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Household goods and personal effects shipping guide

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ADP Research Institute’s People at Work 2022: A Global Workforce View revealed that 51% of workers in Singapore aged between 18 to 24, and 43% between the ages of 24 and 34 plan on relocating abroad to revitalise their careers. Seeing the relocation to other countries as a gateway to greener pastures and a fresh start away from the disruptions and reduced opportunities caused by the recession and the pandemic, it is only a matter of time before we see an influx in the number of locals moving overseas. However, relocating or shipping personal effects overseas can be complex for various reasons, despite the allure of relocating or travelling abroad.

From the restrictions on the types of personal items that can and cannot be shipped to navigating complex customs and import regulations, there are important international shipping and packaging considerations you will need to comply with to ensure that your personal effects and household goods arrive safely and without damage or delay. 

What are personal effects? 

The term ‘personal effects’ refers to an individual’s personal property and are items of a particular significance that are carried or worn. Some personal effects can also include culturally or religiously significant items. Examples include personal documents and items of personal use in the office or at home. However, items in the home are not to be confused for personal effects. These items which do not have any intimate relation or particular significance to the individual are instead deemed household goods. This simply means that personal effects can also be household goods, but not all household goods are personal effects.

How do I send household goods and personal effects?

As much as the idea of shipping personal effects and household goods might seem like an easy matter, sending personal items and goods can incur unnecessary duties, taxes and custom clearance delays. Therefore, when it comes to the international shipping of household goods and personal effects, several steps need to be taken, such as getting the right paperwork and checking the relevant regulations to ensure your shipment passes through customs smoothly. When you ship with DHL Express, this will allow us to deliver the fastest service possible. Whether you are sending personal effects to India or China, or anywhere else in the world, consider these three preemptive steps that will mitigate the risks of your shipment being halted.  

1. Pack your goods properly 

Personal effects, or any other personal items mean that the shipment will contain used items, gifts or bulky items that are being sent in preparation for relocation. Simultaneously, sending goods, be it personal effects or household goods, means that they’ll have to pass through customs. Therefore, when preparing your shipment, there are three main things to do besides using the proper packaging and ensuring that you do not have excessive quantities of personal effects per shipment. 

Firstly you will need to generate an Air Waybill, the most important piece of documentation containing all the instructions and information about the contents of your shipment. The next step is preparing a shipping invoice for your parcel shipment to facilitate customs clearance. The terms ‘gift’ or ‘personal effects’ should also be added to the description to allow the customs authorities to identify any prohibited or restricted items and determine if duties can be exempted. Finally, find the proper Harmonized System codes (HS) codes so that the regulatory bodies can accurately classify your personal effects. 

2. Meet the requirements of various destination countries

It is important to note that the general requirements to ship specific items to different countries tend to vary. For example, when shipping apparel to India, it can be imported into the country without any import permit or licencse, but only an Air Waybill, commercial invoice and packing list are still required. 

Similarly, when shipping to China, personal effects tend to fall under category B of goods and have no restrictions. But if they fall under category D due to their high value or the fact that they are being sent in bulk, then depending on the HS code of the personal effect, it might be checked for the correct labelling and chemical treatment compliance during an import commodity quality inspection. 

3. Get insurance for shipping personal effects overseas

While getting insurance for your shipment is an optional and chargeable service offered by most delivery service providers, it is probably one of the only ways of helping you curb the ambiguity of international shipping. For example, when you opt-in for DHL Express’ shipment insurance, you will receive comprehensive financial coverage for your items should there be a mishap while they’re being transported internationally. As such, you can rest assured that your shipment will be fully covered until it reaches the intended location or recipient. Simply check the ‘Protect Your Shipment’ box and have your shipping insurance be of the same value as your personal effects and household goods shipment. 

Ship your personal effects and household goods effortlessly with DHL Express

With the right shipping partner, sending your personal effects and household goods internationally will not have to be complicated. DHL Express is a reliable shipping company that offers reliable delivery services and a range of optional services, such as shipment insurance, to cater to your needs.

Open a DHL Express business account with us now and start shipping your household goods and personal effects internationally.