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A Guide to Shipping Your Car Internationally

Shipping Your Car Internationally

A Guide to Shipping Your Car Internationally

If you ever need to ship your car internationally, for example from mainland US to Hawaii, you can expect much the same service as a standard auto shipping service. To begin with, you’ve got to follow a few simple steps in order to find the best international car shipper. Getting your vehicle ready is much the same, whether it’s being moved to the next state or across an international border. The start of your vehicle's journey will involve getting picked up by your chosen carrier and getting loaded onto the companies truck and trailer. 

There are, however, a few significant differences. If you ever need to ship a vehicle internationally, there are a few extra things to think about, A few laws also have to be taken into account.

Here at SGT Auto Transport, we’ve been delivering and collecting vehicles from ports around the coast of the US for a number of years. To help any new customers out we’ve decided to share some tips. Whether you’re moving abroad, selling a car overseas or buying one from a foreign buyer, it helps to know what to expect and be prepared.


Legal and Logistical Differences

When a car is shipped internationally, it generally involves certain fees, duties, and tariffs. Use the services of any other auto transport company and you may find yourself paying these additional charges on top of the standard price.

As well as extra charges, the country where your car is headed may require prior approval. Fail to get this vital approval from the local officials and your vehicle may be turned away at the port.

If you need to move your vehicle to another country, make sure you check the legal requirements and ensure you comply. For the most up-to-date import information it’s always best to contact the embassy of your chosen country. If you’re shipping a vehicle to Hawaii, our shipping advisors will be able to help.


Let SGT Auto Transport Help with Ground Transportation

There are a number of different marine and air cargo transport companies to choose from. Shipping services are available from ports such as Miami, New York City and Los Angeles. There are also a selection of ports in states such as South Carolina, Maryland, and Virginia.

If you’re lucky enough to live near to one of these, then it’s not an issue. Simply jump in your car and drive it to the terminal. If, however, you live much further away you can rely on one of our auto shipping services to get your vehicle to the right location on time.

Speak with one of our customer representatives and we’ll co-ordinate all the logistics. We can arrange for a carrier to pick-up your vehicle and deliver it to the closest port. We can also arrange to pick-up your vehicle from the port and deliver it to your chosen destination.


How Long Can International Shipping Take?

As you might expect, the timeframe very much depends on the pick-up and delivery location. An estimate for the time it takes can be given by the shipping company providing the ground service. The time it takes for the journey across the ocean is a little more difficult to determine.

As a general rule of thumb, however, expect the journey from the east coast to coastal Europe to take a couple of weeks. A vehicle being hauled from the west coast to Australia, on the other hand, can take almost a month to arrive.

When you make your booking with an international car shipping company, make sure you sort out the arrangements in plenty of time. As well as making the booking for the shipping you also need to allow time to get your vehicle to the port and ensure all your documentation is in order.


What Paperwork is Required?

To ensure the smooth shipping of your car you’ll need registration and title documents. Without them, your vehicle can’t be shipped. Depending on the final destination you may also need to provide license plate numbers along with this documentation. When you drop off and pick-up your vehicle, government-issued ID also needs to be produced.

If the vehicle being shipped is not owned by you but is leased or financed, a notarized statement from the creditor or lessor has to be submitted. This statement confirms that they know the vehicle is being taken out of the US and confirms you’re allowed to do so.

A consignee form has to be completed. The information you’ll need to provide includes personal details such as your name, address and telephone number. You’ll also have to include details of the vehicle being shipped including its value.

Some countries also require the completion of a dangerous goods declaration, thanks to the battery and gas that are left in the car.

A shipper export declaration may also be required. This will, however, depend on the country the car is being delivered to.

The ports being used for shipping may also have their own individual requirements. To check what these are you can speak with our shipping agents. Call (866) 774 6570 or use our online chat option. Alternatively, if you’ve got any questions, send an email to


The Cost of Shipping a Vehicle

There are a number of different factors that can influence the cost of an international shipping service. The distance, is of course, the most significant factor. However, the make, model, and dimensions can also make a difference. You also need to take port and custom charges, individual country fees, type of shipping service and whether your car has to be moved to and from the relevant ports.

For more exact prices it’s always best to speak with our shipping agents.


Driving Your Vehicle

When your vehicle is delivered to the country of your choice, you’re going to want to drive it straightaway. Whether you can, depends on the country and whether you’re going to become a permanent resident. A reputable shipping company will be able to advise you of the local laws relating to vehicle ownership, registration and driving requirements. The US embassy will also be able to offer guidance.

A vehicle being hauled to Europe can be driven for up to six month on its American plates and tags. Your auto insurance company also has to be notified of your intention and be willing to provide coverage. European safety and emission standards also have to be met.

To be legally allowed to drive in a European country you’ll need to apply for an International Driver Permit and an International Motor Insurance Card, before you leave the US.

SGT Auto Transport can provide a service that gets your vehicle to any chosen location on time. We’re able to organize a carrier to ship your car to any port in the US. All our prices are inclusive so get in touch today for a personalized quote.