Hiring a Shipper
Most moving companies provide door-to-door service. You should get bids from several companies and select a mover with experience in international packing and forwarding.
You may want to insure your belongings that will be shipped, especially those with high replacement costs. Insuring the whole shipment rather than just high-value items usually makes collecting refunds easier.
Make a full list of all shipped items, along with their replacement value. Attach a copy of this list to the insurance certificate provided by your mover.
Confirm with your mover how long it will take for the shipment to arrive and be prepared for delays. Depending on the shipping line, routing and frequency of sailings, ocean transit time will vary.
Keep in mind that it may take you several weeks or months to find an apartment in Hong Kong, so check where your goods can be stored if they arrive before you can accept delivery. Get the name, address, and contact information of your mover’s Hong Kong agent. Also ask about storage options.
Keep in mind that it may take you several weeks or months to find an apartment in Hong Kong, so check where your goods can be stored if they arrive before you can accept delivery.
Certain foreign brands as well as larger sizes of clothing and shoes may be a challenge to find here (although internet shopping and package forwarding companies have certainly made things easier).
If you’re coming from North America, leave the appliances at home unless they are marked “INPUT: 100-240V, 50/60 Hz.” The standard voltage in Hong Kong is 220V (as opposed to 120V in the States), and the frequency is 50Hz (versus 60Hz in the US). You could buy an expensive and bulky voltage converter, but it’s much easier to buy new or used appliances from another expatriate who’s moving away (see Live > Shopping > Where to Buy > Secondhand Goods for more information). Laptops, mobile phones and other personal electronics are usually dual voltage, so you’ll just need an inexpensive travel adaptor to plug those into wall sockets.
Many people find that they need to place some of their furniture and belongings into storage for a period of time.
This option is quite common for those who find their new home not quite as large as they would like. There are many self-storage companies in Hong Kong, given the generally small size of apartment units in town. Location, access and whether pickup, delivery, packing and insurance of your belongings are offered are important points for consideration. The self-storage market has shifted in recent years from doing business over the phone to app-focused operations. Below are a few companies you can try:
Customs clearance in Hong Kong is usually very simple, as very few items have duties imposed on them.
Drugs and firearms are strictly prohibited. This includes even antique guns and some replicas as well as other self-defense weapons like pepper spray, stun guns and retractable batons. Wines are no longer taxed, but there are duties for hard liquor, tobacco, methyl alcohol, and hydrocarbon oil.
With one of the world’s most efficient public transport systems, you may easily choose to live here without owning a car. If you wish to bring your own car, there is no customs tax on the importation of automobiles to Hong Kong. However there are compliance, registration, levy and licensing processes you must consider. You will be charged a first-registration tax based on the taxable value of the car. Three government departments are involved in the importation and registration of motor vehicles to Hong Kong. The Transport Department has more information.
If you wish to bring your own car, there is no customs tax on the importation of automobiles to Hong Kong. However there are compliance, registration, levy and licensing processes you must consider.
There is also an annual license fee in the range of several thousand to over ten thousand Hong Kong dollars, depending on the type of vehicle and its engine’s cubic capacity. For more information about driving in Hong Kong, see the Live > Transportation > Private Transportation.
Special electronic equipment, scientific instruments and apparatuses are generally considered by the Hong Kong Trade and Industry Department to be strategic commodities. This includes special computers, computer peripherals, integrated circuits, printed circuit boards and disk drives. Their import into Hong Kong must be approved and licensed by the Director of Trade and Industry Department.
Prohibited and Controlled Items
The following items are prohibited or controlled under the Import and Export Ordinance, Chapter 60 of the Laws of Hong Kong. Imports or exports of the following items require licenses, permits or certificates from the government departments concerned in advance and are subject to certain conditions.
List of Prohibited and Controlled Items
- Animals and Plants
- Controlled Chemicals
- Dangerous Drugs
- Dutiable Commodities
- Firearms and Ammunition
- Infectious Goods
- Motor Vehicles
- Optical Disc Mastering and Replication Equipment
- Ozone Depleting Substances
- Chinese Herbal Medicines and Proprietary Chinese Medicines
- Pharmaceutical Products and Medicines
- Prescribed Articles
- Radioactive Substances and Irradiating Apparatus
- Radio Transmitting Equipment
- Rice, Frozen or Chilled Meat and Poultry
- Game, Meat, Poultry and Eggs
- Smokeless Tobacco Products
- Strategic Commodities
- Rough Diamonds
- Hazardous Chemicals
More information can be found on the Customs and Excise Department website.
You may bring your domestic pet (cat, dog or bird) to Hong Kong, but be aware of certain requirements before you decide to uproot your pet.
Contact your relocation company beforehand to find out if it is feasible and to make sure your pet can be given care during the move.
All animals imported to Hong Kong must be implanted with an identification microchip, and the microchip number must be printed on the animal health certificate. Although Hong Kong has been declared rabies-free, this could change at any time. Dogs over five months old must be licensed and inoculated against rabies once every three years.
Import Requirements: Group One Countries (Australia, Fiji, Hawaii, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, UK)
- Animal Health Certificate:
Issued by a registered veterinary surgeon or government veterinary officer no more than 14 days prior to the animal’s departure certifying that the animal is free from clinical signs of infectious or contagious disease, is fit to travel and is either not pregnant or less than four weeks pregnant.
- Residence Certificate: Certifying that the animal has been continuously residing in the country/place of origin during the six preceding months or since birth prior to departure.
- Vaccination Certificate: All dogs and cats must have completed a full course of vaccination against the following diseases:
- Dogs: Canine distemper, infectious canine hepatitis, canine parvovirus
- Cats: Feline panleukopenia (infectious enteritis), feline respiratory disease complex (cat flu)
- Airline Certificate or Captain’s Affidavit certifying that the animal has traveled the entire journey without leaving the aircraft enroute and/or without any stopping/changing-over in a country of lower health status, and was not in contact with any other animals.
Import Requirements: Group Two Countries (including US, Canada, and most European countries)
Dogs and cats imported directly from 38 countries or areas may be exempted from quarantine provided the animals comply fully with the permit conditions. You should double check the Hong Kong government’s website before making any arrangements.
- Cayman Islands
- New Caledonia
- Papua New Guinea
- Solomon Islands
- South Africa
- The Netherlands
- USA (Continental)
- Virgin Islands
All animals must be accompanied by the following certificates:
- Animal Health Certificate (same as for Group One above)
- Residence Certificate (same as for Group One above)
- Anti-Rabies Vaccination Certificate
- Vaccination Certificate (same as for Group One above)
- Airline Certification or Captain’s Affidavit (same as for Group One above)
Import Requirements: Group Three Countries
Dogs and cats imported from countries other than Group One or Group Two countries are subject to a minimum four-month quarantine period and should be accompanied by the following certificates:
- Animal Health Certificate
- Vaccination Certificate
All quarantine procedures are at the owner’s expense. For further details and application forms for importing pet animals, visit the website of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.