Cheapest Shipping Options From Relocating India To US

Have you got your visa approved and bags packed, ready to embark on a new life in the United States? But before hopping on that plane, you need to figure out how to get all of your stuff across the ocean. Shipping household items internationally can be complex and confusing. This guide breaks down the most popular methods for moving household goods and vehicles from India to the USA.

Weighing the Main Shipping Options

When relocating overseas, you essentially have three options for transporting your possessions:

  1. Air Shipping
  2. Sea Shipping (by container)
  3. Postal Service

Each has its pros, cons, and costs. Choosing the right method depends on your budget, timeline, and the types of items you need to ship. Here’s an overview of what you can expect with the main choices:

Air Freight Shipping

For those with more money than cargo, air freight provides the fastest transit times. You can have boxes delivered Stateside within 1-5 days typically. This high-speed transport comes at a premium price, making it best for essential items you need immediately or valuables you want safeguarded. Air freight weight and size restrictions also limit you to 2-3 mid-sized boxes. z ideal for whole household moves.

Sea Shipping Containers 

At the other end of the spectrum, sea shipping with FCL (Full Container Load) transports goods at the lowest rates possible – but also the slowest paces. Transit times range from 30 to 45 days on average. The container is solely yours to pack, making FCL a smart choice to ship entire home contents for relocations overseas. Consolidation with LCL (Less than Container Load) is possible too. You share space with other shippers, paying only for the cubic meters taken up. Just beware of customs delays and take safety precautions to secure contents.

Postal Parcel Services

Utilizing international couriers lands somewhere in the middle price and time-wise. Relatively quick at 10-15 days door-to-door, shipping by boxes works well, sending over essential items when preparing your new home. Or bulky but lighter goods like clothes, books, and toys. Just avoid outrageous fees by sticking under the postal weight limits and knowing dutiable restrictions.

Cheapest Shipping Option For Relocation 

The cheapest option for shipping belongings from India to the US is ‌sea shipping by full container load (FCL). Here are some key points about why FCL sea shipping tends to be the most budget-friendly choice:

– Sea shipping has much lower transport rates overall compared to air freight or postal services. Opting for a full container you pack yourself keeps costs down.

– Consolidating into a shared container (LCL) also saves over air and postal. However, having your own FCL container allows more items and prevents possible delays.

– Transit times averaging 30-45 days are longest by sea but worthwhile for the cost savings. Time frames ship faster than entry procedures.

– Pack securely as theft sadly occurs. Pay a bit extra to add supplemental cargo insurance, too for protection.  

– Use an experienced freight forwarder to handle customs documentation to prevent hang-ups. Sticking under your duty-free allowance helps, too.

Factors that Impact Shipping Costs

No matter which method you choose, several particulars will sway pricing for shipping internationally:

  • Weight – Heavier boxes mean higher transport rates across the board
  • Cubic Density/Space – Large, bulky items take up valuable vessel and aircraft hold room wanted by carriers
  • Mode – Air, sea and postal options vary hugely, with air costing 5-6 times more
  • Destination – Distance/routes involving more transit legs amount to bigger fares 
  • Seasons/Peak Times – Prices fluctuate with higher demands around holidays
  • Insurance – Getting goods coverage adds premiums atop base freight fees  

Tackling Customs Clearances

Import regulations are tough to navigate when you’re new to shipping into the United States. Trying to get belongings cleared through customs on your own can spell nightmare scenarios. Minutes turn to hours, turn to days – and sometimes weeks! – if paperwork isn’t filed correctly. 

Be sure to utilize an experienced freight forwarder or relocation company that guarantees customs clearance assistance. They’ll have established connections with brokers that can fast-track the process. Just make certain what items are restricted or prohibited altogether by U.S. Customs. Declaring something as innocuous as woodcrafts or spices could have ornamental foods flagged for quarantine inspection, for example. 

The last thing you need before settling into your new American life is having treasured belongings held hostage at the border over a technicality. Do your due diligence, confirming regulations to avoid headaches down the road.

Key Points to Remember

  • Sea shipping with FCL containers works best for whole-house moves, while air freight speeds up essential items fast at a premium. 
  • Weight, density, transit mode, and destination are key factors that determine how much international shipping costs. 
  • Utilize freight forwarders to assist with customs clearance documentation and fast-tracking inspections.
  • Confirm restricted items ahead of time so beloved belongings aren’t quarantined at the border.

With freight forwarders at your service and these key considerations in mind, you’ll be ready to ship your valuables from India to the United States with confidence. 


Transporting household goods overseas signifies much more than just logistics. Your carefully selected items represent chapters of your life story when you travel abroad. With endless possibilities ahead after touching down, beginnings start by shipping over a few comforting pieces of before. 

Sea shipping by FCL can get an entire household moved halfway around the world for several thousand dollars typically. That’s why this is one of the cheapest shipping options available. Just prepare for a slower pace and plan accordingly further ahead. Let Universal Relocations, your best freight forwarders, securely transport beloved belongings while you focus energies on the bigger relocation at hand. This ex-pat community awaits halfway around the world to welcome you with open arms, ready to help settle you into American home life. The freedom to pursue passions awaits, thanks to your belongings paving the way. Bon voyage, and best luck settling into your new homeland!

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