Moving to the U.S.

Just the thought of moving all your stuff to another country is enough to raise your blood pressure. LaPorte’s/Atlas want to make your move to the United States as smooth and easy as possible.

Here are the answers to the most commonly asked questions.

Q. What documentation is required to ship my household goods to the United States?

A. You are required to complete a U.S. customs form 3299. This completed form is given to LaPorte prior to load. The LaPorte driver will present it to the customs official at the border along with a copy of your Atlas Bill of Lading and a copy of your descriptive household goods inventory form.

Q. Are there any tips to correctly completing the 3299 form?

A. Yes, here are a few that may prevent any clearance problems:

  • Use your full name – not initials.
  • Enter the full name of any family members who are accompanying you to the U.S.
  • Even though there is not a specific box for it on the form, mark your Social Insurance Number or your U.S. Social Security Number on the top of the form.
  • Give your LaPorte sales representative a copy of your entry visa to attach to your documents.
  • Provide a copy of a piece of photo I.D. (e.g. passport) for each family member.
Q. Must I be present at the border when my goods clear customs?

A. Usually not, most customers precede their goods into the United States. If for some reason, the goods cannot be cleared at the border (generally if paperwork is not in order) then U.S. customs will place the shipment “in bond.” You will then have to report to a customs office at destination to “personally” clear your shipment. If you are not available, they will request that we put the shipment into storage in a “bonded” warehouse thus incurring extra charges for you.

Q. What must I do in order to get permission to import my car to the United States?

A. All cars going into the United States must meet their EPA and Safety Standards. Your first step is to contact your automobile manufacturer to obtain a clearance or pre-approval letter. Your LaPorte representative can provide you with a contact number for the various auto manufacturers. You must provide them with:

  • The Vehicle Identification Number
  • Year, make and model
  • A return fax number or a mailing address
  • In some instances the manufacturer will charge a fee for this letter – they will ask for a credit card number or certified cheque

Once you receive the pre-approval letter, fax or mail it to:

National Highway Traffic Safety
Room 6115
400 7th St. S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20590
FAX: (202) 366-1024

If you need assistance call: (202) 366-5283

Q. What happens next?

A. If your car meets U.S. standards, they will stamp the manufacturer’s letter indicating that your car is approved for importation. They will fax or mail it back to you. You should give a copy of this letter to your LaPorte representative to be put with your moving documents. If you are driving your car to the U.S., be sure to carry a copy of the approval letter with you.

Q. What happens if my car does not get approval for importation?

A. In this case, you will need to use a registered importer who will make the necessary arrangements to have the car brought up to standards. Call (202) 366-9660 for help.

Q. What happens if I sell my automobile after I move to the United States?

A. If you sell your vehicle within one year of importing it to the U.S., you will be required to pay duty before you can finalize the sale.

Q. Are there any other tips relating to shipping a car to the U.S.?

A. The U.S. Department of Agriculture requires that all cars that enter the U.S. on a moving van be free from foreign soil before importation, so you should have your car cleaned before shipping it on the van.

Q. Can I import firearms into the United States?

A. There are a number of restrictions relating to firearms. It is best not to ship these items with your household. You must contact the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) to obtain an import permit. Some antique firearms are exempt from this requirement but you should speak to the ATF for full information. Call them at (202) 927-7777.

Q. Can I import alcohol?

A. Moving companies are not permitted to ship alcohol on the van with your household goods. If you plan to take alcohol into the U.S. with you it will be restricted to 40 ounces per family member over 18 years of age. Each state as it’s own specific regulations so you should check before making arrangements to import alcohol. If you have a wine collection or a large quantity of alcohol, you must obtain a permit through the ATF. Your local U.S. customs office can give you more information.

Q. Can I take my family pet(s) into the United States?

A. You will be required to produce proof of rabies vaccination and a certificate from a veterinarian stating that the animal(s) are in good health. Birds may require a period of quarantine at the owner’s expense for a period of at least 30 days after entry to the U.S.

Q. Can I move my household plants to the United States?

A. There are no restrictions in the importation of household plants and bare-rooted outdoor plants. However, customs requires imported plants may be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate. Contact your local customs office for more information.