While there are no exact figures, the US State Department estimates between three million and six million Americans live abroad as ex-pats.

Whatever your reasons for moving overseas, you may wonder whether or not you should bring your car along. Some people ship their car for sentimental reasons, while others don’t have time to sell it before moving.

Whatever your reason, international car shipping can come with some hurdles. Especially if you don’t understand the process and don’t feel prepared.

Here are a few things to keep in mind that will guarantee international car shipping goes more smoothly.

Find the Right International Car Shipping Company

Once you’ve decided for sure that you’d like to send your car overseas, find the best car transport services for your destination. In your search for the right company, you should ask for an international car shipping estimate.

Besides this estimate, find out from the companies you’re vetting how many years of experience they have in the industry. You should also make sure that they’ve received the appropriate licensing from the Federal Maritime Commission.

As you research various companies, compare their international shipping quotes. Make sure that you take into account all costs, including rates for separate car transportation, and car shipping conditions.

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Get Your Vehicle’s Documents in Order

How to ship a vehicle overseas? The process starts with the proper documentation. These documents include:

  • The original Certificate of Title of your car as well as two notarized copies
  • The original Certificate of Origin
  • A Shipper Export Declaration
  • A copy of your US passport
  • A Declaration of Dangerous Goods
  • The Bill of Sale or a notarized Bill of Sale (depends on the port of origin)

Besides these must-have items, some additional documents and forms may be required depending on your destination country or specific maritime port.

To keep the process as efficient as possible, contact your overseas car transportation company to find out what papers you need to bring. That way, you come prepared.

Now that you’ve got the proper documentation, you’ll need to handle a few physical items associated with shipping cars overseas.

Prepare to Ship Car Overseas

Make sure that your vehicle is clean on the outside and inside and remove all belongings. Find an authorized service garage to give your vehicle a thorough check-up.

Inspect your car and take high-resolution photos documenting the current condition. Remove accessories (e.g. spoilers, antennas, roof racks, etc.) Make sure that your car battery is well-secured and charged.

Double-check your emergency brake to make sure it’s working well. Remove or disable your car’s alarm system. Leave no more than 1/4 of fuel in the tank. Last but not least, have an extra set of keys prepared for the shipping company to use.

Streamlining Car Transport Overseas 

Shipping a vehicle to another country requires the right paperwork. It also means physically preparing your car for the rigors of travel. Fortunately, when you follow the tips above, international car shipping will go much more smoothly.

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