Moving overseas requires attention to detail, and finding the best international moving companies is essential to a smooth, headache-free experience. Having an international mover who will provide a moving quote and walk you through the steps is critical.
We’ve compiled a list of the most reputable international moving companies with a proven track record. Additionally, you will find information on international moving services, the average cost of moving overseas, and tips to save on your international move.
How to find reputable international moving companies
According to the Federal Motor Safety Administration, there are over 5500 registered movers in the US. However, only about 3% are lisenced and knowledgeable enough to handle international moving services. Doing research is essential to finding the best international movers for you. Here’s how it’s done:
License check: An international mover must be licensed by the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) to offer international moving services. Start by visiting the FMC website to confirm license information.
Check online reviews: Although online reviews don’t tell the whole story, they can be a great resource in seeing how consumer complaints are handled. You can also check their Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating. Remember that an older and larger international mover may have more complaints than a newer company.
Referrals: If you know someone who has recently moved overseas, you can ask about their experience. You can also post a social media post for any recommendations on the best international moving companies.
Listen to your gut: If you aren’t getting a good vibe from the moving company you’re speaking with, move on. A professional moving company should be patient and knowledgeable in your new country.
Who are the best international moving companies?
Based on years in business, customer reviews, and knowledge, we’ve compiled a list of the top five best international moving companies in the US. It’s always best to do your research when looking for an international relocation company, but you can’t go wrong with any of the below-mentioned companies:
International Van Lines
In business since 2000, International Van Lines is one of America’s Fastest Growing companies, according to INC500. In addition, several iconic brands like Forbes and US News rate International Van Lines as the best international moving company. Whether you’re doing a long-distance move or moving overseas, International Van Lines can help.
Allied Van Lines
Allied Van Lines is one of the world’s largest international moving companies, providing quality service to customers in more than 140 countries. With a global network of agents and resources, Allied Van Lines can handle any size move, anywhere in the world.
North American Van Lines
North American Van Lines is one of the world’s leading international moving companies, with a network of over 500 agents across the United States and Canada. They have a wide range of services to tailor your move to your specific needs. They can provide full-service packing, unpacking, storage, and transportation services for international moves.
Atlas Van Lines
Founded in 1948, Atlas Van Lines is one of the world’s leading relocation companies with a global network of 500 agents in 140 countries. Each year, Atlas Van Lines moves over 30,000 shipments of household goods and coordinates corporate relocations for thousands of clients worldwide. As an industry leader, Atlas Van Lines is committed to setting higher standards for quality, innovation, and customer service.
United Van Lines
United Van Lines is one of the world’s largest international movers, with a network of over 400 agents across the United States. The company was founded in 1929 and has been a leader in the moving industry for over 85 years. United Van Lines is an international moving company offering packing, loading, and transportation services for residential and corporate relocations.
JK Moving Services
JK Moving Services is a leading international moving company based in the United States. They have been in business for over 20 years and have moved families and businesses worldwide. JK Moving Services provides customers with the best possible service and experience in moving.
International moving services you should look for
|Full container load (FCL)||Corporate relocations|
|Less than container load (LCL)||Destination Services|
|Air freight||Packing Services|
|Customs Clearance||Moving insurance|
Every company listed is accredited, international movers and has an excellent rating with the better business bureau. They maintain the required licensing and hold the knowledge of many foreign destinations. They’re all full-service moving companies which mean they offer various international shipping options.
How much do international movers charge?
An international mover can cost $1500 to $12,000. The most significant cost factors are the size, service, and destination country. The time of year and company you chose can also affect the cost. You can use the below cost average for planning and budgeting:
*** Average price of a door-to-door move (ocean freight)***
Costs can vary based on the move size and international moving services. It’s always best to speak with professional movers regarding their fees and understand their moving process.
Also, check out: How much will it cost to move overseas
Five ways to save money on your international move
Hiring an international moving company can be costly, and with all the expenses involved in moving to a new country, you may want to save money. Here are five tips to help reduce the cost of an international move.
- Consider self-packing: Professional packing services can be costly. Packing your own boxes will help reduce your international moving costs by about 10%. However, weighing the pros and cons of self-packing for an international move is best.
- Removing unwanted stuff: Moving overseas is a great time to purge. Create an inventory list of unsure items and consider donating or selling them online. Many non-profits will pick up used furniture for free.
- Consider a port service: If you’re moving to a destination country with a port, you can consider a port pickup. It will eliminate dull destination services and save you money. The best international moving companies will walk you through the process, so it’s seamless.
- Find a good moving company: Although searching for a good mover seems obvious many people price shop. Looking for cheap international moving companies may end up costing you more. Do your research.
- Ask for a discount: When requesting a free moving quote, you should also ask about any discounts. Relocation services are high, and some international moving companies will be able to work with your budget.
Follow these steps, and you’ll be on your way to saving money on your international move!
Is ocean shipping the best choice for my move?
Ocean shipping is the most common method for overseas relocation. It’s the most economical mode of transportation. However, if you’re in a hurry to get your stuff, you may want to consider air freight services, which can be costly.
Most overseas moves we handle here at International Van Lines are ocean freight. However, from time to time, we have customers that want to get their stuff as quickly as possible. Ocean shipping can take 6-8 weeks, whereas air freight can take 7 to 12 days.
If your main objective is getting your household goods quickly, consider shipping by air. However, if cost is of more importance, then you should stick with standard ocean freight shipping services.
How much does air freight cost for an international move?
Airfreight transportation averages $3500 to $17,000. Transit times are quicker by air, but it’s more expensive than ocean freight which averages $1500 to $12,000. The size of your shipment is the most significant cost factor. However, service and final destination will also affect the cost.
If you’re looking for a speedy delivery and international moving costs arent an issue, then you may want to consider air freight services. The transit time will be quicker than the ocean freight. However, not all international moving companies offer air freight, so it’s best to speak with your moving company regarding their international moving services.
How do I ship a few boxes overseas?
If you’re shipping boxes only, you can consider international parcel shipping. FedEx and DHL will most likely be the carrier performing the transportation. However, some global moving companies have contracts with the airline, allowing significant discounts.
Parcel shipping service is not standard for most international moving companies. International Van Lines offers an 80% discount and can overseas your shipment process.
Storage services for international moves
Most international moving companies offer storage services at origin and destination. Storage fees are based on the volume of your move and the length of time. Below is a list of storage options that you have when moving to a new country:
- Storage at the origin: If you’re unsure of your final destination or need time to sort things out, you can consider storing your goods at the origin location. Once you’re ready, your items will be loaded into a container and shipped. It can take up to 6 weeks for delivery.
- Destination storage: You will have the option to store your household goods at your destination. The full destination agent will keep them until you’re ready for delivery. The destination agent will deliver your goods from there.
- Temperature controlled unit: Long-term storage is anything above 90 days. It would help if you asked international moving companies about their temperature-controlled storage services. It will help eliminate damage.
The best international moving companies offer different storage options for any situation. However, it’s always best to speak with the moving company of your choice about their moving process.
International moving insurance options
The best international moving companies offer insurance through a third party like Unirisk Insurance. There are self-pack and professional pack insurance options, and the cost can range between 2% to 4% of your good’s declared value. Below is international moving insurance explained:
- Comprehensive insurance: If you hire an international mover to pack your household goods professionally, you are entitled to all-risk insurance coverage. It will cover the declared value of your items but may hold a $500 deductible.
- Total loss moving insurance: If you choose to self-pack your household goods, you are entitled to total loss coverage. It will cover the complete loss of your move, but not individual items.
- If you opt-out of moving insurance: If you choose to opt out of moving insurance, you will default to the limited coverage of 60 cents per lbs per article.
International moving has a different moving process than long-distance moving. Whether you purchase moving insurance through a moving company or find your insurance, it’s advised that you insure your household goods.
The best auto transport services
Most international moving companies offer auto shipping. Your vehicle can be consolidated with your household goods or shipped as a stand-alone service. Below is a list of the shipping options you will have with international movers:
- Cheapest: Roll-on roll-off (ro/ro) is the most economical mode of transportation when shipping a vehicle overseas. However, it would require that you drop off and pick up your car from the ports.
- Economical: You’ll have the option to ship your car in a shared container with others moving internationally. It will save you money, and your vehicle will be in a container.
- Expensive: If you have a high-end vehicle or don’t want your car exposed to the elements, you can get an exclusive container. You can also use the container to transport your household goods.
- Most expensive: If you’re in a hurry to get your car, you will have the option of shipping via air freight. Be prepared for a costly move.
It’s always best to speak with various international movers about their service options.
How does an international moving company charge?
International moving companies charge based on cubic feet and or weight. Ocean freight is charged based on cubic feet, whereas air freight is charged based on weight and the cubic feet measurement. Here are the several parts of an international moving quote:
- Professional packing
- Trucking or drayage to the port of shipping
- Ocean or air freight
- Customs clearance
- Delivery, off-loading, and removal of debris
Your budget and requirements will determine the international relocation services you get. The best international moving companies will walk you through the process and offer you several options. Before committing to global moving services, you should speak with a professional moving consultant.
Does an international moving company handle customs clearance?
Customs clearance is included on door-to-door moves. However, if you choose a port pickup, you may be required to handle customs documentation and pay the fees. Speaking with your choice international moving company about their shipping process and the international moving cost is best. You should request all details when getting international moving quotes.
Documents required when moving overseas
To have a successful international relocation, you must have all your ducks in a row, including the required documentation to move to another country. Documents may vary from country to country, but you can use the below list as guidance:
- Work permit (if needed)
- Birth Certificate
- Medical records
- Social Security card
- Marriage certificate (if applicable)
- Shipping information
- Inventory list of what you’re moving
- The declared value of the shipment
- Insurance form for household goods
It would help to use an international moving checklist to keep yourself organized and on task. Your destination country may require specific paperwork that many international moving companies can provide.
What are some possible costs that may come up?
Anytime you’re making an international move, there are possibilities of accessorial charges that can arise. It’s always best to speak with the international moving company of your choice about hidden fees or any expenses that can come up. Below is a list and cost breakdown of the accessorial charges:
Long carry: If the driver has to park his truck 75ft or further from your front door, it’s considered a long carry. There is typically a one-time charge of $75 if this arises.
Stairs: If you live in an apartment business that requires the movers to lug your stuff up and down multiple flights of stairs, you may be charged a one-time stairs charge of $75 per flight.
Crating: Custom crating for oil painting, fragile, or pianos will be an additional charge. It would be best if you spoke with international moving companies about their costs.
Bulky items: If you have a heavy gun safe or treadmill, you may be charged an overweight item fee. The costs range from $150 to $350 on average.
Accessorial charges vary, so speak with the international moving company you chose about the details. It’s also best to ask if there are any hidden charges in their cost.
How do I find international moving companies near me?
Most van lines have locations in most major cities. If not, companies like International Van Lines and North American Van Lines cover the entire country. If you’re looking for international moving companies near me, you should do a quick Google search to see what you come up with and then begin with research.
Whether you’re a small company in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, or an auto manufacturer in Austin, Texas, you must deal with international movers with the knowledge and experience to perform.
Below is a list of services that an international mover should offer for corporate relocations:
- Customs clearance and documentation
- Auto transport
- Property protection and insurance
- Dedicated relocation coordinator
- Full destination service
- Professional packing and unpacking
- Debris removal
- Storage (short-term and long-term)
- Qualified movers and drivers
The best international moving companies will tailor a moving package for your need. You should be able to pick and choose services based on your transferee’s situation.
International moving FAQ
Who are the best international movers from the US to Europe?
International Van Lines, North American Van Lines, and Allied are our top choices. They provide direct and consolidation services from the US to Europe.
How long does an international move take?
Ocean freight services can take up to 8 weeks, whereas air freight services can take up to 15 days.
What are port and terminal charges?
International movers do not bill port and terminal fees. They are port-related charges but can be put in your moving quote. It’s best to speak with the international moving company of your choice.
Who offers the best international moving services to the Middle East?
International Van Lines and United Van Lines is the best international moving service to the Middle East. Both offer ocean and air freight services weekly.
Do international moving companies service Canada?
Yes, the best international moving companies offer service to Canada. International Van Lines offers a weekly service.
Who are the best international movers in New York?
International Van Lines and Allied Van Lines offer consolidation services to and from New York. Both companies have excellent reviews for their New York locations.
What are the best international moving companies in the USA?
The best international moving companies in the USA are International Van Lines and United Van Lines.
Who offers overseas moving services to South Africa?
International Van Lines and Allied Van Lines offer moving services to South Africa.
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Moving overseas with International Van Lines (IVL)
IVL offers international moving services to over 140 countries. We have an active network of over 2000 moving agents globally who assist with getting your stuff delivered to your new country.
We’re a lisenced freight forwarder and national moving company, so we arrange the packing, loading, ocean freight, and customs clearance for our customers. Our international moving reviews are stellar; we’ve been named the best international moving company in the USA.
Whether moving a few boxes, a car, or an entire household, we can arrange transportation for you at an affordable cost. If you have any questions about your international relocation or want a quick free international moving quote, call us or fill out the online form to get a moving quote.