Tips for Moving

Importation of goods to the USA is overseen by the Department for Homeland Security and consignments arriving in the continental United States are considered from several angles – Security/Safety, Customs Tax/Duty Revenues and Environmental Protection.

Customs Regulations

Used personal and household effects are duty free provided they have been owned and used by the importer for 12 months or more prior to the owner’s departure and are not to be resold. Professional equipment that was owned and used abroad is also generally imported duty free. Cars and motorcycles are not considered household goods.

Documents required

  • High-quality scan of your passport plus biography pages and any relevant visas
  • Customs form 3299 – Declaration for Free Entry of Unaccompanied Articles
  • Supplemental Declaration for unaccompanied household and personal effects
  • Power of Attorney form, authorising Destination Agent to act on client’s behalf with US Customs
  • Descriptive Inventory of goods in English
  • Stamped I-94 form for non-residents (if applicable)
  • Purchase receipts or proof of value for any items under 12 months old
  • Importer Security Filing (ISF)

Environmental Protection

Since 911, the USA has considerably stepped up security on all inbound shipments. All shipments may be subject to scanning either in the container or a full examination, for this reason anything that may not be a usual part of a household and personal effects shipment may attract interest (including foodstuffs and alcohol) and may lead to delays and expense whilst an examination takes place to identify items.

Allied Local Offices

BostonLos AngelesSeattle
ChicagoNew YorkWashington DC
HoustonSan Francisco 


Local to your new home

Allied are part of the worldwide Allied Network, who have long-established Allied offices in the US. We offer assistance with documentation and clearances and once Customs are finalised, we will contact you to arrange delivery to your new home.

How long does it take?

Allied load more containers to the US than any other Australian International Movers Association (AIMA) member and this ensures we can also offer more frequent departures.

Indicative transit times are as follows:

 GroupageFull Container
Houston12-16 weeks5-7 weeks
Los Angeles12-16 weeks6-8 weeks
New York12-16 weeks4-6 weeks


Pets are permitted entry to the United States but will be subject to:

  • Original certificate of rabies vaccination showing proof that the vaccination was administered more than 30 days prior to the flight, but not more than 180 days
  • Health certificate from a veterinarian must be issued within 10 to 15 prior to animals departure
  • Dogs and cats are normally quarantined, but birds require 30 days quarantine and an Import Permit

The logistics are detailed and for this reason we would recommend asking Allied to refer you to an approved specialist in this area.


Most modern televisions will work in the USA. However with the advent of digital receivers it is inevitable that your television will need to be connected to the equivalent of an Australian Digital Satellite/Cable receiver in the USA. It is worth checking with the manufacturer if you have any concerns.

Electrical Items

Electrical items will not generally function on the US system, due to the different voltages used.

Motor vehicles

Duty free if owned for more than one year. All vehicles must meet stringent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Dept of Transport Standards (DOT) criteria. Vehicles over 25 years old are exempt, but forms must still be completed.

Newer Vehicles must have been originally exported from the USA, or comply with all US criteria and carry a certified label to this effect on the engine/door.

Getting a car imported to the US can be very difficult, so it is necessary to establish prior to shipment that it meets criteria, otherwise it could be returned to origin or confiscated at the owner’s cost. For these reasons vehicles are best shipped separate from any personal effects.

A picture of the Engine Family Name is required for clearance in the United States. The label is typically under the hood of the vehicle in the engine compartment or on the inside of the drivers side door frame.

Prohibited Items

  • Drugs of dependence, narcotics, hallucinogens, amphetamines, barbiturates and tranquillizers
  • Pornographic material
  • Plants, soil, seeds
  • Skins, hides, ivory, feathers, bones, horns, tusks
  • Counterfeit items or items in appropriately using a federally registered trademark
  • Products made from dog and cat fur

Restricted items or items likely to attract interest

  • Alcohol can technically be shipped into most States (not all) and would be subject to tax and duties. If imported full lists on type, make, %, value and the original vineyard’s identity would all be required.
  • Overall it is not recommended to include alcohol within an effects shipment, as inclusion will cause whole shipment to be delayed with high risk of examination or storage charges.
  • Food of any type, including herbs and spices/beverages, causes similar issues to alcohol in terms of clearances, so is also not recommended for inclusion in an effects shipment
  • Medicines in reasonable quantity (3-6 months’ supply) accompanied by a doctor’s prescription are allowed
  • Firearms