International Moving Guide

Moving internationally can be both an exciting and daunting task. There is the anticipation of seeing new sights, interacting with different cultures, and trying cuisine in your new home country. But there can also be a lot of anxiety around continuing your life abroad, especially for those who have never left their home nation. Many customers find comfort in knowing that the same belongings that they had at home will travel with them to their new home. That is why we consider all the details surrounding an international move

The most important part of the moving process is “pre-planning”. By reducing the move to a few scheduled, manageable events ahead of time, we have tried to alleviate any anxiety that may come along with international relocation.

Your Hollander move consultant, along with the support of UniGroup Worldwide global team, will serve as your go-to guide during the planning process. This same consultant will see the move process through all the way to the end. By having one person as a point of reference, you will be able to communicate with them every step of the way.

Customer care and satisfaction are our biggest priorities. That’s why we go to great lengths to make the international move process as simple as possible. Our worldwide network, consistent dedication to detail, and open communication policies enable us to serve tens of thousands of families each year with international relocation. 

Understanding your move

No matter where you’re headed, Hollander Storage & Moving Company with support of UniGroup Worldwide can get you there. By land, sea, or air, over seven continents and four oceans, our network of resources can make any daunting international move seem easy. Hollander will work with you every step of the way to ensure a smooth process.

From ordering service and valuing your belongings with our protection plans, to packing and loading, transportation, and customs support, each step in your international move process will be carefully handled with diligence.

Planning your move

The weight and volume of your personal effects will determine the most effective type of shipping container/packing for transporting your belongings. With a variety of transportation methods and containers at our disposal, we will select the relocation plan that works best for your unique move.


  • Constructed of plywood with a 2-inch by 4-inch wooden frame
  • Skids are attached to the bottom of the container so it can be handled by a forklift.
  • Usually lined with water-resistant paper and may be caulked as necessary to keep your goods dry.
  • Steel straps are placed around the outside to secure the lift van.
  • Standard sizes are 185 to 210 cubic feet. Other sizes can be built to hold bulky items
  • Generally used if total shipment weighs less than 500 pounds. Shipments weighing 2,000 to 4,000 pounds are based on current pricing conditions.
  • Can be used for storage as well as transportation, which prevents additional handling
  • Preferred when the destination country lacks the capacity to handle steamship containers

Ocean Freight Containers

  • Constructed of steel and resemble motor freight trailers
  • Twenty-foot containers hold approximately 1,100 cubic feet while 40-foot units hold about 2,200 cubic feet
  • Can hold more than a single lift-van and are used for large or bulky shipments. To effectively use a steamship container, a minimum of 700 cubic feet (approximately 4,000 pounds) is suggested
  • May not be available for shipping to some foreign countries
  • Provided by ocean carriers and may not be utilized for storage purposes
  • Due to their construction, allow for best protection of a shipment compared to other containers
  • Can result in lower transportation charges if the minimum requirement for weight and volume are met

Air Freight Containers

  • Constructed of triple-layered waxed corrugated cardboard, they range in size from 18 to 96 cubic feet. Larger containers are fitted with skids for ease in moving with a forklift.
  • Restricted to certain dimensional specifications to pass through aircraft cargo doors


After your goods are packed your shipment will begin its movement coordinated and managed with the watchful eyes of Hollander and UniGroup Worldwide.

Your shipment may be moved by rail or motor freight to the port of exit. It will then be shipped via air or ocean to the destination port.

Motor Carrier

  • Provides unlimited access to most geographical areas throughout the U.S. and other parts of the world
  • Used to transport steamship containers, lift vans and full trailer overload cargo
  • Provides expedited pickup when necessary


  • Capable of transporting more goods in certain trade lanes by stacking steamship containers over long distances
  • More cost effective than a motor freight carrier
  • Frequently used to transport steamship containers to and from an ocean port to inland locations

Ocean Freight

  • Most common way to transport shipments internationally
  • Typically, is significantly less expensive than air freight
  • Normally comprises the longest leg of a move, in terms of distance and time spent in transit
  • Most cost-efficient means of transporting large shipments, greater than 600 cubic feet or 3,000 pounds

Air Freight

  • Reduces transit time; used to send time-sensitive items
  • Recommended for certain countries, depending on the nature of the shipment and the final destination.
  • Ideal for smaller shipments
  • Cost is based on cubic size and destination

Obtaining required Documents

International relocation always requires certain documents, depending on when and where you are moving. By submitting your applications far in advance, you are preventing potential complications with foreign governments.

In order to leave a country, you will need your passport, certificates of registration for all belongings in your possession that were made in another country (this includes jewelry, cameras, appliances, etc.), and an export declaration form. An export declaration form declares that your household goods or motor vehicles will be shipped out of the country. A UniGroup agent will fill out this declaration on your behalf, provided that they have the correct information about your belongings.

To enter a country, you will need to obtain a minimum of a passport, visa, and work permit. Other potential documents may include copies of your passport photo, marriage license or divorce decree, international driving permit, immunizations, and so on. The earlier you begin to obtain these documents, the better, because you never know what could potentially hold you up. Other documents could be necessary as well, so be sure to request service as soon as possible so that Hollander can begin the process in a timely manner.

Other Questions to Ask:

The following miscellaneous questions may be good ones to ask a foreign embassy or consulate:

  1. Are original documents required?
  2. Do documents need to be translated into the destination country’s primary language?
  3. Do any documents need to be legalized by an embassy or consulate before departure?
  4. Are there restrictions on the quantity of goods that I can bring?
  5. Can I bring more than one shipment?
  6. Are other taxes or fees involved besides duty?
  7. Are there special laws regarding women and children?
  8. Must I declare my shipment upon my personal arrival?
  9. Must I arrive in my new country before my shipment arrives?

Arriving at your destination

The more planning you do before your arrival in a new country, the easier the transition will be as you adapt to your new surroundings.

Following Up:

We recommend that you register with the nearest consulate or embassy, even though you may not be required to do so. You should also be sure to get in touch with your Hollander/UniGroup contact upon arrival so that they can remain in contact with you, should anything come up.

Check your goods thoroughly for any missing or damaged belongings. In the event that something is missing or damaged, mark it in the inventory and contact your UniGroup agent immediately.

Settling In

Life in a new country can be exciting and invigorating!

One of the best ways to get connected is by registering with a US embassy or consulate and to get in touch with other US citizens abroad. Maintain a positive attitude and don’t be quick to make harsh judgments on the cultural behaviors or traditions of your new neighbors. Make time to go out and explore, go to a sports game or spend time in nature. Allow yourself plenty of time to adjust.

Moving Terms Explained

Here is a quick guide to the service terminology of service provided by Hollander and UniGroup Worldwide.

Accessorial Services:

Work performed other than routine transportation service performed at your request. This type of work includes appliance servicing, extra pickups, and storage. These services charges will be in addition to transportation costs.


A statement of loss or damage to household goods

Destination Agent (D/A):

The agent in the delivery city or locale that provides delivery services

Door-To-Door Service:

The delivery of household goods from residence to residence


The fees imposed by a country’s sovereign laws on imports or exports


An approximation of moving costs, size and bulk as determined by an agent’s physical survey of a shipment


A detailed list of your household goods, describing each item and condition during loading. The inventory is prepared for you as your goods are professionally packed. The owner must sign the inventory confirming the description and condition of the goods. The inventory list is used as a customs document once your shipment arrives in your new country. It may also be used as a missing or damaged good checklist upon arrival.


The maximum amount for which UniGroup Worldwide or Hollander Storage & Moving Company is normally liable in connection with lost or damaged goods in transit or in storage.

Lift Van:

A wooden or plywood container used mainly for overseas removals, but built specifically to transport household goods.

Order for Service:

The itemized receipt for your household goods and the agreement for their transportation. The owner’s signature acknowledges that household goods have been temporarily released to the carrier/transporter.

Order Number:

This number is used to identify each shipment. The number appears in the upper right hand corner of the order for service. Keep this number as a reference whenever you have a question about your shipment.

Origin Agent:

The agent who provides service at the move origin, such as packing and loading

Storage-In-Transit (SIT):

The temporary warehousing of your household goods. If you request storage, check with your agent to see what kind of transit and storage protection you have. Depending on how long your goods will be stored, you might need to apply for an extension of your protection policy.


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