Moving Your Automobile Overseas
Before you decide to ship your vehicle overseas, you must
consider the following:
Does your destination country allow the importation of automobiles?
Environmental & safety regulations of your destination
Availability of spare parts and maintenance services.
Estimated Customs duties and taxes.
Possibility and cost of required modifications.
Cost of insurance.
And in some cases, the cost of fuel.
You can get all this information from the consulate of your
destination country or from the automobile shipper you choose.
Find a Reliable Auto Shipper
As with choosing any transportation company, experience
is the key to a successful move. Check out the company's qualifications
with the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Better Business
Bureau, and from recommendations.
Your automobile will be transported in one of the following
RO/RO (Roll on-Roll off): In most cases this is the least
expensive method of shipping automobiles but is not available
to all destinations. Using this method, your automobile is
transported to a RO-RO vessel (similar to a car ferry) and
transported from port of departure to destination port.
20 ft. Steel Container - Exclusive Use: This method of shipping
is usually more costly than RO/RO service but offers greater
security. Using this method, the automobile is loaded and
secured inside a steel container, loaded onto a container
vessel and shipped to your destination.
40 ft. Steel Container with Household Goods: The automobile
is handled as above, however, a 40 ft. container is utilized.
Household goods are packed and loaded into the container first.
A wooden bulkhead is built to secure the household goods in
place and finally, the automobile is loaded and secured before
Charges will be based on the size of the vehicle and which
of the above options you choose. You should get at least 3
estimates, and compare all estimates equally; apples to apples.
Preparation for Overseas Auto Shipping
When preparing your automobile, only factory installed items
can be in the car - all other items must be removed and packed
with your household goods or hand carried. Some companies
may say you can pack things in your trunk, but if there is
a robbery, your items would not be covered by any insurance
Vehicle washing: In order to expedite the origin inspection,
present the vehicle to your auto transporter in clean condition.
This allows for a quick and fair evaluation of the vehicle
prior to shipment.
Fuel level: The fuel level of the vehicle transported should
be about ¼ of a tank. This is because auto transports
are weight sensitive.
Antennas: Antennas should be lowered or removed. Temporary
antennas such as cell phones or CB radios should be removed.
Keys: The U.S. Department of Transportation requires that
all keys be provided from the vehicle. This includes ignition,
truck, glove box, and/or other keys.
Alarms: Alarms should be turned off. If there are special
instructions required to start a car or to disarm an alarm,
let your auto transporter know.
Luggage racks: Non-permanent luggage, bike, or ski racks should
Cracked glass: Point out any window nicks, scratches, chips,
or cracks to your auto transporter.
Climate: Vehicles should be prepared for the new climate conditions.
This may include engine coolant, transmission oil, and other
All automobiles being exported from the United States must
have the proper documentation. You will need to submit the
following to your auto shipper:
Three notarized copies of a clear title (front and back) showing
you, the customer, as owner.
Three notarized copies of the title (front and back) showing
the lien holder and three notarized copies of a letter from
the lien holder authorizing the vehicle to be removed from
A vehicle condition report (inventory).
Complete valuation form.
Completed Shipper Letter of Instruction.
All documents, except for the titles, will be given to you
by your auto transporter.