How to ship boxes and luggage overseas from the UK – our FAQ Guide
Our box/baggage shipping service is designed as a cost-effective and simple way to ship a smaller number of items overseas by air or sea freight. You can start the process of shipping overseas by using our international shipping cost calculator.
The below list of FAQs should answer most of your questions, but please don’t hesitate to contact us if there is anything else you wish to ask.
Important Quick Links
Shipping process and requirements
What is the process of shipping boxes and baggage overseas?
We aim to make the process of shipping your personal effects overseas as simple and stress free as possible.
Once you are happy with your quote, you will need to pay a £50 deposit to secure your booking.
We will then arrange delivery of the required number of boxes/cartons and some packing materials, such as tape and bubble wrap, to get you started.
You will then need to complete shipping and customs documentation, arrange collection and pay your final balance.
Once your shipment has been collected, it will be consolidated with other customers and shipped to your destination by sea freight. Air freight will be sent with our partner, DHL.
On arrival, we will handle customs clearance and contact you to arrange a convenient time to deliver to your new address.
What documents and forms will I need to complete?
You will need to complete our Consignment Booking form. This will include information such as your contact details, destination address and preferred collection date.
You will also need to complete an Owner Packed List of Contents form to describe the content of your packages for customs clearance.
In addition, our baggage shipment protection valuation form will need to be completed if you want to take out the recommended cover for your belongings.
You will need to send us a copy of your passport and visa if required, so it is important to ensure these are up-to-date.
Additional customs forms may also need to be completed depending on your destination country.
Your Move Manager will be able to provide you with a full list of required documents and forms.
Please ensure that all forms are completed fully and promptly to avoid any delays with your shipment.
What can’t/can I ship overseas?
Most countries have a list of restricted or prohibited items that you cannot take with you when entering or relocating. It is important, therefore, that you make sure you check the listings for prohibited or restricted items and take action accordingly.
We generally recommend not shipping restricted items such as food and alcohol as it can cause delays and mean additional fees during customs clearance.
Can I ship rechargeable lithium-ion batteries
Due to increased fire risks, we are unable to ship any lithium-ion batteries. They should be removed from all appliances before shipping. You can usually take batteries as hand luggage, however, check with your airline.
What items are prohibited / cannot be shipped by air freight?
Due to IATA safety regulations, a number of items are not permitted for shipping by air freight.
This includes food, aerosols, cosmetics, gas cylinders, batteries, medicines, machinery with internal combustion engines, fireworks and firearms.
Packing and Labelling
How should boxes and bags be labelled?
All boxes / owner packages must be labelled with the following information prior to the driver’s arrival:
- Receiver’s name (owner of belongings)
- Destination port (not your full address)
- PSS Reference number as shown on your quotation e.g. PSS-123456
- Number of packages, including any suitcases, bags – for example, if you have 3 boxes and a suitcase, these would be marked 1 of 4, 2 of 4 etc.
How much can each box/bag weigh?
Due to health and safety reasons, individual boxes or bags should weigh no more than 25kg for sea or air freight.
What size boxes do you provide?
We provide a variety of different cartons, including small and large boxes. Delivery charges may apply, and this will be explained in the quote. All our cartons are of export quality, double-walled and designed specifically for international box shipping.
Tea carton: 46x46x51cm (larger box equivalent to a suitcase, suitable for bigger and bulkier items).
Book carton: 46x46x31cm (smaller box that is suitable for books, paperwork and heavier items).
Bike carton: 148 x22x96cm (specialist box specifically designed for transporting cycles/bicycles).
Can I use my own boxes/bags?
You may use your own boxes or bags, but please ensure they are strong enough for the rigours of international shipping – and make sure to send us the dimensions. Reinforced, double-walled shipping cartons are recommended.
Plastic boxes are not recommended as they can be easily damaged.
How should my items be packed?
Your belongings should be carefully packed for the journey. In particular, fragile items should be carefully wrapped with adequate padding.
We recommend you check out our packing guide for more tips.
Do you provide a packing service?
Yes, if you have a large number of belongings or have fragile items that need special care, our team of professional international packers will be able to help. Speak to your Move Manager for more details.
Payment and Invoicing
How and when do I pay my deposit?
First, you will need to pay a £50 baggage shipment deposit to secure your booking.
How do I pay my final invoice?
Your move manager or account manager will provide you with further details on how to pay for other items, including your final balance, before your belongings are collected. The final balance payment is made by bank transfer. We cannot accept credit card payments.
Do I need to pay customs duties and taxes at my destination country?
This will vary depending on your personal circumstances and the country you are moving to. Generally, if you are a returning resident or have permanent residency and are shipping used personal effects and household goods, you will usually not be liable for customs duties and sales taxes.
However, you should check with the customs authorities for the country you are moving to.
Are there any additional fees?
Our quote is for a full door to door collection and delivery service to your new address. There is a delivery and collection courier fee if you are located outside the M25.
There may be additional charges beyond our control from destination authorities that need to be paid before your shipment can be released from customs and delivered, e.g., port fees, customs duty, GST, inspection, and quarantine fees. Your Move Manager can provide more details about these.
Shipping Timeline and Destination Processes
How long until my shipment leaves the UK?
If you use air freight for boxes or excess baggage, your belongings will leave the UK within 1-2 weeks.
If you decide to use our economic groupage sea freight service (shipping in a shared container), it will often be a longer timeframe compared to using a full container load, as it involves consolidating items from various customers into one container.
Though it might take a few weeks to consolidate goods for shared containers and leave the UK, this is taken into account within our estimated shipping times for box/baggage shipping.
How long will it take for my shipment to arrive?
The time between collection at your UK residence and arrival at your destination is dependent on the country you are shipping to and the size your shipment. You can check estimated transit times on the relevant country page on our website.
Please note that these are only estimated shipping times to port; you’ll need to allow additional time for customs clearance and delivery.
Whilst we do our best to deliver within the estimated time, due to the complex nature of international shipping, we are unable to offer guaranteed delivery times.
What happens at my destination?
We offer a door-to-door service, so once your goods have passed through customs clearance they will be delivered directly to your residence. Our agents at the destination country will contact you to arrange delivery.
Any additional customs and port fees will need to be paid before your items can be released and final delivery made.
Do you take care of customs clearance and are there any additional fees?
Our agents in your destination country will handle customs clearance for you and this is covered in your quote.
However, additional charges such as customs duty, GST, inspection and quarantine fees may be levied by the local customs office. These will need to be paid at the destination before your shipment can be released.
What if I don’t have a delivery address at the time of shipping?
This is not a problem as all we will require is a contact address and contact details. The delivery address can be advised at a later date or once you arrive.
We can also arrange storage for you at your final destination until you are ready to receive your shipment.
Insurance, Terms, and Additional Support
Do I need insurance or shipment protection cover?
Just like when sending items by post or courier, for peace of mind, we highly recommend that you take out some kind of insurance or shipment protection cover for your belongings and valuables.
Our most popular comprehensive cover (Standard Liability including damage) is calculated at 5% of the total value you declare. It also has the flexibility to cover selected items if you don’t want to cover everything.
You will have the option of:
- Option 1 – Complete cover – charged at 5% of the total value you declare.
- Option 2 – Total loss only (standard liability following loss or theft of a complete carton or package) – charged at 3.5% of the total value you declare.
Your Move Manager will be able to give you more details.
What terms and conditions do I need to be aware of?
Full details of our terms and conditions can be found here.
Please read and familiarise yourself with them before booking.
What if I have additional questions?
Please contact your Move Manager if you have any additional questions or requests. We are here to help and want to ensure your move goes as smoothly as possible.
Get a quote online
Choose the size and quantity of cartons required & get an online quote in 60 seconds.
We deliver cartons and packing materials
We deliver export-strength cartons & packing materials to your home.
We collect packed boxes/bags from your home
When you’re ready, we collect your packed boxes or bags and any unused cartons.
We ship and deliver to your new home, handling all customs clearance
Our door-to-door service takes care of everything for you.
International Box Shipping Reviews
“Why choose PSS International in 2023?”
- Free home survey
- Family run business for over 40 years
- We only handle Overseas Removals
- Members of BAR Overseas Group
- BAR Advance Payment Guarantee Scheme
- FIDI Global Alliance (Worldwide Moving Association)
- FAIM Accredited (Removal Quality Assurance Standard)
Accredited to the Highest International Standards
PSS have a worldwide reputation for high quality service, which not only assures you of the highest standards of removals and packing in the UK, but also allows us to partner with the best companies around the world.
You can read more about our credentials and how they benefit you here.
International Box Shipping Cost Calculator
Want to know how it will cost to send boxes abroad? Our free online Cost Calculator will help you estimate the cost.