Shipping your car abroad is a lengthy, involved, and often expensive process. For first-timers, it can be very overwhelming, but by taking the following steps, you will be on the fast track to a successful undertaking.
- Do your research.
Every country has individual rules and regulations regarding imports, so you will want to first determine if it is feasible to ship your car where you want it to go. For example, the process to ship your British car from Canada to the US requires that the vehicle conforms to all emissions and safety standards, which in most cases is fairly easy to satisfy. However, certain countries do not allow used vehicles to be imported at all, so unless your vehicle is brand new, it could be exercise in futility. Certain exceptions can be made for antique or vintage vehicles which very well could be pertinent for you, so your best bet is to contact the destination country’s customs office directly for the most up-to-date information.
- Assemble required documentation.
The items required will of course vary from country to country, as many places have specific forms regarding imports you will need to fill out. The following documents, however, are pretty standard across the board. Make sure to make copies of everything, and do not hold your breath on receiving these copies back after the shipment.
- Driver’s License
- Current Registration for Vehicle
- Purchase Contract (if vehicle is new)
- Bill of Lading
- Your Passport
- If there is a lienholder on the vehicle, you will want to make sure, you obtain written permission to move the vehicle abroad.
- Finally, it helps to have a document that accurately depicts the value of your vehicle. The purchase contract will cover this if it is new, but a used vehicle will need something else. This information will be used to calculate duties and fees upon importation.
- Find a reputable auto transport company.
When shopping for an auto transport company, you will want to find someone with a great reputation, decent prices, and good customer service. Ideally, you can obtain a referral from a friend or family member who has previously shipped his or her own vehicle and had a good experience. If that is not possible, a simple Internet search will render hundreds of options, but always check out their rating on the Better Business Bureau website before making contact. The highest priced options do not necessarily guarantee the best service, so go with your gut. You need a company who will keep you updated throughout the process and help make it as stress-free as possible.
- Prepare your vehicle.
It is recommended that you clean your vehicle, so that the pre-ship inspection will be easier to complete. You also need to remove any additional objects that may have been added to the vehicle after market, such as roof racks or antenna. You will want to ensure the vehicle has less than a quarter tank of gas when it is picked up. A full tank adds unnecessary weight and is dangerous. Do not leave any personal items in your vehicle as that will also mess up the weight and could incur you additional charges.
Once your vehicle is picked up, the waiting game begins. The actual transport takes time, but getting the vehicle through customs can really slow down the process. If you have selected a good auto transport company, they should be able to keep you advised of the status. With the proper preparation and plenty of patience, you can drive your most prized possession down the foreign roads of a different country.