There’s a lot to negotiate when you move to a new country. Between language barriers, cultural contrasts, new cuisines, currency exchanges, finding a new place to live, fitting in, and making friends, there’s a lot to think about. And that doesn’t even take into account everything involved with moving your household possessions to your new home.  Start by downloading our International Move Checklist

When you’re making an international move, it pays to have an experienced partner. Here at DeWitt Guam, we have many years of experience in handling all the paperwork, rules, and procedures for importing household goods to a foreign country. Because Guam is a U.S. territory, moves to the U.S. mainland are treated as international moves. As a result, we’ve navigated the process many times over for moves all over the U.S. mainland—and the world. 

One of the more popular international locations we’ve worked with is South Korea. If you’re leaving Guam for the Republic of Korea, as it’s officially known, we’ll walk you through all the must-knows for a seamless transition. Or, if you’re headed to Guam from South Korea, we’ll show you exactly what you need to know to join us here in Guam.  We’ll start by discussing moves to South Korea.  

Must-Knows for Moving to South Korea from Guam 

If you’re transitioning from the island of Guam to South Korea, first and foremost, you’ll be trading your 212 mi² island for a vast 38,623 mi² country.  

Whereas you might be used to spending your days with 167,294 of your fellow island citizens, South Korea counts 51,709,098 among its population.i South Korea is also the world’s seventh-largest exporter, and the home of several large companies, including Samsung, Hyundai, Kia, and LG.ii Finally, if you choose to live in and around Seoul, the country’s capital, you can be sure your life will feel a lot busier than it did on Guam.  

Your move to South Korea will offer you a big change in atmosphere and lifestyle.  As you’re preparing to make a smooth transition, here’s what you need to know: 

You Need to Be Present to Clear CustomsBefore your household goods can clear Customs, you must be physically present in South Korea. (By the way, this isn’t true if you’re moving to Guam. More on that in the next section!) 

Bringing Your Pet with You – Because Guam is a rabies-free area, you’ll have a relatively easier time bringing your pet to South Korea. However, there are still a few requirements you’ll need to meet. See below for details. 

Documents Needed for Moving Your Household Goods to South Korea:

  • Copy of passport, including the photo, entry stamp, and long-term visa pages 
  • Detailed inventory / packing list (in English) 
  • Copy of bill of lading (OBL) or sea waybill / air waybill (AWB) 
  • Alien registration card (ARC) from the Korean Immigration Office 
  • Certificate of entry and exit (for returning citizens and accompanying family members only)
  • For diplomats, you’ll need the application for duty exemption issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Korea
  • Customs declaration form
  • Power of attorney 

South Korea Customs Fees – Your household goods which have been used for more than three months and are generally recognized as personal effects will be exempt from duties, except the items that are subject to mandatory taxation, which are listed below. 

  • Motor vehicles, excluding vehicles exported from Korea 
  • Jewelry, pearls, tortoiseshell, corals, pumpkins, ivory, and goods made thereof with taxable prices of KRW 5 million or more per unit 

Duty-Free Allowances:

  • Alcohol: 1 liter 
  • Tobacco: 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, and 250 grams of tobacco 
  • Perfume: 2 ounces 
  • Personal items: Gifts, new items, etc. up to $400 
  • Illegal drugs 
  • Pornographic material 
  • Counterfeit goods or materials 
  • Subversive and treasonous materials 
  • Firearms, ammunition, and explosive materials, including fireworks. To import these items requires permission from South Korean authorities 
  • Narcotic and psychotropic drugs
  • Animals
  • Food items are allowed in sea shipments only. All items must be sealed and labeled. Small amounts are granted a duty-free entry, but the shipment can be subject to a payment of 20% duty if the total is deemed too large for a household goods shipment
  • Plants and plant byproducts are subject to quarantine and approval by the authorities 

For more information about customs rules and procedures, talk to your moving company or refer to the Korea Customs website. You’re also welcome to ask one of our experts! We’ll get you the info you need. Now, if you’re headed the other way, let’s talk about relocating to Guam from South Korea. 

Moving to Guam

If you’re headed to Guam, let us be the first to welcome you to our beautiful island! If you’re curious what your life might look like after you movetake a look at our Insider‘s Guide to Living on GuamWe’ll take you on a tour of the best areas to live, our favorite places to shop, and the most fun ways to spend your days off. Now, let’s dive into the details. 

Your Shipment Will Pass Through Guam Customs, Not U.S. Customs Although Guam is a U.S. territory, Guam has its own Customs and Quarantine Agency (CQA), which will clear your household goods shipment.

Customs Fees for Household Goods – If your household goods arrive via ocean freight, you’ll pay a flat fee of $125 for the first 4,000 poundsand $0.0012 for every additional poundMore details below

Customs: Your household goods shipment will clear through Guam’s CQA 

Guam Customs Fees: The fees charged by the Guam CQA differ, depending on whether you ship everything via ocean freight or some of your goods via air freight.  

  • For ocean freight: The first 4,000 lbs. are assessed a $125.00 for international shipments. A $0.0012 fee will be charged for every pound thereafter.   
  • For air freight: The first 100 lbs. of air cargo will be assessed a $125.00 fee. A $0.0012 fee will be charged for every pound thereafter.  

Documents Needed:

  • The original bill of lading (OBL), copy of telex release or air waybill (AWB)  
  • A clear copy of the owner’s passport, including the signature and picture page 
  • A detailed inventory, signed by the owner 
  • Full contact information for the owner 
  • Full employment information for the owner  

Additional Possible Fees:

  • Inspections:Shipments held for a physical exam may be charged a fee of $75/hour for loose-loaded shipments or $50/crate for liftvan-loaded shipments.  
  • FirearmsIf your shipment contains firearms, it will be held in a certified Container Freight Station for inspection prior to release. A fee of $1.00 per cubic foot will be assessed for the entire shipment. 
  • Motorcycles / Scooters / Mopeds / ATVs / Trailers / Watercraft : These items must be held in a certified Container Freight Station for inspection prior to release. A fee of $1.00 per cubic foot will be assessed.   
  • All food items, including things like dried food, spices, perishables, meats, and liquids  
  • Narcotics and dangerous drugs   
  • Pornography  
  • Misbranded articles  
  • Hazardous articles, including fireworks  
  • Toxic and poisonous substances  
  • Endangered species and artifacts 
  • Rooted plants, flowers, soil, and fruits 
  • Non-DOT approved tires  
  • Guam law allows the import of up to four legally authorized firearms for personal use. Ammunition is strictly prohibited. Documentation is required. 
  • An individual 21 years and older can bring in one gallon (3.8 liters) of alcoholic beverages. Any amount in excess will result in a 4% duty based on the value of the alcohol and the cost of the ocean freight of the entire shipment.  
  • Only normal required quantities of medicines and narcotics are acceptable for import, provided they are supported by a prescription or statement from a personal physician. They must also be properly identified. Narcotics listed under Schedule I, II and III of the Controlled Substance Act are generally prohibited. Severe penalties will be imposed if these substances are improperly imported. 

Making a Simple and Stress-Free Move Between Guam & South Korea

Relocating between Guam and South Korea means a significant change. Your environment and lifestyle will likely look entirely different than they do now. However, by following the above guidelines for your household goods, you’ll soon be ready to surround yourself with all the familiar touches that will make your new country feel like home. 

Moving between Guam and South Korea? We’d love to help you make a safe, easy, and affordable move. Just reach out to one of our international move experts to get started with a complimentary quote for your relocation. 

Sources: IAM Country Guide: South KoreaKorea Customs  

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