Basics Of International Car Shipping

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Basics Of International Car Shipping

The Basics Of International Car Shipping | Overseas Auto Transport

Shipping a car internationally is, in many respects, not much different from doing so within the U.S. One of the main differences involve the method of transport that is used: most international car shipping is done by boat. Specifically, a cargo boat designed to move cars, or in a shipping container with other goods being transported around the world.

Basics of International Car Shipping

The basic steps to having a car shipped overseas are as follows:

  • Contacting a shipper or shipping company to compare pricing.
  • Decide on the best option and sign a shipping agreement.
  • Gather the necessary paperwork and prepare your car for shipping.
  • Drop off your vehicle at the agreed upon location.
  • Retrieve your car, review its condition, and sign final paperwork.

It looks pretty simple when it’s broken down like this, right? It is a rather straightforward process, but the paperwork you’ll need to submit can seem like a lot compare to how things work in the United States. Some countries have different requirements than others, so make sure you contact the appropriate organizations to verify what’s needed.


A-1 Auto Transport, Inc. ships vehicles worldwide. Click here or call 1-800-518-8708 to get a free, no obligation to buy price quote to ship your car.


Most countries require some form of the following documents to import a vehicle:

  • Personal ID, passport, and/or visa (documents need to be translated in some countries)
  • Proof of ownership: title or bill of sale
  • Proof of origin from vehicle manufacturer
  • Vehicle registration
  • Bill of lading

If you have questions about shipping a car to another country, or are interested in getting a FREE price quote for international shipping, contact us today at the number at the top of the page! We’re happy to answer questions and help you navigate the process!

Understanding Import Taxes & Value Added Tax (VAT)

Import taxes for cars shipped internationally are all over the board and it’s one of the first things you should look into when considering overseas auto transport. In some countries the import taxes (used here to mean VAT & all other affiliated taxes) can be as much as the value of the vehicle! In others, it may be just a small percentage of the value of your car.

It’s also important to remember that import taxes can change from time to time. For this reason, it’s important to contact the proper embassy, department, or organization to determine the current taxation of the country you plan to ship a car to.

International Car Shipping Resources

U.S. Embassies Around the World – A listing of U.S. Embassies and Consulates in countries around the world, including locations and contact information. Embassy websites are a good place to find out more about getting a local license or driving permit.

International Driving Permit – If you’re only going to be visiting another country for a short time, you can often use an international driving permit rather than having to get a local license. These are issued by AAA and you can find out more by clicking the link above.

Joe Webster

Written by Joe Webster

Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.

After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, Inc., including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.

With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.

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