A relocation to the USA is much, much different than a move within Europe.

For example, customs clearance, rules, regulations and laws are not very transparent or easy to understand. Waiting times at the port must be calculated and the coordination of each single step of the move to the USA, and its complications, are listed below.

The mentality of relocation companies, packers, helpers and craftsmen on-site is equally as diverse as the cultural characteristics, and even more so depending on whether you move to a city or to the country-side, or to the north or south of the country.

Then there are personal challenges and situations, such as finding a home. Prior to finding a home, your personal belongings must be stored at a storage facility.

On this page we would like to give a first rough overview of cultural and regulatory characteristics. Please note that conditions change frequently and we can only offer general information with no guarantees. Only a relocation consultant can provide you with a binding consultation.

Stumbling Blocks in the Relocation Coordination

In the United States, there are a whole range of cultural and social differences that can lead to problems during the move, if you are not aware of them from the start.

It is important to know that the Unites States is the third largest landmass, with six different times zones, from the Eastern Time zone i.e. New York, over the Pacific Time Zone i.e. California, through to UTC-10 as well as on Hawaii. It is pivotal to take this information into account when planning your relocation to your desitnation city. Dates can also be written “incorrectly” as the US writes them reversed (i.e. 28.10.2014 is 28 October 2014. In Germany this would be written 10.28.2014). These types of errors can quickly lead to a miscommunication.

Furthermore, US-American Holidays are different than in Germany, which occur either at fixed calendar days such as Independence Day (4th of July), or a variable holiday such as "Thanksgiving" (last Thursday in November).

Even differing length units such as "inch" and "foot" area dimensions or "square yard" or weight measurements, differ in the US from the German dimensions which complicate the consultation with local businesses. Value added tax also varies from state to state in the US, which can cause differences in the financial planning.

Household Goods

Not everything you might take along with you on a domestic relocation would be equally as suitable for a relocation to the US. There are various import restrictions, such as on foods: meats, fruits and seeds, for example, can not be brought into the United States.

Do you want to take your car or motorcycle to the Unites States? Unless you are planning on bringing an old-timer with you, there are serious challenges to make this happen. There are considerable amounts of technical changes needed to ensure the safety and environmental regulations of the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency are met. The changes must be made in Germany.

There are also similar regulations for pets, such as the rabies vaccinations / clearance certificates and health certificates for dogs.

With certain electric/electronic items, which are not possible to transform to US currents, or office equipment such as a printer based on A4 standard (in US = 8.5” x 11”), may not be ideal to take along. Additionally, you may want to rethink bringing a closet unit with you, as many houses and apartments in the US have walk in/built in closets\shelves.

Since the US is not on the metric system, think about the tools you might bring, or bedding or hygiene products, which might not be easy to find in the US.

Entry Into the United States of America

For entry into the US, you will first need a residence address, possibly a visa and your travel documents, such as a passport, immigration documentation and a customs form. Contact official authorities at least two months prior to travelling to ensure you have all pertinent documentation. Your first point of contact here will be the Foreign Affairs office or local Consulate.

Relocation Consultation from EOS Move Management

With over 20 years of experience in international relocation, we are happy to answer any questions you might have in regards to a relocation to the United States from Germany or from Germany to the United States. Please contact us in advance.


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