Advice for cross-border moves: 7 tips to help with paperwork

November 28, 2014

Moving requires being organized. Relocating between countries is even more complex. Here's some paperwork advice for cross-border moves.

You must provide all legal documents and declarations to customs when transferring property internationally.

As such, most countries impose tariffs on certain imported goods—and occasionally on exported goods. In general, you need to go through customs when you leave your country of origin and again when you enter the destination country.

Tip #1: Ensure all documentation is complete and organized. The last thing you want is to be delayed—either when you leave your country or arrive at your destination—because of missing paperwork.

Note that legal requirements vary from one country to another. Most countries allow duty-free entry of used household goods you've had for more than a year, but few countries permit exclusions for items you've had for less than a year.

What should I do?

The best way is to visit the new country’s government website and look for links to immigration, customs information and border formalities.

Tip #2:You should also search embassy websites. They're full of useful and necessary information pertaining to international moves. There, you'll find legal documents, applications, eligibility conditions for duty-free exclusions, a list of duty-free goods, and more.

Crossing the border

When making a reservation with a border services agency, you need to provide them with certain information. This includes proof of your date of birth, gender, citizenship, as well as detailed information on the type of identification documents you need to have ready when you move.

Tip #3: If you provide inaccurate or incomplete information, you will likely be subject to a thorough investigation and interrogation at the border. Be sure to provide everything that's asked.

At the time of travel

You need to have in your possession all identification and official documents. All details must be exactly the same as those you provided when you made your appointment with customs.

Tip #4: You should have in your possession the original piece of valid identification. Photocopies, expired cards or any duplicates are invalid and will not be accepted.

Travellers under 18 cannot cross the border without an adult

Border services are very concerned about the safety of children crossing the border.

Tip #5: If a child is traveling without their parents or is accompanied by just one parent, make sure they have letters signed by one or both parents, or by an appointed guardian, if the parents are not present. Customs will require proof in writing to allow you to cross the border.

Tip #6: If a parent is deceased, a copy of the death certificate will streamline questioning and reduce the delay.

Tip #7: Parents who have joint custody should carry copies of legal documents as proof.

Don't get frustrated by all the red tape associated with moving to another country. The key advice for any cross-border move? Get yourself organized to help with the paperwork.

Advice for cross-border moves: 7 tips to help with paperwork
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