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International Removals from the USA

Shipping from the USA to overseas

Moving from the US to somewhere overseas? When you first organize your move abroad, one of the first contacts you should make is with a shipping agent.

Your dedicated move manager will normally take care of transport logistics including packing up, and then unpacking when you arrive at your new home. Let us guide you through some of the things you’ll need to consider when moving from the USA.

How to ship from the US: sea or air freight?

Sea cargo is usually the preferred option when making a big move abroad, but air freight may be worth considering too. The latter is quicker and more expensive, as air cargo charges by weight. Sea freight tends to charge a flat fee per forty foot container, with fewer restrictions on weight.

If your new home is a long way from the nearest shipping port it may make better sense to send your goods by air, and the final leg of the journey from sea port to your front door could be costly.

Save on the cost of moving from America

One way you can cut down on the cost of moving is to collect your consignment yourself when you arrive at your destination. It can often be expensive to hire a delivery service from your destination port, and paying warehouse charges can also add significant extras to your final freight bill.

Import and customs

Your final shipping quote from the agent should include the cost of clearing customs, but there can often be unexpected charges applied at the port of entry, and these will be invoiced to you when your goods are delivered. This is best avoided by carefully itemising all belongings being shipped, as per your shipping agent’s instructions.

Below you will find some tips on prohibited US customs items for export. We strongly recommend that you are clear on the restrictions and prohibitions for importing to the country you’re moving to as well.

Items you cannot export from the USA:

  • Ivory
  • Loose precious stones
  • Pornographic material
  • Corpses, cremated or interred remains
  • Postage stamps, notes and currency other than coins
  • Ammunition and fireworks
  • Marijuana (even for medicinal purposes)

Times and costs

Two key factors will determine your international removal costs:

  1. The distance to your destination
  2. The volume of possessions you wish to move

See below for a quick guide to times taken and costs quoted for shipping your belongings abroad from the USA to a number of key worldwide destinations. All prices are guides, and New York has been used as the port of origin in this case.

Freight rates for US removals


Sea Freight Cost (FCL)

Sea Freight Time

Air Freight Cost (up to 250kg)

Air Freight Time


$2500 (£1500)

16 days

$2500 (£1500)

< 1 week


$3100 (£1900)

39 days

$2400 (£1400)

< 1 week


$4000 (£2400)

33 days


< 1 week


$6500 (£4000)

43 days

$2200 (£1300)

< 1 week


$900 (£500)

9 days

$2300 (£1300)

< 1 week

Costs will of course vary depending on specific points of origin and destination. Sea freight costs are based on a full container load valued at $10,000.

Air freight costs are based on a 250kg load, or three very large suitcases. Air freight typically takes around one week, regardless of distance.