Common customs issues when moving overseas

When moving internationally, it can be difficult to navigate everything that you need to get done in the lead up to moving day. Through our years of experience moving people internationally, we know of all the different problems that people face when they move overseas.


Customs issues are amongst the most commonly faced issues faced by people moving internationally. If you do not complete your forms correctly, or you put things in your shipment that should not be there, it can result in unnecessary delays and costs. This can sometimes mean that your belongings take months to get cleared and you are left without any furniture, clothes or cutlery for the duration.

Avoid customs issues when moving overseas

There are several things that you can do during the packing period to avoid customs issues during your move so make sure that you follow them where you can:

  • Do your research – Make sure that you are up to speed with what you can and can’t bring into your new country. Things to be careful of might include: foodstuffs, gas cylinders and firearms
  • Make sure everything is clean – Things like gardening equipment, outdoor furniture and camping equipment will need to be cleaned thoroughly before you pack them for transport to your new home.
  • Check any wooden items for termites or insects – If you can, get your furniture professionally check for mites and insects. If you wish to do it yourself, you are looking for small holes in your furniture. If even just one item of furniture is contaminated, then there is a chance that you may have other pieces that are contaminated also.
  • Make sure everything is clean and dry – If something in your shipment is damp then there is a chance that it may grow mould during transit. Run over everything with a dry cloth before packing to avoid this.
  • Clearly label and document everything – When you are packing for you international move, documentation and labelling is key. If you are packing yourself, make sure that throughout the packing process, you are labelling every box correctly and making a list of everything that goes into each box.

Bringing your car

While Allied can arrange transport and storage of motor vehicles anywhere in Australia, bringing your car with you overseas is a much different ball game to bringing your furniture with you. You will need to ensure that your car is road worthy in your destination country when it arrives as well as shoulder any transportation and duty costs involved with bringing a car into a foreign country. Whilst you can bring your car overseas with you, it can be expensive, and it is often more economical to leave it at home.

If you cannot bear the thought of leaving your car behind in Australia, then there are a number of different professional services that you can engage to help you bring it to your new home.

Remember that it is a good idea to purchase transit insurance when transporting your car internationally. When your car is travelling thousands of kilometres across land and sea, there are a lot of external factors that come into play such as weather and traffic, so it pays to be prepared for the worst.

Be prepared to pay importation and duty fees on top of transportation fees when importing your car. Certain countries will have different fees that they will charge. For example, if you are bringing your car into the UK and you have owned it for less than 12 months, you will be subject to additional fees. As cars in Australia are generally right-hand drive, you will need to check that your new country has right or left-hand drive. If your new home is left-hand drive, then you will require a special permit to import your car. Each country is different, so it always pays to do your research.

Getting the Documents Ready

Make sure that you have a good system of documentation and record keeping throughout your move, this will help to ensure that you do not encounter any issues with customs later down the track. If you kept a comprehensive and accurate system of documentation during the packing process, then that should help you when filling any customs documents.

If you have any items in your shipment that require a permit, make sure that you get them sorted well in advance. Permits can take months to organise and process and so it pays to lodge your applications early to avoid any unnecessary waiting times. Make sure that you keep these permits in a safe place so that they are easily accessible when they are needed. Rushing around to find lost documents during an international move is stressful and can result in delays in your shipment arriving which you want to avoid at all costs.

Allied are Australia’s leading international removalist. With hundreds of locations across the globe, and dedicated move coordinators in every location, we are perfectly positioned to deliver a seamless moving experience when you choose us for your international move. Call us on 13 25 54 today for a free quote.