Clearing Customs

Clearing customs can be a challenge with its unfamiliar processes and documentation. It has also become increasingly complicated due to the heightened security concerns. It’s important to know what these customs documents are in order to know how to fill them out properly. Even the smallest oversight could make the difference between a smooth international shipping experience and massive delays which can inflate your total international moving cost.

At NOR-CAL Moving Services/Allied International, we are here to guide you with the process in filling out and submitting certain documents needed to clear customs. It is our goal to help prepare you best for what to expect once you enter into a new country. Each of our customers are assigned an International Relocation Coordinator who have the expertise and knowledge to guide you through clearing customs. The process will begin at your destination with the local Allied International office.

Your International Relocation Coordinator will help you complete the required documents and then forward them to our authorized destination agent. At your destination, the local Allied International office will receive the paperwork forwarded to them by your Coordinator. The destination agent in turn, verifies that all of your information is correct and complete before passing the documents on to the customs broker. The destination agent will then contact you to arrange a mutually convenient time for delivery. Be sure to be available to arrange this delivery time.

Once you arrive in your destination country, remember to contact us immediately. Failure to make timely contact could result in delays for clearing customs and additional storage costs. ‘Demurrage’ or port rent is an additional expense incurred if we are unable to clear your shipment on time. Airports levy similar penalties if airfreight shipments are delayed. To avoid delays and additional costs, it is important to make contact with the local Allied International office as soon as you arrive.

Restricted items during an International Move

It’s tempting to want to bring absolutely everything you own with you on your international move. Unfortunately, that’s not going to be possible as each country has its own list of restricted items. To avoid any problems or delays in clearing your shipment through customs, customs documents are included in the information packets that we provide you at the start of your move. You’ll also find a list of items prohibited from entry into your destination country so there are no surprises later on. It is best to adhere to these restrictions and pack your household accordingly to avoid problems with clearing customs.

What you can send in an International Move

Personal belongings such as furniture, household goods, appliances, toys, clothes, cars, motorbikes and other common items you have at home can generally always be shipped when you’re moving internationally, as long as they’re not flammable or pose any sort of danger. Cars and motorcycle are also allowed but note that certain countries have very strict rules regarding the entry of vehicles.

What you cannot send in an International Move

Hazardous Goods. These items are not allowed in any international shipment. To include these items will incur additional charges at origin and destination.

Aerosol spray cans of any kind


Acids or Solvents



Fire Extinguishers




Insecticides and Poisons


Lighter fluids


Paints and Paint thinners

Perishable foods

Propane tanks

Restricted Items. These items are not permitted, incur additional taxes or duties, or require licenses in the majority of international destinations:



Building materials

Carry-On luggage with

Lithium batteries

Consumable products (toiletries)

Drugs and Medications


Firewood or Raw wood products

Firearms and Guns

Food items


Ivory products

Live plants


Military Uniforms and/or memorabilia



Religious statues and

Religious ornaments


Weapons (knives, swords, etc.)

Wine, Alcohol, Liquor

All items on the endangered Species List

High Value Items. These items should be carried with you in personal luggage and not included in an international shipment:

 Coin and/or Stamp collectionsFurs

Irreplaceable documentsJewelry

Money, Stocks, Bonds

To be safe, you should also leave out fake plants, toy guns and any items that may be mistaken for a prohibited item.

Please note that anything and everything you ship as an international household goods move cannot be used for commercial purposes or with the intent to sell at your destination country. Such items would fall under the import/export category for which different legal and financial obligations apply.

Country restrictions for an International Move

Some countries may apply restrictions on certain items. This means you’ll either need to obtain a special permit in order to be able to bring the item into the country or not be able to ship it at all.

One of the most common restrictions is the shipment of cars. Depending on the age, mileage, value of your car and your destination country, complete or partial bans may apply. This information will be provided to you by your International Relocation Coordinator at the start of your move.

Rely on us for a stress-free international move including a smooth process of clearing customs. Contact us today.