Shipping and Freight

Having your things packed up and shipped off to another country for the first time is fascinating and terrifying all at the same time.

The packers are surprisingly efficient and fast (usually) and it is amazing how your whole life is suddenly boxed up and whisked away, leaving you with a shell of a home and a handful of items.



Its important to understand the freight process and decide what items will go via sea vs via air well in advance. There are a number of key considerations that require some forethought.  

Shipping Requirements and Documentation

A part of the process and before the packing dates are set, you will have to complete a bunch of paperwork.

Here is an example of the documents your relocation company are likely to request before your goods/consignment can be shipped to Abu Dhabi.

  • Copy of UAE residence permit stamped into your passport 
  • Copy of your passport
  • Completed authorisation letters for sea and air.
These forms will be provided by the relocation company and your contact should be very helpful with regards to any concerns you have in filling them in.

It is really important to read and understand the Customs Regulations for Abu Dhabi and adhere to the lists of banned and restricted items.

Before the Packing Day

The first thing to do is work out what you are sending in each category

  • sea freight 
  • air freight 
  • flight luggage (both hold and carry-on) 
  • anything staying behind.

The best thing you can do is buy some large coloured sticker labels from a stationary shop and go around the house and garage and put a sticker on everything to label it. 

Red for STAYS HERE (warning don't touch!), 
Blue  for SEA FREIGHT and 
Yellow for AIR FREIGHT

That way, the packing guys are clear on what goes where and you don’t have to run around confirming every item with 8 different people. 

Trust me, the last thing you need is your very important laptop and printer, going in the sea freight rather than the airfreight – or worse, all your clothes disappearing off for 2 months!

A container takes a typical 3 bed house load of furniture and whiteware (kitchen appliances etc) including garage stuff like tools and bicycles.

Check out our example shipping inventory including estimated values for the insurance company.

Top Tip...

On the day before the company come to pack your things, you MUST pack up your airplane suitcases as if you are ready to leave.

Put them in a corner with big don't touch signs and then you will be sure you don't accidentally send off something important via slow sea travel. 

Another bonus to packing your airplane luggage before sending off your shipping is you will be sure that you are taking and sending exactly what you need and that your suitcases weigh the right amount etc before you fly. 

Once the packing guys have been and gone, that’s it, you are on your own with what is left. 

You will inevitably find there are things left behind after the packing day that you want to take - but they then must be jammed into your flight luggage...no big deal if you were organised in advance for this contingency.

You might also be interested in our tips and advice on

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