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Documentation and other tips for household relocation

household relocationHousehold Relocation…………………… a stressful item for many people but sometimes inevitable.

Moving internationally is not an easy thing to do and you have to try and stay well-informed about many things. It could be a tedious process both on the pocket and the mind. You may face several stressful moments.

Avoiding cargo damage, safeguarding yourselves against fraudulent freight forwarders, gathering the correct documentation for household relocation and also ensuring that your goods reach your new destination in time and in good condition.

You may also be faced with endless paperwork, customs and port documentation as well as many other forms of documentation for the move.

The paperwork and documents that you and your family need might take months to gather if you don’t know which ones you need at the very beginning. If just one is missing, it could be a big problem for you. And when moving internationally, you don’t want to have any problems at all – or you want to at least keep them as minimal as possible.

Here are some tips about documentation that you need for international household relocation.


Service Provider

For an international move, the first thing you need to consider is hiring the services of an experienced service provider specialised in this activity.

No, not just any freight forwarder. You need a specialist freight forwarder who specialises in international relocation. Their job is to inform and assist you with the details of the shipment process, such as organising the transportation of your personal belongings from your house (or a warehouse) to the final destination of your move.

A specialist relocation freight forwarder is there to help you with your international move as they know what the requirements are for the move, especially documentation requirements for household relocation.



Getting your belongings through customs can seem tiresome and no one can deny it. If you have employed the services of a specialist relocation freight forwarder, they will explain all you need to know about getting your items through customs so you don’t have to figure it out along the way.

You have to ensure that all items can pass through customs safely and without any issues. This enables you to be sure that your belongings will sail smoothly to your new home.

Doing this will prevent your stuff from being lost, and it will also prevent you from getting additional expenses which you don’t really need. There are many ways to reduce freight forwarding expenses, so you might want to get familiar with that too.

No matter where you are moving to, the first thing you must have for the customs is a fully itemised list of the contents you are moving. You will also need a special form from the country that you are moving to.

That form needs to be filled out correctly so your belongings can be accepted into the country. Some countries also require you to have receipts of all the things you are trying to move as proof of purchase. This means you have to be very selective of what you will be taking with you.

Certain countries have law that forbid you from selling your relocated items for a certain period of time, usually a few years. Other forms and documents beyond that depends on the country to which you are moving to.

Naturally you will need a valid passport. Sometimes a letter from your new employer may also be needed for customs, as well as duty-free import application. But remember that the documentation you need varies from one country to another.

So make sure you do proper research on what documents you need for customs. Although you may have appointed a specialist freight forwarder, it may also be a good idea for you to explore resources relating to moving for additional information, quotations or to verify the information you have.

Documents you need may be different for every country

Certain countries require certain documents. For example, to move and to ship your belongings to Spain you will need an NIE number. It’s a tax identification number in Spain.

To ship your stuff to Germany and pick them up, you will also have to own the Certificate of Registration with the German police.

Australia requires you to have The Unaccompanied Personal Effects (UPE) Statement.

For more information about which documents you need, check with both your freight forwarder and the country’s embassy.


Bill of Lading – what is it and why do you need it?

Bill of lading is one of the most important documents of an international move. The Bill of Lading acts as evidence of the contract of carriage, receipt of goods, and document of title to the goods. In the case of household goods, the goods will be released to you at destination by the carrier only after they verify your identity so it is imperative for you to have this important document along with your proof of identity.

If you don’t have it, you won’t be able to retrieve your belongings from the consol box when they arrive at the destination port. Remember to fully study what you can and can’t pack inside the consol box or the shipping container.

You and your freight forwarder should double check all the information on the bill of lading. Once everything is correct, all you have to do is keep that document as safe as possible and have it with you at all times during the moving process. If you don’t have it, you might not be able to prove that your belongings are truly yours.


Do you need insurance when moving internationally

Having insurance isn’t a bad idea for any situation. And household relocation is one of many situations where insurance is absolutely needed, like cargo insurance.

You never know what can happen. Containers can fall off ships, ships can run aground, the container used may have not been in the best condition etc etc etc.

And it is definitely much better to spend some money on insurance and worry less than to impatiently wait to see if anything got damaged during the moving process.

Yes, insurance might come as a big expense but replacing the things you own with new ones after the move could end up being much more expensive.


Where should you be when your belongings arrive at the destination?

This is a thing that also varies from one country to another. But we believe that it’s always best that you are already in the destination country when your belongings arrive. It is much easier for you. You will know exactly what is going on with your stuff and you won’t be as worried as you would be if you weren’t there.

If, by any chance, you can’t be there to pick up your possessions, some countries require a family member to be there, but only with a letter that you wrote yourself. This letter needs to be addressed to the customs officers, giving them permission to give your belongings to the family member.

Some countries require you or a family member of yours to pick up your belongings.

As mentioned previously it will be good idea to appoint a household freight forwarder who has a presence in both the origin and destination country. It may not always be possible to have the same company, but where they don’t have an office, they should have a reliable agent.



Moving internationally means having to deal with a lot of paperwork and documentation. Even though you have a freight forwarder by your side to help you, you will need a lot of patience. It all takes time.

Some international moves can last up to a year. But if you do it the right way and provide all the necessary customs and port documentation on time, you will avoid many unwanted issues.

Remember to check everything multiple times and to make sure everything is correct. One mistake can cost you a lot.


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  1. I have enjoyed reading this about some valuable tips to get proper assistance for relocation work. Really, entire discussion is more helpful and all the tips are more effective too. I am very glad to go through this kind of helpful article. Thanks for sharing a nice article.

  2. My sister recently purchased a international property and I am glad I came across your article at the perfect time. After reading your article I am well educated about the fact that the most important thing is documentation. I am definitely sharing this article with her as it could be of some help to her.


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