Understanding Your International Moving Costs

International movers in Dubai

Moving overseas can be stressful and exciting at the same time. You will incur a lot of expenses that are influenced by various factors. ServiceMarket has partnered with ISS Worldwide Movers to bring you this guide on international moving costs. It will help you understand the quote given to you by your shipping company in Dubai and where you can possibly save money as you relocate.

What does an international moving company charge for?

Weight and volume of possessions

The larger and heavier the load is, the more expensive it will be to transport. If you don’t have a lot of belongings and don’t mind sharing a container with other people, groupage services can help reduce the cost of your international move. Remember, getting your vehicle shipped to the destination country, along with your other belongings, will lead to a higher cost.


Distance matters. The further you are moving, the more expensive it will be to move your belongings.


Some destinations are common. If you are moving between common destinations, such as Dubai and London, the overall cost will be lower due to competition between relocation companies. If, however, you are moving between rare destinations, expect your moving quote to reflect that.

Transportation method

Your belongings can be shipped via land, sea or air. The cheaper options are land and sea. These transportation methods will take longer, so if you need your things at a specific date that is fast approaching, it is better to go for air transportation. Your international moving quote will be much higher though.

Value Added Tax (VAT)

VAT was introduced in the UAE on January 1, 2018. It is a general consumption tax that is applied at a rate of 5 percent on all goods and services supplied to you by your shipping company that start in the UAE and end in the UAE. For example, if you are moving abroad for a year to work in your company’s overseas branch and put your things in storage in Dubai for that period, expect a VAT charge. 

What are the additional costs that can affect an international moving quote?

Packing and unpacking services

Packing and unpacking services usually come at an additional cost for a move, but since international shipments require additional packing to protect them against transit conditions, it is always a good idea to purchase the packing service. You can forego the unpacking service if you to reduce cost.

Even if you decide to pack and unpack yourself, sometimes the destination country requirements make it impossible for you to do so – they want the moving company to vouch for the items being transported to ensure nothing illegal is being shipped. You can, however, talk to the company about packing your possessions yourself and leaving the boxes open for inspection. This might help you save money.

Moving insurance cost

Some international relocation companies do not include insurance in their moving quote. Even if it is included, find out exactly what the insurance does and does not cover. Some policies only provide protection in case of total loss of a vessel and routine damage during transit isn’t covered. We recommend getting additional insurance. Obtaining adequate coverage is a good way to protect against theft, loss and damage to your belongings.

Storage services

Your goods might need to be stored at origin because it is difficult to coordinate moving dates with shipping dates of international shipping companies. This means that you will have to bear the cost of storage services. It is also quite possible for your belongings to be stored at a warehouse at the destination before they are cleared by customs. You might also want your belongings to be stored till you find a place to live in the new country. Therefore, ask about and be prepared for storage costs.

What costs should you be prepared for besides the shipment of your belongings?

Customs duty charges and taxes

Another cost to look into is the customs fees at your destination country. Many countries provide duty-free entry of used household goods. Check with the customs office of the country you are moving to if you have any specific questions on the items you are taking with you. Also, ask your movers if they provide customs clearance services and the cost of this service.

Housing cost

You might need temporary housing while you look for a permanent place to live. This can get expensive so budget accordingly. When considering permanent housing, besides property purchase or rental costs, you need to research and be prepared for all charges, fees and taxes you will be liable for depending on the location, type and tenancy of the housing you will opt for.

Other costs

You also need to budget for furniture and appliances for your new place, wardrobe changes if you are moving to an entirely different climate, and transportation costs in the destination country if you aren’t getting your vehicle shipped. To understand more about these costs, you need to research your destination country thoroughly. Focus more on things you absolutely need initially, rather than things you want.

ISS Worldwide Movers is a wholly owned subsidiary of Inchcape Shipping Services, forming an integral part of its Cargo Division from six centers within the Middle East, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman. It has a long and successful history as a meticulous quality relocation provider. It prides itself on its in-house industry experts, courteous and experienced operational staff, usage of superior packing material and streamlined systems.

If you want to learn more about international moving services, read this. If you are looking for relocation companies in Dubai that are licensed and FIDI accredited, such as ISS Worldwide Movers, head over to ServiceMarket to get multiple free quotes.

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