Shipping a Container from the UK to USA

Cost of Shipping Furniture from the UK to USA

Moving to the Land of the Free and planning on shipping your furniture to America? Look no further, Sirelo will guide you through the process! We’ll include costs, customs information, and even free removal quotes to help you find a removal company to help with shipping your personal effects from the UK to the USA, making your move a breeze!

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How Much to Ship a Container from the UK to USA?

The first thing you need to know when shipping furniture from the UK to the USA is that they won’t be travelling in the back of a truck or on an open-air ship. Rather, your prized possessions will be neatly packed into a shipping container for the journey from the UK to the USA.

Depending on the volume of your move, you will either be shipping your furniture from the UK to the USA in a 20ft container or 40ft container. Yes, there are different sizes of shipping containers!

To answer the question of how much to ship a container from the UK to the USA, it can cost between £2,500-£3,700 for a 20ft container, while a 40ft container can cost between £3,800-£5,500, and that’s only for port-to-port! For a breakdown of the cost of shipping a container UK to different US cities, just look below:

Cost of Shipping a 20ft Container from UK to USA

Port City20ft Container Cost
Chicago£3,050 – £3,300
Houston£3,200 – £3,400
Los Angeles£3,375 – £3,600
Miami£2,450 – £2,550
New York£2,900 – £3,100
San Francisco£3,550 – £3,675

Do you want an accurate cost for shipping a 20ft container from the UK to the USA? Click the button below and start your removal today with quotes from removal companies!

Cost of Shipping a 40ft Container from UK to USA

Port City40ft Container Cost
Chicago£4,900 – £5,200
Houston£4,700 – £4,950
Los Angeles£5,250 – £5,475
Miami£3,850 – £4,000
New York£4,250 – £4,400
San Francisco£5,300 – £5,550

Ready to fill and ship a 40ft container from the UK to the USA? Just click below to start your shipping journey with 5 free removal quotes!

Disclaimer: The above prices are subject to change as container shipping costs fluctuate due to supply and demand. Thus, the actual price for port-to-port container shipping from the UK to the USA may be higher.

Save Money by Requesting Removal Quotes

If you want to find the best bang for your buck or you just pinch some pennies on your moving from the UK to the USA shipping cost, then request free removal quotes! Just click below and receive up to 5 removal company quotes that you can then compare for service, quality, and costs. It’s the best way to find the right service for you and can save you money.

Comparison Quotes for Container Shipping to the USA
Click below and receive quotes from removal companies for the cost of shipping your furniture from the UK to the USA!

How to Ship Furniture from the UK to the USA?

Understandably, you might still have some questions when it comes to how much moving will cost you. Firstly, how do you even know which container will best suit your needs? Secondly, are there alternative options for shipping?

Shipping a 20ft or 40ft Container to the USA?

The answer to the first question can be answered using Sirelo’s removal volume calculator. With that tool, you can calculate the volume of the items that you be shipping via container from the UK to the USA.

Then to tell which size you need; your volume should fall below 33m3 (1,179ft3) for a 20ft container or between 33 – 76m3 (1,179-2,714ft3) for a 40ft container. Most removal companies, even the British ones, will work with m3, so it might be better to go with the metric in this case!

What are the Alternatives?

As for the second, there are alternatives! If you can’t fill a whole container with your belongings, Less Container Load (LCL) is an option. This involves sharing a container as opposed to Full Container Load (FCL) where only you use the container.

For LCL, the costs are usually split as to the space taken by each client along with a service cost, making it a little hard to calculate. But it’s safe to assume it’ll be at most half the price!

Port-to-port & Door-to-door
With terms like port-to-port and FCL, which is Full Container Load by-the-by, you might be in need of a guide to breaking down the terms and even the factors associated with container shipping costs. Knowing where the costs come from will help you save money in the long run. Curious? Just click below to find out more!
Find out more!

There’s also the option of using air freight, however, you’ll find that only a very small volume will fit in a plane, and on top of that, the cost of shipping is very high. Thus, it should be reserved for shipping boxes to the USA filled with items that you can’t live without.

How Long to Ship to USA from the UK?

Another question on the tip of your tongue likely relates to how long shipping a container from the UK to the USA takes, and the answer to that again depends on where, geographically, you’ll be shipping to!

For the East Coast, it can be as quick as 2 weeks. On the other hand, the West Coast can take as long 4 weeks to reach by sea. Just be aware that it can take longer if your goods get held up at customs, so do everything you can for a smooth customs check.

If you have decided that air freight is the best way to of shipping boxes of household goods from the UK to the USA, then you might be relieved by the fact that it’ll take between 1-2 days to deliver your items, which is much faster by comparison. Just don’t forget that it comes at a premium.

FAQ: What You Need to Know When Shipping from the UK to America

Since this isn’t a move just down the road, but to another country with its own laws and regulations. We just want to cover the most common issues that arise when shipping a container from the UK to the USA. It’s the sort of stuff you really want to know so you have as smooth a move as possible.

How Do You Smoothly Ship Items from the UK to the USA?

If you want to avoid encountering issues when shipping furniture from the UK to the USA, there are three tasks that you need to do:

  1. Create a thorough inventory of the items you’re shipping to the USA. This is important for passing through border inspections without minimal disruption. Your removal company will likely ask for one or help with making a declaration form to clear customs in the States. We just want to stress how important it is to get right.
  2. Do not try to import a prohibited or restricted item. Need we say more? If you don’t know what is restricted or prohibited, just scroll down!
  3. Be sure to ask your removal company questions and keep an open line of communication. They may need further information on the items you’re shipping to complete the import declarations and forms.

US customs inspection

Are There Custom Duties and Taxes?

You’ll be glad to hear that shipping household goods from the UK to the USA will normally entail no custom duties as long as you have owned the items for at least a year with no intention to sell them. So, we hope you’ve kept the receipts, or your items look old enough to prove it!

While not all the items you’ll want to import will be considered household effects, there is a similar provision for personal effects, which covers items such as clothes, jewellery, and more. You can read more about this on the US Customs and Broder Protection page.

Which Items are Prohibited and Restricted?

It should come as no surprise, but there are just some items that can’t be shipped via container from the UK to the USA. This is due to shipping restrictions and US custom rules. Fortunately, the items affected are unlikely to be items that you’ll be bringing.

Below is a list of items container shipping companies to the USA won’t let you bring:

  • Combustible liquids and flammables – this includes alcohol, so maybe have a parting party with your friends before you go!
  • Food – while some food items can be imported, others, like haggis, are prohibited from being imported to the USA. Only import food under the advice of your removal company.
  • Compressed gasses (including aerosols or diving tanks)
  • Firearms, ammunition, and weapons
  • Narcotics and controlled substances
  • Corrosives (including some batteries)
  • Commercial goods
  • Animal, bird, or plant products

Here’s a list of items completely forbidden from being imported to the States:

  • Tuna
  • Drug paraphernalia
  • Haitian animal hide drums
  • Cuban cigars
  • Blank tapes and CDs from Iran
  • Absinthe
  • Counterfeit items or items inappropriately using a federally registered trademark
  • Products made from dog and cat fur
  • Flavoured cigarettes, including cloves

To round off the list, here are items that have restricted import status. For the following items, you may be obliged to either pay custom duties or taxes on the items or acquire an import permit when shipping these items from the UK to the USA:

  • Medications
  • Game and hunting trophies
  • Gold
  • Merchandise from embargoed countries (a permit from the Office of Foreign Assets Control is required)
  • Biological materials of public health or veterinary importance (an import permit is required) (Hawaii)
  • Inherited Goods (Imports to Hawaii)

For an even more comprehensive list and explanation as to what’s prohibited from import to the USA, check out this page from the US Customs department.

Will Your Items Work in the USA?

While you can ship your household goods from the UK to the USA without a problem, it might be a problem if you want to make use of them after you arrive. The issue arises from the electricity grid and also region locking.

Power Grid

The US power grid runs on around 120V while it’s 240V in the UK. While some devices, like a phone charger, will work fine, other items won’t work effectively. So, before you import items to the US, make sure that they’ll work on the US grid.

Sirelo Tip: You might be glad to hear that laptops usually have the ability to work on both voltages, you just might need to replace the laptop charger. However, you should always double-check!

Region Locking

If you happen to be a collector of DVDs and have an extensive collection, you best be sure to bring a DVD player from the UK as most DVDs are region locked. Otherwise, this might be the time to digitise your collection or get Netflix.

As for your TV, other than problems with voltage, you’ll also need to contend with differing broadcasting signals. As for streaming, you’ll lose access to the BBC iPlayer due to it not being available outside of the UK, but you’ll still have a wide range of streaming services available to use.

aerial view of port with shipping containers

Shipping A Car from the UK to the USA

If your move involves international car shipping to the USA, just know that it’s very different from shipping furniture from the UK to the USA. While both involve shipping a container from the UK to the USA, the requirements for shipping a car to the USA can be somewhat tricky compared to furniture!


Let’s start with what can make the import of your car to the USA difficult, meeting US federal standards for cars. There are also emission standards that vary by state. It can be a headache trying to understand if your car is compliant, thus be sure to get help from a professional removal company that deals in shipping cars from the UK to the USA. It’ll make the process a lot simpler.

25 Year Exception

However, there is one exception to the standards debacle. If your car is older than 25 years, it’ll be viewed somewhat like an antique and you can bypass all those stringent standards!

Cost of Shipping a Car to the USA

The cost of shipping a car to the USA ranges between £700-£1,500, depending on the destination and the size of the vehicle, a 4×4 takes a lot of space. This cost normally covers the shipping and cleaning of the car. However, you’ll need to add 2.5% of the value of the car to the price as cars are not duty-free, unfortunately.

Ready to Ship a Container from the UK to USA?

Phew, that was a bit of a lengthy read! However, with all the knowledge that you’ve taken on, you should be ready to ship a container from the UK to the USA and be aware of the multitude of caveats that come along with shipping household goods and cars from the UK to the USA. Go get ‘em tiger!

If you’re looking for even more information pertaining to container shipping or the moving process in general, then click one of the interesting articles below! You’ll find everything you need to know to have the best removal to the USA if you explore our website.

Finally, have a great removal and don’t forget to move with a smile! 😊