Shipping to Israel
Shipping to Israel Options
Household Goods Shipping (Moving to Israel)
If you are shipping household goods or personal effects to Israel, you will want to use a shipping company like Sonigo International Shipping, Israel.
We offer door to door service, as well as warehouse to door or warehouse to warehouse service, depending on your needs and budget.
Shipping a Car or Motorcycle to Israel
Shipping a motor vehicle of any kind, to Israel, is a difficult procedure. At Sonigo International Shipping, Israel, we explain all of the rules, costs, and procedures up front, so you can decide if shipping your car or motorcycle makes sense.
Commercial Shipping to Israel
If your company is looking to import commercially to Israel, Sonigo International Shipping can help you, or point you in the right direction, to get your products here safely.
Parcel Shipping to Israel
If all you need to ship to Israel is a box or two, the best option is likely to use a parcel shipping company or courier. The exception would be if you are shipping a high value item, in which case the extra cost of professional packing and handling will make it worth using a professional shipping company, like Sonigo International Shipping, Israel.
Household Goods Shipping (Moving to Israel)
Air or Sea? How to Ship to Israel
While this may be the first question you ask, it is usually a pretty simple decision. Air shipments are faster and more expensive. Here are the cases where it makes sense to ship by air:
• Small shipments which are time sensitive
• High Value shipments which are relatively small
• Shipments of under 1 cubic meter (35 cubic feet)
As you can see, most shipments of household goods go by sea. This is a slower and less expensive option. However, there are certain fixed costs for an ocean shipment, regardless of the size. So if you decide to go this route, check to see what the “Minimum” charge is for, and you can ship that much for the same cost as shipping less.
Full Container to Israel, Consolidated Container to Israel
All ocean shipments are containerized, however not everyone has enough cargo to justify taking their own container.
Sonigo International Shipping has “Consolidated Containers” coming to Israel from all over the world.
By shipping in a consolidated container, you pay for the space and services you need, but you don’t need to worry about finding other people who are also shipping to Israel from your origin. Since this is a legally and physically separated shipment from others in the same container, you also don’t need to worry about anyone else not paying, or infringing on your rights (if you have any).
The Full Process
Here is a step by step guide for shipping your household goods to Israel.
Determining the Volume
All shipments to Israel are based on the volume (size) of the shipment. Sometimes, the weight is also a factor. So the first thing you need to do is to determine the size of your shipment to Israel.
If all you have are a few boxes which are already packed, or if you plan on shipping only new goods, send us an exact list of what you are shipping, and the size and weight of each piece. Remember to send all three dimensions. Ask the store to send the “Shipping Sizes” of any new goods, and remember to also ask how many pieces. (You might buy 1 Table and 4 chairs, for a total of 5 pieces, but the store might ship 3 boxes total).
As you can see, most shipments to Israel will involve used goods, goods which are not already packed, or a mix of used and new goods. This is why we prefer to do an in home survey, and why you should only accept quotes from companies which do in home surveys (unless you live in a very remote area – more than 1 hour drive from any city).
An in home survey is just that – we will send our local partner (from the company which will ultimately be doing the pick-up and packing) to your home, and you will go room by room together and identify what will be shipped to Israel and what will not be shipped to Israel. At this time, you should also list any items you plan on buying new.
Tips for a Successful and Accurate Survey
• Go through your home before the survey to decide what will be shipped to Israel.
• Try to have both spouses available at the time of the survey. If this is not possible, review with your spouse what will be shipped to Israel before the survey. Many times, the items which you are sure will not be shipped are the same items your spouse won’t live without.
• Make sure to look in places which are used for long-term storage (Basements, garages, attics) before and during the survey.
• During the survey, try to avoid ambiguous words like “going” (which can mean going to Israel, or going to the trash”) Try to say “This will be shipped” or “This will not be shipped”, or “Yes” and “No”
• Once the survey is done, review the survey sheet for accuracy.
Reviewing and Understanding the Quote
Our price quote is written in simple English (or Hebrew or French at your request), and we try to make things easy to understand. However, it is important that you understand the quote, so here are a few things to know:
• Read the entire quote, including the cover letter.
• Ask us if you have any questions.
• Note that the volume is an estimate, and actual charges will be based on the final volume.
• Review the survey sheet for accuracy. Let us know if something is missing, extra, or not clear.
• If there is a minimum volume noted, ask if this is the minimum charge (for example if you have a 200 cubic foot minimum, and ship less, the charge will be for 200 cubic feet) or if this is a “price point” (if you have a 200 cubic foot minimum and ship less, you will be billed for the actual volume, but the per cubic foot price will go up). This will vary depending on volume, origin, and other factors.
• Note that the time in transit is estimated – many factors which are outside of our control can cause delays, and also early arrivals.
• We do our best to include all known charges in our quote, however it is always a good idea to budget a little extra in case of something that is not included (like a port strike, difficult access, etc…)
Time in Transit to Israel
Please note – Times in Transit for shipments to Israel are estimated. Our price quote will show estimated times in transit – this is just a rough guide for planning.
Generally exclusive use containers (FCL Shipments to Israel) move faster than consolidated containers to Israel (LCL).
From the USA/Canada East Coast to Israel:
FCL – 4-8 Weeks
LCL – 6-10 Weeks
From The USA/Canada West Coast to Israel:
FCL – 7-11 Weeks
LCL 8-13 Weeks
From USA/Canada Midwest (inland areas) to Israel:
FCL – 6-9 Weeks
LCL – 7-12 Weeks
From South/Central America Atlantic Coast (some countries have excessive delays in export customs clearing – check your quote) to Israel:
FCL – 4-8 Weeks
LCL – 6-11 Weeks
From South/Central America Pacific Coast (some countries have excessive delays in export customs clearing – check your quote) to Israel:
FCL – 7-11 Weeks
LCL – 8-13 Weeks
From Western Europe to Israel:
FCL – 3-7 Weeks
LCL – 6-10 Weeks
From South Africa to Israel:
FCL – 5-10 Weeks
LCL – 7-11 Weeks
From Australia to Israel:
FCL – 5-9 Weeks
LCL – 6-12 Weeks
From the Far East to Israel:
FCL – 3-7 Weeks
LCL – 4-8 Weeks
Please note that while we do everything to move your shipment to Israel in a timely fashion, we can not be responsible for any costs incurred because a shipment arrives earlier or later than expected.
What should be Included in the Quote for Shipping to Israel
Once you have had an in home survey, you will get a written quote. Here are the items which should be included, in writing:
• The Date of the quote and time of validity
• The origin and destination (if you don’t know the exact destination, the quote should give a radius or area, such as “75 KM from Ashdod” or “Jerusalem Area”)
• The type of packing service requested (Full packing, Packing of Breakables only, Customer Packs everything, Customer packs and loads container”
• Door to door transportation costs
• Current Ship line surcharges
• Customs clearing procedures, both at origin and in Israel
• Port Fees and Terminal Handling Charges, both at origin and in Israel
• Mandatory Port Tax (Mas Nemal) in Israel (everyone pays this, even Diplomats, New Immigrants making Aliyah and Return Citizens with rights as Toshav Hozer)
• VAT (charged on Israeli services – again no exemptions)
• Standard documentation fees
• Time in Transit (estimated)
• Volume (estimated)
• If the shipment is an exclusive use container (FCL) or consolidated container (LCL)
• Terms and methods of payment
• Any special packing or handling needs (piano handling, special crating)
What will not be Included in the Quote for Shipping to Israel
While we do our best to include all known charges, there are some things we can not know or predict in advance:
• Customs inspection charges (inspections are very rare, but any charges for work done in the inspection are passed on to the owner of the cargo)
• Difficult access (if we don’t know your destination address, we will quote based on walking less than 20 meters, and hand-carry up two flights of stairs)
• Customs Duties
• Storage or Demurrage (late container return) fees. On FCL shipments, the time for storage is very short, so even if all of the paperwork is ready before the shipment arrives in Israel, there may be storage fees.
Note – if you will need storage, let us know when we send the quote so we can outline storage fees
• Charges due to Strikes, Wars, Ship-related disasters, or other impossible to predict events which may have associated charges (Force Majeur)
Understanding Shipment Coverage (Insurance) for Your Shipment to Israel
Shipment coverage is never included in the costs of your shipment to Israel. Why is this? Simply because one person could ship a 20 foot container worth $20,000 and another could ship a 20 foot container worth $200,000. As such, each person pays for the coverage that he needs.
Our quote for your shipment to Israel will show the costs of shipment coverage, however it is up to you to determine how much coverage you need. This is how you do it:
Option 1 – Lump- Sum Coverage:
If you prefer to take “Lump-Sum” (blanket) coverage, ask us for details. In this instance, you must insure the shipment for at least $2750 per cubic meter ($80 per cubic foot), plus the value of any individual items worth over $1500, plus the cost of the shipment.
Option 2 – Itemized List Coverage:
Use the form we supply to make a list of what you are shipping, and how much it would cost to replace the items new.
If you are packing your own boxes, write a number and a one word description on each box. On a separate sheet, write the box number, the contents, and the value of the box. Please note that boxes you pack will not be covered for damage if the box arrives, however if the box is lost or totaled in transit, it will be covered. On the form we supply, pick one of the blank spaces, and write in “Owner Packed Boxes” and put I the total.
For boxes we pack, don’t worry about what items will go into what boxes – insure the items themselves on the form we supply.
Items which have a value of over $1500 should have proof of value (Invoice, appraisal, etc…)
Once you have listed all of the items, add in the cost of shipping the goods to Israel on the line provided. Obviously, if you receive the shipment and it is a total loss, you would not just want to get the money to replace the goods, but also the money you paid for shipping them. Likewise, the insurance company requires you to insure for the replacement cost in Israel, which would be the cost of buying the goods new at origin, and shipping them over.
This list should come to your salesman, NOT the crew that does the packing. We should have a rough draft before the day of pick-up, and the final copy within 48 hours after pick-up.
As you can see, this is a difficult task, so it is best to get started as soon as you know you will be doing a shipment to Israel. All marine insurance companies require this, swo even if you have not yet decided who to use for your shipment to Israel, you should get started on this list.
Note that there are limits for owner packed boxes, and owner loaded containers. If you are packing your own boxes, or loading your own container to Israel, please ask us for dfetails, or review the documents we send you at the time we send the price quote for your shipment to Israel.
Before Packing Day
What you need to do before packing day depends on the level of service you have ordered. However the following things should be done in advance regardless of the level of service:
• Review and understand what rights, limits, and obligations you may have for importing to Israel, if any. Review the documentation we send you, and also check with the proper Israeli Agency (depending on your specific entry visa or status).
• Send us a clear scan of your passport, and any other required documents we need for the export procedures (EIN Number for US Citizens exporting from the USA).
• Sort what is being shipped to Israel from what is not. This is the most difficult part, and only you can do it. Keep in mind that you will want to decide both what is not going to Israel, and also what is not going into the shipment (Passports, Medications, Jewelry, and other things you will want to take with you on the flight).
• Prepare the list for coverage (insurance). We should have a rough draft before the day of pick-up, and the final copy within 48 hours after pick-up.
• Order any new goods to be sent to our warehouse so that they arrive before the day of pick-up, or within the agreed time frame on our agreement.
• Any small items which you will have sent directly to your home should arrive before pick-up, and you should check them to make sure you got what you ordered.
• Keep the day clear! Even if you are only shipping a small amount to Israel, don’t plan anything for the day of pick-up. While we give a window for arrival (1-2 hours) and can generally pack 200 cubic feet per hour, we can not control traffic, weatyher, or many other things which can cause a delay on the day of packing.
• Plan for someone to watch small children and pets. For safety sake, it’s best they not be near (or under the legs of) our packing crews.
• If needed, make arrangements for parking. In areas where a parking permit or suspension is required, the municipality may need up to 2 weeks notice.
• Check with your Building Manager (if relevant) to reserve the day, and check with them if they have any move-out requirements (Certificate of Insurance, Reservation of Parking or Elevators, etc…).
If Your Shipment to Israel is a Full-Service Move
If you chose a full-service move, the above list covers all of the pre-move concerns.
If Your Shipment to Israel is a Partial Pack Move
If you chose to pack some or all of your goods, you still have some work cut out for you:
• Determine what level of packing you need to do – this will be in writing on our price quote. Usually partial pack means you pack non-breakables, we pack breakables, however you may have chosen to pack all of your boxes.
• Make sure you have enough boxes, packing materials and tape available. If your agreement with us says we will supply boxes, order them or pick them up far enough in advance to get the work done before move day.
• As you pack, write a number on each box, and a one or two word description of the contents. This is important for Israeli Customs.
• As you pack, make a list of each box you pack, including the box number you listed on the box, a better description of the contents (make sure to itemize electronics and appliances), and the value in case the box is lost or totaled in transit. This is important for coverage.
• Pack boxes so that they can easily be lifted – books and CDs/DVDs in small boxes, Clothing and linens in medium boxes, pillows, comforters, hangers and toys in larger boxes. For more tips on packing, look here:
If Your Shipment to Israel is a Self-Load Container
If you chose to load your own container, not only do you need to consider all of the above, (with the exception of the list for coverage – instead you will need to draw up a packing list) but also:
• Plan for help in loading the container.
• Plan for loading a container which is still on the truck chassis. In most areas, the container will be left at your residence while still on the chassis (trailer). This means it will be about 3 -4 feet off the ground.
• Start a packing list – similar to the list mentioned above, but without values. This is for customs, and every items (box, bundle, piece of furniture) which is loaded into the container must be on it. We will need to know how many pieces are loaded into the container, as well as a copy of this packing list.
• Wrap as much furniture as you can before the move, and make sure this is added to the packing list (as noted above).
The Day Before Packing Your Shipment to Israel (Checklist)
• Send us your rough draft for coverage and related documents.
• Make sure parking is arranged.
• Double check any out-of-the way places in your home for goods which may get missed (attics, basements, closets)
• Place all goods which you plan on taking with you on the airplane in one clearly marked area or a locked room (Passports, Medications, Jewelry, etc…)
• Make sure all packing is done, or notify us early in the day (before 12 Noon) if this will be an issue, so we can review options.
• Prepare a rest-room and some cold water for the crew for when they are packing (This is particularly important on shipments of over 400 cubic feet or 10 cubic meters)
• Get a good night’s sleep.
The big day has finally arrived! Once again, we will do our best to arrive in the appointed window of arrival, however we may run late. If we have not arrived or called 15 minutes before the end of the arrival window, feel free to call us.
When the crew arrives, we will do a walk-through of the premises. During this walk-through, show the crew-leader what is supposed to come to Israel, and what is not.
While the crew is packing, they will move quite quickly. You will not be able to micro-manage! If you have any questions, first check with the crew leader, and feel free to call our toll-free number or your representative’s direct cell-phone.
When the crew is done, we will again do a walk-through of the premises. At this point, it is your responsibility to make sure we took everything you want to ship, and did not take anything you did not want shipped.
We will ask you to sign the packing list, and a copy will be given you. In many areas, the packing list is done electronically, in which case your copy may be sent via email after the day of pick-up.
We do our best to make sure we pack and load without any damage (to your goods or the premises) however if something does get damaged, it is very important that this be noted, either on the packing list, or (if the crew has one) the pick-up response form.
Please have cold water and a rest-room available for the crew.
Tips are “Always Appreciated – Never demanded” Tips are generally $5-$10 per man per hour (or the local currency equivalent).
Note any last minute changes on your list for coverage and send the final copy to us (not to the packing crew!). You have 48 hours from pick-up to get us the final copy.
Your Arrival in Israel
You have arrived in Israel.
Please contact us as soon as possible to let us know your contact information (local phone number, email) and where you are staying (what part of the country).
Depending on how soon we picked up before you flew, we may or may not yet have sailing information, however it is always best to get the paperwork on this end done as soon as possible.
When you contact us, we will review the process (which varies depending on your entry-type/visa/status in Israel)
Israel Customs Charges, Exemptions, and Procedures
The exemptions you receive, import duties you will need to pay, and procedures for clearing your shipment will be determined by your entry type/visa.
These links will take you to the appropriate pages:
Aliya to Israel – Oleh Hadash (Katin Hozer – Ezrach Oleh):
Toshav Hozer – Returning Israeli Citizen, with rights as Toshav Hozer:
Shipping to Israel on a Student Visa, Work Visa, Service Visa, Permanent Resident Visa, Israeli Citizen with no special rights, or Tourist:
Payment and Terms for your Shipment to Israel
When you ship to Israel, your quote will show payment terms. Please note that it is standard in international shipping to pay for the services, usually before the goods sail, but always before the goods are delivered.
When you ship to Israel with Sonigo International Shipping, here are the terms and payment options:
Terms and Methods of payments:
1. Approximately 80% within week after packing. Remainder upon arrival of shipment in Israel prior to delivery.
2. If you want to pay in NIS, please convert at the “sapanut” exchange rate (3-4% higher than representative rate).
• Wire Transfer to our account (Bank Hapoalim or Bank Leumi)
• Direct Deposit
• Visa or Mastercard (4% Surcharge)
• Israeli Checks
• We’re sorry, but we can NOT accept foreign (non-Israeli) checks
Once your shipment to Israel has been released by Israeli customs, we will arrange delivery. We can not schedule a delivery date before the shipment has been released, for practical reasons.
If you have an exclusive use container, we will want to deliver as soon as possible – usually the next business day. We will call you once the shipment has been released to let you know. We will not arrange delivery until we have spoken with you.
If you have a partial container, delivery can take up to a week from release, depending on the size of your shipment, the destination address, and how much other cargo we have going in that direction. We will call you at least one day before to arrange delivery.
What to Prepare Before Delivery
• Parking (we will review this when you supply us the delivery address)
• Keep the day clear – we will supply a window of arrival – usually 2 hours, however we can not control traffic, weather, or other things which may cause a delay
• Someone to watch children, pets
• Cold water and a restroom for the crew (food is not needed)
• Notify us of anything which may cause a problem at delivery – No electricity, elevator not working, local programs which may affect traffic or parking.
Receiving Your Shipment to Israel
Here is what to do when you receive your shipment:
• On arrival, our crew leader will do a walk-through to see how you have identified the rooms (it is best to number each room with a large piece of paper – this helps to avoid confusion).
• Our crew leader will supply you with an envelope containing the packing list, a bingo sheet (a sheet with only numbers on it to help you mark off what we deliver) and any other paperwork which may be due you.
• When we start to unload, you should have two people – one at the back of the truck with the bingo sheet and a pen, to mark off what is unloaded, and the other at the front door with the packing list who can direct our crew as to which room the items should go.
• Our crew will unload the goods, place the boxes in the rooms as you desire, and unwrap large furniture an appliances.
• Our standard service includes reassembly of basic beds and a kitchen or dining room table, if we took them apart.
• You can also have us unpack all of your boxes, assemble new or used furniture which is not included in basic assembly, send some women to help you organize the house, send an electrician to hang lamps, install appliances, or other services (ask us before delivery).
• Our crew will remove the gross debris on the day of delivery (Crates, furniture wrapping, etc).
• Once delivery is completed, our crew leader will ask you to sign a delivery report/feedback sheet. On this sheet, you would write any damage you noticed to the goods, any missing pieces, or any damage to the home or building. Usually we don’t damage things, but as hard as we try, we’re just people, so anything that does get damaged should be noted on the delivery sheet.
• If you have any questions or concerns during delivery, call us while the crew is still there.
Tips – Gratuity
Tips are never expected, always appreciated. Generally tipping is 10-20 shekels per man, per hour. The crew should not pressure you to give a tip, and if you have any questions or problems, call us while the crew is still there.
After Delivery of your Shipment to Israel
You have now received your goods, and have boxes everywhere, and lots of organizing.
Please unpack and/or check all of your goods. You have 30 days from delivery to notify us of any damage to goods we packed. Any damaged goods should be kept, or (in the event of broken glass/ceramics) photographed for filing a claim.
In the event that you need to file a claim, notify us, and we will send the appropriate paperwork and help you with the process.
Shipping a Car or Motorcycle to Israel
Overview of Shipping a Motor Vehicle to Israel
Shipping a Car to Israel as an Oleh Hadash – Aliyah
Shipping a Car Israel as a Toshav Hozer
Shipping a Car to Israel on a Student Visa, Tourist Visa, or Work Visa
Shipping a Car to Israel as an Israeli Citizen (without Special Rights)
Commercial Shipping to Israel
Parcel Shipping to Israel
What is a Parcel?
A parcel is considered to be a box or package, which weighs more than ½ Kilo (1.1 LB), and/or contains items other than just paper. Generally speaking, parcels weigh less than 30 Kilos (66 LBS) – meaning they can be lifted easily by one healthy person.
Couriers to Israel
If all you have is a parcel to ship, the best option would be to use a parcel courier. Keep in mind that parcel couriers which do international shipments work with partner companies. So UPS in the US works with UPS Israel as partners. This is important to remember, because the UPS US website won’t have all of the information and costs for UPS Israel (but it will note that there may be extra costs somewhere among the hundreds of web pages).
Here are some common parcel couriers:
• Postal Service – in Israel it’s called EMS –
• UPS –
• FedEx – in Israel, Flying Cargo
• TNT –
Israeli Customs Charges, Procedures, and Costs
The laws for shipping goods via parcel courier are a combination of old rules which may7 or may not apply, and new rules, which may or may not apply. In short, it’s very hard to predict if a parcel will be exempt from import duties, even if it appears that it should.
In any event, every parcel must be cleared through customs individually, so even if no import duties are due, there will still be the fee for the procedural work. This fee will vary from company to company, but generally the porocedural fees alone run 100-200 Shekels.
Technically, a parcel shipped for an Oleh Hadash must arrive within 60 days before the Oleh Hadash arrives in Israel (this is an old rule). Practically, many companies will clear the parcel as one of your three “Oleh Hadash” shipments, however it may take some begging and crying. Note that this does NOT exempt you from the procedural fee.
Technically, new goods with a CIF value (The Cost of the goods, the cost of Insurance, and the cost of Freight (shipping)) under $50 USD are also exempt. However, the parcel courier may use the insured value as the cost of the goods, and/or customs may determine a value of other than what you declare.
In short, be prepared to pay both a procedural fee, and import duties on any parcel that you ship, and check with the Israeli side of the parcel courier to understand what those fees and procedures will be.
Other Notes About Parcel Shipping
• Parcels are usually only insurable for “Total Loss Coverage”. This means that if you take possession of the parcel, you can not file a claim for damage.
• Parcels are charged either by weight, or Dimensional Weight (the size). Check with the Courier as to how they calculate Dimensional Weight. You will pay for whichever is more expensive.
• Parcel Couriers may not be willing to deliver to your door, even if you ordered door to door service. Many couriers will require you to come to their central facility to sign the forms for customs; and pay procedural fees and any customs due. They will then hand you the package at that time.
Parcel Couriers are a (somewhat) effective solution for shipping one or two boxes, however it is very important to check all of the above with the Israeli Side of the parcel courier before deciding to ship a parcel.
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