Moving to the USA

Relocating overseas?

The United States of America is considered to be the land of opportunity and one of the most diverse nations on this planet. It is the home of the American Dream which is the national ethos of the U.S, a set of ideals in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success.

Moving your family and belongings across the Atlantic will obviously require some sensible logistical planning. Our experienced team will take all this stress away, allowing you to concentrate on other aspects of you emigration. We’ll be able to guide you through the whole moving process including help with the documentation that you’ll need to supply and other legislative information that you’ll need to know.

We will sit down with you and help make a plan for what needs to be done, within 48 hours we’ll provide a free, no-obligation quote to use our services, in order to provide you with some budget certainty.
If you are planning to move but don’t have a set date or address, that is fine, we just need an approximate date on both counts to give you a realistic quote.
On your moving day we’ll ensure that all your belongings are packed carefully and you are ready to start your new journey. This includes any documentation and restrictions you need to be made aware of.

We have put together a Guide to Planning your Removal Overseas  Download here


Documents you will require for shipment of your effects;

  • A US Customs form 3299
  • A Customs Supplemental Declaration for unaccompanied household effects
  • A copy of your Passport and Visa.
  • A Numbered Inventory / Packing list of goods
  • Valid address in the USA.

For more information, please visit

Timeframes & Schedule

Sole Use Containers

The quickest way to ship your effects to The United States is by sole use container. The container is packed at your property and driven directly to the port where it is loaded on the next outbound ship.

Shipping containers generally come in two sizes;

  • 20ft. This container holds 1050 cu ft.; large enough to hold an average 2- 3 bedroom house.
  • 40ft. This container holds 2100 cu ft.; large enough to hold an average 3- 4 bedroom house

Shipment to the East Coast using a sole use container usually takes around 12 days port to port and around 30 days port to port when travelling to the West Coast. Although some allowance should be made for seasonal fluctuations.


Our groupage service is recommended for smaller consignments as you pay only for the space you occupy in the container. Consignments are export packed at your home and taken to our warehouse where it is consolidated with other consignments bound for the same destination, as soon as volumes permit.

Shipment to the East Coast of the United States by groupage generally takes between 5-10 weeks door to door when using groupage. And 8-12 weeks door to door when travelling to the West Coast, with allowance for some seasonal fluctuations.

Shipping cars*

Cars can be shipped to The United States subject to approval by U.S Customs and Border Protection of Transport. Vehicles are subject to various federal agencies requirements, increasing the possibility that the vehicle will be delayed (or possibly refused) entry. You will also be liable for additional duty and tax charges, as well as ensuring the vehicle meets current standards outlined by the CBP.

You will be required to prepare your car for shipment. This includes ensuring it is cleaned and free from soil and debris (including the underside). We will be able to advise you further on the steps required.

For CBP clearance you will need the shipper’s or carriers original bill of lading, the bill of sale, foreign registration, and any other documents covering the vehicle. You will also be required to complete EPA form 3520-1 and DOT form HS-7, declaring the emissions and safety provisions under which the vehicle is being imported.

Please note you must have applied and been granted Import Approval before shipment. Failure to do so can mean your car is impounded upon arrival and you will become liable for costly storage fees.

For more information on importing your vehicle click here for CBP information on importing a vehicle.

What can't I take?

Certain items cannot be accepted under general conditions of carriage and storage e.g. explosives, flammable gasses, lithium batteries, poisons & toxins, scuba tanks, gas cylinders.

The United States has its own strict guidelines of what can’t be taken into the country, especially items which they deem a danger to their habitats and agriculture. Items of biosecurity concern are those which originate from animals and plants or may have come into contact with animals, plants, soil or water. It is also worth noting that each state will have its own laws on what can be imported.
Below is a summary of some of the everyday items that are prohibited or restricted.

Prohibited Goods

The items listed below will be seized and destroyed by CBP.

  • Feathers, furs, skins, tusks from endangered species.
  • Merchandise from embargoed countries.

Restricted Goods

Some everyday items which are restricted and may require permits

  • Plants and seeds require permits
  • Alcohol is subject to both federal and state laws and allows for a reasonable amount
  •  The importation of food is discouraged.
  • Firearms and ammunition are subject to restrictions and permits.
  • Many animal products require permits or are prohibited ; Such as ivory, skins and feathers
  • Medications are restricted.

The above lists a by no means exhaustive. Further details on restricted and prohibited items can be found on the U.S Customs and Border Protection Website.

What isn't covered in the removal cost?*

It is important that all details about your properties and access to them are passed on to us. Unless specifically requested, charges for storage, special lifting equipment and tranship due to limited access for a large vehicle are excluded from the quotation. You are also responsible for parking permits and charges.

Any duties or customs charges that become payable on inspection of your goods upon arrival in The United States will also be your responsibility so it is prudent to budget for these from the outset.


Containers arriving in the United States are subject to inspection by CBP. If your container holds items of particular interest it will almost certainly be inspected.

Inspection charges vary from state to state. There also may be additional charges for fumigation, steam cleaning or treatment for items which have not been sufficiently cleaned prior to shipment or show sign of infestation. These charge can total $200 – $1700 or more for a full 40ft container.

Duty and Tax

You may import furniture, dishes, linens, libraries, artwork and similar household furnishings for your personal use free of duty. To be eligible for duty-free exemption, the articles must have either been available for your use or used in a household where you were a resident for one year. The year of use does not need to be continuous, nor does it need to be the year immediately before the date of importation.

Personal and household effects entitled to duty-free entry need not accompany you to the United States; you may have them shipped to your U.S. address at a later time if you choose. However items cannot clear customs unless you are in the country.

There are special rules on the importation of original works of art and antiques (over 100 years old) which we will be able to advise further.

What happens when my goods arrive at their destination?*

When your consignment arrives at the destination port or airport our destination partner will contact you to arrange customs and quarantine formalities as well as a suitable date for delivery to your residence.

As we are managing your relocation we will have already ensured that all the correct documents have been completed to ensure your effects are not tied up in customs which can prove costly.

Upon delivery our destination partner will complete the unpacking of all items and position furniture as required and remove discarded packing materials.


We take the utmost care with every shipment and use specialist boxes and protective wrap to ensure your effects arrive safety in whichever corner of the globe you are moving. We do however recommend that you take out Marine Insurance as accidents can happen.

Cover is available on professionally packed goods for all risks of loss and/or damage in transit. Cover on owner packed boxes is limited to total loss only.

Please ensure your insure your items for full replacement value at destination, it is not advisable to under-insure your items.

We will provide you with an Insurance Proposal Form, which must be completed prior to the packing and collection date.

Insurance premiums are subject to Insurance Premium Tax (IPT), at the current rate. Please note that if you decline cover, we will rely upon our BAR Terms & Conditions (clause 8) in the unforeseen event of loss or damage, however caused.

*Please note rules, regulations and charges are subject to change and we advise all customers to obtain direct rulings from their destination customs authority.

Emigrating To The USA : What Else You Need To Know

Applying For A USA Visa

When moving to the USA permanently, you must apply for a Green Card (Permanent Resident Card), which gives you official immigration status in America. 

To obtain a green card you must fit under one of the following categories that best suits your situation: 

  • Through family 
  • Through employment 
  • As a special immigrant 
  • Through refugee or asylee status 
  • For human trafficking and crime victims 
  • For victims of abuse 
  • Through other categories 
  • Through registry 

For more information on the eligibility requirements of each of these categories for moving to the USA, take a look at the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services website.

Once you’ve identified the green card that is best suited to your circumstances for emigrating to the USA, all applicants must provide the following documentation to apply to be a permanent resident: 

  • Birth certificate
  • Criminal history 
  • Copy of passport page with non immigrant visa 
  • Photos (two identical passport photos taken within 30 days of filing the application)
  • Medical examination 
  • Form G-325A, Biographic Information Sheet 

However, each of the Green Card categories may require additional documentation to those above, you can check the additional documents that are required for each green card at

After you have applied for the Green Card and have provided all of the supporting documents and fees, your application will be reviewed and an interview will be arranged, of which you will then be issued with your card that will be valid for 10 years. 

Healthcare In The USA

Something to consider when moving to the USA is that there is no NHS equivalent when it comes to healthcare, of which this is all privatised and whenever you receive medical treatment in America you will be left with a bill to pay. 

Therefore, it is vitally important when emigrating to the USA that you make sure that you have some type of medical cover, whether this is offered with a job relocation package or having your own policy. With medical cover, this means that if something bad happens then you’ll be covered and won't have to pay the whole bill, only 8.5% of Americans live without health insurance. 

However, the government does have some schemes to help Americans receive required healthcare, being; Medicaid and Obamacare (Affordable Care Act). 

Medicaid is a scheme in place to help those who have a low income pay for their medical cover. Although, if you are moving to the USA soon, you may not be able to access this service for around five years after receiving your official immigration status.

Obamacare was a law passed in 2010 to help improve the access to healthcare for Americans, as before this, health insurers had the ability to refuse insurance to somebody if they fell sick or had pre-existing medical conditions that would require healthcare.

Until 2019, it was mandatory for you to have some sort of health insurance as part of the Obamacare legislation to avoid a fine. However, a few of the American states still require you to be subscribed to an ACA compliant health insurance policy and will provide penalties to anyone who doesn't comply. Therefore, it is important to check when moving to the USA if the state that you are moving to requires this if you don't already have health insurance covered.

Pet Relocation To The USA 

When moving to the USA with pets, people often think that this is far more straightforward than it is to relocate to other popular countries.

However, the rules and regulations for pets when moving to the USA can vary from state to state, so it is important to check out the rules for the state that you are moving to. 

The typical price of pets moving to the USA from the UK, can be anywhere between £900 - £1500 for a dog and around £755 for a cat for shipping and between £25 and over £1000 to fly your pet (depending on the airline you travel with). However, additionally to this, you must bear in mind the costs that will be involved in making the necessary arrangements for your pets at the vets in order for them to be able to relocate to the USA with you. This will include; vaccination costs, pet passports, quarantine fees and more and can in total cost anywhere between £500 to over £4000.

Your pet will need to have the following things in order to relocate to the USA: 

  • Rabies vaccination and other necessary vaccinations
  • An original rabies certificate signed by the vet 
  • A health certificate completed by the vet stating that your pet is healthy and fit to travel 
  • Microchip (Although not essential for all states, it is highly recommended to have)

Additionally to the general import rules, some states may have their own individual import rules, for information on the states that this affects visit before moving to the USA. 

Please note that while Hackworthy & Sons does not offer Pet Relocation services, we are happy to make recommendations upon request.