Exporting A Car to a Buyer Outside of the United States

Deliver Your Vehicle Stress Free

Compare our rates to or from: any location in the world

  • Deliver Your Car Stress Free and Have Peace of Mind
  • Licensed, Bonded and Insured Carriers Near You
  • Award Winning Service, Always on Time

Trusted By:

Auto Shipping Free Quote Calculator
Exporting A Car to a Buyer Outside of the United States
Exporting A Car to a Buyer Outside of the United States

After listing your car on an online auction site, you ended up getting well above the price you thought you would get. In your ad for the car, you said that you would facilitate the shipping to the new owner of the car. Upon a successful transfer of funds, you find out that the buyer of the car is overseas. You had not anticipated having to ship the car overseas, so you are not sure where to start. Lucky for you, A-1 Auto Transport has shipped cars all over the world and can help you with your vehicle export shipping needs.

How Do I Prepare the Car For Shipping?

Preparing a car for shipping overseas is much like preparing to ship it across the country. There will be a list of requirements that your shipping company will give you before your shipment date. These will need to be completed to ensure the safest travel possible.

Anytime you ship a car through a professional auto shipping company, they will provide you with the list of preparations they need you to complete before they pick the car up. These preparations are to ensure the safest atmosphere for the car while it is being shipped. Keep in mind that if these are not completed as requested, the transport company may not be held liable for damages sustained during shipment, and they may not even load the vehicle until the steps are completed.

Preparation Checklist

To get your car ready to make its way to the new owner, you will need to do the following before a transport company ships it:

  • Make sure the battery has a full charge
  • Tires should be inflated to the recommended levels
  • Top off all the fluids in the vehicle except for the gas tank
  • Gas should be run out of the vehicle with only a quarter of a tank remaining
  • Have the vehicle checked for leaks and mechanical problems (this step was likely completed prior to the sale)
  • Right before pickup, the vehicle needs to be thoroughly washed and the undercarriage steam cleaned to remove any trace of soil or dirt

Calculate Transport Time

Since you are accommodating the shipping for the car overseas, you should make sure that the new owner of the vehicle is prepared for the shipping time. They may offer to pay expedited fees to get the car to them quicker. Some overseas shipments can take weeks to get to their destination. Your professional transport company should be able to give you a better idea of shipping time once arrangements began to be made.

What Requirements Are There for Exporting a Vehicle?

The requirements for exporting a vehicle outside of the United States is handled by the United States Customs and Border Control. They have documentation criteria and environmental criteria that must be met before they will allow a car to leave the country. A professional shipping company should take care of handling the necessary paperwork for you.

For exportation overseas, Customs requires that the vehicle and all paperwork be presented to them at least 72 hours before export at the port to be used. Customs will provide the exact location at the port where you need to report to, with the vehicle. The Port Directors will ensure you have their hours of operation.

Customs must determine the authenticity of the documents that you present to them. Once they have verified that the documents are authentic and original, they will indicate this on the document, and they will be returned to you. 

For Vehicles with United States Titles

Any used vehicle that is self-propelled that has a title that is issued by any jurisdiction in the United States, the Certificate of Title must accompany the car to Customs. The requirement is that two copies are supplied either of originals or Certified Copy of the Certificate of Title.

  • If the title shows evidence of a third-party owner:
    • Third-parties on a title are often lien holders on the vehicle. If they have not been removed from the title, a written letter must accompany the title from the third-party. The letter must be put on the third-party’s letterhead and include the VIN for the vehicle and description of the vehicle. The third-party must state that they are allowing the vehicle to be exported. The name, phone number, and signature of the lienholder must be on the letter. This cannot be a copy and must have the original signature and the date it was signed for Customs authentication purposes.
  • If the vehicle is exported for a United States Government Employee:
    • There are times when employees of the United States Government are reassigned, and they need to export their vehicles to their new location. Customs will require proof that they have coordinated with the sponsoring agency’s international travel department.

For Vehicles with Foreign Titles

If a vehicle was registered or titled abroad, the exporter must produce the original title and any translation documents as necessary. There should be two complete original copies of these documents available for Custom’s authentication purposes.

For Vehicles Without a Title

When newly manufactured vehicles are shipped, they may not have a title available to them. For these vehicles, they are issued a Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin (SO). For those vehicles that have a Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin, the present owner of the vehicle must produce the original SO to Customs as well as two complete copies of the paperwork.

  • If a newly manufactured vehicle is not issued a Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin:
    • For the vehicles that come from a manufacturer, distributor, or dealer used but have not been issued a Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin or a Title by any jurisdiction in the United States, it will be the responsibility of the owner to provide proof to Customs that the jurisdiction where the vehicle comes from has no claim on the vehicle. Paperwork such as the original dealer’s invoice can prove ownership in these situations.
  • Vehicles with titles that indicated the vehicle had been junked or scrapped
    • For any vehicle that has a junk or scrap certificate issued by a jurisdiction of the United States, the owner of the vehicle must provide Customs with the original certificate or a certified copy of it. Two complete copies will also be required.
  • For vehicles that were issued a title or certificate that is not in force or not registered
    • The owner of the vehicle must establish that jurisdiction where the vehicle comes from does not have any ownership over the vehicle. For purposes of authentication, a bill of sale would work in these instances.

What is the Automated Export System (AES)?

The Automated Export System often referred to as AES, is a system used by exporters in the United States to declare their international exports electronically. This information is called the Electronic Export Information (EEI) and is sent to the Census Bureau to help with trade and export statistics. The AES and EEI steps will most likely be completed by the professional transport company you hire to export your vehicle.

The data that is required to file the EEI:

  • The United States Principal Party in Interest
    • Also referred to as USPPI, it is the name and address of the principal United States seller that is getting the benefits from the shipment
  • Employer Identification Number (EIN)
    • The EIN of the USPPI will be the same as the IRS Taxpayer ID#
  • The Consignee
    • The name and address of the person who will be receiving the shipment
  • Relationship of the USPPI and the Consignee
  • Destination country being shipped to
  • Date of departure
  • The state of origin
    • This will be the U.S. state in which the shipment originates.
  • Method of transport
    • The mode in which the car will be shipped overseas
      • Air
      • Vessel
      • Rail
      • Truck
  • The port where export will occur
    • The port where the export will take place will be the airport, seaport, or port of entry and is the point where the vehicle will be taken out of the United States. A four-digit Port Code represents this.
  • Clarification on if the export is a routed transaction
  • Identifying hazardous materials, if there are any
  • A description of the commodities being shipped
    • The information included in this section of the EEI are:
      • Harmonized Tariff Schedule code
      • Customs value
      • Weight
      • An export license or permit requirements
      • Quantity being exported


Before the use of the electronic systems, these forms and declarations were referred to as Shipper’s Export Declarations. For the purposes of efficiency, the freight forwarder or transport companies generally get delegated to handle all of these forms. Professional transport companies have experience filling out the paperwork for shipments quickly and efficiently.

Choosing Air Freight or Ocean Shipping

When shipping your vehicle to the new owner, you have the option of getting it overseas by ocean shipping or by air freight. Both have their pros and cons. Air freight shipping is expensive, but it gets the cargo to its destination in a fraction of the time. Ocean shipping is cheaper, but it can take weeks for the cargo to get where it needs to go. The method of shipping you choose will be up to you and the person the shipment is going to.

In either method of transport, you will want to make sure that all of the paperwork is in order before the shipping date arrives. If you have hired an excellent professional auto transport company, like A-1 Auto Transport, to handle all of the shipping details, either choice will be a breeze.

Shipping Insurance

When shipping a vehicle overseas to a new owner, you are still responsible for that vehicle until it reaches the final destination of the shipment. You will want to seek shipping insurance from your transport company that will help cover the vehicle in case anything happens to it on the way to its new home.

All-Risk Insurance

All-risk insurance policies exist to cover every possible risk as long as it is not explicitly excluded in the contract. For example, you purchase extra all-risk insurance for the shipment of the car you sold to the person overseas. The all-risk policy will cover everything except for damages done by birds. In some strange twist of fate, a seagull gets stuck in the carrier with your vehicle. The bird shatters the windshield. This would not be covered. 

In most all-risk insurance policies, everything is going to be covered with minimal exceptions. The cost of this type of insurance is high, but it is worth every penny when you need to guarantee safe delivery.

Total-Loss-Only Insurance

Total-loss-only insurance is a cheaper option for insurance when shipping a vehicle overseas, but just as the name implies, a total loss has to occur. So, for example, the vehicle falls off of the ship and is a total loss. That probably is unlikely, but if something happens to the car and it is considered a total loss, then you would be covered. Minor damages would not fall under this policy.

A-1 Auto Transport for All Your Overseas Shipping Needs

When you sell a car online, A-1 Auto Transport can help you get your sold vehicle where it needs to go. Whether a domestic sale or overseas, we are able to accommodate all the shipping needs. Shipping overseas can be frustrating, especially when you have never had to export something from the United States to another country.

Let A-1 Auto Transport take care of all of the paperwork and Customs requirements. We have been in the auto transport industry for over 30 years, getting customer vehicles where they need to go. Don’t let the stress of an impromptu overseas shipment set you back, hire the company that has experience in this exact shipping method.

A-1 Auto Transport is here waiting to give you a free quote to accommodate your shipping needs. Our specialists are available when you need them for expert advice and service. You won’t have to handle a single part of your shipment on your own when you have A-1 Auto Transport on your side.

Joe Webster
Written By:Joe Webster
Connect with Joe Webster on facebookConnect with Joe Webster on linkedin

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

Email me - info@a1autotransport.com

Ship Your Vehicle With A-1 Auto Today
Get an Instant Quote

Or Call Us Today and Speak to Directly to Our Sales Team:

Our Partners:

Better Business Bureau Accredited
FMCSA Member
INC. 500 Member
VeriSign Secured
AMSA Member

A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
Copyright © 1988-2021, A-1 Auto Transport - All Rights Reserved.