Moving Overseas: FAQ

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Please see below for moving advice which may help you when relocating overseas.

When should I get a quote / home survey?

It is advisable to begin making enquiries three months before your estimated moving date. You can start with obtaining online quotes or researching guide prices for your destination (see John Mason International’s Instant Quote System – see the top right of this page). You can then arrange a free home survey. If you require a home survey, contact us to arrange a time and date which is convenient for you.

Will my Quotation include collection or delivery on Saturdays?

Your quotation will be based on a Monday to Friday service unless otherwise requested. Saturday collections and deliveries are avaliable, please ask your Move Manager for details of prices.

Am I allowed to take food in my shipment?

We would advise not to take foodstuffs if possible as Customs are likely to stop your consignment which may delay clearance (depending on the destination country). In some countries, certain foodstuffs are strictly prohibited.

We provide a Customs Guide for you so that you are aware of the potential restrictions / prohibited items. Your dedicated International Move Manager is also always on hand to answer any queries you may have about what to take and what not to take.

How do I arrange for a survey/quotation for my forthcoming International removal?

Just give us a call on 0800 093 2623, drop us an email at or fill in the online enquiry form on this website.

How will my quotation be calculated?

Quotations are based on a number of factors but it is mainly based on the volume of goods to be removed, method of shipment and destination. Also on the services required and access at your collection and delivery locations.

How do International Removals work?

International house moves are very different to domestic moves within the UK as there are far more things to consider and organise, this is where an international removal and shipping specialist can take the pressure off you.

The differences range from planning your moving date as well as your shipping date to coincide with your arrival in the country you are moving to. In addition, it is essential that the removal company has specialist experience in international removals and shipping.  The importance of this can again range from ensuring that your furniture is professionally export packed using the correct export strength materials, your goods are labelled and inventoried correctly for customs at your final destination.   As well as having the peace of mind, knowing that your shipping documentation is being professionally handled by experienced personnel.

How long will shipping take?

Each destination varies – please refer to our website for current approximate port to port timings.  Shipment via a sole use container can be 3-6 weeks quicker than shipment via a shared container.

How do I find out up to date customs regulations and documents needs for the country I am moving too?

Customs regulations are subject to frequent changes. Such changes are not always announced.  We will provide you with a link to the FIDI (Fédération Internationale des Déménageurs Internationaux – the International Federation of International Movers) website which has customs guides for each country.  It is imperative that you familiarise yourself with these regulations prior to booking your removal with JMI.

Is insurance cover essential for my international removal?

Insurance is totally optional.  However, every removal carries an element of risk so we would always advise that you take some level of cover.  Your Move Manager can discuss insurance options with you.  Insurance ranges from 2.5% to 4% of the declared value of your goods – plus insurance premium tax.  To proceed with insurance you would need to complete an insurance proposal form.  This will be provided within our quotation pack.

What happens on moving day?

You will be advised of our crew ETA the working day before. Upon arrival, the crew will walk with you throughout the property and discuss the best method, along with garnering a clearer understanding of your priorities. If you decide to add items to your consignment after the survey has taken please then please ensure that you let us know.  We can then update any quotation offered and also ensure the crew bring the correct materials and the correct size vehicle is sent on the day of collection.

Can I use vacuum bags to reduce volume?

We do not recommend the use of polythene-based materials as these can be affected by transitioning between hot & cold climates, causing “sweat” and subsequent mould/mildew within the container.

What items am I not allowed to include in my shipment?

There are certain items highlighted in our terms and conditions which are prohibited from your shipment, including but not limited to flammable/hazardous goods, jewellery and perishable items. Along with the items JMI prohibit (in line with the BAR), some countries prohibit/restrict certain goods, therefore it is strongly recommended that you have a clear understanding of your destination countries regulations prior to collection.

Please note – Our crew will attempt to guide you regarding these items, however the responsibility is solely the client’s to ensure no prohibited items are included within the shipment.

Can I ship outdoor items?

Yes you can.  However, prior to our packing crew’s arrival please ensure that all dirt residue is cleaned from these items. Pressure washing is advised.  Customs officers, especially in Australia and New Zealand, do check these items thoroughly upon arrival.

Can I ship toiletries?

Yes, however you cannot include aerosols.  If you are shipping perfumes/aftershaves then we would advise that you buy some zip lock bag from the supermarket.  Place each perfume/aftershave individually inside the zip lock bag and seal.  If one perfume/aftershave spills in transit it should be contained to the bag and not ruin anything else in your consignment.

Will my goods be handled by any other parties?

John Mason International will handle the packing, preparation, collection and shipment of your goods in a secure manner. Our agents at your destination country will handle the customs clearance and subsequent delivery/unpacking of your consignment. Customs/Port Authorities may decide to inspect your shipment, however our agents would oversee this process to ensure the safety/protection of your goods.

Please note – All of our international agents are members of FIDI and/or OMNI, and are FAIM 3.1 Top Performers.

Do I need to attend the port when my goods arrive?

In most countries, this is not required, however you may need to attend your local customs office. Our International Move Managers can advise you further with regards to this.

Can I ship my car?

As cars have now been classified as hazardous goods, we would be unable to ship your car for you.  Our staff are not trained to deal with hazardous goods and our insurance will not allow for shipment of hazardous goods/cargo.

Can I store my goods?

John Mason International are able to arrange storage of your goods at either at origin or destination, simply ask your Move Manager for more information, if required.

When will I find out what time the crew will be arriving to start packing?

You will receive a text message the day before collection to advise.  If you collection is on a Monday we will drop you a text on the Friday to confirm the arrival time.

How many days will the crew be with me?

This depends on the volume of your consignment.  Our packing crew’s pack on average 500 cuft a day.  Your move manager will be able to confirm the number of days needed when booking your removal dates.

Can I ship my Christmas decorations?

You can ship Christmas decorations but the importation of pine cones within shipment would be of interest to AQIS officers in Australia and MAF officers in New Zealand.  We would advise you not to ship pine cones or straw decorations in any consignments.  Please check the FIDI guide for the country you are moving to for clarification or ask your Move Manager.

Can I pack my own boxes?

If you wish to pack your own boxes this is fine but you must be aware of the implications.  Firstly a fully inclusive insurance policy cannot be offered – only total loss.  This means total loss of the whole consignment, not damages or loss of individual packages.

How much does an international move cost?

Each move is individual and based on a number of factors: Collection address, access, volume, method of shipment and final destination.  Please call our enquiries team to obtain a quotation or book a video survey.

What if I don’t have my delivery address?

Consignments going to America and Canada need to have a residential address noted on file before we can arrange onward shipment.  This is because we have to pre-lodge customs instructions prior to shipment – this must include your overseas address.  You can use a friend or relative’s address.  We also need a destination address for shipments to the United Arab Emirates.  Most other destinations can have the overseas delivery address noted prior to delivery of your goods.  Our overseas agents will keep in touch with you via email usually.  Therefore, it is imperative that we have a current email address on file.

When is payment due and do I have to pay a deposit?

If your goods are shipping via a shared container payment is required after collection but prior to shipment.  We prefer to bring your goods back to our warehouse, confirm the final volume and then raise your final invoice.  The same goes for airfreight or LCL consignments.  We require payment seven days prior to collection for sole use containers.  Your move manager will confirm all details to you upon booking  your removal date.

What is FAIM?

FAIM was developed by FIDI (International Federation of International Movers) in 1997 and is now the industry’s leading quality standard for international moving companies around the world.

To obtain FAIM accreditation, International Removals companies must undergo a rigorous on-site assessment to ensure that the company meets all of the FAIM criteria.  FIDI members must achieve at least 70% in each quality parameter or competence area and this is re-assessed every two years.  There are 16 quality parameters, some of which include, facilities and equipment, staff knowledge, legal compliance, financial stability, documentation and insurance and risk management. FAIM is independently audited by one of the world’s leading management consultants, Ernst and Young.

FAIM certification provides peace of mind for customers as it covers every aspect of the International Moving process. John Mason International are established members of FIDI. Our FAIM qualification demonstrates our serious commitment to providing a high quality service for people moving overseas.

Our Accreditations

As one of the leading providers of overseas removals services on a national and international scale, we pride ourselves on providing a professional and friendly service from our highly trained and competent team. We have been recognised as one of the leading international moving companies by the networks below and we are, therefore, proud of our credentials and the quality standard they represent. In 2023 we became the most trusted moving company in the UK.

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Some of our Customer Reviews

The packers were careful, quick and courteous. I highly recommend this company and would definitely use them again! Efficient, polite, punctual: could not ask for more.

Hertfordshire, UK to Virginia, USA - March 2023

From start with Michelle to finish with Gill the level of service was excellent. John Mason and its international partners handled my move from Devon to Australia seemingly effortlessly. I couldn't ask for better.

Devon, UK to Perth, Australia –April 2023

Absolutely one of the best movers I have worked with. Pleasant helpful admin staff and the delivery drivers were absolute angels sorting and moving the boxes where I asked them to. Arrived exactly when they said it would.

Yorkshire, UK to Sydney, Australia - March 2023

Read more independent reviews about us on TrustPilot
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