The US is a popular destination for Ukrainian immigrants - in fact, as of 2019, there are over 1 million citizens of Ukrainian descent in the United States. On the flip side, only a few US citizens migrate to Ukraine, and most migrants do so to work or study.
This is why, if you’re searching for a way to ship your car to Ukraine, you might have a hard time finding a shipping company that is experienced enough with shipping cars to Ukraine. It doesn’t happen all too often, and because of the country’s ongoing political turmoil with Russia, importation laws are not only strict, they are expensive.
Worry not, though - this doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to ship your car to Ukraine. We’ve put together this handy guide to help you increase your chances of smooth and hassle-free shipping and clearance processing for your car.
Determine Transport Eligibility
While Ukraine’s car transport process is strict and expensive, at least they don’t have many prohibitions regarding vehicle types and makes. The only restriction they have is that the car in question must be at least five years old. If your vehicle is older than five years, then you can ship it to Ukraine.
Pick the Best Shipping Method
Once you’re sure that your car isn’t prohibited in Ukraine, you should now find the best way to ship it. There are two main parts to overseas car shipping: the first is through land, and the second is through sea. Of course, if you have the budget for it, you can also look into shipping your car by air.
There are two standard shipping methods for shipping a car to Ukraine: The RoRo method and the Shipping Container Method.
The RoRo method is the cheaper option of the two. In this method, you will use open-air transport to move your car from your home or place of business to the nearest port. The crew loads the vehicle onto the trailer by either driving it into its designated spot or moving the car manually. They then secure your car to its place with chains and harnesses and puts a dust cover or tarp over the vehicle to protect it.
Once the transport reaches the port, the crew will unload the car from the trailer and load it into the ship’s hold. The reason why it’s called the RoRo (short for roll-on/roll-off) method is because the car is rolled into the cargo hold manually. Once it reaches its designated spot, the vehicle is secured and covered once more.
This method is cheaper because the trailer is open and lacks additional protection for the car. Of course, most companies will protect your vehicle at all costs by handling it with care and covering it with a tarp, but a dust cover offers little protection against the elements. The car is also handled directly, which means people will be touching your car directly while moving it. Nevertheless, it is an excellent option for people on a budget and for people whose cars are operable or roadworthy.
Shipping Container Method
The shipping container method is similar to the RoRo method, except it uses a shipping container instead of an open-air transport. The car is loaded into the shipping container, which is connected to a truck. Once the truck arrives at the nearest port, the front is uncoupled from the shipping container. The shipping container is then loaded onto the ship using machinery.
Of course, this method is more expensive because of the shipping container. It does have its advantages over RoRo shipping. For one, the shipping container protects the car from dust, rain, snow, and damage. Also, nobody needs to touch your car directly during loading because the shipping container is loaded directly from the transport to the ship. This makes it an excellent option for exotic cars and cars that are not operable.
FTL versus LTL
Regardless of which shipping method you choose, you need to transport your car via land to get to the nearest port. For the first part of your journey, you can choose to transport your vehicle via FTL or LTL terms. LTL means less than truckload transport, which means you’re not paying for the entire transport - you’re only paying for whatever spot your car takes. This means that you are sharing your car with several others on the same transport.
FTL, on the other hand, means full truckload transport. With this option, you are paying for the entire transport, so your car is the only occupant of the trailer or shipping container. FTL is a better option for people using the shipping container method and would like to store personal belongings and other items inside the shipping container along with the car. Out of the two options, LTL is cheaper and the more popular option among the two.
Some say that FTL gives your car better protection since you’re not sharing the space with other cars. However, most shipping companies have expert moving teams that handle loading and unloading carefully to ensure that the cars are secured in place and don’t bump into each other.
Shop Around For Shipping Estimates
The next step is to look into different rates and packages for car shipping to Ukraine. Fortunately, shipping companies can give you an initial estimate for free without obligating you to hire them on the spot. You can simply shop around for 3-4 quotes to give you a good idea of the average market cost. Keep in mind that not many shipping companies deal with car shipping to Ukraine because of its strict policies, so much research into the matter is necessary.
Once you have your quotes, it’s now time to calculate how much your shipping cost would be. Here are the factors that affect how much you will pay in the end for your car shipping:
- The cost of transporting your car from your home to the nearest port
- The cost of transporting your car from the US to Ukraine; This will change depending on how far away the destination port is.
- The cost of insurance for your vehicle
- Clearance fees
- Import duties mandated by Ukraine. This depends on the value of your vehicle. You have to pay 6.46% of your vehicle’s total value if your vehicle has an engine capacity below 1,500cc. You need to pay 12.95% of your vehicle’s total value if your vehicle’s engine capacity is between 1,500cc and 2,200cc.
- Ukraine requires everyone to pay a VAT of 20% for all imported vehicles.
- You need to pay additional customs fees if your vehicle requires temporary storage.
You may incur additional fees and expenses based on your situation, so remember to always have extra cash on you when picking up your car from a Ukrainian port. The Ukrainian government usually imposes these charges, so even your shipping company may not know about them.
Book Your Shipping Date
Choosing a shipping date is crucial because it can affect how much you pay for your shipping. Shipping companies have what they call “peak months” where they are at their busiest, and slots run out pretty fast. If you book from March to September, you may not get your desired shipping date and time because those are their busiest months. It’s also more challenging to book a weekend shipping date.
To avoid problems like this, always book in advance. 6-8 weeks advance notice for car shipping to Ukraine will give you the shipping date you want. If you are also immigrating to Ukraine, you need to time your car shipment correctly. Because your presence is required at the start of the shipping process, make sure your departure date and time happens later than the car shipping date and time.
Also, make sure your arrival day and time are close to your car’s arrival date and time in Ukraine. If you arrive too late, your car may be sent off to storage, which means additional expenses on your part.
Prepare the Necessary Documents for Clearance
If you’re shipping a car to Ukraine, here are the necessary documents that you need to have to make sure the clearance process goes off without a hitch:
- Bill of lading - this proves that you have paid for your shipping fees to Ukraine
- License and international insurance
- Customs cargo declaration
- Certificate of origin - a document proving your car was manufactured in the US and is more than five years old
- Certificate of conformity - proves that your vehicle has passed Ukraine’s environmental and safety standards.
- Proof of payment of taxes and duties
- Purchase invoice or bill of sale - proves that the car is yours
- Declaration of customs value
- Vehicle title
Pick Your Car Up From The Port
State Automobile Inspection. If you are migrating to Ukraine permanently, you need to register your car by submitting the following documents:
- Customs clearance papers
- Proof of insurance
- Foreign license plates
- License plate and registration payment
- Original US registration documents
Because of Ukraine’s strict policies, door-to-door delivery is not possible. You need to pick your car up from the port personally, go through the clearance process, and drive your car the rest of the way.