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What are the Restricted Items When Moving Internationally?

By Stephen Davis
Special to Relocation.com

Among the simplicities of domestic moving is the fact that you can take everything you own with you and pack them into boxes or crates. When moving internationally, however, you are restricted by law regarding which items you can take with you.

International restrictions are imposed because of economic and security reasons based on past events and future predictions. The laws help a country be sure of the amount of specific items that are present in the country.

Although the restricted items vary per country, there is a set of basic items that all countries do not allow civilians to bring across the border.

Firearms and explosives.

This reason is obviously related to security. Many countries do not trust foreigners immediately and hence cannot let them own weapons. However, some countries do allow specific types of firearms to be brought in if you follow the correct customs procedure.

Biological imports.
Most countries will not allow you to bring any type of organism for education or research unless it has an import permit. Permits from such items can be obtained from the customs or the embassy of the country.

Pirated copies of copyright material.
Customs will check for copies of material like books, music and other media. It is a common practice to smuggle pirated material and sell it at very low prices in eastern countries. Although your destination country may not be keen on conducting a thorough search, the US customs will be serious.

Every country limits the amount of currency that can be carried by people leaving. If you are taking or bringing more than $10,000 in the US, you need to file the 4790 form with the US Customs.

Products from endangered species.
Many people own products that are made off parts from endangered animals as part of their heritage. Products that have components belonging to endangered animals are not allowed into foreign countries. In some cases such items can be shipped if proven to be part of the family heritage.

Persian rugs.
The United States does not allow Persian rugs to be taken out of the country unless you can provide evidence that they were purchased inside the United States. Your belongings will be checked by customs and items without purchase evidence will be confiscated.

Agricultural products.
Plants and plant seeds are not allowed to be carried under civilian shipment. Many of the regular household plants are not allowed to be taken overseas. Exceptions may be made, but for them you will need to provide an explanation.

This list largely summarizes the restrictions on an average customer regarding their shipment. Apart from this list there is the regular list of prohibited items as well. Almost everyone is familiar with the prohibition on carrying narcotics, liquor, pornographic material, poisonous chemicals and hazardous materials.

Your destination country may have additional restrictions and custom requirements. Make sure that you understand all the policies completely when moving abroad and take necessary steps and follow the required procedures for the shipment of your belongings.

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