How to Ship Your Car Internationally
Shipping your car internationally can seem intimidating, especially if you haven't done it before or if you've never been to the country. To make the process as smooth as possible, you should do your homework beforehand. While A-1 Auto Transport can easily handle all of your international car shipping needs, the following topics will be a helpful guide to get you prepared and to ease your nerves. Of course, you should also visit the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's guide at http://www.cbp.gov/trade/basic-import-export/export-docs/motor-vehicle.
The first thing to understand about shipping your car internationally, especially from the United States, is that there are a few different shipping methods available. The most common overall shipping method, not to mention the most financially prudent one, is through ocean freight. However, ocean freight has a few different options, which are the following:
- Roll-On, Roll-Off
If you choose this option, your car will be driven onto the shipping vessel and placed on the car deck and safely secured. It is the cheapest method available, but you will not be able to include any personal items with the vehicle if you choose it.
- Shipping Container
When choosing this method of shipping, your car will be placed in an actual shipping container and can include some personal items as well. It's a bit more expensive but has the added benefit of the extra security and protection against the elements.
Of course, you will also have to consider the different pickup and delivery aspects of the actual vehicle, including door-to-door delivery and port-to-port delivery. These will cost extra. For example, some shipping services will be able to pick up your vehicle at an agreed upon location, and once it's in its destination country, it can be delivered to a specific address.
Depending on how far your destination country is, as well as the location where it's being shipped from, it can take a week to a few weeks to even a month.
Shipping services do contain insurance in most instances, but you should ALWAYS consult with them to see what specific aspects that their insurance covers or don't cover. The cost of insurance is usually dependent on the vehicle's value, as well as whether or not you want full insurance or restricted insurance.
It's recommended that you always take multiple pictures of both the exterior and the interior of your vehicle before handing it over to the shipping company. That way, if you need to file an insurance claim in the future, you'll be able to do so easily.
Your expenses will certainly depend on the country that you're shipping to. There are a myriad of factors to consider, including:
- Regulatory expenses (i.e. customs)
- Taxes and tariffs
- Documentation processing
- Shipping costs
If you want door-to-door delivery, this will also cost you more, for example.
The taxes, duties, and tariffs that one will owe vary with each country, but in most instances, they are dependent on three main factors, which are:
- The total value of the car.
- The year in which the car was first manufactured.
- The intended use of the vehicle, such as for personal use, business use, or commercial use.
Furthermore, depending on the country that you are shipping your car to internationally, you may be eligible for various tax exemptions and possibly even being able to avoid paying the full amount of duties and tariffs.
A-1 Auto Transport is extremely knowledgable about how to save you as much money as possible in avoiding unnecessary fees abroad!
Documentation and Customs
You will have to fill out and provide a large amount of documentation if you're planning on shipping your car internationally. This documentation is required by both regulatory agencies and by the carriers. Not having the right documents in place can result in significant delays in the shipping process, as well as additional fees and fines.
With customs, you will have to make sure that your vehicle is cleared by the local customs at the arrival country. You will often have to fill out local forms and be granted certain permits, as well as have it inspected by a customs agent. Pay attention to such things as what side of the road the cars are driven on in that country. A left-hand car will not be permitted in a country where they drive right-hand, for example.
Get It Ready for Shipping
You will need to prepare your car before it is shipped. Some of the things that you should do are the following:
- Make sure that any personal items inside of the vehicle are removed.
- Make sure that the battery is disconnected.
- Turn off all vehicle alarms.
- Wash and clean it, including on and around the tires.
- Make sure that the fuel tank is empty if you choose the Shipping Container method. If you choose the Roll-On, Roll-Off method, your vehicle should only have a tiny bit of fuel in it.
The Federal Maritime Commission offers many helpful tips. Their website can be found at http://www.fmc.gov/resources/shipping_your_vehicle_overseas.aspx.
Contact A-1 Auto Shipping today and let us walk you through the above steps!
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.