The headaches of moving before moving
August 7, 2009 11:29 AM   Subscribe

What is the best method for moving several furniture pieces from L.A. to Montreal? (And an add-on about getting my car there, too.)

Our L.A. office has a branch in Montreal, and recently the option to transfer over for a year or two has been made available. It's fantastic, because my boyfriend lives there and will attend Concordia - which is 5 minutes from our Montreal location. It seems perfect.

I'm willing to purge as much of my stuff as possible, but I do have furniture, barely a year old, I'm just unwilling to let go of:

* The World's Most Comfortable Couch,
* its matching armchair,
* and a beautifully designed dining table+4 chairs set.

(I'm torn when it comes to my 50 gallon aquarium+stand - that system was a big investment.)

What would be the cheapest but most reliable option? I've found uShip on another AskMe about a cross-country move, and I'll be taking a closer look for sure. But there might be other ideas I'm not aware of.

Car add-on: 2007 Honda CRV, approaching 20k miles - find a vehicle transport, or drive it over? (As convinced as I am about being able to get around by foot, bike, or public transit, I'd love to explore beyond the city on my own, at any given moment. Plus, visiting friends who live further away.)

Huge decision for me and I still haven't made my mind up 100%, so I'm hoping that having some of these things explained will help. Thanks guys :)
posted by Tequila Mockingbird to Travel & Transportation (3 answers total)
If the car was purchased in the United States, there's some stuff you have to do.
posted by oaf at 12:03 PM on August 7, 2009

That vehicle importation site oaf linked to probably does not apply if you are not "permanently" importing the vehicle. (see here) Presumably you will get a temporary worker visa (it will say "you're allowed to work in Canada only in this job, and only for this period of time"), so you can say you are bringing the car into Canada only temporarily. That allows you to skip some of the importation requirements and import taxes. If you wanted to sell the car once you're in Canada, it's more complex.

Generally, moving to Canada requires you to be vigilant about paperwork. The people at the border and the people on the phone help lines may not know all the special cases - do your homework on your own! For example if you drive a U-Haul across the border with all your stuff -- if you are a "temporary worker" -- they want you to have a paper list on hand of *everything* you're bringing in, including the values of everything. Theoretically they will check when you leave to be sure you're taking it ALL back out again. (So that you won't bring in, like, a truckload of electronics and sell them on the black market avoiding import taxes.)

You'll want the car to be in Canada legally because your US insurance probably won't cover you there. You'll need to register the car in Quebec and to do that you'll need whatever the customs authorization is.

A note for the distant future: Bringing the car back into the US you may face importation duties in the US - this will depend on the laws of the state you want to move to upon your return, whether they will ask for your "import duty waiver" or whatever form, in order to register your car. To get that piece of paper (from US customs) you need IIRC to bring the paperwork for the car to the border 24 or 48 hours BEFORE you want to bring the car through. Royal PITA, but skipped at your peril.

Your company should have a person or people who can help you understand what all the requirements are, especially for things like the car.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:24 PM on August 7, 2009

As for moving your furniture: In general, in my experience, bringing things across the border yourself is always cheaper than having a company bring them - they'll charge sometimes-insane fees for being your "customs broker", on top of all the other charges. If your company will pay it might be worth it to hire it out. But if you're doing it on a shoestring - especially if you're a temporary worker and therefore exempt from any import duties - it's cheaper to bring across yourself.
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:29 PM on August 7, 2009

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