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Importing Vehicles Into USA From The UK

In 2016, the United States overtook China as the largest importer of vehicles from the UK. The country has seen a record high in exports which is attributed to the international appeal of car brands manufactured in Britain. Some of the popular car brands exported into the US includes Range Rover, Jaguar, and Land Rover. Even so, getting a car imported into the US involves a unique process that needs to be well understood if it is to be successful. If you are to have a car shipped from the UK into USA, here are some facts to help your car shipment journey much smoother.

importing automobiles into the USA from The UK stress free for over 30 years

Cost & Time Examples for Import a Car from UK

Birmingham to (California port)
to San Jose, CA
$3600$20029+5 days
Birmingham to (California port)
to Las Vegas, NV
$3600$45029+5 days
Birmingham to (California port)
to Portland, OR
$3600$47529+6 days
London to (California port)
to Seattle, WA
$3700$55030+6 days
Manchester to (New York port)
to Charlotte, NC
$2200$57510+6 days
London to (New York port)
to Chicago, IL
$2400$67515+6 days
London to (New York port)
to Atlanta, GA
$2400$70015+6 days
London to (California port)
to Denver, CO
$3700$77530+7 days
Manchester to (New York port)
to Memphis, TN
$2200$80010+6 days
Manchester to (New York port)
to Houston, TX
$2200$1,07510+7 days

*Prices and times are estimated. They can vary depending on the season and the type of vehicle.

*Save the ground transport cost by delivering the vehicle to the nearest port.

*Allow an additional 10 days to process the documents.

*Prices are for 1 car in a dedicated 20ft container. This is the safest and most reliable way to transport a vehicle internationally. Other items may be included in the container to help save you money when moving.

*Using the RoRo (roll on, roll off) method is less expensive and shipments can be completed in fewer days. Contact us now for a free RoRo quote.

Ascertain eligibility of vehicle

Prior to shipping, it is important to confirm whether your vehicle meets the eligibility criteria. If followed, the criteria should give you an idea on whether importation is possible or if modifications need to be done beforehand. The safety as well as emissions standards in the US are quite strict, making it important to understand those that govern the type of vehicle being imported. You will also be required to give reasons for importation into the US as well clarifications on your personal status as well.

Understand car importation regulations

Vehicles manufactured outside the US have to adhere to the safety and emissions standards of the country. These regulations are stiffer for cars that are below twenty five years of age. However, a majority already conform to the standards before being allowed in. Most times, importation of such vehicles depends on your ability to have the required modifications done. These modifications are usually done with the guidance of a ‘Registered Importer’ (RI) or Independent Commercial Importer (ICI). These officials are registered by the government and are skilled in undertaking various types of adjustments so that your car meets the right standards for use in the US.

A-1 Auto Transport ships vehicles worldwide. Click here or call 1-800-518-8708 to get a free, no obligation to buy price quote to ship your car.

Hire registered importers

Registered importers are crucial when planning to import vehicle into USA from the UK. They are best placed to confirm whether your vehicle will have to be modified before being allowed into the US or not. These importers work closely with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the agency responsible for maintaining high standards of safety on roads and motor vehicles. The agency has a list of registered importers on their site, making it easy for you to contact genuine ones to assist with modifications. Even so, getting modifications done on your vehicle that is being imported into USA from the UK can be time consuming. It is therefore advisable to confirm eligibility through the NHTSA before starting the shipping process to the US.

Preparing your vehicle

Before your car is released for shipping, it is important to have it thoroughly cleaned and eliminate any dangerous pests. When cleaning, focus on the dashboard, underneath the seats, corner areas, wheel arches, mud guards, and tires, including the spare wheel. These spaces often harbor insects and cobwebs which can delay the clearance of the vehicle at the port. In cases where the vehicle does not meet the standard of cleanliness, officials from the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) will request for a do over which causes delays and is also costly.

Prepare Documentation For Shipping To US

Apart from working with a dependable shipping company to import vehicle into USA from the UK, there is some documentation you need to provide them. Most times, having these documents and following the required procedure makes it easy to import a vehicle from the UK into USA. The documents are usually provided as copies of the original and they include the license document of vehicle, passport, MOT certificate which is valid. In most cases, the MOT certificate is needed for vehicles that need to be picked up in an open or enclosed carrier from your residence in the UK.


When your vehicle leaves the UK, it should be accompanied by a bill of lading from your shipping company. This document should have information about the vehicle being shipped to the USA which includes estimated arrival date and relevant contact details. Once the vehicle arrives in America, port shipping charges are cleared by making payments to receiving agents.  These processes are handled by agents of the shipping company who have experience in handling such processes for their clients. Also, after clearance and the procedure of importation of the vehicle into USA from the UK are concluded, you will need to register your vehicle. This is done at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in your state.

To import vehicle into USA from the UK hassle-free, reach out to us through our Contact Us page.

Joe Webster

Written by Joe Webster

Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.

After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.

With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.

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