How do I ship my belongings from India to the US?
Living Abroad America entry to U.S.

How do I ship my belongings from India to the US?

Moumita Basu

Shipping items from India to the US can be time-consuming and an expensive process if it’s not done right. Stats show that 60% of duty is charged on the shipment of newly-bought items. If the value of your belongings is more than ₹1,50,000, you will need to pay 35% of the total value of the articles being shipped. Keeping all these points in mind, before you plan on shipping your belongings from India to the US, it is crucial to understand all custom regulations and charges imposed by the authorities. There is no doubt that shipping all your items from one country to the other is a daunting task. But choosing the right shipping company will make it easier and stress-free for you.

How do you get quotes for shipping to the US?

While planning your big move from India to the US, the companies you are choosing will ask you to provide a few details about your move to the US. If the companies have shipping partners who can help you out, they will contact you with quotes. Once you get a few quotes from different companies, you can compare these quotes and select the deal that suits you best.

Should you choose sea freight or air freight?

Once you have decided which shipping company you trust to ship your belongings to the US, you need to determine if you want to send them via air or sea.

Benefits of sea freight:

  • It has a 99.99% success records
  • Sea freight is 12-16 times cheaper than air freight
  • You will be able to fit more on a ship than a plane
  • A container ship leaves a lesser carbon footprint compared to a plane
  • The International Maritime Organisation has also pledged to reduce Co2 emissions by 40% by 2030

Benefits of air freight:

  • It comes with an identical success rate of 99.99%
  • Planes are faster

Also, keep in mind that there might be unpredictable factors that can affect your shipping time, like

  • Natural disasters
  • Weather conditions
  • Unexpected route block
  • Global health crises

How to clear customs at the US border?

Before entering the U.S., there are two primary forms that you have to fill out two basic forms to ensure a smooth passage from customs, as mentioned by the U.S. customs site. Fill out form 6059B for all the goods you will bring with you and form 3299 for all the possessions you will be shipping. You need to provide these forms to Customs and Border Protection officials upon request, who will then verify them and view them as a packing list. Some of the household items include:

  • Artworks
  • Books
  • Carpets
  • Furniture
  • Libraries
  • Painting
  • Tableware
  • Other usual household items

If you or your family members have used any of these items outside the US for at least a year and don’t intend to sell or give them to someone else, you can bring them into the USA duty-free. Personal effects include:

  • Clothes
  • Jewelry
  • Photographic equipment
  • Tape recorders

Both household and personal items are subject to inspection by a customs officer, who may ask for more evidence that you own them. If you bring anything precious, carry proof that it belongs to you. If you make a mistake or get flagged by a customs officer, we would strongly recommend using a shipping company to ensure you clear customs without any fuss.

What all you cannot carry with you?

The U.S. government has created an exhaustive list of restricted items that you cannot carry to the US with you. Products like absinthe, musical instruments, and certain types of food, plants, and cars are prohibited. Therefore, ensure that you go through the list properly before shipping all your items.

The most popular ports of the US are:

  • Los Angeles, California
  • Newark, New Jersey
  • Long Beach, California
  • Savannah, Georgia
  • Houston, Texas