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How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Campervan from Germany to the US?

Published by Tamar Hela.

What's in this article?
  1. Overview of Costs to Ship Campervans from Germany to the US
  2. How much does the actual shipping cost?
  3. The most affordable option
  4. Extra charges to prepare for
  5. Import taxes and duties
  6. Travel and vehicle insurance
  7. Other Vehicle Shipping Requirements from Germany to the US
  8. Compliance with safety and emissions standard
  9. Cleaning the vehicle
  10. Documents for driving and vehicle ownership
  11. Conclusion
How Much Does It Cost to Ship a Campervan from Germany to the US?

Going on a road trip in the US is the dream of many travelers. And if you own a camper van, your dream may involve bringing your campervan from your home country to America. Travelers based in Germany are among those who often visit the US with their beloved campers.

But is it that easy to ship a campervan from Germany to the US? Shipping a motor home like a campervan from Germany to a destination port in the US can be costly. However, many will agree that the camper's experience and convenience are worth it.

Let's break down the shipping process of a campervan from Germany to the US. See what makes shipping campervans (or Wohnmobil, as they say in German) different than regular cars. And, of course, prepare yourself for the ride.

campan1.jpg

Overview of Costs to Ship Campervans from Germany to the US

Calculating the shipping costs of campervans from Germany to the US can be somewhat complex. However, if you identify the elements of the shipping cost, it may be easier to process.

The total shipping cost includes the following:

  • Freight cost (roll-on, roll-off, or container)
  • Vehicle insurance fees
  • Port fees and customs clearance
  • Storage fees
  • Import duties and taxes
  • Costs associated with import processing, custom brokerage, and logistics service
  • Delivery fees (if you can't pick up the campervan on your own)

Calculating the cost on your own may overwhelm you. So it's recommended that you search for a reliable shipping company that can give you a complete estimate of the fees in total. Many shipping companies with international routes (like A1 Auto Transport) are often ready to provide comprehensive quotes.

Even better, these international vehicle shipping services usually have a team of shipping specialists who can explain the entire process. Please take advantage of their expertise and get a quote from these companies. Then, compare quote prices to determine which offers you the best deal.

How much does the actual shipping cost?

A campervan's shipping rates from Germany to the US vary. Most shipping companies in Europe, including Germany, will charge camper van shipping based on the method of transport. For example, a roll-on-roll-off service (RORO) rate will start from USD 49 (44 Euros) per cubic meter. There are still additional fees like port fees and clearing costs.

Meanwhile, the container shipping method may start from USD 1,200 for a 20 ft container. The price is slightly higher for a 40 ft container. These prices may still exclude local port charges.

The cost range for a standard car shipping from Germany to the US can be USD 5,000, even with roll-on roll-off service. Container shipping will be more expensive for standard car sizes.

A campervan has different dimensions than a regular car. Although most camper vans are slightly bigger than standard vans, additions to the vehicle can change the weight and dimension. Rooftop accessories like awning and solar panels add to the weight. Any elaborate designs inside the campervan may also make it heavier.

So you can expect a higher price to ship a camper van than a regular car from Germany to the US.

campvan2.jpg

The most affordable option

Why is roll-on roll-off the most affordable shipping method for campervans? RORO shipping is the least expensive because there are fewer additional charges than container shipping. The two additional fees often associated with RORO are port fees and customs clearance charges.

However, as it is commonly known with RORO, the vehicles are parked during transport without protective walls. But since campervans are most likely more durable than regular cars, this should not be a problem. There is also a high risk of theft, which demands airtight security for shipping.

Conversely, container shipping is safer. However, there are more additional fees charged due to the longer processes. There are charges for terminal handling, trucking, loading and unloading, and customs clearance.

Some shipping companies may offer a shared container service. With this service, your campervan can share container space with another campervan. The additional fees of container shipping will also be shared with the other vehicle owners. However, a drawback to this method is that it may not be possible when there are not enough vehicles to fill a container.

Waiting for enough vehicles to share a container may take a while. That's why RORO is still preferable because shipping times are faster. RORO vessels tend to depart once a week from a European port to a port in the US.

Extra charges to prepare for

Shipping a campervan from Germany to the US will incur other charges. These are some fees that you may not be able to avoid paying.

Import taxes and duties

Your German camper van is subject to a duty fee by the US Customs and Border Patrol. The rates are as follows:

  • 2.5% for cars
  • 25% for trucks
  • Free or 2.4% for motorcycles

However, a campervan's tax may vary between the states. A foreign-made campervan is certainly dutiable and taxable. Exemptions are allowed for campervans and motor homes that only temporarily enter US borders. A temporary entry, lasting less than 12 months, is allowed for tourists.

Travel and vehicle insurance

Having travel and vehicle insurance in the United States is highly recommended. The latter is a requirement. Insurance for foreign vehicles varies in the United States. There may be options for comprehensive vehicle insurance or solely third-party liability. Some policies are especially offered for campervans and motor homes, including conversions.

You can get different insurance options on your campervan's destination port. Or, you can obtain it in Germany or the country of origin. However, ensure that the insurance is valid in the US. And remember that some older vehicles (more than 19 years old) may not be insurable. Fortunately, some insurance policies can be extended as you travel.

On the other hand, travel insurance is vital for your health. Medical services in North America, particularly in the US, are high. With travel insurance, you can guarantee your safety and well-being.

Other Vehicle Shipping Requirements from Germany to the US

Shipping campervans is not just about the cost. There are also other requirements that German travelers must meet to be able to operate their campers in America. Check out what they are.

Compliance with safety and emissions standard

A requirement to ship any vehicle into the US is compliance with the US government's standards established by the Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency. Vehicles older than 25 years of age are exempt from these government requirements. Contact the EPA directly to apply for a nonresident exemption.

However, if a vehicle's age is less than 25, they must comply with the required regulations. These requirements include:

  • Safety, bumper, and theft prevention standards
  • Emission standards

Modifications may be made to bring nonconforming vehicles or vehicles not manufactured in the US or Canada up to US standards. A Registered or Independent Commercial Importer is licensed to modify your vehicle to align with the appropriate requirements. It's highly recommended that foreign campervan owners research more about these modifications.

Cleaning the vehicle

Every foreign vehicle entering the US must be clean. This is because the US government wants to prevent the local soil from being infected by foreign soil elements. It's not just dirt but plants, fungi, and animals (microorganisms included). Your vehicle, particularly the undercarriage, must be cleaned before shipping.

The interior of your camper is equally essential. Vacuum cleaning the indoor space is advisable. But don't wash it with water as it may cause mold. If you pass the interior's surfaces, ensure they are dry by the time it goes on transport.

campvan3.jpg

Documents for driving and vehicle ownership

Proper licenses and permits are of great necessity for you and your campervan in the US.

For your campervan, an International Registration Marker is required. But as Germany is one of the countries that have ratified the Convention on International Road Traffic, for one year, German nationals are allowed:

  • To drive their vehicle with their original license plate (with registration tags)
  • To collect their vehicle with their own personal driver's licenses

Bringing any documents proving your campervan ownership can also be a good idea. Making copies of these documents is also recommended.

But if you have plans to extend your trip to other parts of North America, an International Driving Permit will be helpful.

Conclusion

The most affordable option to ship your campervan from Germany to the US is with RORO shipping. The essential freight cost is around 44 euros, depending on the country and the shipping company. While this method doesn't offer maximum protection against the elements or other risks, its affordability becomes more attractive to travelers.

Let A1 Auto Transport help you bring your camper to America. Serving more than 190 countries worldwide, we securely deliver your vehicles—of any size or model—to their destination. Get a free quote from us now.

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Tamar Hela is one of our featured writers at A-1 Auto Transport, researching everything from AI auto shipments out of China to what paperwork is required to move long distance. We can safely say she's become well versed in all things shipping and logistics while making the information easy to digest and understandable. 

Tamar has been a copywriter for over 16 years and was trained in the 7-Figure Copywriting Accelerator course through American Writers & Artists, Inc. (AWAI). She's also an incredibly seasoned copyeditor, having previously been the Chief Editor and Publishing Director for Cosby Media Productions, based in Atlanta, Georgia. 

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