Moving your Personal Effects to Indonesia

Organising your personal effects for an international move is just one of a myriad of tasks that you need to complete before you hop on the airplane! Closing bank accounts, making arrangements for sale/rental of your residence, getting visas organised, finalising work issues, getting medical check-ups & immunisations, saying good by to family & friends etc etc etc. Nonetheless organising the moving of your family’s possession is an important process and which if conducted successfully, will greatly assist you and your family to get settled into Indonesia. Here are some important tips on organising your move –

Pre-move Survey

The survey is when the moving company representative/s visits your home to estimate the size of your move and determine any special service requirements – this service is usually provided free by all moving companies. It is best to start the pre-move survey walking room-by-room with the representative indicating which items are to be moved. Make sure you show them all of your household items, including those stored under beds, in high cupboards and in a storeroom or garage. You should separately indicate those items that you want to be sent by sea, air, placed in storage or given away to charity. The moving company should be able to provide you with a list of items that you showed them, and which can be used to help you calculate insurance values for your move.

Quotation and Confirmation

The selection process is of course very important. As well as making comparisons on price, it is important to consider the service quality each company is capable of providing. Above all, the moving company needs to understand that moving is a physical process, and their primary objective is to get your valued possessions to your new home safely. If in doubt about the quality of the moving companies that you have met with, perhaps you should check to see which of them have received FIDI-FAIM certification. FIDI-FAIM certification is the only internationally recognised quality standard specifically for the moving industry and is subject to regular independent audits. Visit to look up (by country) which movers in your location have achieved this certification.

Insurance Cover

Every personal effects shipment should be insured against the risk of damage or lost. Damage or loss could occur during any stage of the door to door process, even at port or in transit. Moving companies usually offer transit insurance for your items based on a percentage of the goods’ value. As each shipment’s value differs, you will usually need to complete a valued insurance inventory representing replacement cost at destination. You will normally be supplied with a proposal form breaking down items to be insured into various categories. Usually this is done room by room with separate sections for such items as electrical components, clothing, china and glassware. The completed Insurance form should be provided to the moving company before packing, to ensure that you are properly covered. Insurance cover extends to loss or damage in transit. Also find out whether the insurance includes cover against mould and mildew, pairs & sets coverage and mechanical or electrical breakdown. Some companies will charge additional fees for these special covers. You should also check to see whether there is a deductible/excess applicable to any claim.

Packing & Loading

The moving company chosen to handle your move should carefully wrap all furniture items, listen closely to your requests and have a supervisor in charge of the packing process. They should number all items being moved, check the quantity at both origin and destination and ask for your signature for verification. Reputable moving companies are happy to pack each and every item, however if you like to pack some personal items yourself, then they should oblige and arrange delivery of boxes in advance. Should you choose to do any self-packing, check with the moving company on the insurance rulings, as most will not cover items that are packed by the owner.
Prior to the movers arriving, pack your personal documents (e.g. Birth & marriage certificates, bank records, insurance records, wills); medicine & medical records, driver’s licenses; flight tickets; passports and other valuables in a safe location. You should also back up your computer and remove the toner cartridge from your printer before the move.
If it is not possible for you to be present throughout the packing and loading, you should arrange for a representative (e.g. domestic helper, friend, colleague or relative) to be present and ideally you should make arrangements for your children to be looked after by a friend or colleague during the packing and delivery. Don’t forget to double-check each room after packing to ensure nothing has been left behind;

If your goods require storage before being shipped, you should also perhaps arrange to inspect the mover’s warehouse, to ensure that your valued possessions will be secure and safe.


Upon arrival at destination, the delivery crew should unpack all the cartons and place the goods as instructed by you. As your taste for placement will be different to the crew, it is a good idea to let them know the basic positioning of your furniture. All furniture items should then be unwrapped and set up where you specify, packing debris should be cleared away and all items accounted for before the delivery truck departs. Most companies will return for the used cartons at a later date (though often at an additional fee) if there are some boxes that you want to unpack at a slower pace (though you will have a limited time to do so, otherwise the transit insurance may be expired).
Although delivery of items locally can be arranged so that the major items such as beds can be picked up and delivered in the same day for sleeping in, it may be more comfortable and less stressful to arrange a night’s stay in a hotel.
Also some movers can arrange for a handyman to help hang up pictures & mirrors and to patch up holes in the wall at the old residence. Be sure to check with the mover whether they can provide this service.

Tipping. A lot of people are unsure how much to tip the Indonesian delivery crew. Tipping is not 100% expected here in Indonesia, however given that even small amounts are appreciated, most people do show their appreciated by providing tips. Usually this ranges from IDR 10,000 – 50,000 per person per day, depending on how happy and generous you are feeling. You can give the money to the Crew Supervisor at the end of the delivery.

And finally… remember to be a little flexible when conducting arranging your delivery in Indonesia – as loading and delivery should be avoided at all costs when it is raining – and as you will find out, it rains a lot here!

And don’t forget to send change of address notices to the post office, magazine subscriptions, insurance company, bank, tax office, etc.

Customs Regulations for Indonesia: Please note that foreigners (excluding diplomatic staff) are only able to import their household effects into Indonesia if they are able to provide (i) Original Passport with visa (issued by Indonesian Embassy/consulate prior to arrival into Indonesia); (ii) Original Residency Permits (KITAS) – must be valid for 12 months and (iii) Original Work Permit – must be valid for 12 months. These documents usually take between 2-6 weeks to obtain after your arrival in Indonesia. You should ensure that your moving company sends your shipment to arrive in Indonesia to coincide when these documents will be issued to you. Also –
• You can only import a ‘reasonable’ quantity of major appliances and electronic items.
• Basically one sea and one air shipment is allowed per family unit. However the air shipment must be received and cleared first, then the sea shipment (if any) as the second one. And it must be imported within 3 months from your arrival date in Indonesia (per Immigration Admission Stamp in your passport). If it arrives after this time, then duties and taxes will apply. If there is more than 1 shipment (either sea/air) per family unit then whichever shipment comes later will be subject to duty and taxes.
• All items must have been used for at least 12 months before being imported.
• CD’s/DVD’s, VCD’s – Can only be imported in ‘reasonable’ quantities and should not be pornographic or politically sensitive.
• Alcohol – You are only entitled to import one litre of alcohol (wine, spirits, beer) per adult family member. Additional quantities will be subject to confiscation.
• Food items – Non Perishable food items may be imported in small amounts. Items in cans and other durable packaging in reasonable amount are allowed to be imported.
• Statues – Although these items are not considered as prohibited items, they are considered as very sensitive items due to preventing smuggling of authentic statues. Customs will hold and take them to Indonesian Directorate of History and Archaeology to be examined. This process can last for 4 – 9 months until customs can determine if original or copies. Any supporting document (e.g. certificate from origin customs) is required to expedite the clearance process. Overall, it is strongly recommended not to import these items.

Santa Fe provides high quality relocation services to private individuals and corporate clients. For more information send an email to [email protected] or visit their website at

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  1. Pingback:9 Things to Consider When Moving to Jakarta | Whats New Jakarta

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