This article explains how to organise an overseas household to move to a new home in Spain with an international removal or shipping company.
Although moving abroad requires more advanced planning and cost than a domestic move, we can break down the planning of shipping household items from the UK to Spain into several simple steps. Following the guidelines below can help ensure a smooth household move.
Learn Regulations and Restrictions
Each destination country has rules and regulations regarding household moves and shipping cars. Taxes on imported cars, for example, can vary dramatically. Consult the Spanish consulate or embassy to learn:
- What documents are required
- If items brought into the country for personal use are tax-free
- The maximum quantity of items to avoid commercial import taxes
- Regulations on importing a car
Decide What to Bring
Overseas moves can be simplified by bringing along enough furniture and household items to set up the house upon arrival. This helps minimise shopping trips for necessities in a new country and might save money as well.
In addition to basic household items, consider bringing:
- Seasonal clothing
- Kids’ toys
- Home decor items
- Toiletries and dry-shelf food items you will miss that are unavailable or more expensive in Spain.
Decide Where to Buy Appliances
When considering appliances, consider such factors as the guarantee, ease of repair, and currency exchange rates when deciding whether to purchase major appliances in Spain or from a UK store specialising in overseas appliances. It usually makes financial sense to sell your appliances in the UK and buy new appliances in Spain.
Check Compatibility of Electronics
Check household electronics to see if they are compatible in Spain. Many televisions, computers, DVD players, cordless phones and more will require only an adapter to work.
Choose a Shipping Company
Call several companies before deciding whether to use a full-service international moving (removal) company or a commercial shipping company. An international mover’s fees might include packing and loading household items and furniture; a shipping company will leave all the work to the moving individual, although it might offer loading help for an additional fee.
Ask what documentation, paperwork, and fees are involved.
Schedule the Move
Find out the transit time from the door to the overseas port. In most cases, this will take a week or longer. Plan to pack and ship goods in advance of the family’s actual departure.
If housing is still uncertain, pick a shipping schedule that allows the cargo to arrive about two weeks later than the family. This avoids the possibility of paying hefty fees at the port for not moving cargo or unexpectedly having to look for temporary storage.
Be fully packed and have reliable moving help at the scheduled time. Most shipping companies allow only several hours to load a container and will charge a substantial fee if this takes longer.
Collecting and Moving Cargo
Be prepared for delays and try to be available at the port as soon as the cargo has arrived. Expect to:
- Show proof that the shipping fee has been paid
- Pay a receiving fee and deposit to the shipping company
- Hire an agent to deal with customs officials (optional).
Once released, the cargo will need to be moved. If the shipping company doesn’t arrange ground transport, plan to hire a truck at the port and possibly workers to unload the container.
International Moving Simplified
Moving overseas involves uncertainties, but by planning and following the tips above, an international household move to Spain can go smoothly.