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Moving to Canada: How to get ready several months in advance

Are you planning to move from Belgium to Canada? This article will give you all the important information you need to best prepare for your move.

Two possibilities for moving to the Great White North:

Two options are available to people who want to move to Canada:

Déménagez vers le CanadaMove using a container, ideal for volumes above 10-12m3

The total time for this type of international move is about four weeks. For Belgium-to-Canada moves, the port of origin is Antwerp and the port of destination is usually Montreal. The container must be at the port of origin six to seven days before the ship departs. Upon arrival, the container will also remain in port a few days while the necessary formalities are completed.

Move using a wooden crate, preferable for volumes below 10-12m3

This option is considerably longer than the container option, since the crate is custom made with specially treated wood, an obligation in order to be imported into North America. These crates are transported in grouping containers. The total time for this type of bespoke intercontinental move is a minimum of five to six weeks.

If you want a door-to-door move, contact Maison Genné in Belgium who will bring their belongings to the port of origin and contact one of their partners in Canada to transport the belongings from the port of destination to your new home.

Terminal handling charges for importing household goods into Canada

Whichever option you choose, you will have to pay terminal handling charges (THC), which can be invoiced upon departure and upon arrival. These charges are fixed for 20-foot and 40-foot containers. However, they vary for wooden crates, depending on their volume, in which case the THC is calculated at the destination.

Other charges may also be added to the moving costs, such as inspection fees. Any extra costs will always be charged to the client.  

Flexibility is the key of any transatlantic move by cargo ship

Moves from Canada-to-Belgium or Belgium-to-Canada by ship require a certain degree of flexibility on your part. With this means of transport, unexpected circumstances can always arise. The ship may have to change course due to weather conditions. And if it stops from port to port, the ship may experience delays owing to heavy traffic in one of them.

What documents do you need for moving from Belgium to Canada?

First of all, it is strongly recommended that persons moving to Canada ensure that all their documents are in order BEFORE shipping the container or wooden crate. Otherwise, the container and its contents may be sent back to Belgium when they arrive at the port of destination or they may be blocked at the port until everything is in order. If your papers are not in order but you really want to send your container at all costs, it is also possible to hold it free of charge at the port of origin or destination for a few days. Once that period has elapsed, you will have to pay daily demurrage charges, the amount of which increases week to week.

Personal documents

You need to have a valid permanent resident card for Canada, which depends on your having a work permit, an official document attesting to your registration in a Canadian university or school, a paper certifying family reunification, etc., depending on your particular case.

Customs documents

As for customs documents, Maison Genné will help you. For example, to go through customs in Belgium, you will need an inventory (provided by us), and you will have to declare the customs value of your belongings leaving the EU and submit a valid passport.  At the destination, in addition to the documents you presented at the port of origin, you will need a valid permanent resident card and provide a list, separate from the inventory, stating each type of belonging with its customs value. A word of caution: moving to Canada has a particularity: in contrast with a Belgium-to-USA move, you cannot mandate a mover to represent you at the port of destination! You must be present in person when your personal belongings go through customs at the port of destination or in a customs office. Please note that if you are bringing used personal belongings into Canada as part of your move, there will be no customs duties to pay for importing them. However, if you are bringing in new items or belongings intended for another person, you will have to pay import taxes.

Need a reliable, experienced partner to move your belongings from Belgium to Canada?

Contact Maison Genné, the specialists in relocating internationally and into Belgium, for all information connected with your move, or for an estimate.