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Exporting Cars

Published by Joe Webster.

Requirements To Export A Car

General Information

Exporting cars doesn't have to be too difficult to accomplish. Depending on the location in which your car is being exported, there may be a litany of paperwork that has to be filled out, but with the right auto broker, you'll be able to get through this process as pain-free as possible. A-1 Auto Transport has been exporting cars for years and will be able to guide you through every step of the customs process and to ensure that you avoid as many of the fees as possible.

However, exporting cars from the United States means having an understanding of the customs regulations and requirements that you'll have to adhere to, as well as understanding the export options that you will have available.

Requirements to Export a Car

According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), you will need to abide by the following guidelines to export a car from the United States.

  • Provide the Original Certificate of Title or a valid proof of ownership document (it must contain the Vehicle Identification Number, known as the VIN number);
  • If you're exporting your vehicle through a land border to Canada or Mexico, you will need to provide the documents at least 72 hours before the export date;
  • On the day that you're planning on exporting the vehicle, you will need to bring the car to U.S. Customs so that they may make sure that your documents match the vehicle (both VIN numbers match);
  • You will have to allow the U.S. Customs agent to inspect your vehicle from both the exterior and interior;
  • Finally, if you're planning on exporting your car overseas, you will need to provide U.S. Customs with the car 72 hours before the scheduled ship date, as well as all of the pertinent ownership documents

*If you do not have access to the ownership documentation of your vehicle, you should contact your state's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for assistance. Do this as soon as possible, as you may not receive the replacement right away.

For an explanation of the requirements, visit the CBP's website at:


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Export The Vehicle

Types of Car Classifications

According to the U.S. Customs Border and Protection, cars can be classified into the following categories:

  • Used Cars

Used cars will require the aforementioned proof of ownership documents. If the used car is owned by a third party, such as through a lease/financial arrangement, than the exporter must have a written letter providing permission to export the vehicle from the third party. It's important that the authorization letter have the contact information of the third party present so that all of the information can be verified in terms of its validity.

If the used vehicle was originally purchased abroad, a translation of the proof of ownership documents must be provided.

Lastly, if a U.S. Government employee is the one exporting the vehicle, than the official documents from the particular agency that the employee works for must be provided, in which the arrangement is clearly stated.

  • New Cars

New cars that were bought in the United States have to have a letter provided to the U.S. Customs official, usually called the Certificate of Origin, that states that the car was created in the United States. Usually you will already have these documents given to you when you purchased the vehicle.

  • "Junk" Cars

When exporting a car that is considered to be "junk," this requires a certification that states this. Depending on the circumstances, you possibly will be asked to provide a copy of this certification.

Roll-on And Roll-off Service

Shipping Methods

Of course, when exporting cars, you should be aware of the shipping service options that you have available. The two most common shipping methods when shipping overseas are:

  • Roll-On and Roll-Off Service

Not only is this the most popular method, but it is also the least expensive option. Your vehicle when choosing this option will be placed on a special car deck on a freight ship at a port in the United States, where it will then be delivered to the port of your destination country or the nearest port to it. However, you should understand that this method does take a bit of a long time and may not arrive at the exact specified date. This would be a good option for a "Junk" car or one that is used and old.

  • Container Service

The more expensive option out of the two, it does cost extra, but this brings with it extra perks. Considerably more secure, your car will be placed it in its own special container, rather than being secured on a car deck alongside other cars like in the first option. You will also be able to include other items in the container as well, as long as they're not placed inside of the vehicle. This is the recommended option for a new vehicle or one that is highly valuable.

Of course, if you're exporting the vehicle to Canada or Mexico, you can choose from the land options available, which are choosing to have it shipped via either an Enclosed Trailer or an Open Trailer. Rail options might also be available into Canada at certain locations, but to Mexico, the trucking option will be the only one available.

A-1 Auto Transport can not only help you out with each step of the documentation process, but we can also recommend to you the best export shipping option for your vehicle and arrange all of the delivery services that you may need, including door-to-door transport so that your vehicle makes it to its final destination as quickly as possible! Contact us today!

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Joe Webster always knew the auto transport industry would be a great career option. And with decades of experience, Joe is now an established consultant for A1 Auto Transport.

Joe was born in Santa Cruz, California. During high school, Joe worked as a mechanic; a job continued to work part-time during his bachelor's degree.

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Mylene Rutllant
It’s my number one pick in auto shipping to this day.
★★★★★ choice in terms of auto transport has to be A1 Auto Transport. It’s in the name, but also in the quality with which they do their jobs. I’ve never had a problem with this company.

Luis Rodriguez
You have my full support and recommendation!

A1 Auto Transport... From the get go, they were very different from my past options. Their website was very professional and up to date, full of useful information. I requested a quote using their online form, and I got an email response within an hour. Surprisingly fast!

Testimonial by Cristine Benoit
Cristine Benoit
I can safely say this is a legit company that will get the job done.

There are a lot of options for auto transport these days, which surprisingly makes it harder to find a good company. I received more than 10 offers to ship my car, but I couldn’t decide on any of them... Fortunately, I made the right choice with A1 Auto Transport.

David Osallo
We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10!

We give A1 Auto Transport a big 10 out of 10! We chose them to move our car from California to Vermont, since we needed professionals.

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

CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus Drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
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
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
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