Transport – How to ship your people, pets and possessions

  1. Arrival. Plan your arrival in the UK approximately 2 weeks before you start your new job and schools if possible. Longer and you will start to feel in limbo, but 2 weeks gives you enough time to sort out your new home and it will still feel like a holiday!
  2. Electricity. Don’t be tempted to ship all your kitchen gadgets, TVs and other electronics unless they are adapted for use in the UK.  UK voltage in the UK is 220-240V and the frequency is 50Hz, so different to most of the rest of the world. It is often easier to purchase electronics once you arrive.
  3. Shipping. You can ship your goods using air freight or by sea. The latter is cheaper but can take up to 12 weeks so don’t send essentials this route unless they arrive in time for your arrival. It is possible to tie up shipping arrivals although this is dependent on your shipment clearing UK customs in time. Use a professional moving company preferably with offices in your home and destination country who will make sure all your documentation is in order.
  4. Transportation quotes. Do get 3 different size companies to quote for your shipping as the way they quote can vary. If your shipment is relatively small, larger companies can include it in a bigger shipping container with other shipments and may save you money.
  5. Packing. Be aware that the containers aboard ships can slide around a lot in bad weather, so make sure furniture, fragile and precious items are well protected. We recommend paying your shipping company a little extra to pack up for you and unpack from boxes when they deliver in the UK. The last thing you will want to worry about is how to get rid of boxes cluttering up your home! Label boxes by room in your new home so that the unpackers know where to take each box.
  6. Pets. Please see our Clan page for advice on bringing Pets to the UK but do start this process 6 months before you plan to arrive in the UK to avoid delays. There is a strict sequence of procedures to complete and only certain aircraft carriers are approved to bring pets.
  7. Driving in the UK. Many expats choose to lease a vehicle while resident in the UK although few companies will lease to expats since they have no credit rating in the UK. Expat Car can advise https://www.expatcar.co.uk/ . EU residents may drive in the UK on their own licence for up to 3 years, non-EU residents must obtain a UK driving licence within 12 months.  The following link provides further information on driving in the UK https://www.gov.uk/driving-nongb-licence
  8. Insurance: is vital for your new home from the moment you arrive (your tenancy agreement requires household “contents” insurance). Don’t forget to take out insurance for your shipment and your vehicle. Breakages do occur during transition so make sure you are covered for expensive items.

Dovetail’s tips on getting your family, pets and possessions to the UK safely are based on our long experience of helping people move to London and the South East of England. For further advice on how to move to the UK, please call us on +44 (0) 1243 790044 or Contact Us now on our straightforward contact form.