Ship a Car Overseas
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How to Ship a Car Overseas: A Step-By-Step Guide

By Mike Richards Updated: 05/22/2019 Posted: 10/04/2018

When you ship a car overseas, you can find everything confusing, especially for first-timers. The possibility of overlooking basic things and the challenge of choosing a reliable and reputable shipping company will surely add to the stress.

That is why we have put up an article that provides you with a complete step-by-step guide. This will help you ship a car overseas. Let’s dive in.

Step 1: Finding A Shipping Company

Research goes a long way when you’re looking for a reliable car shipping company. You can start your research by using search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. You can also use forums and review sites. These will provide you with an extensive list of shipping companies to choose from.

Check Forum and Review Sites

These websites have made the lives of customers easier. Forum sites where you can get in touch with other shippers and ask them directly about their experiences with car shipping companies are particularly useful. You can use online search engines to find these forums and reviews.

If Buying the Car – Ask the Seller

If you’re buying from Auto Auction Mall, we can help you sort out your shipping, saving you time and effort. Check out our shipping pages for guides to costs. If you’re looking at vehicles on our site and your country isn’t listed, just let our team know, and we’ll try to help you out.

Also, you can read our guide to shipping from an auction here. If you’re buying from a dealership, another auction site, or a private seller, ask directly if they can help with the shipping arrangements. There is likely to be a cost for this service.

Step 2: Choosing A Shipping Company

Once you’ve found a company that will ship a car, you can verify if it’s trustworthy. You can do this by checking for complaints and reviews with Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Better Business Bureau (BBB)

BBB will provide you with details on how the company performs specifically in responding to complaints. These details will give you an idea of their character and trustworthiness. Reviews, ratings, and feedback are a clear reflection of how the company delivers services and treats customers.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

Additionally, you can contact the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to verify the company’s license. You can even check for complaints through the FMCSA website.

US Department of Transportation

You can also check with your state’s Department of Transportation (or equivalent) whether the company has the commercial licenses needed to operate in the state.

It is also a good idea to ask questions to the representative of the company you are interested in using. Contact them by phone and check if their company has the required licenses, such as a  US DOT number.

Step 3: Shipping Fees And Charges

Calculator and toy car

So, how much does it cost to ship a car overseas? The initial costs needed to ship a car from the U.S starts at around $750 up to $2500, depending on the country of destination and the type of car. Also, you need to add in duties and other charges.

Customs Duties, Taxes, and Port Handling Charges

Each port has its requirements. However, there are general rules that apply to almost all ports. This is especially the case with the mandatory documents submitted to customs like the original title, title assignment, proof of payment, and other additional documents and fees needed to pass through different port cities.

Duties, taxes, fees, and restrictions can be extremely high in many countries. So it is better to check with the country of destination.


car insurance

Shipping insurance for the vehicle runs 1.5 %-2.5% of the estimated value or about $300-$500 for a car valued at $20,000. Some individual auto policies cover transport. Check if the shipping company has current cargo insurance, with a minimum liability exceeding the value of your car.

Other Expenses

Don’t fill up with gas before you ship a car. The law only allows 1/4 tank of gas. Anything exceeding that limit will be suctioned out of your gas tank. If you ship a car via RORO (see below) it is also cheaper. But if you are shipping 1, 2, or 3 cars, shipping via a container works best.

Many factors go into the costs to ship a car, but doing your research can help you save a ton.

Further Read

Step 4: Request Quote, Choose Shipping Method, & Finalize Booking

Salvage Cars Insurance NY

It’s now time to request a quote and finalize a booking from the company that you are interested in using. Keep away from shipping companies that will ask for an upfront payment. These companies will only take your money and fail to do the service once you make an upfront payment. If the company asks you for an upfront payment, assume there is some scam going on.

You can now select which delivery option or shipping method you’d like to use to ship a car overseas. These include the following:


Port-to-Port is considered the cheapest way to ship a car abroad. This consists in delivering to a designated port or terminal in the US. The car is then shipped to a designated port of entry at the country of its destination.


A type of delivery option that is efficient and cost-effective. This is usually done by picking up the car from your home and deliver it to an international port you selected in the country of destination.


This delivery option is the most convenient for you. In this option, the shipping company of your choice will pick up the car from your home. It will then be in charge of the process from container loading, delivery to the port, and bringing it to its destination.

Roll On/Roll Off


This is also known as RORO; a vessel used to bring wheeled cargo and heavy equipment. This is a shipping method suitable for various cargo types including cars, boats, and heavy equipment.

Step 5: Gather and Prepare Required Documents

It’s now time to gather and prepare the documents needed to ship a car overseas. These are the several documents you’ll need to have ready to avoid delays and extra fees.

Original Title and Registration

This is used for booking purposes. It is also used to verify that you are the owner of the car you want to ship. It also proves that you are the sole owner of the vehicle and no other party can make any legal claim to its ownership.

Copy of Bill of Sale

You will need this document for recently purchased vehicles. This document shows the record of the transaction between you, the car owner, and the seller of the vehicle. It also gives specific information about your car.

Export Forms

These documents like the Shipper’s Export Declaration form and Declaration of Dangerous Goods form. These documents are used to monitor shipments of controlled goods.

Personal Identification

export car middle east

For the company to handle the paperwork, two copies of government-issued identification documents are needed, e.g., passport, driver’s license, etc. Sometimes approval of these can be done online. In other circumstances, you’ll have to be physically present. Ask the shipper for details.

Check Safety and Emission Standards

Upon arrival at the country of destination, authorities will check that your car complies with safety and emission standards. So, do your research in this area before setting off.

Step 6: Ready Your Car for Shipping

Customs will inspect your car thoroughly. To have a seamless transaction you will need to prepare your car in advance.


Remove all extra items from your car and make sure that your battery is fully charged. Also check if alarms are disabled, and if tires are fully inflated.

Reduce Fuel Levels

Remember to reduce the fuel level to 1/8 of the tank. Shipping companies limit the amount of fuel permitted in your car for safety reasons.

Vehicle Condition Documentation

You can make your vehicle inspection report to note dents, scratches, dings, and cosmetic issues already present in the vehicle. Photograph all areas of the car with close-up images of the damaged areas. If there are additional instructions, add them to your documentation and let the shipping company know about them.

Extra Keys

You will be required to give your car keys to the shipping company. They will need them for moving your car during the trip and for driving it on and off the carrier. Make sure to get your keys duplicated.

Numerous things may come up during the processes needed to ship a car. That’s why being informed about what you need to prepare will help you out in the end.

You will be assured of a smooth transaction if you follow these steps when preparing your car for shipping overseas.

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