What Your International Moving Company WON’T Move?

When moving internationally you may not want or be able to bring everything with you. However, even as you are packing up your entire household in preparation for an international move, you need to know that there are certain items that international movers will not move. Make sure you are aware ahead of time of what your international moving company won’t move for an easier and less stressful experience.


Duty is the amount of money you pay on items coming from other countries, similar to tax–except duty is collected on imported items. Most items have specific duty rates that you’ll have to pay so it’s important to remember that any duties will have to be paid in addition to your regular charges for your international move. More often than not your moving company’s overseas counterpart will be able to settle any charges for you. Just be sure to obtain a receipt of any payments made.

Restricted and prohibited items

Restricted items and prohibited items might sound the same, but there is a slight difference. Prohibited items cannot be taken with you at all while restricted items can be moved with proper qualifications. They may need special permits and documentation to be allowed into the new country.

Prohibited items

It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to anything. Making yourself familiar with these commonly prohibited items will save you time when it comes to moving.

  • Firearms – For obvious security reasons, firearms and explosives are not allowed across international borders. However, some countries do allow certain types of firearms into their countries– but you must follow correct customs procedures.
  • Alcohol – Depending on your country of destination, alcohol is either restricted or entirely prohibited. Certain countries may allow a limited amount of alcohol to be shipped with your household goods, which is subject to import duties and taxes. Therefore, it is best to consult our moving team prior to packing.
  • Narcotics – Just don’t do it. Narcotics are illegal and shouldn’t be included along with your items when moving.
  • Food or Foodlike items– Including but not limited to: Produce, fruits, any food derived from an animal, canned goods, oils, spices, baking powders, and more.
  • Flammable and Combustible Materials– Including but not limited to: Rubbing Alcohol, cooking oil, paint, gasoline, nail polish, wood stains, adhesives, thinners and removers, certain batteries, matches, gas tanks, detergents and more.
  • Agricultural products – Including houseplants and seeds – agricultural products and seeds aren’t allowed to be carried in civilian shipments. Many regular household plants can’t be taken overseas either. Exceptions can sometimes be made but you’ll need to provide explanations.
  • Pornographic materials and magazines – Many international countries won’t allow pornographic materials to be brought into their country.
  • Toxic substances – Household chemicals may be moved domestically when you move, but leave them in your home country if you plan on moving internationally. Toxic chemicals will need to be left home also.
  • Pressure spray cans – Because these cans are pressurized, they can burst during shipment if temperatures fluctuate too much. This will not only damage your shipment but it can be hazardous depending on what is inside the pressurized can.
  • Money – While it isn’t prohibited to bring notes and currency from your home country with you, you may need to file paperwork if you’re transporting more than a certain amount. For example, if you’re taking or bringing more than $10,000 in the United States, you’ll need to file a 4790 form with US Customs.
  • Pirated/counterfeit materials – Customs will check for copies of pirated materials like books, movies, music and any other media. Pirated material is commonly smuggled and then sold for very low prices.

Each country’s customs regulations will differ

For more information on what is and is not allowed through customs, do a search for the country you plan on moving to and find their government’s website, their customs website or even their consul’s website. These websites will likely have all the information you’ll need to know about what is or is not allowed into the country. They should also have information about any documentation you may need for any other restricted items you may be considering bringing with you during your overseas move.

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