A comprehensive guide to shipping costs to America from the UK including how to get a good quote if you’re moving to the United States.

Moving to the USA? Do you need to know how much it costs to ship to America or want to know how to get the cheapest shipping to the USA? This guide will tell you all you need to know.

No matter whether you’re a British citizen moving to America to follow the American dream or a United States expat returning home, you’ll want to send your personal belongings.

Jump To Removals / Container Shipping Costs      Jump To Costs For Shipping Boxes / Baggage

This guide will give an estimate on the price of shipping a container or part container to USA and also detail the other costs involved that may not be part of your main quote. We will also talk about the cost of shipping boxes and excess baggage if you’re only sending smaller quantities.

As USA is such a big country costs can vary considerably so call our team to get a more reliable quote or estimate for your circumstances.

The additional charges and exclusions outlined below are industry standard and typical to whichever shipping company you use, not just PSS International. It is important that you discuss these with your Account Manager so you have a clear idea which apply to your shipment.

International Removal Costs and Prices to USA in 2018

Contents Quick Links:

International Removal Costs and Prices to USA for 2018
Cost of Sending Boxes / Excess Baggage to USA From the UK
Cost of Air Freight to USA
Cost of Sending Parcels to USA
Getting an Accurate Shipping Quote or Estimate
What’s Included in the Price for International Removals to United States?
Cost of Car and Vehicle Shipping to USA
What’s Not Included In Your Quote – Additional Charges and Fees
Shipment Protection and Maritime Insurance
Get a Quote For Shipping Or Removals To USA From the UK

Household Container Shipping Rates to USA From the UK

The container prices listed here are based on the contents of an average UK property and include delivery to the specified city or location.

The cost of shipping a container to west coast and central locations in the United States can differ significantly to the east coast due to the extra distances involved.

International Removal Costs and Prices to USA for 2018

Move Type

Size (Volume)

New York

(Within 35 miles)
(Within 50 miles)

Los Angeles
(Within 30 miles)

Student Move 100 cubic feet £880    £998 £998 £1355
Student Flat 250 cubic feet £1400  £1880 £1865 £2199
1 Bed Flat 500 cubic feet £3310    £3445 £3434 £2759
2 Bed Flat  500 – 750 cubic feet £3645 £4830 £4817 £3890
3 Bed House 1000 cubic feet
(20ft container)
£4695 £5165 £5336 £5100
4+ Bed House 2000 cubic feet
(40ft container)
£6520 £7485 £7300 £6935
shipping times from uk to usa Shipping Time
2-4 weeks** 2-4 weeks** 2-4 weeks** 4-6 weeks**

*New York City – Based on delivery to Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island or Queens. FCL = Full Container Loads.

** Approximate shipping times based on FCL (Full Container Loads), groupage shipments (LCL) will likely be longer.

Get A Removals Quote For USA

NB: The shipping container prices and rates listed above are approximate shipping costs to USA for 2018. For more accurate prices, please contact PSS for a quote (see removals to USA).

Many websites list port-to-port costs for shipping containers to USA. These can significantly underestimate the actual costs for non-commercial users. The prices listed here are for a full door-to-door removals service aimed at people shipping their personal effects

Cost of Sending Boxes / Excess Baggage to USA From the UK

Tea Carton box shipping

Excess Baggage and box shipping services are ideal for shipping smaller quantities of items / luggage. Large items such as furniture will require a removals service.
The prices below include self-packing although professional packing services are available.



New York (City)*  Orlando
(Within 35 miles)  
(Within 35 miles)

 Los Angeles (Within 60 miles)

2-boxes-shipping 2-3 Boxes  £215   £300  £300  £300
5-boxes-shipping 5 Boxes  £285  £420  £420  £420
10-boxes-shipping 10 Boxes  £435  £620  £620  £620
shipping times from uk to usa Shipping Time
5-9 weeks** 5-9 weeks** 5-9 weeks** 6-10 weeks**

*New York City – Based on delivery to Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island or Queens.

Costs per box decline as the quantity or volume shipped increases.

Boxes are based on standard shipping tea cartons, measuring 51 x 40 x 61 cm (4.4 cubic feet), weighing up to 30kg each.

**Box shipping times based on groupage shipping / LCL (Less than Container Load) so allow more time for consolidating shipment before departure.

Sea Freight Shipping Prices 2018 – From UK to USA

These prices differ depending which region of America you are shipping to. It’s naturally cheaper to ship to the main ports than to outlying areas.

Get A Quote For Shipping Boxes / Excess Baggage To USA

Cost of Air Freight to USA

Because of the unique nature of shipping to some destinations in USA, it is often more cost effective to ship smaller quantities by air to the nearest city (the cost of railroad or trucking fees from the seaport to your final destination may outweigh any savings from sea freight).

Our advisers will be able to give you the best quote based on your circumstances. Even if airfreight is not the cheapest method of shipping, the cost difference compared to how much time you save may make it worthwhile.

Cost of Sending Parcels to USA

Shipping small parcels to USA can be done quite cheaply via Royal Mail. For example a small 2 kg parcel can be posted for around £21 by air mail. But 2 kg is the maximum size. For larger parcels you can use Parcel Force or other courier companies but the costs very quickly become too expensive. Therefore is you are moving to USA or plan to stay for a longer period, specialist box shipping services to USA such as offered by PSS International are a very attractive alternative.

USA Major Container Terminals and Ports

The following are some of the main container shipping ports in USA. The cost of delivery may increase if your final destination is more than 30 miles from the port / container terminal. Costs can vary between ports. In USA, goods can be shipped to inland container terminals rather than to a coastal sea port.

The Top American Container Sea Ports and Container Hubs include:

East Coast

  • Port Authority of New York & New Jersey (USNTC)
  • Norfolk International Terminals, Virginia (USHNV)
  • Port of Savannah, Georgia (USSAV)
  • Port Everglades, Florida (USPEF)
  • The Port of Houston Authority, Texas (USHOU)
  • Port of Charleston, South Carolina (USCHS)
  • Port of San Juan, Puerto Rico (PRSJU)

West Coast

  • Port of Los Angeles (US LAX)
  • Port of Long Beach (LA) (US LGB)
  • Port of Seattle & Tacoma (US SEA)
  • Port of Oakland (San Francisco) (US OAK)

Inland Container Terminals

  • Port of Chicago, Illinois (USCHI)
  • Port of Memphis, Tennessee (USMEM)
  • Port of Charlotte, North Carolina (USCLT)

Shipments and containers to the west coast of America may be shipped through the Panama Canal to ports in California. However, sometimes it is cheaper to ship them to the east coast and then railroad them across the country.

Your PSS Account Manager will advise you on the cheapest and most cost-effective route for your shipping to USA.

Getting an Accurate Shipping Quote or Estimate

Your shipping costs will be based on the volume (cubic feet) that you ship. It is important therefore to get an accurate quote based on what you want to send.

The best way to do this is through an estimator visiting your house, although now some shipping companies like PSS offer video surveys via a mobile app, or online calculators where you list what you wish to send.

Check everything you need to ship. Don’t forget hidden cupboards, attics, sheds, garages and anything stored at another site – it all adds up

Additional Volume:

If you need to take extra items not included in your original quotation it will likely increase the amount you need to pay. However, if you reduce your volume your shipping estimate may decrease.

Costs for Shipping Personal Effects and Household Goods

This article assumes you are moving to USA and shipping household or personal effects. You will therefore be less liable to pay taxes and other charges. Household goods and personal effects include everything from furniture and clothes to bicycles, golf clubs and other used personal items.

For new items and commercial goods, other conditions, duties and costs may apply.

What’s Included in the Price for International Removals to United States?

The price estimates quoted here are based on a full international removals service to various locations in USA. This service is designed for people moving overseas or shipping personal effects and is much more comprehensive than using a freight forwarder or shipping port to port.

  • Door-to-door service (including pick up and delivery)
  • Professional export standard packing materials and cartons.
  • Use of reliable, regulated shipping lines such as Ocean Network Express (ONE), Maersk, Hapag Lloyd and Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC).
  • Advice & assistance with completing forms, & other paperwork.
  • Customs inventory – numbering and listing of all packages.
  • UK & destination Port/Terminal handling charges.
  • Ocean freight to arrival vessel destination port.
  • Customs Clearance, haulage of container and unloading.
  • Some Storage may be included in UK or USA.
  • Delivery of household effects to the residence, unwrapping and removal of packing materials (assumes good access and not above the first floor).

Cost of Car and Vehicle Shipping to USA

There are two main methods for shipping cars to USA – in a shipping container or using a RORO (Roll-On-Roll-Off) service. If you are shipping other household goods it’s worth seeing if you can save money by shipping them in the same container.

Cars, bikes, motor homes, caravans, motorbikes, boats can all to be shipped to USA. Some vehicles, especially motor homes and caravans, may be too wide or tall to fit in a shipping container and will need to be shipped RORO.

There are restrictions on what cars and other vehicles can be shipped to USA from the UK. You will need to check that your vehicle meets these criteria.

For a quote and full details of the costs of shipping and importing vehicles to USA, please click here to visit our car shipping page or call our advisers on 020 8686 7733.

Get A Quote For Car & Vehicle Shipping To America

Cheapest Shipping to USA – Warning

We have noticed that some shipping companies give misleading quotes for cheap shipping to USA. If you receive an estimate that seems very cheap compared to other shipping company quotes, please check carefully what is included.

We have frequently come across people who have been given a port-to-port price rather than a door-to-door price – which is not particularly helpful considering the large inland distances in USA!

“Why is it so expensive to ship to USA?”

The large size of the USA means that shipping costs can be higher as goods are transferred from ship to road / rail freight.

Most reputable shipping and international removal companies will have fairly similar costs and estimates. Cheap shipping quotes may look attractive on the surface but often have hidden costs or shortcuts which could put your belongings at risk.

Main Reasons For Cheap Shipping Quotes For USA Can Include:

  • Port-to-port rather than door-to-door delivery.
  • Your quote is not for a full removals service including packing, customs clearance, delivery etc.
  • The shipping company are using low cost shipping lines which may be cheaper but your belongings are at greater risk of delays, damages or even loss.
  • Unacceptable lower grade packing materials or not professionally packed.
  • Some charges & fees added on as extra so the headline quote looks cheap.
  • Removal/shipping company is not BAR or FIDI regulated.
  • The quote is cheaper as it does not include customs clearance and handling.
  • Unregulated or unreliable agents used at destination.

Why USA Shipping Estimates Vary

The shipping quotation you are given is an estimate and your final invoice may be different for a number of reasons.

This is the case with all shipping companies as much can change between receiving your quote and your actual moving or shipping day.

Final shipping costs can change due to:

  • Exchange rate fluctuations.
  • Extra items being added that were not included in the original quotation.
  • Increases in port/shipping fees and other charges in between receiving your estimate and your actual departure.
  • Varying costs and charges for different ports and shipping lines.
  • Seasonal variations (time of year).

Getting a Discount On Your Shipping to USA.

Being flexible or planning your move date can help get a lower price on your shipping/move costs. During peak season, costs are likely to be higher and in quieter periods shipping companies may offer discounts and promotions to help fill containers.

Quantity discounts are also available, so it could well be cheaper for you to ship more of your belongings rather than buy everything new in USA where they may be expensive to replace.

What’s Not Included In Your Quote – Additional Charges and Fees

There are a number of additional charges and fees that are the responsibility of you as the owner rather than the removals / shipping company and these are not included in standard quotes. Some fees and charges will need to be paid separately at your destination.

This is the case with international shipping to all countries, however the USA has a tendency to add more additional charges than most so it is important you find out which of these may apply to your shipment.

  • Delivery
  • Customs fees, duties, quarantine fees and other charges payable to Government bodies (see below).
  • Wooden crates and antique wrapping for delicate items if required.
  • In the USA you may be subject to extra charges if the delivery is to above the first floor or for difficult access if, for example, a shuttle service is needed to transport belongings from the container to your house.
  • Storage time in the UK or at the destination before delivery.
  • Shipment protection cover/insurance.
  • Parking permits, charges or associated fees for suspension /dispensation in order to facilitate removal in the UK or delivery in America.

Customs Duties, Taxes and Other Fees

US customs duties and import taxes are the responsibility of the person shipping and will need to be paid separately to U.S. Customs, although the local shipping agent at your destination port may handle these for you.

Fortunately many people including immigrants, returning US citizens, students and even people on work and visitor visas can ship household goods and personal effects to America duty free. However, some restrictions apply and customs regulations are subject to change so we suggest you check that you have the most up to date information.

A FIDI Guide to US Customs is available here.
If you don’t meet the criteria for household effects or your goods are deemed commercial imports then customs duties and tax may apply. The U.S. Government website provides more details here.

Costs and Fees for U.S. Customs Holds and Exams

Unfortunately, in the unlikely event that your container is selected for examination then, according to US law, you are responsible for the ensuing costs not U.S. CustomsThere’s is also nothing you can do to guarantee that your shipment won’t be liable because U.S. Customs selects shipments at random or if something looks suspicious. Costs may include exam fees, service fees, transportation costs, and storage costs and can range from $80 – $1000 depending on the type of inspection.

Shipment Protection and Maritime Insurance

How Much Does Shipment Protection or Insurance Cost to USA?

Shipping companies, like PSS, who are members of BAR, are covered by the Advance Payment Guarantee scheme. Although this guarantees the payment and cost of removal in the rare event that your removal company cannot complete your move, you should also consider protection for your belongings.

Shipment protection and insurance costs vary between companies and depending on whether it is self-packed or packed by the shipping/removals company.

Self-packed tends to be higher as it is not packed by professional packers.

Expect to pay anything from 3% to 7% of the total value of your goods.

(Some removals companies will allow you to select which particular items you wish to cover so this can save you significantly on your insurance costs).

Shipping to USA? Get a Quote For Shipping Or Removals To USA From the UK

If you are moving to USA, PSS International Removals will be happy to help. Over the last 36 years we have helped thousands of people and families to move or ship belongings to America.

No matter whether you are a UK expat,  first time migrant or an American returning home, PSS can offer you the best prices on shipping for household removals, boxes of personal effects and also cars.

As USA is one of our top shipping destinations, it enable us to offer you the best service at the lowest negotiated prices.

To get an estimate or quote call the PSS team on 020 8686 7733.

For more information or to get an online quote:

Get A House Removals Quote For USA Get A Quote For Shipping Boxes / Excess Baggage To USA Get A Quote For Car & Vehicle Shipping To USA

 Long Beach Container Port, California

Container Ship Arriving In New York