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How Do I Export A Car Overseas?

Published by Joe Webster.

What's in this article?
  1. Exporting Your Car Overseas Seamlessly
  2. Who is a Freight Forwarder?
  3. How Can I Find a Freight Forwarder?
  4. Determine the Potential Cost of Your Car's Export
  5. Marine Insurance
  6. Destination Charges
  7. Taxes and Other Duties
  8. Different Modes of Transportation for Exporting Your Vehicle
  9. RORO (Roll-on/Roll-off)
  10. Container Method
  11. Solo Container
  12. Consolidated Container
  13. Car Exporting Requirements
  14. Car Ownership
  15. Export License
  16. Determine the Location You Are Exporting Your Car To
  17. What Is the Average Export Time for a Car?
  18. The Age of Vehicle New or Used?
  19. Exporting a New Car
  20. Exporting a Used Car
  21. Automated Export System (AES) and Its Role in Exporting a Car
  22. Conclusion
How Do I Export A Car Overseas?

You may want to export your car for multiple reasons. For example, maybe you're thinking about starting a car export business and need to get the ball rolling with your first vehicle, or you might have an old car that's no longer useful to you, and you'd like to sell it for a profit.

Whatever the reason, exporting a car overseas is a viable option that many people don't consider. Furthermore, exporting cars can be an easy way to make some money on the side with the right know-how.

Exporting your car overseas can be a lucrative way to make extra income, or it could just be a way to get rid of your old car so you can get a new one. Either way, it can be tricky, and here we'll go over what you need to know to do it successfully.

You may require some documentation to proceed with the car export mechanism.

In this article, we'll talk about how to export your car overseas and what documents you need to gather to make sure the export process goes smoothly. Hopefully, you will find all the much-needed information about the vehicle exporting process.

Let's begin.

Exporting Your Car Overseas Seamlessly

First thing first...

You will have to hire an export agent or freight forwarder to safely export your car to the desired country. Your freight forwarder will also take care of the documents as he'd be responsible for the paperwork and see if it is done safely and promptly.


Who is a Freight Forwarder?

A freight forwarder is your exporting agent who takes care of all the importing/exporting processes of the cargo on your behalf. As we are specifically talking about shipping the car, freight forwarders ensure that your vehicle will be picked up from your home and delivered to the port on time. Their duties also include providing you with cost-effective and efficient transportation services.

Furthermore, they process all your documentation, including Bill of lading, custom and port documentation, certificate of origin, and so on.

How Can I Find a Freight Forwarder?

When it comes to finding a freight forwarder, you must be wondering how you will choose the best option while there are hundreds of freight forwarders out there offering your export services.

The straightforward answer is Research, Research, and Research!

But, make sure that you only look forward to the registered freight forwarder in your research.

You will have to perform some research to form the authentic resource persons by researching on Google or Yahoo! If you are worried about the trustworthiness of the freight forwarder, you can check their membership at WCA world.

When you've gathered the details about some export distributors, make them a call or write them an email to assist you in your export process. They will provide complete information and the process of overseas car export.

Below are some points you can keep in mind while researching your freight services.

  • Do they have a registration certificate?
  • Will they export your car safely?
  • Are they working with reliable 3rd parties?
  • How much will they charge?
  • When will the vehicle be delivered there?
  • Are they transparent with their services?
  • Do they have enough knowledge and match your needs?

Determine the Potential Cost of Your Car's Export

Determining the potential cost will depend on your preferences. Such as the shipping method you opt for and how fast you want your shipment to reach its new destination.

On average, you must expect to spend somewhere in the range of $1000 to $2000 to export your car overseas. However, this wouldn't be the only cost you'll have to bear while shipping your vehicle. We'll throw light on the different modes of transportation that might influence your overall cost of exporting the car.

However, let's first discuss the additional charges you might have to pay during the car export process.


Marine Insurance:

Buying supplemental insurance while exporting your car overseas is a great idea to ensure the safety of your vehicle and protect your investment. We highly encourage you to purchase the additional insurance even if your company doesn't require you to do so.

But, it's always best to first check with your current car insurance policyholder and ask them if they offer marine insurance or not. In addition, the auto-transport company or the freight forwarder you are working with may also have this option as an add-on. So, check with them as well.

If none of the two options covers your marine insurance, the only way you are left with is to buy your additional marine insurance and be on the safer side.

Destination Charges:

When your car reaches the destination country, the exporting process isn't over yet.

It still has to be trucked off and has to navigate through customs. And, you'll have to get help from an agent to do this for you. You should expect to pay somewhere around $500 here to navigate the process seamlessly. Unfortunately, you can't perform this undertaking yourself, so you'll have to spend a good amount of money to get through this procedure.

Some auto transport companies hire agents who help the shippers get through customs. Even if they don't offer this additional service, they can guide you on the further proceedings.

Taxes and Other Duties

You may have to pay some taxes to export a car; exporting taxes may depend on the country where you are shipping the vehicle. Other charges may apply too.

Different Modes of Transportation for Exporting Your Vehicle

Now, let's look at the different transport methods you can adopt to export a car! Of course, the cost and the export expense/charges depend on how you choose.

There are two primary transport methods to export a car overseas.

Both are different in pattern, but you need to choose the most appropriate location based on your budget and the buyers (one who is importing the car).

RORO (Roll-on/Roll-off)

RoRo ships are faster and the safer method of exporting your car overseas. In RORO your car gets on and off the boat through the self-propelled vessels (these ships are known to be RORO).

Remember! The RORO method can be used to export your car to the countries owning RORO ships.

Container Method

Consumer ships are cheaper than RORO ships. Usually, the containers come in 2 different sizes, 20ft or 40ft. They can load more than 2 or 3 vehicles, plus they pack the cars in the container exported to the same destination.

The container method is more divided into sub kinds.

Solo Container:

If you choose for the solo container, only your car will be placed or kept in the container solely. The auto transport company will fix your car accurately in the container; Besides, it will reach your desired destination without delay-delaying! But sadly, it will cost you a high price.

Consolidated Container:

Though it is not as expensive as a solo container, the tight container is also transported to the other cars. Therefore, your vehicle will travel along with the other cars, and It may stop at different points.

Hence, there will be a slight delay, or it may not reach a specific time.


Car Exporting Requirements

There are some basic requests you need to meet for exporting a car!

You have to provide the car ownership documents to the custom maximum of 72 hours before the car exportation. It will verify that the car being exported holds your ownership and the title of the certificate.

Here's a bit more information on each of these requirements.

Car Ownership

To export the car overseas, you will have to provide proof of car ownership and a certificate of the title given to you by the car manufacturer. Also, you will have to provide the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) or PIN (Product Identification Number).

Another essential document proving your ownership is ITN (Internal Transaction Number).

If your car doesn't hold the title, maybe it's unused, then the manufacturers will have to provide MSO (Manufacturer's statement of origin) instead of title. Some old vehicles or transported from abroad may not own the title. In that case, you will be required to show some bill of payment, invoice, or payment receipts will be sufficient documents to prove your car ownership!

For more information, you can refer to the exporting rules and regulations set by the US Customs and Border Protection.

Export License

A license for export is not necessary for exporting a car! But if you get an export license, it may benefit you. Differently, the foremost advantage of the License is it may give you some relief on export charges.

All you need is the Title of the car and the Bill of Sale.

If there's a lien in your car, you'll need an additional official letter from your lien holder stating the permission to export the vehicle. This permission letter MUST include the following things:

  • The make and model of the car
  • Year of your car
  • VIN
  • Clear statement entitling you to export the vehicle

PRO TIP:You can never be fully prepared for the required documents while exporting a car overseas. So, it's always a wise idea to contact your Port of Entry before time and know what EXACTLY they expect from you and when.

Determine the Location You Are Exporting Your Car To

You would have determined the country's location where you will export the car. Right? The charges of shipping a car in different countries may cost you additional expenses.

First of all, you have to determine the country where you are exporting your car. Do you personally know the buying agent or your friend or family members live there? Make sure you understand the country's language, or at least the government documentation in English.

Some countries have adopted English as a second language, and they don't practice English for documentation purposes. Hence, you will have some difficulty deciphering the paperwork!

In the country where you export the car, you must obtain some information about car exportation!

  • Why would it be a JUST-RIGHT method to ship the car in their territory?
  • Are there some taxes or importing rules prevailing?
  • How will the distances affect your cost?
  • What is the rule there for documentation?
  • What is their import policy?
  • What's the method of transitions?
  • Will they pay you through cheque or Wire-Transfer?

No need to be overwhelmed with a lot of questions, the company you are taking assistance from has answers to all questions!

You will have to visit the nearer local office and know everything you need to know for export!

You may ask your Freight Forwarder to entertain you with the export costs in your desired countries.


What Is the Average Export Time for a Car?

The potential duration to ship your car overseas depends on how far it is going. The general shipping window of exported cars for some international destinations is one week after it's shipped out.

However, you must expect to wait as long as a month or two to get your car shipped to farther destinations. The auto transport company helping you export your vehicle can better estimate the car shipping timings.

Below we'll discuss some of the shipping methods with regards to their shipping timelines:

One of the significant factors that decide the exact time of your car's shipment is its shipping method.

The quickest way to export your car overseas is by booking a solo shipping container. It's pretty expensive, though. When you don't want to spend a lot of your $$$, you can go with a tight container, but this will add a boatload of waiting time on the receiver's calendar.

RORO shipping method is also an option worth considering if you don't mind waiting for a little longer for your car to reach its destination.

The Age of Vehicle: New or Used?

Some countries have specified the age of vehicles they allow importing in their country. So, it's best to learn about the rules and regulations of your car's destination country.

Exporting a New Car:

Are you going to export a new vehicle? Then it may not be possible to ship a brand new car, as this doesn't own the title!

But as we are already aware of exporting a vehicle, we need to show some critical documents, like the Vehicle's Title. If your car doesn't have a title, you may be restricted from exporting it!

New Vehicle means NO Title.

When you buy a brand new car from the franchise, their agreement requires you to restrict you to exporting cars overseas! But, in this case, if your dealer doesn't limit you to shipping the vehicle, you may export it!

However, exporting new cars is not restricted worldwide; some countries allow you to export new vehicles too.

Exporting a Used Car:

There is a huge market abroad for used cars! If you are going to export a used car abroad, that may be highly profitable for you and your buying agent. Exporting a used car is also easy. Just get your car ready with all the documents and follow the process cautiously.

Automated Export System (AES) and Its Role in Exporting a Car

If you're a US citizen, you would have to create an Automated Export System account with your social security number or your company's EIN.

The government uses this system to collect data on all exports leaving the country. Before anything leaves, exporters are required to file all shipment information, otherwise known as Electronic Export Information (EEI), into AES.

If you are a non-US citizen, you may have an authorized US agent to file to handle this for you.



You may be overwhelmed with the heaps of information on car exportation. But don't get drowned in the sea of information available online. Whether you're working with a freight forwarder or an auto transport company for your car's export, make sure you work with the one who fits in with your specific needs and budget. You'll make the vehicle exporting process a breeze for you by doing so.

If you're not sure of your reason for what will work and what won't while exporting your car, try talking to someone who has done it before! They can give advice based on their own experiences.

You also need to be aware of any restrictions or laws in the country planning on sending your vehicle. Many countries have strict regulations for importing cars, so make sure that everything is up-to-date before sending them off!

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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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435 Division Street
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FMC 22206
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Boca Raton, FL 33431
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1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
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Cooper City, FL 33026
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