Sweden is a highly developed country that consistently ranks highly on prosperity indices, meaning the country is a top contender regarding education, health, the standard of living, and safety. This is why it's not surprising that many Americans would like to immigrate to Sweden to study and work there.
With the excitement of starting a new life in a foreign country comes the necessary responsibility of shipping your personal belongings to Sweden. Some people try to avoid this by simply leaving everything they have and starting over. However, this does not work for more valuable assets like cars. Of course, you can always sell your car and purchase a new one in Sweden, but today's shipping processes and costs have made shipping the more practical and affordable choice for many.
If the complexity of the process is what bothers you, don't worry about it. Your shipping company will be there every step of the way to make sure the shipping process is as hassle-free as it can be. Also, we created this simple guide on how to ship your car to Sweden because it never hurts to be more prepared about your big move.
Learn about Sweden's Car Importation Laws
As with everything else, the best way to tackle the unknown is to get more information about it. Sweden's importation laws are accessible online for everybody, and equipping yourself with enough knowledge should ensure that you won't feel lost during the process. Of course, nobody expects you to be an expert on Sweden's importation laws overnight.
Also, we know that reading about foreign laws can sometimes be overwhelming, so we broke down the basics for you:
- Sweden's car importation laws for people looking to migrate to the country permanently are not that strict. The government looks favorably upon people who want to move there, so their importation laws are laxer for immigrants than they are for people who import cars for a living.
- Because of this, many people have tried to get cars into the country by pretending to be migrants when they are importing vehicles for profit. This is why although Sweden looks favorably upon immigrants, they are strict when it comes to documentation.
- You have to prove that you are the vehicle owner, and you cannot import vehicles as an immigrant if the car has been in your possession for less than a year.
- You have to declare that the vehicle is only for personal use.
- The importer, meaning you, must have registered with the Swedish tax office and applied for a Swedish personal identity number.
- You have to submit a written statement promising not to sell your car in the next 12 months.
- It has been three years since you last shipped a car tax and duty-free.
- You must have already secured the necessary documentation from the Swedish migration office extending your 3-month visitor visa. This will prove that you have the intention of permanently migrating to Sweden.
As you can see, Sweden's importation laws target primarily individuals who import and sell cars in the country under the guise of migration. If you intend to migrate and stay in the country permanently, all you need are documents proving this, and the clearance process should go smoothly for you.
Choose Your Shipping Method
Transporting a car to Sweden is no joke, especially when it comes to costs. This is why you have to think about what shipping method is best for your budget while ensuring you give the best protection for your car.
When shopping around for a car shipping company, they will most likely suggest two shipping methods:
The roll-in/roll-out method is the cheapest option out there. This is because your car is loaded with around 8-9 other vehicles in an open-air trailer. Because there are no walls on the trailer, your car is vulnerable to the elements. In most cases, shipping companies will cover your car with a tarp or dust cover; however, these can get displaced easily with the wind even if they're secured in place. Most moving teams are well-trained to handle cars with caution while loading and unloading them, so it's not necessarily true that this open-air transport method will mean scratches and other damages to your car.
Once the open-air trailer arrives at the port, your car will be unloaded manually. The crew will roll the car onto the ship's cargo hold, hence the method's name. Once the vehicle is in its rightful place, it is secured tightly for the long journey.
This one is similar to the previous method, except this method uses a shipping container to house your car. The shipping container is taken to the port, where it will be disconnected from the truck and loaded straight into the ship's cargo hold using machines. This method is more expensive because of the added shipping container cost. Of course, the shipping container will protect your vehicle from the elements. Also, the car isn't handled manually, meaning nobody will touch your vehicle while being loaded and unloaded.
With the container method, you can choose FTL or LTL. LTL means less than truckload, which means you're sharing the shipping container with other cars. FTL means full truckload, and if you choose this option, you will have the entire container to yourself. This is, of course, more costly, but if you're worried about other cars potentially scratching yours, this is a viable option for you.
Find a Car Shipping Company
A lot of shipping companies deal with car transport to Sweden. However, not all companies are the same in terms of quality of service and inclusions. If this is your first time transporting your car to a foreign country, you can look at sites like BBB and the FMCSA to check for possible complaints and safety violations.
Alternatively, you can use a shipping broker if you have the budget for it. There are experienced brokers in the industry who have a lot of connections. They will know which shipping companies offer the best services out there. You can also do your research when you call these companies up for your initial estimate. Aside from asking for a quote, you can check for the following information:
- Their registration, licenses, and certifications
- Previous experience with shipping cars to Sweden
- What services do they offer for the quote that they're giving you? Will they help you with the clearance process and vehicle registration as well?
- The insurance options they're offering.
- Do they have facilities in Sweden?
Acquire Several Shipping Quotes
It's essential to get several quotes from different shipping companies. If this is your first time shipping a car to Sweden, it's understandable that you won't have any idea about the going rate for such services. Acquiring several quotes is a surefire way of avoiding scam companies who overcharge their customers simply because they didn't know any better.
The average cost of shipping a car to Sweden is between $2,000 to $5,000. Of course, the price differences will depend on several factors:
- The total mileage (how far the destination port is from your point of origin)
- The declared value of your vehicle
- Chosen shipment method (RoRo vs. Container method)
- Preferred container option (FTL vs. LTL)
- Insurance coverage
- Fulfillment of requirements for importing a car to Sweden on immigration status (if you can't prove that you're shipping your vehicle as part of your migration to the country, you will pay an extra 25% VAT)
Book Your Car Shipping Date
Once you've picked out everything from your chosen shipping method to your preferred transport company, it's time to book your car's shipping date. The shipping date is vital because your total shipping cost may increase due to the demand if you select a date during the shipping industry's peak season.
Prepare The Necessary Importation Documents
While waiting for the shipping date, here are the documents that you need to prepare for your entry to Sweden:
- Driver's License
- Purchase Invoice or Bill of Sale
- Certificate of Registration
- Original Vehicle Title
- Proof of US Car Insurance
- Temporary Swedish Car Insurance
- Original Bill of Lading
- Customs Forms
Wait For Your Car To Arrive
Car shipping to Sweden can take around 30-40 days, so you have enough time on your hands to start registering with the Swedish migration office and preparing the necessary paperwork for your car's registration.
Due to Sweden's strict migration policies, you have to be there in person to clear your vehicle. However, shipping companies can help you with the process, especially if this is your first time in the country. You don't have to worry about going through the process alone, though, because people in Sweden are generally fluent in English, eliminating language barriers, unlike other foreign countries.
Once your car is done with the clearance process, you should register your vehicle immediately. Unlike other countries, Sweden doesn't have a grace period where you can use the vehicle unregistered for a limited time. In Sweden, you can't use the vehicle unless it's registered. To register your vehicle, you need to undergo the following steps:
- You must submit documents stating the car's country of origin and age.
- The car will undergo inspection to see if it passes Sweden's environmental and safety standards.
- The car will be inspected further to verify and confirm the details stated in its documentation. If there are any disparities, even if it's just clerical errors, your registration may be put on hold until further notice.
- You must then secure a registration number for your car.
- The car must pass a roadworthiness test.