the MAF or – Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. There could also be charges for unforeseen issues. For instance, if you do not have a delivery address at the time of your quote. Once you arrive in your new city you find a place but the streets are to narrow for a truck to maneuver so your container is parked outside of your neighborhood. Additional cost to either bring a smaller truck to the area to ‘shuttle’ the goods up to your door, or additional manpower may be needed if the crew has to carry your goods a long distance.
These are “unforeseen issues” that you were not aware of prior to receiving your quote. Review your moving quote with your Southern Winds Director to make sure you understand the terms of your quotation, particularly when you are comparing a number of different service and price options.
Q: What are the different cost/service options available to me?
When moving overseas you have a number of moving services available to you. You may select a moving service based on the price, transit time, method of containerization, routing consolidation opportunities, sea or air freight, port of exit, etc. Each option’s cost component determines the amount you’ll pay. In general terms, it is advisable to select the most direct route with a minimum amount of handling. However, every move and personal budget is different so it is important that you work with your Southern Winds Director to determine the best moving services to meet your personal needs. Remember, when calculating the cost of your international move, you should be aware of the total cost including the amount of time you’ll have to wait for the arrival of your goods at destination. If you’re going to have to stay in a hotel or other temporary housing until your household shipment arrives, you will need to consider these costs as well as the cost of the shipping charges. Many people have made the mistake of selecting the slowest transit time (cheapest price) and then had the expense of two to three weeks of hotel costs while they awaited the delivery of their shipment.
Q: Can international moving companies provide insurance for my international move?
All reputable international movers will be able to provide you with coverage for your household and personal effects during an international move. There is no “one standard” international moving coverage available that all international moving companies utilize. It is important, therefore, that you check any policy to determine the extent of the coverage, the nature of any exclusions, the amount of any deductible and the procedure in the event that you have to file a claim. Your Southern Winds Director will be happy to provide you with more insurance information. Please see the Insurance webpage for additional information on Marine Insurance.
Q: How do I determine the level of insurance coverage that is required for my belongings in an international move?
In general, you should think about what it would cost to replace your household goods and personal effects in the country of destination. Some consulates and embassies will carry cost of living and price index data that you can refer to as a guideline. When completing your international valuation paperwork, please be as detailed as possible. Remember to mark down individual items that have a high replacement cost. It’s better to have too much information than not enough in this instance. If you have any questions relating to the coverage on your international move, contact your Southern Winds Director immediately. Upon Arrival.
Q: Who will provide delivery services at destination?
Southern Winds International has developed a comprehensive network of corporate overseas agents based on their quality of service and experience. Our overseas partners provide moving services and expertise in the following areas:
Port of arrival and customs clearance procedures
Transportation from the destination port of arrival
Temporary or long term moving storage if required
Delivery to residence
Full unpacking services removal of all related packing debris and moving supplies.
Q: Does International shipping cost more?
Yes! International orders will incur additional shipping charges.
Q: When I arrive at my overseas destination, whom should I contact to determine the status of my shipment?
Prior to your departure, we will provide you with a destination contact sheet. This will contain information about who to contact when you arrive at your final destination. In most cases, we will have already sent your information to your destination office/agent and they will contact you when you arrive. You are always welcome to email your Southern Winds Director for immediate status updates.
Q: Where should I go to find the most up-to-date information regarding customs clearance documentation requirements?
Due to the frequency in which paperwork requirements change, it’s important (and ultimately your responsibility) to contact the local embassy or consulate to verify the documentation that is needed to obtain duty-free entry of used household goods and personal effects. Although a reputable international moving company will have a list of the most recent documentation requirements, it’s still your responsibility to make sure that you have the correct documentation for your personal situation.