Moving to a new destination comes with a long list of to-dos and things to remember. Making an international move adds another layer of complexity, with an additional set of procedures, rules, customs regulations, and even cultural differences that you’ll need to know about.
Here at DeWitt Guam, we’re well-versed in international moves. Even though Guam is a U.S. territory, moves to the U.S. mainland are treated as international moves in terms of customs procedures. As a result, we’ve got a ton of experience in navigating all the paperwork, rules, and procedures that come with international moves. Start by downloading our International Move Checklist.
In this article, we’ll highlight a popular international destination for those leaving Guam: the country of Japan. We’ll show you everything you need to know to make an easy transition if you’re leaving Guam for Japan. Or, if you’re headed the other way, we’ll also show you what you need to know about joining us on the beautiful island of Guam.
Moving to Japan
If you’re leaving Guam for Japan, you might take comfort in knowing that you’ll still be living on an island, one that’s a part of a longer island chain. However, there’s a pretty significant difference in size.
- The Mariana Islands archipelago includes 15 islands for a total land area of 389 mi². (Guam is the largest at 217 mi² .)
- The Japanese archipelago includes 7,000 islands with a total land area of 145,898 miles².
In addition to offering you plenty of islands to explore, Japan can also be your gateway for discovering the rest of Asia. Many countries are just a short flight away, making it easy for you to country hop with relative ease. As you’re preparing for the move from Guam to Japan, here’s what you need to know. Special Notes about Japan Moves:
Japanese Accommodations Are Smaller- Large, oversized furniture—like a giant sectional couch—may not fit through the doors and stairwells in your new home. If you have any doubts, ask your mover for further advice.
Bringing Pets to Japan Requires Extra Paperwork- Since Guam is a recognized rabies-free destination, you’ll have a much easier time. However, it’s important to review the rules to ensure your pet doesn’t have to endure a lengthy quarantine.
Customs: All your household goods will go through Customs procedures in Japan.
Japanese Customs Fees: If you’re moving to Japan with the plan of staying more than a year, any household goods can be imported free of duties/taxes, within reasonable limits. Note that these goods must have been in use for more than a year prior to their arrival.
Documents Needed for Your Move to Japan:
- Customs declaration forms, which you’ll receive on the plane
- A copy of your passport
- A detailed packing list/inventory of your household goods, which your mover will help you prepare
- Ocean bill of lading or air waybill, which your mover will provide
- Keys and combinations to any locked baggage
- Alcohol: Three bottles of 760ml per adult
- Tobacco: 400 cigarettes, 20 individual packages, 100 cigars, and 500 grams per adult, all of which must be under a total allowance of 500 grams.
- Perfume: 2 ounces
- Opium, cannabis, magic mushrooms, and other narcotic drugs and utensils for opium smoking; stimulants (including Vicks inhalers and Sudafed); psychotropic substances (excluding those designated by Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare Ordinance); and designated substances except those imported for permitted purposes including medicinal ones.
- Firearms (pistols, rifles, machine guns, etc.), ammunition (bullets), and pistol parts
- Explosives (dynamite, gunpowder, etc.)
- Precursor materials for chemical weapons
- Germs which are likely to be used for bio-terrorism
- Counterfeit, altered, or imitation coins, paper money, bank notes, or securities, and forged credit cards
- Books, drawings, carvings, and any other articles which may harm public safety or morals (obscene or immoral materials, e.g., pornography)
- Child pornography
- Goods which infringe intellectual property
- Plants and animals must be presented to the plant or animals quarantine officer for quarantine inspection prior to Customs examination.
- There is quantity restriction on the import of medicine and cosmetics etc. for personal use. (e.g., internal medicine: amount required for a period of two months (as a general rule); external medicine: 24 pieces or less per one item; and cosmetics: 24 pieces or less per one item). However, those which may cause health damage are restricted, regardless of their quantity.
- No person shall bring hunting guns, air guns, swords, etc. into Japan without a permit to possess
For more information about customs rules and procedures, talk to your moving company or refer to the Japan Customs website. You’re also welcome to ask one of our experts! We’ll get you the info you need. Now, let’s talk about the reverse journey: leaving Japan to head to Guam.
Moving to Guam
First and foremost, if you’re headed to Guam, hafa adai! (“Hello,” in CHamoru, the language of Guam’s indigenous people.) You’ll hear this phrase a lot once you move to Guam. If you’d like to know more about what it’s like to live on the island, check out our Insider’s Guide to Living on Guam. We’ll show you some of our favorite places to live and shop, as well as our top ways to enjoy your time on Guam. Now, let’s dive into the details… Special Notes about Guam Moves:
Your Shipment Will Be Subject to Guam’s Customs Regulations- Although Guam is a U.S. territory, federal regulations have given Guam the responsibility of maintaining their own Customs and Quarantine Agency (CQA).
You May Pay a Small Fee to Send Your Household Goods to Guam- If you send it via ocean freight, there’s a flat fee of $125 for the first 4,000 pounds and $0.0012 for every pound thereafter. You’ll find more 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.
- 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.
- Firearms: If 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
- 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 & Japan
Now that you know what to expect when you move between Guam and Japan, there’s only one thing left to do: schedule your move and book your plane tickets! Whether you’re headed to Guam or Japan, you’ve got a whole host of new experiences waiting for you on your new island home. Moving between Japan and Guam? We’d love to help you make a safe, easy, and affordable move. Just reach out to one of our international experts to get started with a free quote.
Tell us about your move!