Tips You Must Know Before You Send Stuff Internationally

Moving abroad requires a lot of planning so before you begin your journey, take a look at our list of the 10 most important questions that all customers relocating overseas need to ask.


1. What kind of moving company is more suitable to expats?

Moving companies for expats should offer the following:

  • Multilingual staff with languages as well as English

  • Availability 24/7 so you can contact them if you have any questions at any time

  • An international network with a consistent service at every stage of your journey not just in China.

It is at the destination that unwanted surprises will emerge, so confirm who will be handling your import.

2. How do I start the process?

Almost all local moving companies want you to ship as much as possible so the very first decision you should make is to decide what you are going to send. For example do you need to send the bed with the 5-year old mattress?

And remember any electrical item you send will probably have the wrong plug for the destination. Spend time thinking about what to send: Save the money shipping and buy new at the destination!

3. What is the pricing rule for international shipping?

Most international removal companies will first visit you to assess and quote on what you are going to send. The minimum they like to ship is usually six cubic metres. Their price is not discounted a great deal if you ship a smaller volume.

The quote will state the shipment is door-to-door but it is worth checking the exclusion, they may surprise you. See our comments in Point 1 regarding International Network. A removals company that operates in both China and the destination country is a good safeguard against surprise charges.

If you proceed with an international remover, then you will have to prepay the full amount, often weeks before your removal starts. If you change your mind about what you wish to ship once you have paid, the remover will not refund you if you wish to send less and can surcharge you if you wish to send more.

Very few companies split the charge so you pay the shipping element in China and the Destination Charges once the shipment arrives. However this will greatly assist your budget during your move.

4. How to avoid tax and duty?

Personal effect and household item often enjoy a concessionary entry where taxes and duties are rarely applied. In these circumstances you will often need to prove:

  • you have been living abroad for at least 12 months

  • you plan to return for at least 12-months

  • you have owned the items you are shipping for a period of at least 6 months

Each country has different rules but his list meets the usual requirements. There are exceptions such as sending a shipment of tobacco or alcohol, or a single type of item such as a few hundred shirts, shorts or jackets and claiming these as your own personal possessions.

This is hard to justify particularly if a physical inspection shows them in their original wrapping.

5. Is it possible that there may be hidden charge?

As mentioned in Point 3 it is important to look for the exclusions in any quote you receive. There may be items that are excluded from the quote that you will inevitably have to pay. For example, shipping to Australia will always include an inspection by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources which is often excluded.

Please refer to their website to see what should not be sent and what precautions are needed to be taken on a shipment before sending. Taxes and duties arise from the contents of the shipment and depend upon what you pack.

The obvious categories are tobacco and alcohol but new items can also attract taxes and duties as well.

6. How can I get the paper work called Fapiao to claim from my employer?

If you need to claim from your employer, the Fapiao is a must. In China Fapiao is very different from a receipt or an invoice. Normally all legally established companies in China can offer Fapiao but be careful because some companies may require an extra charge for issuing a Fapiao.

7. Do I need to submit my original passport for shipping items out of or into mainland China?

Some companies only need a passport copy while some may need an original passport. You can further check with their adviser.

8. If I go to my destination later than the items do, can I nominate someone to receive my items?

It depends on which countries you are going to. For Australia and New Zealand, you need to return within 6 months. For Canada and the US, you need to return before the items do.

Different countries have quite different rules so you need to confirm with the removal company. Failure to do so could result in expensive storage charges being incurred by your shipment before you arrive.

9. Can I track my items for moving abroad?

Most reputable removal companies can offer tracking on their shipments. At the very least you should know where your shipment is at all times whether in a depot, in a container or in a vehicle. Some companies can also track their shipment in real-time whilst it is at sea.

10.  What kind of information is needed during the stage of quotation?

Important information includes:

  • What you are going to send?

  • When do you want to send your shipment?

  • Where you want to send your shipment (not just the country but the city - you will need to supply an address which can be changed once you have arrived)

  • Whether you need to be in the country when your shipment arrives

  • Whether you need storage of your shipment once it arrives at the destination

Other helpful information includes details about your collection address: Is there a working lift or is there a parking area nearby, etc.

About us: 

Seven Seas Worldwide was established in 1995 by two brothers, John and Will Henderson, who continue to head up the business from their United Kingdom base in Kent. 

Their success has helped them over the years to open a series of depots and offices worldwide including Austraila, Belgium, Canada, China, HongKong, Malaysia, NewZealand, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, USA & the UK. China business was established in 2004 in Shenzhen.

Seven Seas Worldwide are world leaders in both nationwide and global moves, helping thousands of customers each year move or store their personal belongings, excess baggage and household items.

We've been in the shipping business for over twenty years and understand how stressful moving home can be. As a result, we've worked hard to ensure our shipping process is uncomplicated, affordable and supportive. Offering peace of mind as a proud member of FIATA, the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations, and BIFA, the trade association for UK companies moving freight internationally.

Whether you need help moving an extra piece of holiday luggage or you're moving the contents of an entire house overseas, Seven Seas Worldwide will be there to collect, store and deliver your personal belongings whenever and wherever you need them.

For more information about  international moving, please visit the website or get a free quote now!


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