Everything You Need to Know About Moving To USA

International Shipping for your move to the USA

Planning a move to the USA? International Sea & Air Shipping is a professional international moving company that will aid you with all your overseas shipping needs. Our affordable international moving rates for safe shipping of your household goods to the USA will make your move easy and stress-free!

We provide various international moving services for your overseas move – such as full container service and lift van services with complete documentation, customs assistance, insurance, shipping, storage and inland transportation. We can even provide international vehicle shipping to get your car safely to the USA!

International Sea & Air Shipping is committed to providing you with a cost-effective package that enables you to have an efficient move. With over 600 Agents and Affiliates Worldwide, we are able to coordinate your move and pave the way for a smooth custom clearance and expeditious service.  Get a quote today.

What You Need to Know About Moving to the USA

Moving to the USA is exciting – but it also requires proper planning and preparation to ensure a worry-free move. International Sea & Air Shipping will guide you with your international move by providing assistance with documents, customs regulations, overseas shipping, and other international moving services for your move to the USA, but it always helps to conduct some research of your own. The relocation process for international moves is time consuming and requires proper documentation and authority. Whether you are a returning resident, a government or military employee, or a non-resident that is brand new to the country, you’ll need to know how to get your items through customs without any delays.

Before moving to the USA, you should know:

  • Since September 11th, the U.S. customs department has tightened security and increased inspection of all international shipments entering the country.
  • Import documentation is checked thoroughly. Incomplete or incorrect documents will be rejected and shipments placed “on hold” incurring demur-rage charges.
  • Most shipments entering the United States are subject to X-ray procedure.
  • An increasing number of containers are randomly selected for “physical” inspection. This can cause delays in customs clearance, resulting in demur-rage and/or per diem charges.
  • Customs clearance can take between 4 – 8 days from date of arrival.
  • We suggest that all import documentation, including Form 3299, supplemental declaration, power of attorney, CLEAR passport photo, and copy of visa, is forwarded to our office at least seven (7) days prior to arrival of your shipment.


What are household and personal effects?

Household items or effects are typically most of the belongings and furnishings you have in your current home. These items include (but are not limited to) things like dishes, silverware, artwork, furniture, toys and rugs. To move such items into the US, they must have been used in your house for at least one year, and must not be sold or given to any other person. The complete inventory of your goods will serve as the packing list, and will be given to customs upon request. These goods may or may not accompany you when you travel to the US – you can opt to ship them separately, and customs will notify you when your shipment has arrived.

Personal effects are items that belong to an individual and include (but are not limited to) items such as clothing, jewelry, cameras and tape recorders, and cannot be entered as household effects.

To import your items shipment, you will need to fill out the Customs Form (CF) 6059B, which requires personal information about the traveler/family and the nature of the trip. You will also need to complete the CF 3299 form (Declaration for Free Entry of Unaccompanied Articles).

Documents Required for Moving to USA

When moving to the USA you will need the proper documents to successfully enter the country and clear your shipment through customs. The international moving specialists at International Sea & Shipping can guide you through this process to ensure everything goes smoothly.

Some required documents will include:

U.S. CUSTOMS FORM 3299: required to clear your unaccompanied personal effects and household goods through U.S. Customs. Without the completed form, International Sea & Air Shipping will not be able to arrange customs clearance.

  • PART I
    You (the shipper) must complete the following sections of Part I of form 3299:
    1. Importer’s (your) name – The full name of the person (importer) bringing effects into the US.
    2. Date of birth (DOB)
    3. Date of arrival – The date of arrival into the US of the importer from the country where the goods were used.
    4. U.S. address – The permanent address in the US for the importer. If the address is not available, you may use a business address, a relative’s address, or an address in which you may be traced by the US government if necessary.
    5. Port of arrival – The port at which the importer first arrived in the United States. Name of the seaport, airport or border point where the importer processed CBP on the date of arrival (item 3).
    6. Arriving vessel, carrier, train and flight – The name of the airline and flight number, name of vessel and voyage number, train name and train number.
    7. Name(s) of accompanying household member(s) – Full names and relationships of family members (immediate) of the importer who traveled with him/her. You are not required to complete Section 8, Part I of the form.
    8. Articles for which free entry is claimed (not required) – importer or destination agent must provide the following:
      -Date: arrival of shipment date into the US.
      -Name of vessel/carrier: name of transportation/ shipping company.
      -From: Name of country the items were shipped from.
      -OBL number, AWB number, IT number: Bill of Lading number, Air Waybill number or immediate transportation document
      -Number and kinds of containers: total number of containers and type (e.g. wood, suitcases, crates, etc).
      -Marks and numbers: Identifying factors.
    1. ResidencyUsed to indicate your previous and present residency status. If you maintain a permanent residence overseas, you will check “is,” but if you are entering the US to take up permanent residence, you will check “was.” You will need to state the name of the country of your last residence, the length of time in which you lived in that country, and your residency status upon arriving to the US.
    2. Statement(s) of eligibility for free entry of articles – You must declare the items for which you seek duty-free entry. More than one statement can be marked, and please note the choice between household goods and personal effects.

    If your shipments are not moving under a Government Bill of Lading (military), you are not required to complete Part III of form 3299 form. This section may apply to military personnel and their families, or other US government agency personnel and their dependents.
    Mark all applicable boxes and declare any of the following items contained in your shipment:
    1. Articles for the account of other persons – Items intended for gifts
    2. Articles for sale or commercial use – You may need an additional CBP entry.
    3. Firearms and/or ammunition – Additional forms and/or permits from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives need to be completed.
    4. Alcoholic beverages of all types or tobacco products – Individual states may restrict or prohibit some such articles, or require payment of state taxes (which should be paid before the shipment will be released).
    5. Fruits, plants, seeds, meats, or birds – Subject to inspection by the FDA or APHIS.
    6. Fish, wildlife, or animal products – Subject to health, quarantine, agriculture or wildlife prohibitions or requirements
    7. Foreign household effects acquired abroad and used less than one year – Articles under this category are subject to import duties.
    8. Foreign-made articles acquired in the United States and taken abroad on this trip or acquired abroad on another trip that was previously declared to U.S. Customs – Articles under this category may require proof that the article had previously been in the US.
    9. Articles taken abroad which were altered or
      repaired overseas – articles under this category must be supported with receipts, showing when and where the alterations or repairs were made, and the value/cost of such alterations.

    Section D, you are required to list any items declared in Part IV (items 1-7), then provide customs with a description and a value of the merchandise
  • PART V

    If you have hired an international moving company or freight forwarder to transport your goods, you will need to provide the name of the carrier and a signature and printed name of the driver.

    You must sign form 3299 in Part VI, Section 2, and date the form in Part IV, Section 3. The completed, signed form should be mailed to International Sea & Air Shipping.

Other Required Documents

  • Supplemental Customs Form
    1. Be sure to complete items 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, and 9
    2. If you are a residential alien, complete item 6
    3. If you are a corporate transferee, complete items 10, 11, 13, 14
    4. You are not required to complete items 15 and 16
    5. At item 17, check “Importer”
  • Power of Attorney: if one is not completed, you will need to be present at customs for your shipment to clear.
    1. Mark the box “Individual” in the upper right corner.
    2. Print your name in the first blank on the form
    3. Skip to the bottom where it reads, “has caused these presents to be sealed and signed: (Signature)”
    4. Write your name and date the form on the next line to the right – any co-worker, friend, or family member can sign as a “Witness”
    5. The form does not have to be notarized
  • Copy of work visa
  • Copy of passport(Visa page, and clear and legible copy of photo page)
  • Work permit
  • Pet customs documents (health certificate, vaccination records)
  • Vehicle registration, driver’s license, and title for auto shipping

Downloadable Forms

Custom Form 3299  |   Supplemental Declaration  |   Power of Attorney

Motto : In God We Trust (official) & Out of many, one (de-facto)

Capital : Washington, DC

National Anthem : “The Star-Spangled Banner”


Location : North America, bordering both the North Atlantic Ocean and the North Pacific Ocean, between Canada and Mexico.
Area : Total : 9,826,675 sq km
Land : 9,161,966 sq km
Water : 664,709 sq km
Note : Includes only the 50 states and District of Columbia
Climate : Mostly temperate, but tropical in Hawaii and Florida, arctic in Alaska, semiarid in the great plains west of the Mississippi River, and arid in the Great Basin of the southwest; low winter temperatures in the northwest are ameliorated occasionally in January and February by warm chinook winds from the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains


Nationality : American(s), American
Population : 313,232,044 (July 2011 est.)
Major Cities : 
New York – Newark 19.3 million; Los Angeles – Long Beach-Santa Ana 12.675 million; Chicago 9.134 million; Miami 5.699 million; WASHINGTON, D.C. (capital) 4.421 million (2009)
Languages : 
English 82.1%, Spanish 10.7%, other Indo-European 3.8%, Asian and Pacific island 2.7%, Other 0.7% (2000 census), Note: Hawaiian is an official language in the state of Hawaii


GDP : $14.72 trillion (2010 est.)
Exchange Rates : British pounds per US dollar : 1 (2010), 0.6504 (2010), 0.6494 (2009), 0.5302 (2008), 0.4993 (2007), 0.5418 (2006) Canadian dollars per US dollar : 1.0346 (2010), 1.1548 (2009), 1.0364 (2008), 1.0724 (2007), 1.1334 (2006) Chinese yuan per US dollar : 6.7852 (2010), 6.8249 (2009), 6.9385 (2008), 7.61 (2007), 7.97 (2006) euros per US dollar : 0.7715 (2010), 0.7338 (2009), 0.6827 (2008), 0.7345 (2007), 0.7964 (2006) Japanese yen per US dollar : 88.67 (2010), 94.5 (2009), 103.58 (2008), 117.99 (2007), 116.18 (2006)


Airports : 15,079 (2010)
Roadways : Total : 6,506,204 km
Waterways : 41,009 km
Ports & Terminals : Cargo ports (tonnage) : Baton Rouge, Corpus Christi, Houston, Long Beach, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Plaquemines, Tampa, Texas City container ports (TEUs) : Los Angeles (7,849,985), Long Beach (6,350,125), New York/New Jersey (5,265,058), Savannah (2,616,126), Oakland (2,236,244), Hampton Roads (2,083,278) (2008) cruise departure ports (passengers) : Miami (2,032,000), Port Everglades (1,277,000), Port Canaveral (1,189,000), Seattle (430,000), Long Beach (415,000) (2009)