Relocation options for moving to Luxembourg
What's the best way to move your belongings, furniture and car to Luxembourg? This detailed guide explains the pros and cons of each relocation option for moving to Luxembourg.
Whether you’re moving to Luxembourg from another European country or farther afield, there are plenty of ways to make sure your belongings arrive safely. But there are many factors to consider to ensure you keep costs down, avoid damage and breakages and receive your belongings on time.
Which international moving option is best for the items you need to relocate to Luxembourg? If you’re moving from within Europe, road transport and air freight are the most common ways of moving your belongings, although which is best relocation option for you depends on your personal circumstances.
This guide explains the pros, cons, delivery timeframes and relative costs to help you decide which is the best international removal option for your situation:
- International removals
- Air freight
- Road freight
- Shipping companies
- Hiring an international moving company
- How to choose an international moving company
- Customs and importing a car into Luxembourg
When moving abroad a number of other factors come into play, such as whether customs are payable or if there are restrictions or quarantine for items you import, besides the other usual issues to consider, such as safety of your items, how much work is involved in packing and picking up, time period for delivery and more. Cost is a big factor because certain relocation options offer substantial savings for large items, such as shipping your furniture or a car, compared to other relocation options that quickly add up for heavy items, such as air freight.
Another important question is whether you should you hire an international relocation company? This question largely depends on how much time you have and cost, as international moving companies typically take care of any potential issue that may arise which is ideal for time-strapped expats. How, then, do you decide which is the best international moving company and relocation option for you?
This guide answers all these questions below. You can also find listings of moving companies and relocation companies on Expatica's listings, or ask a relocation expert on Expatica's Ask the Expert free service.
Luxembourg only possesses one commercial airport – Findel – which is located a few miles north of the capital city. The airport is one of the largest hubs for air freight in Europe, largely because it’s easy to access much of Europe by road from Luxembourg.
Air freight rates
As air freight charges are based on both the weight and size of items, sending large items of furniture or white goods can be a costly exercise, so shipping by air isn’t the most cost-effective choice for international movers with a large number of belongings.
If you’re a working professional moving to a furnished flat in the city, and are therefore only moving a small number of items such as belongings, books or clothing, however, sending them by air can be a viable option.
When obtaining quotes for air freight, you’ll need to factor in any minimum shipment charges, handling charges and insurance, which can add a hefty amount onto your bill.
Air freight: Transit times
While transport times by sea can sometimes run into several weeks and even months, air freight can see your belongings arrive in little over a week depending on where you’re sending them from and to.
Because of the speedy nature of air freight, some people choose to send their most urgently required belongings by air and send other possessions by road or shipping.
How to find air freight for international removal
You can obtain basic quotes online, either directly through international moving companies or by using price comparison websites. Your online quote will usually only be an estimate and won’t include fees such as insurance, so you should get a full quote by contacting the removal company directly before you decide.
How air freight works
If you choose a full door-to-door service, somebody will visit your home to assess your shipment, and (for an extra charge) will offer to pack your items for you. Whichever level of service you choose, you’ll usually first agree a date for your shipment to be picked up. You’ll then be informed of when your shipment will be sent. You should also be able to track its progress online.
Packing for air freight
When sending by air, it’s usually possible to pack your own belongings but be careful not to over pack and always use quality-packaging materials. If you’re unsure about this, you can pay the removal or air freight company to pack your items for you.
Who should use air freight?
For small, urgent shipments or professionals renting a furnished city pad, air freight can be an easy and quick option. For larger house items or a car, however, other options would likely be more cost-effective.
Luxembourg has excellent road connections with the rest of Europe's freight routes, so relocation by truck or van can be a smart move if you’re moving from a nearby European country.
You can either drive yourself, hire a ‘man with a van’ or use a specialist international freight transport company; if you choose the latter option you can sometimes benefit from groupage, where several removal companies transport their goods together or you share the truck with somebody else’s belongings, thus cutting the cost.
Freight transit times
Transit times for freight within Europe are speedy. If you’re looking to move from the UK, it will take around 16 hours door-to-door to deliver your belongings directly to western European countries. If you choose to group your items with other customers, however, journey time could increase by a few days.
Packing for freight transport
As with air freight, you can opt to pack your own belongings or pay a moving company to do this for you.
How to find road freight for international removal
If you’re thinking of using a man with a van, you can look in your local listings, be it online, in local newspapers or through your country’s classified listings. For dedicated removal services, there are various comparison websites out there.
How freight works
Once you select a company/driver, you will agree on a date to have your items picked up. Your driver will pack the van and make sure your shipment is secure. Depending on who you use, you might not be able to use an online tracking system as with air-freight, but you should be able to contact the driver directly by telephone.
Who should use freight?
If you’re moving from another European country, shipping by road can be a sensible option, especially if you’re moving a large volume of items.
For those who live outside of Europe, shipping furniture can be an affordable relocation option. Luxembourg only possesses one commercial port – Mertert – and this is primarily used for industrial transport.
If you’re moving to Luxembourg from outside of Europe and want to ship your furniture by sea, you can opt to send them to Germany, France or Belgium, all of which share a border with Luxembourg, and then have your goods transported by road freight for the remainder of the journey.
This depends on where you’re shipping from and to, but freight shipping (especially if you choose a groupage option, where you share a container ship with other people's belongings for a lower fee) is generally cheaper than other international removal options, such as air.
Freight shipping transit times
Freight shipping is considerably slower than by air, especially as you typically need to combine sea shipping with road freight to deliver your furniture to Luxembourg. If you’re shipping items to Luxembourg from the US, for example, it might take up to a couple of months in total.
Using an international removal company can be an advantage where there are several freight options to consider.
Container ships: How the process works
Shipping containers usually come in sizes of 20 feet (suitable for a three-bedroom house) and 40 feet (suitable for a four to five bedroom house).
If you have enough belongings for a full shipping container, this will speed up the process because your items can be directly loaded into the container and you will not need to wait till it is full (unlike under a groupage, shared container deal, for example). If you have a smaller load, it can sometimes be crated and delivered in a similar timeframe.
If you have a small load and you’re not in a hurry, you can consider groupage, where you share a container with other customers. This is the cheapest – but also the slowest – transport option.
Packing for shipping freight
Some freight shipping companies will only insure your belongings if they have packed them, so always check the terms and conditions before signing a contract or opting for DIY packing.
Who should use shipping companies?
Freight shipping to Luxembourg can be a convoluted process and is best reserved for long-distance movers who aren’t in a major rush to get their belongings. Organising your freight shipping in advance can avoid the effects of the long delivery time of freight shipping, and international moving companies can also take care of a significant part of the administration and hassle, which can be a necessity for busy expats.
While it typically costs more than arranging transport yourself, an international moving company can take out a considerable amount of hassle of ensuring your belongings arrive safely and on time. In addition to surveying, packing and collecting your items, a door-to-door service will also cover the technical side of moving abroad, such as putting the inventory together and dealing with customs regulations.
Timeframes for booking a moving company
The best relocation companies take bookings far in advance, so contact an international moving company at least three months before your move abroad
Packing and international moving companies
Relocation companies offer professional packing services typically at an extra cost to their relocation services, although most will allow you to pack your own belongings should you wish.
DIY versus using a relocation company
Taking the DIY route allows you to be more flexible with your timings but arranging everything yourself can be both stressful and time-consuming.
You need to think about paperwork and keep track of the costs – and above all you’ll need to ensure you allow enough time for each part of the relocation process, such as such packing, dealing with customs, and arranging the arrival or pickup of your goods at the other end.
While it’s not for the fainthearted, in some cases it is possible to save some money by arranging everything yourself – but do your research and your sums before jumping in, making sure to calculate in the costs of your own time required to arrange the move.
There are plenty of respected relocation companies, and most will be registered with an official body such as the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations and the International Air Transport Association, or in the UK the British International Freight Association.
Having your belongings moved is quite a personal process, so after obtaining basic quotes, feel free to speak to prospective companies to ask any questions or see if you can find personal testimonials or recommendations from friends or family to help you make a decision.
A good relocation company should be transparent about fees, be willing to work to accommodate your wishes and be open about what happens if there’s a problem, such as a delay in your items arriving or any breakages. See what insurances or guarantees a relocation company offers to protect your belongings.
Customs rules in Luxembourg aren’t as strict as some countries. You’ll need a passport, certificate of residence issued by your local council and a cargo movement form itemising your possessions. If you’re simply shipping household possessions, you typically won’t need to pay duty costs provided they’ve been in your possession for at least six months before you arrive in the country.
Unless an exemption exists, import duty and taxes are otherwise payable on goods imported into Luxembourg, typically from outside the Eureopean Union, whether by an individual or a company. The fees payable are calculated using the CIF value, ie. the sum of the value of goods and the cost of shipping and insurance.
The standard Value Added Tax (VAT) rate in Luxembourg is 17 percent, with some categories of products taxed at less. Details can be found on the Luxembourg Customs website (in French). When importing a car, you must also take it to the Luxembourg Customs office.
Need advice? Ask Expatica's relocation expert on our Ask the Expert page.
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