Moving Tips & Resources

Take It or Leave It: Restricted Items for International Moves

Moving regionally or even across the country can be very challenging, but moving internationally trumps both. There are many things that you’ll have to account for here, including knowing what you can bring and what you can’t bring. It’s about more than just paying for the shipping costs of items – some items are actually prohibited from being brought into certain countries. Know what you can take and you’ll have a smoother, more enjoyable move.

Research Your Destination

The first step is to do some research on your destination country (we can help, of course). Understand that restrictions vary from one nation to another, and what’s perfectly acceptable to one may be completely banned in another. This even applies to nations that share cultural similarities (the US and the UK, for instance). With that being said, there are some common items that are restricted across the board.

Generally Banned Items

Your boxes, suitcases and bags will be subject to a search when you arrive at your destination. Your consulate or a local constable or law enforcement official will conduct these inspections. Firearms are prohibited in general, as are other weapons. Also banned are ivory products. You usually cannot ship liquor, either. Drugs and medications are also often subject to restrictions, and some nations limit your ability to ship religious statues or ornaments. Any pornographic items should not be shipped.

Dangerous Items

Some items should be avoided because they’re hazardous. For instance bleach, paint, aerosol spray cans, weed killer, matches, fire extinguishers and other similar items should never be shipped because they are potentially dangerous in transit. These can be repurchased in your new home. If you have any of these items in your home, give them away or dispose of them before packing begins.

Too Valuable

As a final thought, there are some items that can be shipped, but probably shouldn’t be because of their value. For example, shipping cash is never a wise decision. Irreplaceable documents should also not be shipped. Coin and stamp collections, as well as jewelry should be stored securely in a vault or safety deposit box, rather than being shipped. You can also store high-value items with a trusted friend or family member. However, it’s generally a safer bet to rely on a bank for this.

With this information, it should be simpler to pack and plan your international move, without encountering problems that could cause serious headaches.