For over 100 years, the Arpin Group of companies has been meeting the relocation needs of its customers. Arpin International Group (AIG) was founded specifically to address the requirements of individuals and families moving abroad.
Moving your family to a foreign country is a major undertaking. Although making the arrangements, traveling, and finally settling into your new home may be exciting, it demands a great deal of time and effort. A successful household relocation is the beginning of a smooth transition into a new environment. Through careful planning and preparation, and with our help, we can ensure a smooth transition.
International moving presents challenges that are not encountered in domestic shipping. The increased physical stresses on an international shipment require unique packing and loading skills, a detailed knowledge of all facets of transportation systems, and a myriad of import and export regulations. This Guide to Moving was created to help you and your family prepare for these challenges and to eliminate many of the bumps in the road we have discovered through years of experience.
THE ARPIN EXPERIENCE
AIG assigns a dedicated Relocation Coordinator to each relocation. Your Coordinator will be able to provide you with any answers that you need regarding the portions of your move that AIG is handling. The more information you give the coordinator the better. Any issue, no matter how small, should be mentioned. If at any time you have trouble reaching your coordinator feel free to contact a management team member or any other member of the GSA staff for assistance. As a team we will provide you with around the clock access. The customer is the most important part of our jobs; please don’t ever hesitate to use our pagers, cell phones, etc.
During the initial phone consultation, your coordinator will confirm the portions of your move that are being handled by AIG and the allowances for each. If anything discussed is outside of the normal allowances for your agency then we will request approval from them. Services or overages not authorized by your employer will be your responsibility and will be discussed with you in advance.
Alcohol always creates the possibility of delays or inspections when clearing a shipment. In some cases is not allowed at all (either by the locality you are going to or by the agency you work for). Many times duties and taxes might be owed and these are most often collected from you directly as an out of pocket expense. If you intend to ship alcohol in any of your shipments advise your AIG Relocation Coordinator well in advance.
Prior to shipping, all household goods, personal effects, and documents must be removed from the vehicle. Only autos containing standard factory equipment and less than one-quarter tank of fuel can be shipped. As automobile regulations change, it may be necessary for us to remove all fuel from your car for export. The automobile must be in working order, we will need a key to the auto, and any alarms should be disabled or we should be given a control unit for them. We suggest that you have your vehicle inspected mechanically and thoroughly cleaned prior to shipping it. We do not inspect your vehicle for mechanical condition.
In order to export your auto, we will require a copy of your title and travel orders. If there is a lien against the auto, a release of lien letter will also be needed from the institution holding the lien. We will need three originals of this letter. Your move coordinator will advise you of other documents necessary to ship your auto. Click here to go to forms.
Weapons are very similar to alcohol. The possibility of delays in clearing a shipment and inspections on a shipment are increased if it contains weapons. Again, in some cases weapons are not allowed at all (either by the locality you are going to or by the agency you work for). If you are returning to the United States with weapons please let us know. The normal paperwork requirements on weapons includes the permission to take it overseas, the registrations for the US and overseas, bill of sale, and any applicable ATF forms. Handguns, rifles, shotguns, and ammunition cannot be included in your household goods shipment without prior approval from your employer. Click here for related links.
Pet moves are complicated and typically your responsibility as an out of pocket expense. If necessary, we are happy to provide a recommendation on experts in this area. Click here for related links.
APPLIANCES AND ELECTRICAL ITEMS
Electrical voltage and cycles vary around the world. Some of your home electrical items may work overseas with the correct accessories and adapters and some may not.
EXPORT / IMPORT CLEARANCES
Many countries require you to be in country before any portion of your household effects can arrive. Some require that you be recognized by the Embassy or Consulate prior to the shipment. You should check in immediately on arrival to start the process of accreditation. When leaving, sometimes delays are caused by housing issues, diplomatic license plates not being returned, etc. On diplomatic imports and exports we need the assistance of the Embassy or Consulate to obtain the customs clearance. We cannot clear the shipment until they have everything they need from you. Your coordinator should discuss your particular origin and destination with you and often times this process causes a delay in the transit time of your shipment. For example, most air shipments take only a week to ten days to move but by the time we have the approval to send the shipment , it is often several weeks from pickup to delivery. In some countries it takes as long as the sea shipment. Please factor these things into your planning and the contents of your shipments. (Christmas gifts, uniforms, papers needed, etc., should be carefully scrutinized for time and need)
Your shipment is covered under a full replacement valuation up to a maximum amount determined by your agency. If your move is released at $5.00 per pound full replacement value, it means that you have full replacement coverage on your move up to a $5.00 per pound maximum.
For a 10000 pound shipment the maximum claim settlement would never exceed $50000.00 dollars under this scenario. However, a one pound lamp that is part of that same shipment would be repaired or replaced up to its individual value.
Although a total loss and a per pound payout is extremely rare, there have recently been several instances of extreme weather in the world that are cause for concern. One of the major items excluded from the coverage included with your move is Act of God coverage. Under proven Acts of God, the carrier is not responsible for your claim and most times the applicable remedy is the Military and Civilian Claims Act of 1964. This is a filing through the government that is generally limited to a 40000.00 dollar maximum and is settled at depreciated value.
We can suggest or provide you with alternative coverages if you are interested.
Please do not put cash, jewelry, stocks, bonds, stamp collections, card collections or other such valuables in your shipment. These items should be hand carried and cannot be insured if placed in your shipment. We recommend segregating your hand carried items during your move. Place them in a locked car, closet, or even with a neighbor to avoid them being packed. The process gets busy so do this in advance of the movers arrival.
PHOTOGRAPHS / VIDEOS
These are typically priceless memories with no real discernible value. We recommend hand carrying these items or storing them with relatives. Any information that exists on a computer hard drive should be backed up or copied prior to your move.
• Plants or soil of any type
• Propane tanks (both new and used)
• Hazardous materials such as paint, matches, and articles of an explosive nature, i.e. aerosol cans, cleaners, flammables, corrosives and explosives, ammunition
• Pornographic material
Damage caused by perishables, flammables, or corrosives is not covered by insurance and is entirely your responsibility.
Your employer may not authorize the shipment of certain items, while other items may require advance approval. Examples may include:
• Wood, bricks, cement, lumber, building materials, rocks, soil
• Automobiles, boats, trailers, farm equipment
• Alcohol, weapons
• Any item over one thousand dollars of value (per item or items that make a set) must be declared in advance on a high value inventory.
Stoves, outboard motors, and power motors must be completely drained of all fuel and thoroughly cleaned before moving day.
YOUR MOVING SCHEDULE
Early preparation and knowledge of the relocation process helps to prevent last minute surprises on the day of your move. Prior to making your travel arrangements, notify your AIG Relocation Coordinator of your preferred pack dates. The sooner you inform us of your plans, the greater the likelihood we will be able to secure the move dates of your choice. Use the following Moving Schedule for a step-by-step guide to prepare for your moving day. This schedule is also available in an on-line form at www.arpinintl.com.
We will conduct a visual survey of your home prior to your move date. This survey determines the materials and any special circumstances that might be needed on your move. Please let the surveyor know if there are items that will not go with your move or if there are items you plan on purchasing prior to your move that are not present.
Please make any parking permit applications or elevator reservations well in advance. These are your responsibility but please let us know if they are necessary.
Other items you should consider at this time are swingsets, playsets, home gyms, satellite dishes, waterbeds, stereo systems, computer systems, etc. The servicing, dis-assembly or disconnection of these items is usually your responsibility but we can ask your agency for additional services or suggest someone who can assist in servicing these items in your area.
As a follow-up to the survey, your AIG Relocation Coordinator will contact you to review the results and confirm your allowance, pack dates, destination address, and contact numbers.
If you review Your Moving Schedule in advance you will be more prepared for the move out process, with many important tasks already completed. If possible, leave a day free after the move in case of unforeseen delays.
Please put any items that must not be packed at a neighbor’s house or somewhere that is impossible to be mistaken. Prescription medications, cask, car keys, passports, plane tickets, etc should all be gone at this point. The crews will move much faster than you think.
A move usually requires several days for packing, wrapping, and loading of your household goods. Arrange to be at home when the movers arrive and throughout the move-out process to address any questions or concerns the crew may have. For your convenience, please maintain your telephone service through the move-out process or provide us with an alternative contact number. It is also helpful to have someone we can contact while you are in transit after the packout in the case of any unforeseen questions that arise. Many customers set up Yahoo or Hotmail email accounts that they can check from the road at any computer.
Most moving crews have a designated team leader or crew chief. Accompany the crew chief on a walk-through of your home indicating the goods to be moved. Point out items of special concern, as well as items not to be shipped. If these are already clearly marked, simply advise them of the system you have used. The crew chief will be able to address any packing- and loading-related concerns, but all questions regarding logistics, scheduling, and timelines should be directed to your AIG coordinator.
We recommend that you not pack any boxes yourself, but if you wish to pack boxes yourself, or have boxes that were never unpacked from a previous move, please leave them open so the mover can ensure that they are safe for transport and so the contents are noted on the inventory.
Prior to loading, the movers will inventory the goods to be moved on the appropriate packing list (air, sea, or storage). Each item will be given an inventory number, and its condition will be noted. Should you have any questions relating to the descriptions indicated, please discuss them with the crew chief. You will be asked to sign and date each inventory page. Please confirm that each packing list contains the correct items. Keep a copy of the signed packing list and all shipping documents close at hand.
GSA shipments are almost always loaded into wooden crates called liftvans. Liftvan loading is similar to putting a jigsaw puzzle together; each piece has to fit securely in place to minimize shifting in transit. Once the liftvan doors are secured, they are brought back to the origin agent’s warehouse, where they are labeled and steel-banded.
Before the crew leaves, make a final walk-through of your home to be sure nothing has been overlooked. Commonly forgotten areas include the attic, basement, closets, cupboards, etc. It may not be possible for us to return for items that have been left behind.
Within four or five days of loading, your coordinator will have the actual weights of each portion of your relocation. If the actual weight is less than or equal to the authorized weight, and we have approval from the Embassy or Consulate, we will forward your shipment. If the actual weight exceeds the authorized weight, we will request approval for the overage from both you and your employer. If your employer does not authorize the overage, we will typically hold the shipment until we are able to discuss it with you. Charges are generally your responsibility on overages and we would prefer that this is discussed in advance with you. One exception to this rule would be shipments that are estimated above the authorized weight and where the agency and customer are informed of this in advance.
CUSTOMS CLEARANCE | DELIVERY
As a diplomatic employee, your goods are imported tax and duty free under most circumstances on a US to foreign relocation. While inspections are unlikely, they are at the discretion of local customs. The process for diplomatic entry can take a bit longer than a commercial entry, as the Embassy or Consulate must work with the local government to effect the entry. If any specific customs forms are necessary, they will be provided to you if they are available.
Some countries may require your presence or original passport during the clearance process. As soon as you arrive, contact the local General Services Officer to inform them you are in country. If possible, advise AIG with your new contact numbers.
On a foreign to US move, the entry is not diplomatic and inspections are possible at the discretion of US Customs.
The crew will arrive on the date and time previously scheduled with you. Try to arrive before the movers and if possible, think about where you want individual items placed in your home.
Wrapped furniture and boxes will be carried into your new home and unpacked (if requested). As each item is brought in, check off the inventory number on the corresponding packing list.
Please arrange to be home throughout the move-in process to guide the crew on the placement of your goods. Our door-to-door service includes unpacking boxes, placing the contents on the nearest flat surface, unwrapping all furniture, and removing debris on the day of delivery. If the crew is required to return at a later date to collect debris, it may involve an additional charge.
Although we take great care to protect against damage, it sometimes occurs. All missing and damaged items must be clearly noted on the packing list before you sign it.
If you will be unpacking at a later date, note "Received; subject to further inspection" on the packing list. You have seventy five days to notify AIG of any loss or damage not noted at the time of delivery.
If you feel something is missing or damaged, contact your AIG Relocation Coordinator. We will send a claim form to you for your completion. If necessary, your Coordinator may ask one of our claims representatives to contact you directly. Click here to go to forms.
We are here to service your needs, please call us at anytime and if you ever feel that there is not a one hundred percent effort on your behalf please do not hesitate to let us know.
GUIDE TO MOVING
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