International Moving Company


Does anyone have an international moving company to recommend?
We’re moving from Washington state to France, and I’m searching for a shipper that has had considerable experience with international moves (customs clearing agents, forms etc.).

Thanks for any advice.

Google for international companies that are in your state (but have offices in Europe), ask them for a quote and the contact details of previous clients.
Have shipped entire household from NYC to London - to Toronto - back to London. Any of the large international companies will do a good job for a price.
They are all equipped to handle customs etc. Some work you might need to do (we had to declare alcohol going to Canada and had to do a bottle count/declaration/pay duty).
Do pay for insurance - if the ship sinks, your goods will be gone. Same with packing of boxes, if the movers pack, you are insured. If you pack you are not. And recon that everything will be in transit for at least 6 weeks.

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Thank you for the information and advice Bettina.

I moved stuff from NY and TX in 2015.
The company I used:
Mark Novoselitsky – General Manager

Schumacher Cargo Logistics, Inc. - LOS ANGELES - HOUSTON - MIAMI - SAVANNAH - NEW YORK

Corporate Address: 1027 Newark Ave, Elizabeth, NJ 07208 - USA

Tel: 908 469-4444 Ext 500 - Fax: 908 469-4411

E-Mail: - Web Site:

I was satisfied with their service, as was the family that recommended Schumacher to me.

Thanks for the recommendation PJ.

I just looked up the website and we will put them on our list of companies to consider. We’re still in the process of sorting through our belongings so we still have some time, but I will contact them soon to get an idea of what services they provide, as well as what will be required from us.

Glad to help.

In my case they were very helpful and flexible, several things has to match. Bettina mentioned things to keep in mind, good advice.

I got all my stuff delivered and unloaded at my house in 17, Door-to-Door, and surprisingly fast.

Good to hear.

I hope they also help out with most of the required paperwork.

Peter, paperwork and getting your belongings from A to B is what you pay for. In the case of our ‘booze’ we had to make a list containing the bottles & contents of each bottle. Only because we could not possible leave various 3/4 bottles of ancient Scotch etc. did we go into detail.
Packing done by the movers - even they are not 100% fail safe. I had all my lampshades arriving crushed, but the insurance paid full price for new ones. So just the pain of finding replacements.
To save on costs - look at each piece of belonging. If it can be replaced in France, leave behind. If you are attached - ship it. Also consider electrical goods, lamps etc are easy and work in France, anything with a motor won’t unless you get a transformer.
We were in the lucky position of company paying the moving costs - so I took everything including the old Landrover to and from Canada.
Good luck!

In my case I think French custom asked specifically for booze and perfume(!).
the packers made detailed list of everything and I had to put a value on each item ( for the insurance). Also I paid something extra for customs to scan the container instead of opening and checking by hand.

Thank you Bettina.
We have so much to sort through, and still don’t know what to do about some items. I will ask some moving companies, but maybe you might have an idea?
The customs regulations states:
List all electrical items separately (purchase invoices required) must show brand name and serial number
If we don’t have the purchase invoices do you think those items be confiscated?
Video tapes, fax machines, telex machines and books will be held temporarily by customs until necessary authorization is obtained for each item
We have many home movies on VHS tapes, 8mm videocassettes and 8mm film; I assume that won’t be a problem. We would like to convert everything to digital one day, but hope to do that in France, assuming that such equipment is available there. If we had to do it here, it will only further delay our move.
I didn’t see any mention of computers and hard drives, but the movers must know how that is dealt with.
And, as you mentioned, we would need transformers for those items.
Thanks so much for your help!

Thanks PJ.
You said you paid something extra for customs to scan the container instead of opening and checking by hand.
How does that work? Does the scan actually show all that they need to see, so that you have less of a wait time?

I think it worked similar to airports: I assume they looked at the list of items comparing it to x ray of container?

Transport company you choose can give you up-to-date info.
They can brief you om custom rules.
I am sorry but I do not remember all details, but in my case it was ’ piece of cake’, I had electronics such as computers, printers, VHS, no issues at all.
Oh, I was relocated from Sweden to US 1996, so a lot of stuff came originally from ‘EU’ country, not sure if that mattered, but I mentioned that to the movers.

’ piece of cake’ would be great!
I’ll call the movers to ask my list of questions.
Thanks Again!

Peter - re electrical items. Would not be worried about confiscating, at the worst the customs office will want duty to be paid. If you can prove that items have been in your possession for years (by proof of purchase invoice) that will not be the case.
We never bothered bringing HiFi, but you might need your US equipment in order to transfer VHS to digital. I remember US standards for TVs were (are) different NTSC (US) vs. PAL (Europe) SECAM (France). Same applied for VHS machines, DVD players… Get a bigger transformer than your equipment needs and look at amps as well as wattage. HiFi and computers are sensitive little beast when it comes to power supply. Don’t bother with little travel transformers, they will kill your electronics.
Suggest to copy computer hard drive to an external one (which you should be able to bring in your luggage) at least you have your files.
I had no idea the customs offices are concerned by books, it never stopped our shipments to be held… We had literally thousands of Vinyl Records, CD’s, DVD’s and books going every which way (both of us working for a record company) and nothing ever happened.
Talk to a few shipping companies, they should be able to clarify.
We are preparing to relocate to France by end of September, this time I have to do the packing as we are retired, So NO MORE paid for company moves and the logistics of moving Cats, Cars & Stuff are mind blowing as half of our stuff is in storage (have forgotten already whats in the boxes) and the other half is in a rented house.

Thanks Bettina, for the information on electrical items. Some machines have manufacture dates on the back, so maybe that will satisfy the customs office.
I guess we should take our video players (VHS, videocassette, DVD) and do our conversions over there; we already have enough to do before our move. Sounds like you know exactly what I’m talking about (too much stuff).
So PAL is different than SECAM?
We also have thousands of albums, 45s and CDs, but hope to shrink our collection before our move. Reel to reel tapes and cassettes can be played on machines over there (as well as 8mm film?).
I was curious about which record company the two of you worked for, and what type of work you did for them. I play music (not professionally) and we moved to New York in 1982 (until 1993) for that purpose. I hope to someday find some creative musicians in France to work on some original music.
The big items we have to sell are my guitars and amplifiers. I would like to keep most (or all) of them, but I think the move would be simpler the less we took. There are regulations that require special permits when transporting guitars from the US to France, concerning the types of wood used in the construction, and also what year they were built. I’m still trying to understand it all. My guitars date from 1965 to 2007.
I didn’t refer to that in my first post but, since you worked within the music business, I mention it now, in the slight chance that you might know others that may have been in the same situation.
I should probably sell all my amps, but a few of those are also old and rare, and I can always use them with a transformer.
I think it may take me some time to sell everything.
I will also call some moving companies soon to see what they would advise concerning all of the above.
Thanks for the suggestion of putting all computer stuff onto an external hard drive and taking it with us on the plane.
I wish we could have moved to France with cats. We just lost our last cat (of seven) in May. I think we will be grieving for a long time. We miss her so much! She was almost 22 years old, and we had her since she was a kitten. I just came across the posting of all the cat pictures a couple of days ago, and posted pictures of Moka (I also saw your beautiful cats; the one that’s all stretched out has the same colors and long hair as Moka’s sister Ginger, who lived to be 13 years old).
You’re so lucky to be moving to France by September! I have no idea how long it’s going to take us; I’ll be happy if we can make it within a year, but I would prefer today. Once we’ve finished sorting, selling and donating, we will put our house up for sale and take a trip to France to try to decide where we might want (and afford) to live.
Thanks again for your help.
Have fun packing!

Completely, also don’t forget any DVDs (or Blu-ray disks) you bring over with you will be region 1 and won’t play on a French bought (region 2) player.

:roll_eyes::wink: Thankfully, one can buy region-free players here in France. Just need to specify …:relaxed::relaxed::relaxed:

True, I bought one in the UK years ago - but it then refused to play the region 1 disks that I had :frowning: In the end I set up a DVD drive on the computer to be region 1 and copied the disks to unencrypted DVDs.

However it is worth being aware of the issue.

We have Region 1 and Region 2 dvd’s so needed the “region-free”. Took a while to locate, but it was worth it.

I have a device that I have hardly used but it should be able to do PAL and SECAM.