Moving to the USA
Updated 2021-08-04 09:50

Moving is stressful and requires good planning. If you decide to relocate to the USA, a shipping company will greatly reduce the stress of moving your belongings internationally as they will coordinate both the removal of your things as well as all documents needed to clear customs. It is also recommended that expats use carriers affiliated with the International Federation of International Movers (FIDI). To find a carrier or a removal company use the Internet, consult the yellow pages or take a look at the links below.

Shipping your belongings to the US

Once you've chosen a removal company, they will come to your home for an estimate or quote. To ensure an accurate estimate, it is important to go through your belongings and separate what you'll be bringing with you before they arrive. Make sure to point out items that may require special care. Specify what you will do yourself such as dismantling furniture. Before removal, you will also need to provide a comprehensive list of items and their value. This is a requirement for insurance and customs forms.

Regarding the estimate, there are several pieces of information to be considered:

  • Origin address - where removers will pack and load your belongings
  • Destination address in the USA - where removers will unload your belongings
  • Volume or weight of your belongings
  • Type of transportation (by air, train, truck, ship)
  • Nature of the services, terms and conditions and insurance policy in case of damage
  • Prices and payment plans

Accordingly, an insurance policy will be recommended by the removal company. This insurance automatically covers non-predictable damage associated with the transportation of your belongings up to the value indicated in the declaration of value. The cost of the policy depends on the overall value of your belongings, and a certificate will be issued upon agreement of the cost.

On the scheduled date, your things will be packaged and removed from your home. Before removal, you will sign an official shipping document with a comprehensive list of your goods called a waybill. This document will specify all terms and conditions of the contract: the mode of transportation, the volume to be transported, as well as the name and address of both the customer and removal company. By signing the waybill, you are agreeing to these terms and conditions and giving permission to the removal company to proceed with your shipment. You will be asked to sign it again upon receipt of your goods at your destination address.

Usually, removal companies unload your belongings directly to the destination address. However, some removal companies unload your belongings to a warehouse and you have to pick them up yourself afterwards, implying additional costs. Make sure to check your moving contract carefully and read the terms and conditions carefully.

For information regarding moving your pets to the USA, click here.


Contact a U.S. embassy in your country or with your relocation company for a list of prohibited and restricted items.

Useful links:

International Federation of International Removers (FIDI)
List of U.S. Embassies worldwide

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.